My Great-grandmother, Mary Ann Linton Morgan, spent most of her adult life completely involved in genealogy. Back in the early to mid 1900s she used the limited resources she had available in Salt Lake City, Utah combined with the U.S. Mail, to research thousands of individuals. After inheriting her huge files, I spent another ten years or so digitizing and entering all of the information into computer files. Grandmother Morgan had three children before her husband died at a relatively early age. She lived as a widow for 57 years. She died when I was about six years old. And I should probably mention that her husband was a General Authority in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (to those of you who are not members of the Church, he was one of the leaders of the Church).
Now, fast forward to 2010. I am certain that Grandmother Morgan is not just turning over in her grave, she is likely spinning fast enough to melt metal. I am certain that she would be totally appalled at the total lack of responsibility evidenced by the submissions to New FamilySearch masquerading as genealogical data coming out regularly in the files on New FamilySearch. Just recently someone on New FamilySearch added another child to the John Morgan/Mary Ann Linton Morgan family. They added a child named Mary Ann Morgan who was born in 1888 in Acklington, Northumberland, England. Did I mention that Mary Ann Morgan lived in Utah and Arizona and never traveled to England? Did I further mention that John and Mary Ann got married in 1888 in Logan, Utah? Did I also fail to mention that Mary Ann only had three children, all boys?
OK, so you argue that Mary Ann could have traveled to England to have a baby and then returned, without the child, to live the rest of her life in Utah and Arizona. Think about it.
If that were the only problem being caused by the names being added almost daily to my family in New FamilySearch, it wouldn't be that big of deal. Here are some other samples of information submitted to the New FamilySearch file:
John Tanner born in 1775 in Cottonwood, Utah (think about it).
Frances Tanner's wife Mrs. Tanner born in Rhode Island in 1612.
Frances Tanner is shown as both a male and a female.
OK, you get the point. Now, what can I do about it other than fret? No a whole lot. I can watch from week to week as more and more GEDCOM files with more and more duplicates with more wrong information are added to the database.
However, here are some suggestions:
1. Allow some well documented families to be locked so additional children cannot be added. This is probably practically impossible, because if the families were locked the people would just add the names anyway. But, it would help with the perception of the program if the locked families had a warning that came up saying that all available information about this family is already in New FamilySearch and the name you are trying to add is not a member of that family or may be a duplicate.
2. How about allowing a rating system for any submission. Something like five or six stars. Anyone could rate the information and the rating would be shown along with the name. So in Mary Ann Linton Morgan's family, the new child would get a one star rating. How about not allowing Temple work to be done for anyone whose rating is not equal to that of the whole family?
3. How about allowing a way to make changes. Let me remove "Mary Ann Morgan from England" from the family. Let's have a wiki-like interface where I can make all the changes back to my hugely documented family line.
Just three suggestions.