User talk:DMaxwell

For talk before 2013 see: User:DMaxwell/talk page archive 2012-3


"Rusty John Maxwell" [31 January 2014]

Hi Daniel, I was adding some records to the Person and Family Pages of John Maxwell and noticed that you had him dying in 1802 in Kentucky. I believe, based on the records, that this was a different John Maxwell. John that married Rebecca Anderson died prior to 2 March 1779, when his widow, Rebecca was granted Administration of his estate in Montgomery County, Virginia. His wife re-married to James Crawford abt. 1783 [likely in Botetourt] and had 9 children with him beginning in 1784. This is also listed in "Maxwell History and Genealogy", by Houston, Blaine & Mollette, on page 255. They refer to this John Maxwell as "Rusty John Maxwell".

I've seen many conflicting Ancestry Trees {some have him dying in 1780, others have him dying in 1802], so there certainly appears to be a large contingent of researchers confused by the two different John Maxwell's. If you have any records to the contrary, please let me know.

Thanks and best regards,

Jim--Delijim 15:29, 30 January 2014 (UTC)

Yes, I know this. I should note that that is my direct male line (or is supposed to be). I disconnected that family from main tree because it is wrong, what is up now should probably be removed (except the John who was the first husband of Rebecca Anderson). The Maxwell Book, written by my cousin Peggy, is wrong. In particular, there was no John Maxwell estate probated in Wayne County in 1802. Her book is completely useless for all generations before Basil Maxwell of Wayne County KY, which is the farthest back I now have because it is the farthest back that is provable. I hope you do not use it is a source. She also claims in that book that the 'Bezaleel Maxwell' who married Polly Rice in 1805 in Albemarle Co VA is the 'Basil Maxwell' who appears in Wayne Co KY by 1815, but I do not believe this either. (Basil Maxwell in KY never uses nor does he appear in any records as 'Bazaleel', just Basil). In the book, she did this because the first ancestor in our line where the birth date is known, John Maxwell of Jackson co IN and Barry Co Missouri, is before the marriage date of Basil Maxwell to his known wife Nancy Turner. I have not been able to explain this yet, but there are two possibilities (1) John Maxwell may have been illegitimate (though from a quick search I could find no mention in the bastardy records of Wayne co or (2) he did not accurately remember his own birth year. It is interesting that in an 1890 article on John Maxwell in Missouri, his mother is called Nancy and no mention is made of 'Polly'. Daniel Maxwell 17:28, 30 January 2014 (UTC)

Egads! Once the wrong information gets in print, it's difficult to get it corrected... If you want to make any changes to those pages to get them corrected, feel free. I'll move onto another family...

Best regards,


No, please continue. Only the Basil line is 100% mine, anything before that is just another Maxwell line (and there are several). I'm glad someone tracked down John Maxwell, husband to Rebecca Anderson, because I had not known his probate info before. I am glad it exists and disproves that John and Rebecca 'divorced' (LOL). Daniel Maxwell 01:31, 31 January 2014 (UTC)

Burt [15 February 2014]

I noticed your interest in James Burt and just checked the Savage transcript. Not expecting much, wasn't disappointed, father and seemingly the son appear on 1:314. --jrm03063 01:26, 15 February 2014 (UTC)

The source I am working with seems to say that Savage was wrong on Burt anyway, as his children are somewhat murky. Daniel Maxwell 06:03, 15 February 2014 (UTC)
To the extent that you find Savage is wrong, please let me know or feel free to mark the offending section(s) in the transcript. Savage did a lot of good work, but I think we're a bit of a victim of his success. His errors seem to have propagated widely - so marking them explicitly strikes me as having value. --jrm03063 17:33, 15 February 2014 (UTC)
Do whatever you want. I no longer care about this place if it's going to be another feather in the cap of Jimbo the pornographer's empire. Daniel Maxwell 17:38, 15 February 2014 (UTC)

I trust its not that bad.... [15 February 2014]

I wish I better understood your concerns, though I'll consider myself warned. In all honesty, I would think the visibility factor of being part of the foundation would be a help - I've been sort of anxious about WeRelate's survival since the user community seems relatively static. I'm glad to see the database quality getting better by slow increments - but I'm not sure that's enough.

