Gene Notes

Some random and some not-so-random thoughts on family history.

Monday, February 7, 2011

An Open Letter to Ancestry World Tree Users*

Dear AWT Users:

Yes, I do use Ancestry World Tree and their other "trees." I have found some good information in them, and I try to use them as a jumping off point when a family mysteriously disappears. Sometimes I get pointed in the right direction.

Sunday, I was browsing a Family Tree that included the Chinn line I am descended from on it. I can't believe the errors I found on my direct line. For instance, this tree had my great-grandfather, Frank Bowman dying in Lafayette, Boulder, Colorado. Not true. I have his death certificate. And his obituary. They clearly state he died in Lexington, Lafayette, Missouri. He's buried there too.

The most shocking thing is that I discovered my great-great-grandfather, John Parker Bowman, died in Warwickshire, England. So not true. He died on retreat from Elkhorn Tavern (Pea Ridge) March 16, 1862.

This disclaimer was in the sources: "This information comes from 1 or more individual Ancestry Family Tree files. This source citation points you to a current version of those files. Note: The owners of these tree files may have removed or changed information since this source citation was created.

Note: Information extracted from various family tree data submitted to Ancestry and The Generations Network."

Dear User, just because one or more sources says it is true, doesn't mean it is. I've seen so many instances of copy & paste in these records it isn't funny. Several had the Will extraction of William Ball Chinn with the word "daighters" instead of daughters. Give me a break.

I've emailed you with many corrections over the years (this user and others). Do you read them?



*And other Ancestry tree products.

Copyright 2011, ACK for Gene Notes


  1. That *is* irritating, but sometimes quite amusing. I cannot count the number of my ancestors who had children posthumously. I usually send a little message to those tree owners saying I was unaware that in vitro fertilization was around in the 1800s, and by the way, who was the surrogate?

  2. It is irritating because then Ancestry runs those stupid ads where someone signs on Ancestry and finds that someone has traced their family back before the Civil War. Like all that work is correct. Just click and claim someone else's bad work and then post it on Ancestry.

  3. I have left messages (when I had an active Ancestry account). One day I left over 20 messages on the same lady with horrible information, all wrong.

    One person responded, asked for my reasoning/proof and changed her online tree.

    Never heard from the rest.

    I won't spend my time that way anymore, or won't when at some time I re-activate my account.