Creating entries with minimal references

+2 votes
I did look in the G2G forums but didn't any direct answers to this question.

What should you do if you have minimal references.  I'm getting back to the point where (and other resources) is running out of information.  I have scraped some data from using my local library's portal.  But Ancestry hides the source documents from library portal users.

I'm a little skeptical of Ancestry trees if I can't see the supporting original documents.

Basically I'm running up against mud wall relatives.  They aren't hard brick yet, but it's close.

Is it acceptable to create that profile on Wikitree and openly note the dearth of supporting documentation?

Or should I add the ephemeral information in the next generation forward as a starting point for the next genealogist to use when the decide to investigate that individual?

I have not, up to this point, added anyone to my tree without having a couple of references to justify their inclusion.

Many thanks in advance for your thoughts....


in Policy and Style by Dann Todd G2G Crew (430 points)
Dann, I'm a little curious about your statement that Ancestry hides the source documents from library users.  Admittedly it's been a while since I have used the site at the library, but I don't recall experiencing that problem, and I'm sure I have found some actual sources that way.  Can I ask what sort of data you're searching for there, and what sort of results you are getting from the site?  Thanks.
Perhaps you already know this but:

Depending on what type of record you're talking about, you can sometimes take the indexing from and locate the original document on FamilySearch.  Sometimes the Ancestry search engine is a little more flexible and better and finding matches.  I often take the census page info, or look for a neighboring name and then search again in FamilySearch.  Also not all record images available online are indexed.  If you go to the catalog, search for the place name and see if the record is available.  It may be a different version of the records, so page numbers, etc may not apply, but if the records are somewhat chronological you can still find it.

Initially I only used the search engine on familysearch, but now I always check to see what other records they have online.  For example, I've found a goldmine of info in Deeds for New York and Massachsetts.  Not indexed in the search engine, but the index images are available online.  Takes a little more time, but worth it!

Hi all,

And thanks for the responses.  I feel better about creating a person/profile with more limited information.

Here is what I have been experiencing over at Ancestry via the free library portal.  Please keep in mind that I'm not sitting in front of a computer with the portal active.  So some of this is from memory.

I search and find an ancestor on someone's existing tree.  In looking at that tree, there will be sources for various points in their life.  You can click to view the list of sources and frequently see a thumbnail of an original document.  But when you click on the actual document/image to view it, you get bumped to the regular Ancestry site where you are expected to pay a fee.

So if there is birth data (i.e. birth certificate, church record, etc.) presented in a photo, you cannot view that photo without paying for the access.  I just don't trust the level of documentation that is accessible via the free portal.  I make enough mistakes on my own when I have more data.  I don't need to adopt anyone else's mistakes when they show me less.

I am using Ancestry to help refine my searching in other areas (i.e. FamilySearch).  So I appreciate the suggestion about using the indexing information on Ancestry to refine searches in other areas.  Thanks!

Also, I found this interesting list of free sources on Wikitree!  I'm inspired to dig again/further/etc. 



Hmmm, Dann, as I said above, your experience with Ancestry differs from mine, and I'm not really sure why.  My normal scenario has been that I am researching a particular person, so I go to the general search page and enter the name, and then narrow down the field with dates and locations and best I can.  As I recall, I can also filter results by the particular type of record I'm looking for if I want to.  And usually I do get a list of actual sources (some for other people with similar names), and I am able to look at them and e-mail an image to myself at home if it's applicable.  I don't think I have tried to access the sources through somebody else's tree, and I haven't been taken to the membership signup page at the library.  I wonder if that searching style makes a difference?  Of course I have no way of knowing whether Ancestry is showing me everything they have on the person, and I also don't know whether there are different levels of library subscriptions that could affect what results we get.

I hope somebody who is more knowledgeable about the workings of Ancestry will chime in on this thread and clarify.  If that doesn't happen, and you're interested in pursuing it, I will volunteer to participate in a brief experiment.  If you could send me by private e-mail two or three examples of specific sources that you know exist, but cannot access, I'll go to my library and see if I am able to get to them.  If I can, then you need to go to your library and try it using my style.

And FYI, here's another WikiTree list of sources you may find helpful:

1 Answer

+10 votes
Best answer
I think if you have enough to prove he or she was a real person, you are good to go.  Put as much info as you have on the profile, even if you only know the right country and decade.  Add research notes about where you looked, and who the person was not, etc.  Then post a link to the profile in G2G, and see what else people might find.
by Herbert Tardy G2G6 Pilot (449k points)
selected ago by Rubén Hernández
Thanks for the star, Rubén!

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