I'll ask that Dallan perform a source and data dump of everything before taking any serious steps or changes. If it turns out to be a calamity, I would think long serving members of the community have every right to obtain that material so that it can be re-established elsewhere.

I don't dismiss your concerns, but please keep an open mind. All the best... --jrm03063 19:36, 15 February 2014 (UTC)

Well, I pointed out some things that would improve both usability and ease of running the place but no one ever bothered to respond. I will be deleting my tree. If enough people dissent (not looking that way so far) I would like to join a schism from this place, one that is both 1) independent and 2) Free and open source. Thousands of hours utterly the toilet. The thought of porno-Jimbo owning if even in a roundabout way a site that has my grandparents on it is utterly revolting to me. Daniel Maxwell 19:43, 15 February 2014 (UTC)
Well, please try to hold your nose for a moment at least. I'll put forward a request that a formal source and data save point be created in a publicly accessible location before any irretrievable steps are taken. I don't think Dallan will object, and I trust you'll want to wait until that moment passes. --jrm03063 20:00, 15 February 2014 (UTC)
The only thing I want to 'pass' is Wikipedia getting it's tentacles on the place. I am stunned that no one else so far even seems to care. Wikipedia is the laughing stock of the research world - do we really want to be attached to them? I was suspicious when this fellow 'AndrewRT' started to show up. And to think I used to be worried this place would become a part of the LDS genealogical empire. This outshines that by about 1000 miles.
I haven't done anything drastic yet, though I removed my grandparents and great-grandparents and I would like to deep six them from the archives if possible. Daniel Maxwell 20:04, 15 February 2014 (UTC)

Jimbo Wales [16 February 2014]

Jimbo was a co-founder of the wikifarm "Wikia", but doesn't interfere in the content of individual sites. Could be difficult, as there are 370,000 of them. So you could copy any of your data to with practically no risk, and it would be a useful backup in case WR goes the way you fear. Maybe start with a look at the Maxwells.

Robin Patterson 10:04, 16 February 2014 (UTC)

Sorry, Wikias are a joke, and I am not interested in moving any of my data to another part of Jimbo's empire. No, I will stay and fight.Daniel Maxwell 11:19, 16 February 2014 (UTC)
I wrote that reply a bit early when I was still out of it. Let me elaborate. For a genealogical wiki to be successful, it has be independent of quasi-mega corps like the Wiki Foundation or other large groups that would likely try to interfere with content eventually. It will be much more severe if this site becomes a McGenealogy site then a Wikia alternative, but's let's talk about the Wikias themselves. I don't like the Wikia format because 1) you're just buying space from Jimbo - and the sites are usually full of ads (I find the Wikias to be obnoxious with them) 2) commercialized formats in the genealogical world have always ended up going behind a paywall eventually - see all the formally free content that shuttered. I intend to stick with this place till the end, but the old timers who are supporting a move (quite wrongly, IMO) shouldn't be surprised when a lot of it ends up 'lost in translation'. From the way they are talking now, I couldn't even put my great-great grandparents on the site (not that I would) - sort of defeats the whole purpose of WR, or what I thought was the purpose of it. The Wiki Foundation has never been about personalized content, at least in it's 'non commercial' form. It is always about notability and 'verifybility' (whether or not it is true). To say that WR will be able to live in a bubble and remain independent of the rules of WP is just not tenable. So if this place falls, I am interested in alternatives, just not a wikia. Daniel Maxwell 18:59, 16 February 2014 (UTC)
Thank you for the extended reply. I agree with you about Wikipedia - notablity, verifiability, and prohibition of personal research: no good for cooperative genealogy. But I've not looked at whether other WikiMedia sites have such strict policies; maybe you should ask about them. Wikia is quite different; no content interference by management in the 8 years I've been with it, and there's a little less advertising if you're registered and logged in. Robin Patterson 00:53, 20 February 2014 (UTC)

