Thursday, October 24, 2013

How I tried to create a tree on Ancestry.com and almost died laughing

True confession: I never had a tree on Ancestry.com until a few weeks ago. (Back in the day, I uploaded my ill-sourced tree to Rootsweb Worldconnect.) So there was quite a learning curve, especially since for research purposes I did not want to start with myself, but to start elsewhen and work downstream.

When I finally did manage to make an entry, the software offered me the option of putting in a source. The obvious box to click is to search, which produced thousands of irrelevant results. It turned out that to put in an actual source citation, I had to go to a different screen. Even then, I had to put up with their assumptions about source citations.

You can share my experience if you pick a person in your Ancestry tree, go to their individual profile, then to "Facts and Sources." Select "Source Citations," and in that window click on "Add a Source Citation." In that window, under #1 pick "Create a new source." Or just click here. Or google a portion of the below-quoted text in quotation marks.

That window includes a block of instructional text. I finally got off the learning curve when I read it, and after I could draw breath again:

A source is a document, index, book, person or other material that gives you information related to a fact or event in your family tree. Sources can be original, like an actual document or legible image, or the [sic] can be derivative, like a transcribed copy. Original sources are considered more reliable because they provide irrefutable proof of a fact or event. [italics added]
Golly. I remember holding an original birth certificate, quite soon after the event, stating that our newborn baby girl was a boy. Earlier this year I published an article about a fellow who gave three different names for his mother in three different original records. In each of them, he named as his father a man who died three years before he was born. Yeah . . . irrefutable.



Harold Henderson, "How I tried to create a tree on Ancestry.com and almost died laughing," Midwestern Microhistory: A Genealogy Blog, posted 24 October 2013 (http://midwesternmicrohistory.blogspot.com : viewed [date]). [Please feel free to link to the specific post if you prefer.]


6 comments:

Michelle Goodrum said...

This was the perfect start for my day. Always looking for a good laugh.

gexhouse2 said...
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Sonja Hunter said...

Face-Palm! *Sigh* Ancestry should do better!

Linda Schreiber said...

My father's SSDI info (from just three years ago) lists his father's first name as his middle name. Wrong. Same unusual name was his son's middle name. This son was the informant. The death cert shows that the clerk jumped a line, either up or down, and messed this up. "An original source" for all eternity, in the modern computer age, and screwed up. Lord knows about earlier times....

hoguegirardin said...

Ah yes. Plus why does ancestry include undocumented trees as a source? Argh!

T said...

"Ah yes. Plus why does ancestry include undocumented trees as a source?"
Because that's where the other person got the information. Ancestry doesn't know if it's proven or not. That really isn't their job. It's your job when you find information to be sure you have the right person and the information is correct. There can still be useful clues in those trees for those of us who research it.