Some things I dislike about online family trees

Ok, some of these gripes I’ve mentioned before but they can stand to be repeated and maybe detailed a bit.

First, I really hate it when I look at a list of children under a couple and see birthdates after (sometimes many years!) the death of one or the other – especially the mother.  People should really be careful about the dates they list and be aware if it’s impossible for a person to be a child of another based on the birthday listed.  And then, this information is copied over and over into other trees and you end up with 10+ trees with the same faulty information!!  Very distressing and for my money it throws a lot of other information in that tree into question.

Second, and it kind of a corollary to the first, I think it’s terrible when a list of children contains two of the same name with different birthdates – sometimes several children are repeated twice!.  Come on folks, almost all family tree software has a way to indicate alternate data !  And again, sometimes a date is impossible since the parents weren’t alive at the time.

Third, it’s crazy when a source is referenced that is impossible to be accurate or referring to the person of interest.  Sometimes the reference is to a parent or spouse of the person of interest but that person is not named.  How then can that be a reference to the person of interest??  If it can then I guess that all references to my 8th great grandfather, Rev. William Walton, are also references to me! Yes, it really is that crazy.

Fourth, I really hate it when someone so obviously blindly copies someone’s information in a tree without seeing if it’s accurate or not.  Sometimes it’s really hard to tell, or impossible, but it seems you should make the effort and maybe not use the information if you can’t tell.  It basically leads to the kind of mistakes I mentioned in the first three types of problems.

Well, enough of my rant for today.  Next time I’ll have something that’s actually about the Walton Family.


About larrytom2

Older guy interested in genealogy and family issues.
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3 Responses to Some things I dislike about online family trees

  1. genealyn says:

    I agree with a lot of what you say here, but question your comment about children with the same name and different birth dates. I have several instances in my tree where a child died in infancy and the name was used again for a subsequent child, so I have learned not to jump to conclusions when I see birth date discrepancies.

    • larrytom2 says:

      genealyn, yes I’ve seen that sometimes too and have no problem with it. What I was referring to was a child who grew to adulthood, maybe even married and then shows up again in the same tree with a 10 or 20 year difference in birth dates.

      • genealyn says:

        That can happen too 🙂 I have a great grandfather who has a discrepancy of over 10 years on the dates he has given on various official documents. Think he told the first little white lie when he married someone who was considerably younger than him.

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