Monday, April 5, 2010

Madness Monday 4/5/10

I guess this is more a gripe than anything else. But lately I have been having clients who approach me with "verified" family trees, AFTER I have completed their contract.

Seems after they receive my research, they then go online and view a "published" family tree from Ancestry.com, and bam! Suddenly they now have a tree dating back centuries... and they gripe "Why didn't you get all of this information?"

Well, try to explain to some of them that just because it's found on Ancestry.com doesn't mean it's a "verified" tree. And more, just because the tree is on Ancestry.com, doesn't mean it's "published"!

For way too many, just because it's found on Ancestry.com makes it a legitimate tree to them. Even when you explain that ANYONE can post ANY TREE, verified or not, on Ancestry.com.

So, I have tried to begin with telling my new clients that if they decide to look at the family trees posted on Ancestry.com that they also look only at those trees with cited sources. Even so, there are those individuals who are still coming back to me with complaints that I should be able to get the same info! After all, so-and-so found this or that!

I wonder how many other researchers are faced with this dilemma?

I tell my client's up front that unless I can cite a source, a REAL source [and not some tree on Ancestry.com] that I will not include the information! Try explaining that some people will merge trees to make theirs "fit" or "work"! Well, I'm sure I'm not the only one who has this problem!

And I'm certainly not denigrating Ancestry.com! I often use the trees on Ancestry to help guide me in a the direction I need to be going to look for more information! I just don't rely on them!

And I utilize Ancestry.com just about daily for records! It's the best investment I ever made in my business! Saves me thousands of dollars each year in travel time! If not for the ready availability of Ancestry.com, I'm not sure how well my business would be doing!

But, shouldn't Ancestry.com place some kind of disclaimer for the public trees it has listed? [Or is there a disclaimer, and I'm just missing it?] And if so, perhaps they could make it more viewable for the general public to see!

Again, I really DO love Ancestry.com!!! I just can't say the same for the public trees!

[Or am I just the only one who gets these kinds of clients?]

Okay, so that's my Madness Monday [Moment].

2 comments:

Bob Baker said...

While I am not a professional genealogist, I can fully understand your frustration with people who would think that Ancestry.com is a good genealogy source. I am a member and use it mainly to access census data. I check on some family almost daily and get what appears to be some good information and most often a lot of poor data. My main gripe with ancestry.com is that they accept information that is unsourced which makes it impossible to contact the person who suppied the data in many instances. I seldom get replys from the sources that are listed. While I have come across some trees that are fairly well documented and appear to have good information, most information is as you say just a lead to where you need to research.

Bob Baker

Barbara said...

How frustrating it must be. I rarely look at the trees and when I do, only check out the ones with sources, then I go to that source. I hope you receive payment prior to doing the work. I'm not a professional either, but would hate to spend all my time on a person's lineage and not receive something in return. Hope it doesn't happen again.