Stop Messing Up My Family Tree on FamilySearch

Admit it. You don’t like FamilySearch Family Tree because it’s open edit. For a few years now, FamilySearch thinks people should play nicely in the genealogy sandbox. But man oh man is it irritating to see changes to MY family tree by clueless wonders!

Do you have similar thoughts? Have you heard anyone with these thoughts? If so, then Andy Lee has a few tips on how to deal with people making changes to the family tree.

Click the player to view the video.
Do you agree or disagree with the thoughts in this video? Let me know in the comments below. And if you like the video, share it with your friends!
Devon Noel Lee

Devon Noel Lee

Devon Noel Lee is passionate about capturing and preserving family stories so no one alive today has to be researched, or forgotten, tomorrow. She has authored 6 how-to books, a memoir, two published family history biographies, and over 60 family scrapbooks. She's an enthusiastic speaker who energizes, encourages, and educates at the same time.

5 thoughts on “Stop Messing Up My Family Tree on FamilySearch

  1. Also, you're right, the terms and conditions say that your contributions to the FamilySearch FamilyTree are not yours. And you're right, they're not. But I don't do research to profit from. I make a living teaching others to research to make a living. I write stories and offer them for sale, if the stories are compelling. But facts can not be copyrighted, so I don't worry about my research belonging to everyone. I focus on what I can create from it. Just another thought.

  2. Mary,

    Thanks for taking the time to comment. Much appreciated.

    A few things I'd like to mention:

    1. You may have put a partial tree on FamilySearch but it's quite likely parts of your tree was already there. The FS Family Tree was initially populated with a grove of trees from a variety of sources that the FamliySearch company had the rights too. It's quite likely your addition just created more duplicates which people have since merged into a more connected tree. So there's really no way to remove any people you've contributed. In fact, they've turned off the "Delete A Person" feature.

    2. There are more benefits to FS FamilyTree than the LDS specific features. In fact, I find that the LDS feature is a tiny benefit compared to the other reasons FamilySearch is so great. Like other online trees, I have the ability to save and organize the sources for my relatives and manages my source citations without the need for the book Evidence Explained. BUT, the difference is, FS Family Tree asks me WHY I'm attaching a source to a person every time I add a record to every person. It asks me "Why" I am changing a name, every time I try to change a name. It asks me "Why" I'm changing any fact for every person every time I make a change. Not everyone fills in those boxes, but I love that we're prompted to stop and record the "why" behind our decisions. The reason statement boxes help us to work better with others and have helped to correct massively tangled family trees. These features outshine the other online services and are not LDS specific.

    Go back and watch the video. Changes to the tree are good for the reasons Andy explains. But if you don't like it, that's cool too.

    Again, thanks for sharing your thoughts.
    – Devon

  3. Yep. FamilySearch Family Tree is "Our tree". It's not my tree or your tree, it's our tree and I LOVE IT!!!!

    I am frustrated by the "My Tree" concept because it's next to impossible correct bad information. Yes, it's tough to correct things in FamilySearch when folks don't play nicely in the sandbox, but as Andy said, eventually some people get bored and go away. But, working together helps us to formula more solid conclusions.

    Thanks for the thought!

  4. I agree with Russ W. Years ago I put up a partial tree but never updated it, so it's still there. I should probably remove it if that's possible. I can do periodic searches to find if others have added new pertinent information to the people I'm researching. Because I am not a member of LDS, I get no benefit from specific LDS related features. Having heard others' frustrations with unexpected changes, I am not likely to participate in this.

  5. Devon,

    I don't use FamilySearch Family Tree, but I do have information from my research there. The reason is, after I put my data in FamilySearch Family Tree, is that I learned that is NOT MY Family Tree. It is one Family Tree for FamilySearch. You mentioned Open Edit, that is the key for me, to read the terms and conditions and the reason for that feature.

    Bottom line, Not YOUR Tree.

    Just a thought.


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