A few introductory words are in order about the nature of my "genealogical research." I have had very active genealogists on several of my family lines. I may have mentioned before that I am aware of almost a dozen surname and descendents books written about various family lines. Except for a few inaccuracies handed down from generation to generation, for at least six generations back on all of my family lines, the information on almost every individual is extensive and not controverted. There is really no disagreement about births, deaths, marriages or any other data. Except for a few refinements, I established a file with all of the pertinent data many years ago and so most of the online data about my family came from my files originally.
Now, we have the new age. The age of finding accurate original source information about the families. I am well into the task of accumulating source information and digitizing records. Enter Family Tree. For the first time, I have a way to accurately portray my entire family in one place with virtually unlimited and universal access. I certainly know that Family Tree will not provide a way to record all of the information about my family, although that may happen in the future. But it is the most accessible and best system I have yet seen. Almost all of the other online family tree programs rely on individual submissions of duplicate family tree information. FamilySearch Family Tree is designed to produce one entry per person.
So, now, what do I do when someone enters inaccurate information. In this case, the information is not subject to interpretation or "honest" disagreement. The recent addition was to an individual who is extremely well documented and although there are some issues with the way to display his name, almost nothing about this individual is at all subject to personal opinion.
The change was made to the name of my Great-great-grandfather, Charles Godfrey Jarvis (born Defriez or DeFriez). His birth date in England is documented. His employment and history are well known to the family and his date of arrival in the United States is documented and almost everything else about his life is well known and recorded in published books that are generally available.
So why would someone change his name to something different than that recorded in literally dozens of primary source documents? Who knows? The real issue is what is the appropriate response?
My response was as follows:
Hello,In addition, I added in all of the source citations documenting his birth, death and residences. I also provided a link to his life history that was readily available online.
Thanks for your interest in Charles Godfrey Defriez Jarvis. Please take time to read the source records for this individual on FamilySearch's Family Tree program. If you make changes to the file, please provide primary source records. Let me know if you have any questions.
I suggest that this is one appropriate way to respond to the addition of inaccurate information. Give the person a chance to read and digest the supporting information for the individual. If there is a legitimate disagreement, then compromise by adding in all contradictory or contested information and allow the community the option of providing more specific proof of the correct information.
What do you think? Is this an appropriate response? Would you handle things differently?
By the way, Charles Jarvis was born Charles Godfrey Defriez in England. When he married my Great-great-grandmother, he took her name, Jarvis, instead of retaining his birth name. He later changed his name officially to Jarvis, so all of his children are surnamed Jarvis.