Some people eat, sleep and chew gum, I do genealogy and write...

Monday, June 29, 2020

Beginning the Mayflower Quest: Evaluating the FamilySearch Family Tree: Part One

In the Family Tree, people who have constant changes for no reason at all are called "Revolving Door" ancestors. Those who are knowledgeable and concerned and watch these Revolving Door Ancestors can have dozens or hundreds of changes to evaluate and correct every week and with some of the extreme Revolving Door Ancestors, those changes can add up to a significant amount of work every week, week after week. The changes are like a fast-growing cancer that cannot be contained but if left alone would soon kill the host meaning the Family Tree. 

The most obvious Revolving Door Ancestor in my family lines is Francis Cooke LZ2F-MM7. His importance in the Family Tree arises from the fact that he was a Mayflower Passenger and possibly one of the most well-documented people on the face of the earth. He has an entire book published solely about his genealogy that the General Society of Mayflower Descendants (The Mayflower Society) has spent over 100 years researching. Because of the color of their covers, these books are known as the Silver Books. Here is the link to that book:

Everything that is known about Francis Cooke is contained in this relatively newly published book. Here is the statement from The Mayflower Society about the contents of this book. 
Francis Cooke, Volume 12

A "Mayflower Families" GSMD Publication, part of the Silver Books with an addendum added.

This addendum, by Susan E. Roser, Secretary General, and Judith H. Swan, Former Governor General and Director, Silver Books Project, seeks to list all known corrections,
deletions and additions that have been made known to the Silver Books Project by December 31, 2016. 

This addendum uses the 1999 book which was a reprint of the 1996 edition.
I can assure you, after spending nearly forty years researching my family lines that there is no better documentation than this series of books. If you really think that you have information that changes the entries in the Silver Books, I suggest you make your case to the Mayflower Society and see what they have to say about your research. 

This brings us to the most recent change to Francis Cooke detected by the Family Tree program. I do not make these things up. I am sensitive to the fact that not all the people who work on the Family Tree have my background. I try to help people and not attack them. 

Here is today's offering from a Family Tree contributor:

Notice where the information came from, a GEDCOM file with no sources. Unfortunately, the Family Tree has no level of filtering out this information other than notifying me and others watching these families that there is a change or duplicate or whatever. We do all the work to correct this stuff. I blurred out the name of the person who submitted this entry.

Well, this is the first entry in this saga. I started with my direct line ancestor Thankful Tefft LKKM-LWN and verified her listed sources and added a few more to bring the total to 56 sources. One source I added was an extensive book written in 1896.

Tifft, Maria Elizabeth (Maxon). A Partial Record of the Descendants of John Tefft, of Portsmouth, Rhode Island, and the Nearly Complete Record of the Descendants of John Tifft, of Nassau, New York .. Buffalo, N. Y. : The Peter Paul book company, 1896.

The main issue here is whether or not there is a historical record that substantiates the parents of each of the links back to Francis Cooke. Once I reach the fifth-generation descendants, I can use the Silver Book cited above.

Well, now I have another list of changes to the Family Tree from my weekly list from FamilySearch. Here are the changes today for Francis Cooke LZ2F-MM7. In this case, I am not going to blur out the names since the changes are publically available on the website and anyone making changes to Francis Cooke should be aware that we can all see those changes and also, that the people working on making the corrections should be recognized for the constant and immense work they do on just this one person. 

I am wondering how long this has to go on before FamilySearch realizes the basic problem with the Family Tree and the destructive nature of the changes?

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