How do we stop 3rd party software from ruining Family Tree?

Discussions about using and improving the new FamilySearch online application.
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How do we stop 3rd party software from ruining Family Tree?

Postby swingwise » Sun Apr 20, 2014 9:27 am

I had someone merge Amos Hanks (not even close to my ancestor) with my ancestor Amos Joseph Hawks. I have sources coming out my ears - journals, vital documents, church records, family members who are old enough they remember him. And yet, this person merged right over him and deleted all of the family connections without any regard for it!
In short, can we please require 3rd party software to require people to review every single individual source before they can merge onto Family Tree? I have this happen far too often to my thoroughly sourced family. I'm so frustrated I'm ready to quit doing family history work entirely because all my work seems to be correcting careless people using 3rd party software to come in and just ruin all of my work with no regards to sources!

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Re: How do we stop 3rd party software from ruining Family Tr

Postby techgy » Mon Apr 21, 2014 5:07 am

The problem with individuals experiencing changes in their information has been going on since FT (Family Tree) was first brought on-line. I have several individuals in my stake who have had changes to their databases by others.

Although it's possible that those responsible for the development of FT might see your post, I suggest you use the "Feedback" link on FT to send in your comments. The feedback links are designed so they are directed to those who need to see them and will give you the best assurance of a response.

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Re: How do we stop 3rd party software from ruining Family Tr

Postby aebrown » Mon Apr 21, 2014 8:06 am

One of the challenges of Family Tree is that it requires a completely different mindset from the old approach of getting your own tree perfectly researched, sourced, and preserved. With Family Tree there is no longer any such thing as "my tree" or "my database"; there is only the one Family Tree that we are all working to improve. It's analogous to contributing to Wikipedia versus writing my own private encyclopedia. With Wikipedia you'll rarely get your way in writing an article exactly the way you want it, but the contributions of millions of people produces a collection of information many orders of magnitude beyond what any individual could ever create.

With the new model of collaborating, there are tremendous benefits and certainly some frustrations. I too have had to go back and fix information on my ancestors that someone else messed up on Family Tree. That can feel like a waste of time, especially when I have the sources to prove my conclusions. But when I step back and look at the big picture, I can see that I have gained far more by having instant access to the research of hundreds of cousins who have enriched the portion of the tree that represents my family by adding people, sources, photos, stories, and temple ordinances.

Third-party software has similar benefits and frustrations. It doesn't provide any capability relative to FamilyTree that is not already available on But it may make certain things easier (which can be a blessing or a curse). Back to the premise of the original post, you're certainly welcome to ask, but I doubt that third-party software will be required to make every user review every source before making any changes, any more than such a requirement would be imposed on users doing the same operations on But it certainly could be helpful to have reminders and warnings, particularly before doing some operation that could have a significant impact on existing data. I would welcome some improvements along those lines.

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Re: How do we stop 3rd party software from ruining Family Tr

Postby swingwise » Mon Apr 21, 2014 2:18 pm

Yes, I can see the benefit of the cloud model. I'm only 32 myself, and I have never even used a 3rd part software package except to try to access my grandmother's PAF file. I love the cloud model. However, there has to be oversight. I have ancestors who are 'famous.' As in, they had enough wives in the 1800's that I have more cousins than I can even fathom. And so, my work is put into Family Tree (and only Family Tree - I have no other repository) and so when someone comes in and just deletes my ancestor, it is a huge slap. They didn't look at the journals I transcribed, or the death certificates I bought. Someone has to be able to lock those ancestors. Someone should be able to be a 'auditor' of those famous people. (Even if famous just means people who change too often.) If someone wants to change George Washington Johnson, for example, someone like me could be the 'admin' over that name. If they make a change, it goes through me. If they don't like what I do in response, they send the request to a 'higher' power. Even Wikipedia does this for more volatile topics. I'll submit to the FT Feedback.

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Re: How do we stop 3rd party software from ruining Family Tr

Postby drepouille » Tue Apr 22, 2014 6:17 am

Have you used the "Report Abuse" link?
Dana Repouille, Plattsmouth, Nebraska

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Re: How do we stop 3rd party software from ruining Family Tr

Postby Bsmith4lds » Sat Aug 02, 2014 7:05 pm

How do you know it the errant merge(s) was done through 3rd party software and not someone working directly with The Tree?

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