Disproven Existence

Privacy Level: Public (Green)

Surnames/tags: false_ancestors disproven_existence
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Note - In light of the recently clarified guidelines, this project now has a project box. However, this page has not yet been edited to catch up with that. The process of applying Disproven Existence does not change. However, if you wish for this project to manage the profile, you must use its project box: {{Disproven Existence Project}}

Any profile in the category Disproven Existence should be on WikiTree-52's watchlist (i.e., on the trusted list) and needs a project to be its manager. The Disproven Existence Project is the default project if no other applicable project wishes to manage the profile.

From WikiTree-52:

The project account should be added to either the trusted list or as a profile manager to any profile in Category:Disproven Existence, which is added when the research notes box {{Disproven Existence}} or the project box {{Disproven Existence Project}} is added to the profile. (The project recommends one or the other, not both. If the project is a manager, the project box must be added - see this G2G post. If another project is manager, then WikiTree-52 should be added to the trusted list only.)

This project page currently only talks about the research notes box {{Disproven Existence}} but is not otherwise out of date. ~ Noland-165 18:16, 3 January 2018 (EST)


Disproven Existence

{{Disproven Existence}} is for profiles of people that research has shown never existed. The purpose of this project is to oversee its use. Disproven Existence is the "next step" for profiles with {{Uncertain Existence}}[1] that have
  1. substantial evidence that the person did not exist (except... see below),
  2. buy-in from profile managers/descendants (e.g., G2G discussion),
  3. project approval (both this project and projects relevant to the profile), and
  4. no "real" profiles attached.
  1. If the profile is not already tagged with {{Uncertain Existence}}, please add it while coordinating 1-4. The exception would be if you are adding {{Disproven Existence}} to a profile for someone whose existence has already been disproven by professional researchers and the profile includes citations to their scholarly, peer-reviewed, published works. Even then, you should first post notice in G2G (tag the surname, disproven_existence, and appropriate project or projects).

    Note: If the profile is included in (and categorized under) a known fraud or fabrication, that is sufficient proof to meet #1. It remains sufficient unless substantial evidence that the person existed is presented during discussion (#2).
{{Disproven Existence}} should only be used on profiles that have been disconnected from the proven line. Profiles that have not yet been disconnected from the valid lineage should use {{Uncertain Existence}}.


Note: {{Disproven Existence}} is designed to replace {{Uncertain Existence}}. The difference in the messages is small but important:

Uncertain Existence: Research suggests that this person may never have existed. See the text for details.
Disproven Existence: Research has shown that this person never existed. See the text for details.

If a profile does not already have {{Uncertain Existence}}, add it while you check that the profile meets the criteria for {{Disproven Existence}}. The following steps are suggested (you may not need all steps, but please do ensure adequate communication and sufficient posted evidence before adding {{Disproven Existence}}):

  1. Post a comment on this page with the WikiTree ID of the profile you are going to be working on.
  2. Post a comment on the profile or send private messages to the profile managers notifying them of your plans and inviting the addition of primary sources showing proof of existence (as the person claimed).
  3. Post notice in G2G (tag the surname, disproven_existence, and appropriate project or projects). If the profile is part of a known fraud or fabrication (see above note), tag it fraud also.
  4. Edit the profile, adding explanation and substantial evidence that the person did not exist (include a link to the G2G post). See this G2G thread for discussion of what constitutes sufficient evidence.
  5. Consensus can be assumed if no comments on the profile or in G2G voice objection. Follow up with anyone who contacted you privately before taking the next steps.
  6. Disconnect the profile from the legitimate line.
  7. Change {{Uncertain Existence}} to {{Disproven Existence}} and update your notice (comment) on this page that the profile has been changed to Disproven Existence.

Adding Template/Categories

{{Disproven Existence}} also adds [[Category:Disproven Existence]]

Add additional categories as appropriate (see other subcategories of Fictitious and Legendary Genealogy, especially the subcategories listed under Frauds_and_Fabrications).


The {{Disproven Existence}} should be the first template on the page. This is an exception to normal placement for Research Note Boxes. Both the {{Uncertain Existence}} and {{Disproven Existence}} templates are Research Note Boxes, which are placed above the first heading on the profile ("Biography") and below any categories or project boxes. If multiple Research Note Boxes are on the profile, {{Uncertain Existence}} or {{Disproven Existence}} should be the first.
Placement for {{Disproven Existence}} is different because if the person did not exist, he or she technically would not be eligible to be included in a project (other than this one). However, projects with an interest in the profile can choose to include their project box, their project account as a profile manager, and/or applicable project categories. If they do, they should follow Disproven Existence instead of precede it.


Future: See the Project Account for more info, including a link to the Google Group and details on how to add the project as a profile manager.
Origin: See this comment in the G2G discussion about creating this category, template, and project for those profiles that have been retained in WikiTree even though it is known that the person portrayed by the profile did not exist.

Members/Project Representatives

Membership is open to any WikiTree member who has signed the honor code. The intent is for the leadership team to be representatives from WikiTree projects. To join, please send a trusted list request for this page or send me a private message.



Want to join the project? Take a look at the project account & if it looks like something you'd enjoy, post a comment there. And thanks!

Images: 1
Disproven Existence Image 1
Disproven Existence Image 1

  • Login to request to the join the Trusted List so that you can edit and add images.
  • Private Messages: Contact the Profile Managers privately: I R and Disproven Existence WikiTree. (Best when privacy is an issue.)
  • Public Comments: Login to post. (Best for messages specifically directed to those editing this profile. Limit 20 per day.)
  • Public Q&A: These will appear above and in the Genealogist-to-Genealogist (G2G) Forum. (Best for anything directed to the wider genealogy community.)

On 19 May 2019 at 18:33 GMT Bonnie Saunders wrote:

Hi! I just posted this on G2G, about a profile I think should be part of the Project.


On 23 Dec 2018 at 15:20 GMT SJ Baty wrote:

While working on the monthly sourcerers challenge I saw that Gangster Al Capone's siblings were not sourced. I sourced a few and was unable to find a source for sister Rose. A further search revealed that she is a fabricated person (probably by accident) but the oft repeated error has become commonplace. I think she is a good candidate for this project.


On 7 Dec 2018 at 10:50 GMT SJ Baty wrote:

I am working on this profile: https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Clayton-2226

15 Dec - profile has been marked Disproven Existence, the bio and research notes updated.

On 12 Oct 2018 at 21:21 GMT I (Rassinot) R wrote:

On 2 Oct 2018 at 13:31 GMT I (Rassinot) R wrote:

I've added a few profiles to the project - they are from a Gustave Anjou book. They're still connected to profiles with managers and without the Disproven box, unfortunately.

On 24 Sep 2018 at 13:30 GMT Nan Lambert wrote:

On 17 Sep 2018 at 06:18 GMT I (Rassinot) R wrote:

Another potential fraudulent genealogy is discussed in this G2G. It is apparently a random collection of names inspired by characters from video games, manga, TV series and such.

On 22 Jul 2018 at 20:30 GMT April (Dellinger) Dauenhauer wrote:

Hello Disproven Project members and thank you for creating this project and templates. I added the project box to Harriet Nickerson-30. I hope this was appropriate -- I was not aware of the project until this morning. Terrific image with the template - kudos to the designer.