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To tell someone their research is wrong(18 Posts)
Not sure about the etiquette of this one, another user on Ancestry has added my great Aunt as their relative and have her moving from Ireland to the US getting married and having children, trouble is they have the wrong Mary, my Dad knew her, she never married or left Ireland, do I tell them and if so how?
Just politely say your part by whatever messaging app is available. "I think you have the wrong Mabel O'Reilley because..." They may choose to IGNORE or disbelieve you. This is ok. Not your problem.
It's dead common in family history research. People fill in 'close enough' details a lot.
You can try, but unfortunately some will just not listen. Me personally I prefer to know, but some people just name collect! I contacted someone who had taken details and photos from my tree & given my Grt grandfather a whole second family!!
I politely contacted him and said....
Hi, I was checking my tree and notice you have my Grt Grandfather in your tree and have copied his photo. I did wonder originally if you were another cousin? But when I checked I noticed you have him married twice with another family.
I was very fortunate and knew my Grt Geandfather, he lived to a good old age, he and my Gr Grandmother died within a few years of each other. He never remarried and died in the same house he was born in. I know it's a common name, which can cause headaches, I thought you would like to know so you try and find the right person and I would appreciate if you could remove the photo.
He did respond to kind of say Thankyou - but he still hasn't changed the details or removed the photo and that was months ago.
I suppose he just wanted a sepia very nice old boy photo in his tree !
Thanks for the replies, guess I'll send a polite note pointing out the mistake, funnily enough they have added their own picture which other people are now using, it's making me irrationally annoyed. I'm considering trying to do their research for them because I feel a bit sorry for their Mary that she doesn't have the right family
Oh, I'd want to know. I'm guilty of collecting names to an extent as I save them to check later (but keep the trees private). I did unravel one messy line and can see people saving my ggrandparents to the wrong tree.
Someone added my Great Uncle to their tree, but I know he died in WWI.
But then again I thought another had died, but his descendants contacted me.
Agree with the others - point out the error.
It's very, very easy to get the wrong person when you're 100 years back and every second person on the census is a Mary Kelly or a Joseph Byrne.
(Have been there with a Mary relative whose surname on various sources is spelled McLaughlin, McLaughlan, McLauchlan, Maclaughland and probably another dozen ways too.)
Def point it out! I got one wing of my family tree very wrong! A family member pointed out that the facts didn't match and I was v grateful to him. It actually answered some questions for me and cleared up some doubts
I'm curious! Did they remove the incorrect information?? (I would want to know if it was on my family tree!)
Mistakes do happen with family trees. It even happened on an episode of Who Do You Think You Are. The researcher had someone with the correct name, age etc but when they looked again a few things didn't match family knowledge and it turned out it was the wrong person.
My worry is always that I'm chasing the wrong person around my family tree
I've found some mistakes that other people have made with my family tree on Ancestry.
Mind you, I let my kids do their own family trees on Ancestry in a 'keep them occupied whilst I work' exercise and dear knows who they have on there. My 8 year old is keen to prove he's related to Charles II because he loves the Horrible Histories song, so he could be putting anyone on there 😁
My great-grandfather was illegitimate. His birth record says illegit. His mother married a couple of years later and although one census lists her first son by her new husband's surname, he reverts back to the mother's maiden name in subsequent censuses and doesn't list a father on his marriage cert. None of this prevents several people on Ancestry claiming his mother's husband as his definite father. I've pointed it out to people on occasion too.
People don't want to know, do they? I had someone contact me with two names who they said were definitely blood relatives and connected to my family (it is a very rare name, German in origin, and everybody in the UK with that surname or variant is descended from the same immigrant couple who are my GGGgrandparents).
Due to my own research I couldn't see how they fitted in. So I had another look, and of course they don't. I can't find out why these two have the surname, and I have researched every single incidence of the name in the country on the records, since the mid 1850's to the present day.
The person who contacted me is adamant that we are related. We aren't.
A woman messaged me once and corrected a record on my tree. She was a bit “nippy” about my error (as though I was stealing her relative!), but she messaged me back and she helped me find my real ancestor and we actually became message buddies for a while.
I have cousins who have contributed incorrect information to a Wikipedia entry about a prominent ancestor of ours. It's incredibly annoying. I found out a few weeks ago and am gathering materials to rewrite the entry.
I once told someone they had the wrong people in their tree. I had DNA match as evidence but they chose to ignore me. I don’t bother now.
Sadly, erroneous research seems to be rife on platforms like Ancestry, and it can even make you doubt your own findings. I have a GG-grandfather of the ubiquitous name of John Smith, and almost every match I have for him has the same different set of parents for him.
At first I thought my research was wrong, given that everyone else had the same parents for him except me. But on double-checking my work, and the fact that the parents are named on his death certificate, and I have many DNA matches descended from the correct parents, I have decide I am right and they are all wrong, and stuck to my guns.
I think if people are sloppy enough in their research to have the wrong data on there in the first place (without tagging that it's a hypothesis), then they're not likely to care too much if you point out their error.
Saying that, if it was a relative as close as a great-aunt. I think I'd have to say something. Can you exclaim over this newly-discovered cousin, and ask them questions that will lead them to the truth?
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