I'm offering the opinion that there is little harm right now in a wait and see approach. If the technical modifications come ahead of any official partnering - then there's every good reason to stick with things at least that long. I wouldn't want to try to resurrect the existing WR code base on another system as it stands, though I would try if it were to be suddenly shut off tomorrow. There are a lot of questions that have been posed around the probable clash of WP and WR cultures - and while I want to be optimistic about that - I'll agree it would be foolish to assume that any subsequently recognized ambiguities would be resolved in any way but WP's favor. There would be an obvious perception of senior/junior partnership. Worst case scenario - I presume that WR would have to start making dumps available the same way that WP does - we grab that and I dust off my administration skills to pull something together elsewhere.
Keep asking the hard questions - it puts your suspicions to the best possible use. Many of us are a little too quick to presume the best without much more than hope to base it on. But let's see where this goes. No one is storming the life boats just yet - I'll even save you a place if I get there first! --jrm03063 22:06, 16 February 2014 (UTC)
I remain 100% convinced that they will be removing anything before <70 years+, including the long since dead. Wikipedia is just not about user-driven personal content; not one of the projects allows it, and I have no faith that it will be separate in the WP system for allowing several things that WP doesn't. They are interested in some strange things if you look at that discussion thread - a medical tracking database? And I did not see any one single good reason for the merge...just 'it will be kewl guiz' kind of reasoning. I think it is inevitable that 'original research' and 'not notable' will find it's way over there. Places like Wiki Commons are allowed a tad bit of breathing space as far as pics go, but none of these projects are about articles. Then you will also see alot more European input than we are used to, where privacy laws are much much stronger and I do not think this place can avoid the 'delete' button for anything after say 1900 or even earlier. I have yet to see any assurance that this will not happen, just AndrewRT's vague 'this will be worked out' non denial denial. Then something that has gone unsaid is that the maturity of the average wikipedian is about 14 years old - you better believe that this will have the opposite of it's intended effect - it will scare away the older crowd and invite the anime teenager crowd in, complete with next to no knowledge of how genealogy works. All I hear from the pro-Wiki side is 'bigger is better' and some other Utopian sounding slogans. Daniel Maxwell 22:18, 16 February 2014 (UTC)

Wikipedia [17 February 2014]


I'm ready to speak "my piece". Where do I go to rattle my keys ?

Neal Gardner--Neal Gardner 00:18, 17 February 2014 (UTC) <---- Here Daniel Maxwell 00:20, 17 February 2014 (UTC)
I have to say though, I feel as though the deck is stacked against the 'anti' side, really from the start. A few mild dissents on the page. Dallan says it hasn't been agreed to, but some of the members are talking like it already is. I have yet to see any real answer to the points I have raised. Sounds like a case of having to agree to the partnership (read: the takeover) before we find out what the 'partnership' is and it's terms. Daniel Maxwell 00:27, 17 February 2014 (UTC)

Gedcom to clean [19 February 2014]

Hello, Daniel ! Please, see this record : Person:Living Zimmermann (12) ! Other records of this contributor have places, but perhaps this only one has dates : Person:Luiz Menarin (1) - Amicalement - Marc ROUSSEL - --Markus3 05:38, 19 February 2014 (UTC)

Probably that entire tree needs to be deleted. I can't even find one useful contribution in it. Daniel Maxwell 05:39, 19 February 2014 (UTC)

Possible "living" people [21 February 2014]

I have been "cleaning" the family tree of Harold Sharpe(1) on the aspect of places and just came across the names of two children, marked as "private". My suspicions are that they are living, but I leave it to you to make the final decision.

These two may have cousins in WR which I haven't found yet. Regards --Goldenoldie 14:34, 20 February 2014 (UTC)

