Friday, October 18, 2013

The Good & Bad About Sharing Genealogy

If you don't remember my post HERE about my purported 10 x Great Grandparents, you may want to refresh yourself on that, as it comes into play during this multipart saga I am beginning here.  8-)

Being an amateur genealogist is akin to being a masochist at times.
You work and work and work and finally find a connection to someone or some line and just when you are all happy and excited, you hit a brick wall.
Which makes you work and work and work and hope to make another connection, which in turn gets your face slammed into yet another brick wall.

This is how genealogy works for the most part for most people.
Unless you had nerdy ancestors who loved doing genealogy before you and left you a clear, documented paper trail of all your generations of family.
That my folks is a genealogist's wet dream.  8-)
But that is very rarely the case in the genealogical life. 

As I have said before most amateurs at this will use Ancestry dotcom at some point as it's an easy source for finding records without leaving the comfort of your home.
It's great this age of technology!

But all the sharing on Ancestry dotcom also has it's ugly side.
Being able to share and see other family trees can aid you in your own search but it's a double edged sword.

Mainly because you don't know how or where the other people have gotten their information from to assemble their tree.  Other trees can be riddled with mistakes and down right lies. 

Sluggy's axiom of wisdom--"If the tree you are copying leads to famous, notorious or royal people in history, view it with an extra dose of suspicion.  Everyone wants to be related to famous/infamous and royalty and will baldface LIE to make it appear that they do."

It is never good to just blindly copy information off of someone else's family tree and then leave it at that and walk away.  But sometimes a less than professional genealogist may resort to this, lacking their own resources or knowledge or time or money to do the job.

I am guilty of having "lifted" family members info. from other family trees.  Given my resources and level of skill, plus add in the fact that frankly I don't have 20-30 years to hunt down clues at this age in my life, I do use information off of other family trees at times. 

Usually I will use them as a last resort or take the information and then try to document it, so it's using that information/person in the tree as a "hint" around which I try to substantiate their place in MY tree.
What I don't do is blindly just lift a person and cut & paste them into my family puzzle, even when the corners aren't even close to fitting.

If I am not within my core at least 50% sure that a particular person finds into my puzzle I will keep them there for the time being, with a notation that this person could possibly be a mistake so that other's looking at my tree(and I can't keep others on the site from seeing my tree unless I make it private)know that I know that some links I have forged in the family chain aren't 100% accurate to the best of my knowledge.

Sharing information in this way can be a good thing as it may give another genealogist an idea or a hint, but it can also be very damaging as it can lead to people spreading around erroneous information or innocent mistakes in the recording of facts.
So I am on the fence over this practice.

Now this sharing information comes into play in regard to my Packer/Isgar line.
I initially used other family tree's information to build parts of this line. 
I started at the known end.....the generations closest to me and worked via documents I could find online back.

I got to a point where I could find no public documents readily(as I don't have access to any European records at this point...too much $$$ to access) so I made some "leaps of faith" by following the people trail via other's family trees that jived up to that point with mine.  That brought me back to England and Ireland and Phillip Packer and his parents and Sarah Isgar and her parents.

Then I went about digging up documentation to substantiate the claims of dates and people which I had lifted from other trees.

And I hit an obvious error.
And it's an error that every public tree on ancestry dotcom seems to have, so I am thinking either someone made an honest mistake at one point with a date and then everyone else has lifted that erroneous information into their trees OR worse, that the person in question does not fit into this tree at this juncture and someone just lied about it.

Here is how the Packer Line I am on, descends from Phillip Packer/Sarah Isgar as is purported on hundreds of family trees on Ancestry dotcom.........see if you can find the error.......

Phillip Packer 1618-1686
Sarah Isgar   1625/26-1677
who begat--

Phillip Packer immigrant 1656-1739
who married--
Hannah Sessions  1665-1689
who begat--

James Phillip Packer  1686-1764
who married--
Ann Coates  1699-?
who begat--

Susannah Packer  1664-1728
who married--
Robert James Baker  1660-1728
who begat--

Douglas Baker  1688-1764
who married--
Jean Jane Thompson  1717-1762
who begat--

Douglas Baker, Jr.  1743-1778
who married--
Mary Elliot  1743-
who begat--

Elliot Baker  1775-1836
At which point I could find written records.

I have since substantiated up to Robert James Baker on the Baker line and their wive's line and the Sessions and Coate's lines as well.  Plus I have been able to document the Packer line down to James Phillip Packer.

