New.familysearch.org is the new frontier for family history and genealogy. Recently it was opened to everyone and not just members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Anyone can go to new.familysearch.org, create a profile, start searching for their ancestors and construct their family tree– all online. It is an amazing tool! It is so easy to use, easy to navigate and the online support team is incredibly helpful with tutorials and videos. There is just one little problem–it is too easy. Many people have just uploaded entire gedcom files with all 10,000 names without double checking to make sure it is all correct or if those names even need to be added thus duplicating names and dates that have already been duplicated 3 or 4 times. It is a BIG mess!
The other day I logged on and started clicking around looking through my family tree admiring all of the pretty names and dates going back in some lines to the 1500s. I was thinking there was really nothing for me to do…it had all been done already. Then I clicked on my grandmother’s name to see her birthday and such. She was an amazing person and as I looked at her birth date, marriage date and death date (she passed last summer), I started to reminisce and remember some special things about her. I clicked on “spouses and children” to see her beloved husband who died just 18 years into their marriage and left her with 9 children and 1 on the way. As I thought of how hard that must have been and how amazingly she handled it all, I noticed something strange. There was another man in the “Other Spouses” section. I clicked on the name and then found out that that man was her husband’s brother. Oh dear. A marriage date between my grandmother and her brother-in-law had been erroneously added by someone. In family search only the person who adds the marriage date can edit the marriage date and every date that is added has its contributor attached to it with a link to their email address. I emailed the person who added this marriage date and we had a brief and delightful email conversation. I found out that this person had inherited a gedcom file and had uploaded it without looking at it. When I told her about the erroneous marriage date, she immediately went in and fixed it. Phew! That little problem was solved!
This got me looking around and I found several little mistakes and misinformation. One ancestor showed 5 women married to him under “Spouses and Children”. One of them lived and died before he was even born so that isn’t right. Another woman is shown to be married to him even though all the children from that marriage are duplicated in another marriage. It is so confusing I can’t even explain it but it needs to be sorted out. I emailed my family about this and my aunt told me that she knew for certain that this ancestor, my great-great grandfather was only married to 2 women. So the other 3 women? I don’t know. Someone has connected their ancestors to the wrong man, I guess I will be emailing them to find out where they got their info.
So even though your tree may appear to be completed, there is A LOT to do still!
I have decided to include the names of the ancestors I shared above to hopefully get it sorted out.
According to new family search Simeon Van Winkle Post was married to Julia A Pitman on 18 Feb 1868 and they had 3 children: Elizana (born 1869), Edney (1871), Simeon (1877). He was married to Elizabeth (Libby) Corcoran in 1843 in Alabama and they had William G. (1842), Charles G. (1844), John Plez (1851) and George B. (1859). On new family search you can dispute relationships if you think they are not correct and John Plez and George B have those little dispute icons next to them. My aunt told me that Simeon was first married to an Elizabeth Cochran (perhaps Corcoran) but they weren’t sure if Charles and William were his children or not but he raised them as though they were. So it appears that Libby and the children William G. and Charles G. are legit. Next it shows him married to Elizabeth (Betsy) Terry (1730-1797–so this marriage could not have been possible if she lived and died before he was even born!) and their children: John Plez (1851), George B. (1859), Elizana (1869), Edney (1871), Simeon (1877). Sooooo…..there is something clearly wrong here but I don’t quite know how to fix it. And then there is my ancestor Mary Kane who married Simeon on 24 Dec 1873 and they had 5 children: Mary Louisa (1875), Eleanor (1877) (this is my great-grandmother), Sarah Cornelia (1881), Pearl (1885), and Joseph (1888). I have some work to do…