'Privates' in the name space are considered the same as livings. Feel free to delete those on sight. Or do you mean that dates are maked as 'private', but they still have actual names? In the case of them, they should be tagged. Could you link me one of them? Daniel Maxwell 14:36, 20 February 2014 (UTC)
Here is an example of a 'private unknown' that may be deleted at any time. This is an example of the latter, one with 'private' dates that must be tagged. Daniel Maxwell 14:41, 20 February 2014 (UTC)
I tend to be more liberal in my decisions about deletion. Of course, if there is any risk that the individual is living - and the evidence isn't present to show that they're not - then the page must go. It is not the responsibility of a follow-on reviewer to prove that a person is living - but the responsibility of the person who created the page to (at least) assert that they are not. Beyond that however, is the question of whether the page provides any value. Put differently - if someone were researching the area in question, would the content present be any more useful than nothing at all? I try to answer that question by looking at a handful of things: Are there sources on the page in question, or adjacent pages? How long ago was the page created - by who - and are they still active? Deleting a vapid page is no sin - and in no way precludes re-creation of the page when useful source content is later provided. --jrm03063 16:58, 20 February 2014 (UTC)
I was told I was too liberal at first. Some other admins were able to find several of the tagged people on Findagrave or elsewhere, so clean up does happen. Daniel Maxwell 17:33, 20 February 2014 (UTC)
Others may see it differently, but it can't be the responsibility of admins to add research - not that we can't if we wish - it's just can't be a pre-requisite for a delete. You're already in the situation of walking through pages where someone has carelessly left things without sources or ambiguous with respect to whether the person is living. Is it now to be claimed that admins are ALSO on the hook to actually perform the research that the earlier user didn't care enough to provide? That's neither reasonable nor realistic. Of course, if the page is associated with a recent upload, and the person who did the work still seems active, that's one thing - maybe they'll get back and add things. However, if the page is weak, untouched for some time, and clustered with other pages equally lacking in quality - then we shouldn't waste time looking at that more than once. I certainly don't. --jrm03063 18:14, 20 February 2014 (UTC)

My suspicions started with Person:George Sharpe (3) and his sister Person:Joan Sharpe (1) whose family were living in the East Riding of Yorkshire, England. Little did I know when I wrote to you this afternoon that Joan was the first of three generations! I have just added "Suspect this is a living person" tags to about a dozen people. There is another cousin, but I don't feel like tracing back again just now.

User:twestern hasn't been seen since 2007. The earlier generations had sources which I would really like to inspect, but that would mean spending money on a pay website.

--Goldenoldie 21:15, 20 February 2014 (UTC)

We're in the early stages of a project to identify poor quality GEDCOMs uploaded in 2007 that would not pass current import standards. There is a little more information here. Twestern's file is not listed on WeRelate:Old GEDCOMs because they had contributions after 2009 (albeit limited!). If you feel the quality is particularly poor, we could start a list on the talk page of WeRelate:Old GEDCOMs of users that weren't included in the initial report.

If either of you are interested in working on sorting through the keep/remove candidates, just let me know! --Jennifer (JBS66) 21:34, 20 February 2014 (UTC)

I may, though it would have to be secondary to my duties on Speedy Delete (though they would seem to be related - you have to wonder how many of the livings in are these trees) Daniel Maxwell 14:12, 21 February 2014 (UTC)
Well, Crazyqhub, In genealogist, Elainep, Pcaverly, Darrellwarner, Mwhitehead68, Cfsneed are some of the users whose pages are marked for SD, and who are also on the GEDCOM review report. --Jennifer (JBS66) 14:21, 21 February 2014 (UTC)

I quite agree - adding a tree to that process doesn't mean you're making a claim that the tree ought to be deleted - only that it should be evaluated to see if it is so weak that we would be better off deleting it. In this case, being suspicious is enough. --jrm03063 22:20, 20 February 2014 (UTC)

Wikimedia discussion [22 February 2014]

Hey Daniel, just wanted to touch base with you regarding WikiMedia discussions. I've just reread the "NextSteps" and to me, we seem to be inching away from jumping on the Wiki Foundation bandwagon, at least for now. I'm far from a "techy", so some of the points discussed are somewhat lost on me; I tend to chime in on the philosophical, integrity and principal issues. I'm particularly encouraged by Dallan's comments and hope that the evaluation process takes it's good old time with some emphasis on creating a "vision", cleaning up the pages and "junk genealogy", etc.

I also wish we would not blindly accept so many Wikipedia quotes. I just reread WeRelate's place page for Youngstown Ohio (my area), and was a little appalled by the quote " [the city of Youngstown] extends into Trumbull County [Ohio]" which is totally false, but now a "source" on a WeRelate place page. Irksome, since I have a recent detailed map of both Mahoning & Trumbull Cos. showing no such thing. No need to reply. Since you and I are very similar in view, I thought I would give you another "two cents" worth. Regards...--Neal Gardner 17:54, 22 February 2014 (UTC)