Which leaves us at James Packer and Ann Coates' daughter-Susannah Packer.....the square peg in my round hole as it were. ;-)

You will notice that this line, as does EVERY single family tree on Ancestry dotcom has Susannah Packer being born the YEAR BEFORE HER GRANDMOTHER!
Go look, I'll wait.......

The few folks I have contacted who have this family tree with this obvious error have either ignored my email or said they just copied the information from another tree but then they never did any research or questioned the obvious error here.
Argh.

As Susannah's supposed mother, Ann Coates was not born until 1699, this Susannah couldn't possibly have been born in 1664.
Upon further research I have found that Susannah's father had a sister named Susannah as well, which means there could be confusion between the Susannahs here.  My Susannah Packer may be in reality the Aunt of the Susannah that has been place in my direct line.
This would change the line of descent from James Packer to Susannah Packer-his sister and down to my generation.

This would change my line of descent to this.....

Phillip Packer 1618-1686
Sarah Isgar   1625/26-1677
who begat--

Phillip Packer immigrant 1656-1739
who married--
Hannah Sessions  1665-1689
who begat--

Susannah Packer(sister of James Pillip Packer rather than his daughter)  1664-1728
who married--
Robert James Baker  1660-1728
who begat--

Douglas Baker  1688-1764
who married--
Jean Jane Thompson  1717-1762
who begat--

Douglas Baker, Jr.  1743-1778
who married--
Mary Elliot  1743-
who begat--

Elliot Baker  1775-1836


This change basically takes out one of the generations but the birth date for Susannah is still incorrect if Hannah Sessions is now her mother rather than her grandmother.

Then I found 1 tree with Susannah being born in 1728 rather than dying in that year, which is impossible because the marriage to Robert Baker is documented as occurring in 1709!

And then I found another tree with Susannah Packer with dates of 1688-1764 and this Susannah being James Phillip's sister.  It is looking at the moment like THIS is MY Susannah Packer but there are still questions and inconsistencies.

I tell you my head is about to explode sometimes from all this! lol

So this line, as laid out, is still not "firm" with factual documentable evidence that my line goes back to Phillip Packer/Sarah Isgar in this descent.
There are still questions(and it's possible My Susannah Packer may not even be blood related to this Packer line now) and until I find the missing links, or the right person to ask or someone comes forward to connect with me on this issue, the voracity of this family tree will have concerns for me.

And then this week another window opened in this brick wall.
To Be Continued.....

Sluggy

 

3 comments:

  1. :) You sink your teeth into a project and don't let go!!! Good job! I am going to pass on your offer for genealogy digging for now... But may take you up on it someday!

    ReplyDelete
  2. You almost made my head explode!

    My cousin with whom I share a ggggrandfather was sharing with me over the phone after she sent me information. She had my mother (T) listed as the daughter of her brother. Of course, I know better, but Cousin insisted that T had given her this information and that T surely knew who was her father. Nothing could get it through her skull that T would not give this information. Cousin told me I was wrong, that T told her this over the phone. Cousin also insisted that my mother's brother who died before my mother was born was my mother's son.

    When she finally believed me and supposedly corrected her information, she wondered why T would tell her that. Since Cousin had gotten this information about 15 years before my mother died, I knew Mama would not have been confused or given wrong information. I wanted to make sure Cousin was not going about disparaging my mother's ability to give correct information.

    Ex-husband's brother lists my divorce from ex as one year before the divorce happened and my ex's consequent remarriage as a year later than when it happened. This is a blatant lie that ex and his brother know is not true. The incorrect date is to cover an disgrace caused by my divorcing him and his remarriage so soon, four months later to a woman he said he just met....yeah. Plus, the bil left off five marriages of his and ex's mother. They only acknowledge the two marriages that produced children and the husband she last had that my children know about. So, now I wonder how much of the whole genealogy is truth not fiction.

    These are two examples of why mistakes are recorded as the gospel. Both cases are ones where I absolutely know the truth of the matter. What else is out there in my family tree, incorrect for whatever reason?

    In your case, I picture older people who need glasses who have no glasses just copying the wrong thing or transposing letters, maybe by candle light after a bone breaking day. Maybe not.

    Keep it up.

    ReplyDelete
  3. "That my folks is a genealogist's wet dream."-YOU ARE CRAZY and may come from a long line of nuts. I'm sure with enough digging you will find the original crazy person.

    ReplyDelete

Hey there! Thanks for leaving a comment. Though I moderate it's partly to keep spam out but also partly so that I read every comment. I don't often respond to comments so if you need me to answer you please write me at my email addy posted on my "About Me" page, linked on the side bar.