Frustration–OnLine Family Trees

I  have used a number of On-Line Trees as “cousin bait”, even ran a project that I have blogged about here. I continue to do that in order to collaborate with or help another person with their research. That is what this is all about.

The other day, I received an email alert from one such website, where another person on that website had uploaded a GEDCOM file, where the filename was not informative, nor the description. The alert was suggesting that the person who uploaded the GEDCOM merge that information with mine.

Now, if in one email there are 17 such suggestions, then I might or should know that person, right? I had received such notification in the past and by the Name of the person, the filename, I knew who that “cousin” is or was. This most recent one was now.

Looking at the suggested profile to accept or reject the suggested merge, I find this new profile, needs to be adopted. But wait, some one just posted that profile, suggested a merge, and that profile is orphaned? That, to me, was a RED FLAG.

Reading the may links, that the folks at the website have suggested that I read, indicate that there is NO Delete Button for a profile. I specifically am trying to remove from this website, information about my Living Cousins. As a user, the profiles are Locked, which should mean that someone else can’t see the information on that profile. The public view for the profile doesn’t show too much, but it does have names and relationships, from the way it appears to me.

My family trusted me with this project. From what I read on the Wiki when it started, this was the place to do this collaboration. The problem now is, I can’t remove these profiles, and those that my living cousins created on their living family members.

I guess one of the pieces of my problem here is that of being an early adopter using a new website. I am sure that IF I had read what I have read over the past couple of days, I would probably not have done my project using this platform. Being a Wiki platform, the content of the help pages change over time, which is how it should be.

I will not, at this point, mention the website involved, as they have a mission, and that mission probably hasn’t changed from the beginning, but how their mission is presented to us now, is probably clearer now than what it was when I started.

Lesson Learned: Think before you become an early adopter to a public, crowd sourcing genealogy website. That is going to me tough for me to remember.


6 Responses to Frustration–OnLine Family Trees

  1. Karon says:

    how do you leave email alerts on websites? which ones are you talking about

    • Russ Worthington says:


      Most of the ones I use, do have alerts, including the one I am talking about. Remember, they are trying to encourage you to make a cousin connection.


  2. Dave Robison says:

    Russ, Thanks for bringing up this subject. I’m preparing a presentation on this subject for a local genealogical society. I’ve put out a “call” for various experiences good or bad. I’m sure a lot of people will be commenting here! We’ll talk!!

    • Russ Worthington says:


      Two comments: 1) Be very careful, and 2) Read the “fine print”. The P.S. would be re-read the fine print from time to time.

      Thank you,


  3. sherifenley says:

    Russ – Why are you not mentioning the name of the website? It would be helpful to those who do have a family tree on the website you are talking about. I have trees up on quite a few sites. Which ones to I need to be wary of?

    • Russ Worthington says:


      At the time, and even now, it was my experience. I am not one who puts down a product that we might use.

      My purpose was to raise an awareness of the issue, and encourage others to read the information on any website.

      In the end, the issue was resolved.

      Thank you,


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