Yes, a merger with Wikimedia is not going to happen, and I thought so for some days before that and stopped worrying about it. As to Wikipedia as a 'source', that is a separate discussion. I don't like or agree with using it as a source either, and I would like to actually see it black listed as sourcing (along with the IGI, 'International Marriage Index' and other non-sources) and used for nothing save for 'dressing up' an article. Wikipedia's articles are used as a basis for alot of the noble/royal pages on here, and awhile back I saw some that had 'theories' as a noble's ancestry become 'fact' (the worst case of this IMO is Wikipedia accepting as fact the only remote theory of Benedict Swingate Calvert's ancestry - though I don't think it was imported here). Daniel Maxwell 17:58, 22 February 2014 (UTC)
Further: Wikipedia is as good as bad as what it is sourced from, and how the data is interpreted. Wikipedia, in my opinion, has a less than stellar record on the latter. There are some areas of Wikipedia that are better than others; my understanding is that the military sections tend to be better written. But until Wikipedia has a substantial improvement, it should never be cited for anything. Even if it improved, it would be better to cite the sources Wikipedia cites and not Wikipedia itself; comparing WP to WR, that would be like me using WR itself as a source for data in my tree, rather than what we cite to prove assertions/connections. Daniel Maxwell 18:15, 22 February 2014 (UTC)

You are spot-on correct about NOT moving WeRelate under Wiki-anything [28 February 2014]

Your comments in the discussion forum are dead-on correct. Wikipedia, for example, is a self-annotating system that's a pile of rubbish as far as serious academic research might be concerned. One can invent anything and post such "facts" on Wikipedia at will. Moving WeRelate under Wiki-anything (1) will result in MUCH "non-fact pollution" and (2) will lessen professionalism.--Adobe 17:10, 28 February 2014 (UTC)

Thanks for your comment, but the danger of WR going to WMF has passed, so I don't think there is much to worry about now, though I agree with what you said here. Daniel Maxwell 19:45, 28 February 2014 (UTC)
Gee whiz - "danger has passed"? I agree and all that there is/was a lot to do first, and stuff to be cautious about. I'm glad you're a skeptic - really - it's a very valuable thing. Maybe there's no good in hooking the organizations up. There are lots of things we ought to get right on our own - before entering into anything. But forgive me if I say that some of it comes of as a trifle...paranoid? Please, I'm not meaning to be insulting, just - well - direct?
I agree that - if ever done - a serious case has to be made - but do you think your mind is open enough that you could be persuaded? Is this religion or is it policy? :) ? :) ???
I do agree, that we're light years ahead in terms of explicitly providing for references instead of a huge pile of templates and conventions that - at best - are odious to deal with and at worst - prevent annotation by making it harder. I suspect that was a happy accident where Dallan et. al. were trying to think about how to symmetrically import/export GEDCOM files (preserving source records and such), but a happy one indeed. --jrm03063 20:36, 28 February 2014 (UTC)
Jrm, I have barely commented on it all week (just mainly on the 'Visions' thing). Paranoid I am not. And no, my mind cannot be changed. Daniel Maxwell 21:28, 28 February 2014 (UTC)

Cleaning up pages [10 March 2014]

Hi Daniel, Thanks for your help. I have a luncheon date today. I will confer with you on this topic when I return. --Beth 15:51, 7 March 2014 (UTC)

Well Daniel, to effectively clean up pages one needs to be educated in the many different aspects of We Relate. The person and family naming generally excepted guidelines seem to be outlined in the help pages. The only issue is does one add a period after an initial. So prefixes are Dr. or Captain etc. and suffixes are Jr. Sr., I, II and so on. Only the first name and surname are on the title page for the person and family.

Another issue is the date. I believe that the general consensus was to remove the leading zero from the day date but not sure if one adds a leading zero to 3 digit date years. The date is entered day month year. The month is Sep not SEP.

Regarding gedcom sources; if the gedcom links to nothing then remove the sources citing a gedcom. Looks like the Ancestral File Number has no consensus.

Regarding place pages, editing a place page from one red link to another is ineffective. except for cemetery pages. One may edit a cemetery page and leave a red link and hopefully one day someone will add the cemetery place page. You need to check the cemetery place on Find A Grave or other cemetery sites if you choose to leave the red link.

When connecting the place to the place page there is usually no need to use the pipe. In general you should delete the pipe and the information after, but if you do not know then leave it. The pipe is generally used for place pages where one was born in XX, county, USA and the existing place is now XX, county 2, USA.

