Genealogy Wise

The Genealogy & Family History Social Network, and the spread of misinformation

I have received yet another enquiry based on family trees hosted on which contain wrong information.

Now, I am not for one moment saying that everything on my family tree, freely accessible on the internet (though not right now, but that is a different story), is 100% correct, but my database allows anyone to 'Suggest' corrections. I have, for example, recently made a major change based on outcomes from DNA research

However, correcting something on Ancestry is a different matter. Some trees have been untouched for years, and so making contact with the owner is problematical.

The DNA example, above, still exists on several trees on Ancestry. How can the previously published line of descent be corrected? As far as I can see, it cannot.

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Comment by Russell Lynn Drysdale on November 15, 2013 at 12:17pm

Those with no cognitive abilities  of their own don't understand  that if they post a '' Sows Ear '' for lineage , ten years from now , will still be marketing that ''Sows Ear'' as gospel truth , when in fact the Mormons running that site are only in it for the money . Every shred of information wrong or right goes into that Data-base and seeps out like sewage onto other sites . The misinformation is pure profit  .

Good luck contacting the erroneous posters 

Comment by Katie Heitert Wilkinson on February 21, 2011 at 1:13pm
I've received similar "connections" notifications on Ancestry .... the most recent involved someone researching Irish family data connected with Michael Browne.  It was clear that this researcher had jumped to conclusions and failed to see the contradictions presented by my documented data.  For instance, though my gg Uncle Mike died a confirmed bachelor, the other tree showed Michael Browne with a wife and offspring.  I have tried multiple time to contact this person in order to advise hiim/her of the error.  Never a reply.
Comment by james hart on February 20, 2011 at 11:49am
I totally agree.Too many "researchers" simply copy from have a nephew in Texas who e mailed me very thrilled as he had just found out he was related to Robert the Bruce.What he didn't tell me till much later was that he had paid a Scottish "researcher" 2000 dollars to get this family tree.Much of the so called data he received  I have seen word for word on other public trees on   There is no substitute for  personal hard graft and patience,but much satisfaction at the result.
Comment by James P. LaLone on February 20, 2011 at 9:23am

The good, BAD & UGLY of genealogy. I have noticed that too about errors. I do not subscribe to Ancestry as a lot of the trees are also on WorldConnect on RootsWeb (owned by Ancestry) which is free. People just have to be aware that the lineages can be full of errors (some actually post disclaimers, which it appears others ignore).


I am finding about an 80%+ error rate on the posted genealogies. You can post notes on individuals correcting the errors (and I strongly encourage you to do so). I posted to about 1,600 sites correcting some data on an ancestry of mine. The newer genealogies I noticed did make corrections. You have to just keep plugging away. I do not think that there is a simple answer or solution.  I imagine in 50 years or so that our descendants will have complete genealogies but totally wrong.


Genealogy requires research, logic, reading, study, etc. but as one person said it was just a "hobby" ( wonder what his or her knitting projects look like). This attitude extends into the professional world. Historians & biographers tend to look at genealogists with a judging eye but you should see the errors that creep up in their "scholarly works" when it includes genealogical material or data. Ok, blew off my steam, nothing is perfect, just sad so much imperfection is continued to be spread. Jim.


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