Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Impossible ancestors

kw: genealogy, software

As one might guess from several recent posts, I've been spending a lot of time on my family tree at ancestry.com recently. I finally purchased the companion software, Family Tree Maker, the 2011 version. It has a few specialized tools I've been wanting. One is the Errors Report, which audits a list of conditions, particularly date anomalies.

When I first began loading the family data, the web site had an option to take "hints" that included copying up to five generations from another public tree or from the One World Tree, which is a semi-curated meta-tree. Once I had entered the people and relationships I knew already, I happily took hints pretty freely. I got a lot of junk in the process. I am glad that the download options are much more restricted now, a generation at a time, with the chance to check each person before clicking OK.

Anyway, the Errors Report produced a five-page list of people, mostly those who are recorded as having married or had children prior to their 13th birthday, after their death, or past childbearing age. I'll go through the targeted sections of the tree and remove those that are most suspect, unless there is new information with better dates. While I like to collect ancestors, I don't want to collect imaginary ones!

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