Remove any misc. items that are a result of the gedcom upload. Such as individual reference numbers, etc.

Check the remaining sources and combine duplicates and don't forget to cite the correct source numbers.

You may change the My Source to a Source but only if you know how to accomplish this. You do not want to lose the important citation data. The citation data is on the the My Source page.

If one decides to clean up pages then one should clean up the entire page. Some of the items are not as important as others so use good judgment.

Daniel that is all that I can remember about cleaning up pages. Hope this is of some help. --Beth 01:30, 8 March 2014 (UTC)

That is a good summary, but possibly it points out some of the problems with this issue. I don't think there are policies regarding some of the cleanup being described here. And if there were, it should be automated (as a higher priority than many of the blue-sky proposals I read about in so many discussions). Then all you would need to do is press edit, press save, and the software would do the cleanup.
Not that I disagree with the format, but I wonder at the value of editing SEP to Sep, when the next GEDCOM upload is very likely to switch it back. Until the system enforces this, why bother? SEP tells me the same thing that Sep does. And the GEDCOM standard allows either. Same for leading zeros. Do you want to keep busy, or do you want to do something useful?
I am inclined to think there should be a list of preferred prefixes with the goal that someday we can translate these into foreign languages. So is it Captain or Capt.? Colonel or Col.? Etc.
I would be more aggressive on MySources. If it appears to be the same as an existing source, change it. Few MySources I see represent true MySources, like a family Bible, which would hopefully include a transcript or image. Most tend to reflect a lack of understanding of the WeRelate Source system by whomever it was that uploaded the GEDCOM.
I personally would be harder on Place problems. Others may disagree. If you can fix red cemetery names (which in my opinion NEVER should have been allowed to be entered as places because they clutter up the drop down list) by putting the cemetery name in the description field, do that. Try to remove anything after the pipe unless it gives information that is different and would be lost. To me, removing that pipe is a sign that somebody has reviewed the GEDCOM data and decided it is OK. If it needs explanation, like to translate the historical name used by a source into a standard name, that should require a note, or some commentary added to the source citation, and is not adequately handled by the pipe mechanism. Outside of dealing with non-standard names in GEDCOMS, the pipe mechanism should only be used for adding qualifiers like Probably to a place name (and I wish there was a better way to add such qualifiers).
Definitely agree that anything reflective of the author should be removed: that includes items like RIN and _UID numbers; generally sources based on a letter or email from somebody unless given as a MySource that provides a transcript; "preferred" people; generation numbers from some arbitrary point of view, including immigration; sometimes even Jr. and Sr., which usually reflect a very limited perspective.
Removing alternate values, especially when the same, or close estimates, or double-dating misinterpretations, or one encompasses another. However, this often requires research.
I have on multiple occasions been very disappointed in various cleanup activities carried on by people who know nothing about the families being cleaned up. For example, some have added nomerges to people that were clearly duplicates just to get them off a list, while others have merged people that were clearly different. Some change the maiden name to Unknown just because it is the same as the husband's, without doing research. The best cleanup is done by an interested party who has actually done research into the person/family. Things you can do without thinking or research should be automated. --Jrich 04:36, 8

March 2014 (UTC)

I disagree with you about cemeteries as places (far too useful), but they should be restricted to the burial location field. This seems like it would be a trivial fix and one you suggested over a year ago. I will have to bring this one up with Dallan. I also want to see the ability to merge MySources into actual sources, and for them to be speedy delete eligible. You're right that about 90% of them are either 1) real sources like a census that were just left unconverted in a GEDCOM upload or 2) some non-source like 'rootsweb/jsmith'. Dallan is supposed to be working on the date standarization issue right now, and for a way to detect bad/no dates. Maybe ALLCAPS dates could be read as 'bad' dates. Daniel Maxwell 06:47, 8 March 2014 (UTC)
Further: Things like titles are now up to the discretion of the editor doing the clean up. I tend to use abbreviations, especially with military ranks, but jaques uses full ranks. If it is a religious title though, I tend to use the full word (example: 'Deacon') with the possible exception of 'Reverend' where I usually put 'Rev.'. I don't change these since both are right. Another example of this is British English spellings. It is just as correct as American English so neither are changed. Daniel Maxwell 09:38, 8 March 2014 (UTC)

I am currently in the process of reviewing and updating our help pages. I hadn't publicized this yet, because I'm unsure exactly how long it will take. I'm now working on a first draft of a "Quick Start Guide" for new users and a "GEDCOM Import Guide".

