I received an email today that stated “Charlene, we've found pioneers in your family tree”. Really this looks interesting. So I open the email to find:
Interesting, I think, but who is Andrew McCombs? I have never heard of him, of course I have to follow the link and click the big blue button above labelled “See My Pioneer Ancestors”. The link takes me to FamilySearch where I have to log into my account and now I am on the Pioneer Ancestor’s page.
Now I have two options, I want to view my relationship, so I follow that link.
And here lies the problem. Andrew McCombs is not my ancestor, well not my direct ancestor anyway. He at most is a distance cousin. Why are the genealogy giants such as Family Search and Ancestry calling distant relations our Ancestors? When I look up the definition of Ancestor I get the following: a person, typically one more remote than a grandparent, from whom one is descended. I don’t descend from Andrew then why do they get my hopes up and call him my Ancestor?
The second problem is the tree branch for my side (left) starting with Godfrey Hilts, I don’t have Godfrey as Lorentz Hiltz father but another Lorentz. This is the problem with a “shared” tree, anyone can make assumptions and changes. Therefore I click on Godfrey and see what sources were used for his record. When I click on Godfrey I do see that he has alternate names and a few are Lorentz plus Godfrey’s wife is what I have for Lorentz.
Wow, look at all the changes that FamilySearch is doing? Because you know they have to be the expert in my family, right?
The reason given by FamilySearch – Engineer … was TF-907 Restore/Delete Cleanup. Oh, now that is clear as mud. However, no reason was given for the Alternate Name added by Family Search.
Now I do want to say that the Hilts/Hiltz/Heils family is very confusing. Especially with the entire last name variations but also because of all the familiar/common given names used in this family. I can’t say this is the only family such things have occurred, because heck I have other branches with similar problems. However I do want to say, that when a family that is large and uses the same given names in many branches, that it is not uncommon to find two people with the same name perhaps even born in the same year. This doesn’t though make them the same person. After doing a little more research in reviewing all the changes, I do see that someone merged a Godfrey to my Lorentz.
This frustrates me too much to deal with this mess. I could spend days, even weeks trying to clear up this mess. Heck I have done that in the past, but no more. I don’t have time to clear up this mess only to have someone come behind me and undo everything I just fixed.
This example just confirms why I do my tree on my computer with my genealogy software program. I can look at my sources and see why I have my tree the way I do. I can share my tree with other’s on other websites such as Ancestry and know that no one can undo what I have done. FamilySearch's idea of a “shared” tree is noble and I understand the logic behind the tree, but unfortunately, too many chefs spoiled the soup. Especially when they don't know what they are doing.