14 February 2012


Comments after the jump.

 Born: 24 Aug 1701 in Germany
 Marriage: 16 Jun 1734 in Germany to Mary Eva Barbara Weigand
 Arrival: 1747, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
 Died: 1768 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

 1870 US Federal Census; Clay, Wood, West Virginia
 1870 US Federal Census; Greenwich, Gloucester, New Jersey
 Ancestry Family Trees
 Ancestry Family Trees
 Connecticut Town Death Records, pre-1870 (Barbour Collection)
 Family Data Collection - Deaths
 Family Data Collection - Marriages
 New York Genealogical Records, 1675-1920
 Passenger and Immigration Lists Index, 1500s-1900s
 1. Pennsylvania, 1747, p. 260
 2. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1747, p.366
 Pennsylvania Census 1772 - 1890  
 Public Member Trees

ⓑⓐⓡⓚⓘⓝⓖ  ⓤⓟ  ⓣⓗⓔ  ⓦⓡⓞⓝⓖ  ⓣⓡⓔⓔ

All of the "sources" were entered manually, not by clicking on a record. All the information above is exactly that, ALL the information. At least all that's available on this person's online tree.
Why are there two census, from two different parts of the country, connected to someone who died more than 100 years previous? WHY?!?!?!
Why is there a death record from a collection that involves towns in Connecticut when this person supposedly died in Pennsylvania? WHY?!?!?!

Why is there a state census attached when the state census collection starts four years after the person's death? When I looked for records that might match these citations this one seemed to be an error in Ancestry's title of the collection. The residence date on the transcription (there is no image) is 1747. In the description of this collection only the last three words offer what may be a clue.

This collection contains the following indexes: 1772 Tax List (Northampton County); 1790 Federal Census Index; 1800 Federal Census Index; 1810 Federal Census Index; 1820 Federal Census Index; 1830 Federal Census Index; 1840 Federal Census Index; 1840 Pensioners List; 1842 Chester County Census Index; 1850 Federal Census Index; 1857 Chester County Census Index; 1860 Federal Census Index; 1870 Federal Census Index; 1890 Naval Veterans Schedule; Early Census Records.

So is it an error in Ancestry's dating of the collection? Or maybe it's "mis-transcribed information" or "mis-recorded information" as is stated in the "Limitations" section of the collection description?
The real shame is that IF this person is truly an ancestor of the tree's creator the real story was probably missed. It's obvious this person doesn't look at details but if they did they'd find out that the Johan Ernst Kurtz on those passenger records was part of the Palatine immigration. Anyone who is familiar with the history of the Palatines or anyone who saw the Tim McGraw episode of Who Do You Think You Are? knows there's a fascinating story there.

UPDATE: WHY?!?!?! Part 2

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  1. Similar story of someone who copied from my tree - someone following a black family from before the Civil War through to the early 20th century, in the southern US. Person decided to link a tintype copy of my 3xg grandfather (southern white slave-owner) to his/her black ancestor, in another state.
    Dates, locations etc. are all clearly noted on my documentation, so it was clear that no thought was given when clicking on the shaking leaf hint.

    1. Unfortunately it happens way too often. Of course most of us credit it to the point and click simplicity of the internet but I heard a story recently of a woman who was so desperate to have a family history that she would buy photos at antique stores and claim they were family.

  2. I just love your blog! Stuff like this drives me CRAZY!!! I try not to let it get to me but it does. I know we tell people to only use Ancestry.com's trees as clues for further research but before you can even use it as a clue you really need to pay attention to what you are reading to see if it is even possible before you get all excited about finding records to support it!

    Michele Lewis

    1. Thanks Michele! That's why I started this blog last January. Venting helps a little. A little wine doesn't hurt either ;-)

  3. ugh..how well I know this frustration. I have a family member who is working on the family tree too and she has done a lot of taking other people's word for fact instead of doing real research. The excuse being that she doesn't have time. So, you'd rather just add someone for the sake of adding them even if they're not the right person? How screwed up is that? So what if you can't get to the year B.C. (yes, she's gotten back that far)at least you KNOW it's right.

    Meanwhile I trudge along like the tortoise, having trouble getting people in my tree on that side of my family because records are lost, incomplete, nonexistent, unknown, etc.. On at least 2 instances she's got the stepmother of our ancestor rather than the birth mother. But I say nothing. I do my research and she does hers, which is really sad to me because I was really hoping it was something we could work on together.

    1. I have a sister that does that also. I was at a brick wall on one line when she called one day and said she found the link and traced the line back to King Henry VIII. She started calling all of us "Lords" and "Ladies". She added all her info to our joint online tree. When I checked it out, she had just grabbed a name without any proof that we were connected. Over a year later and I still have not found any proof of connection but my online tree is already messed up. Thankfully I also keep my own offline tree.

    2. I've heard a lot of stories about genies who have a member of the family with clickophile tendencies. My family still gets glazed over eyes when I start talking genealogy. Now I'm hoping it stays that way!