In evaluating the help topics, there are currently three help pages that I planned to combine/reformat/update... into a new Style Guide. It seems to me that clean up really falls into the category of a Style Guide, because cleaning up pages means adhering to a style standard.

My plan is to first create pdf manuals, post them for general input, and then decide how to arrange the help pages in the future (along with providing the pdf guides for download). I welcome any ideas and contributions!--Jennifer (JBS66) 10:57, 8 March 2014 (UTC)

Probably needs to be a debate/discussion between those of us who have done alot of cleaning before any big guides are made - since we all have slightly differing styles. Daniel Maxwell 11:01, 8 March 2014 (UTC)
I don't have any strong opinions on the style conventions. The main point is that we do need a standard. Regarding cemeteries as places, I did not support this originally, but the cemetery pages already exist here now. Sometimes I create the cemetery page and sometimes I don't. I was instructed by whoever started the cemetery project to leave the cemetery place in the burial event as a red link. Then if or when another person created the cemetery place page the link would be created. Regarding My Sources, I agree that they do need cleaning up, but the inexperienced user should not venture there. I also have some citations. Some of them could be connected to Sources.--Beth 13:54, 8 March 2014 (UTC)
Uploaded sources automatically being mysources is where this problem started. So the site is cluttered with a ton of these. Instead it might have been nice to maybe have it so the sources being imported go into a 'sandbox' area to be matched with actual sources, or create real mysources (bibles, family birth record, etc). Probably a separate discussion though. Daniel Maxwell 13:57, 8 March 2014 (UTC)
Two more items. Standards for the qualifiers such as ABT or Abt or abt. I also enter a marriage and sometimes do not add a page for the spouse. Do not remove the red linked spouse. Hopefully someone will connect to this couple one day and add the spouse's page. --Beth 14:50, 8 March 2014 (UTC)
The not adding a spouse in a marriage page is a very useful feature, especially if we're talking about an established line (I have had other users who are working on the wife's family then later add the spouse - Jrich, jaques, Amelia, Susan Irish, etc are some users who pick it right up). It's crazy to me that Dallan would ask if it's 'worth keeping'! Anyway, we probably should establish guidelines on when its Ok to leave them out (ie the vast new england lines) Daniel Maxwell 15:10, 8 March 2014 (UTC)
I am not sure what "not adding a spouse in a marriage page is a very useful feature" refers to. Perhaps you could elaborate. But it sounds to me like more than a feature, it should be a policy, unless you actually have information to put on the Person page.
All research has boundaries. It appears to me that there are two good boundaries to break off documenting: 1) adding children with the birth date and parents but no marriages or death, and 2)adding Family pages with parents' names and marriage date but no person pages. Going further in either case seems to require a significant chunk of added research because of all the various data dependencies.
Based on a birth record alone, you can add a Person page with some confidence that you are probably a reasonable amount of identification (parents and birth date) that a future reader will know exactly who that page describes. It is particularly amazing to me when people give the death date for a married woman and never show her marriages. And if you do one marriage, you often want to do another to show the first spouse died before the second marriage, and all type of dotting the i's and crossing the t's activities that help ensure you haven't applied a fact to the wrong person. So once you go beyond the birth, it seems like you end up buying into researching the whole life.
Likewise, given that you know the parents, it is relatively easy to find the parents marriage, or estimate it. Thus you create a Family page with both parents' names, a date or an estimated date, and the page is nearly fully populated and hard to mistake for some other family. But to go further and try and identify husband and wife enough to identify them from others with the same name is a lot more work. A lot of people create Person pages with no dates, no locations: they only clutter up search results without providing any significant benefit. How is someone searching for a particular John Smith going to know they find it when the Person page for John Smith has no dates or locations? They won't: they'll create a duplicate. --Jrich 03:13, 10 March 2014 (UTC)
JRich, I've seen you do the same thing yourself before; I think most recently with Simon Coolidge - an empty as far as persons page family page, so the children can be noted. It's useful when you are not working on one spouse's family, but you want to note the marriage. Daniel Maxwell 09:44, 10 March 2014 (UTC)
I have probably done everything once. Not sure which Simon Coolidge you are referring to, I don't seem to be watching any. But yes, as I just noted above,I add Family pages and add no Person pages all the time. This process makes a very good edge around your work, when all you are trying to do is document the relationships to a peripheral individual as a way of identifying who you are talking about, without going too far afield from what your research is focused on.
Actually I do this as a matter of strong conviction that it gives the most useful results. Empty Person pages (meaning no date, no location) attached to a Family page are only recognizable to people who are specifically looking for the person involved in that marriage, but will be missed by anyone looking for that person based on any other criteria (birth date, parents, etc.) The Person page really serves no purpose that the Family page doesn't already fulfill. (It should be suggested that if you are searching for a marriage of two particular people, search for the Family page, as it is a much more focused search likely to get you a smaller list of candidates.) I would like to see a guideline, or even software, that encourages people to avoid creating empty Person pages (nothing but one link to a Family page on it). Even better, I would like to have the software encourage at least one date and location so that at least the century and country they lived in are known when they are listed in search results. --Jrich 16:08, 10 March 2014 (UTC)
It was this one: Family:Simon Coolidge and Hannah Barron (2), which I later merged with the undeleted original tree created by an inactive user. You were doing exactly what I do; creating a family page that was actually empty of person pages. What I was saying was useful was that; though sometimes I am working on one of the spouses and I add the marriage so someone working on the other spouse's family can later pick it up, or something wanting to connect one of the child to his parents. Daniel Maxwell 16:14, 10 March 2014 (UTC)
Yes, I do that many times a day (hopefully most of the time I would recognize that Watertown, CT means Watertown, MA and avoid creating a duplicate, but that depends where in the list such a match would get ranked vis a vis partial name matches, etc.) I am suggesting that not creating Person pages is more than simply useful, it is the way things should be done, unless you know enough about a person to enter at least a birth or death date with a location... If one doesn't know at least that, or enough about the person to estimate those, one isn't really in a very authoritative position to be creating a page on the Person. Besides the mess it creates of searches to get all those under-identified results. --Jrich 17:12, 10 March 2014 (UTC)
Actually, at the time the first Simon Coolidge and Hannah Barron was deleted, you didn't duplicate anything. I just brought the old one back to life since parts of it were completely missing from WR. Anyway, that's a side point. I am starting to think this needs to be moved to a 'cleanup project' page. Daniel Maxwell 17:15, 10 March 2014 (UTC)

Hi folks,

I'd love to chime in on any discussions re: style. Capitalized names, abbreviated names and the ABT, Abt, abt conventions, etc. which slightly irritate me. I'd also be willing to tackle the Cleaning Up pages project if the team is accepting. --Neal Gardner 20:14, 8 March 2014 (UTC)

What irritates you about 'abt', etc? Daniel Maxwell 20:17, 8 March 2014 (UTC)

It would be nice to have "one preferred over another". Personal preference, ABT bugs me and all CAPS, too. If I'm cleaning up a shared page, rather than one currently watched by only me, I usually hesitate changing ABT, BET, etc.--Neal Gardner 21:03, 8 March 2014 (UTC)

John Maxwell, d. 1779, Montgomery County, VA [15 March 2014]

Hi Daniel, I got your message on my Talk Page regarding John Maxwell. Unfortunately, I do not have a reference to a will for this John. Based upon his Estate Administration listed in the Montgomery County, Virginia records, it appears that he likely died intestate, otherwise, his will would be likely listed there. You might try getting the court records from Montgomery County to see if they contain any additional information on his estate division. The record that I have is "A Brief of Wills and Marriages in Montgomery and Fincastle Counties, Virginia, 1773-1831, by Anne Lowry Worrell. BTW, the following Maxwell marriages are listed in the same source:

Maxwell, Joel and Milly Brogin. James Smith, surety - Apr. 2, 1811.
Maxwell, John and Patsey Vanlear. John Vanlear, surety - Nov. 4, 1810.
Maxwell, Samuel and Martha Patton. John and Sampson Patton, sur. - Jan. 30, 1802.

Hope that helps. Best regards,

Jim--Delijim 01:47, 15 March 2014 (UTC)

Did you post all of the info it does give already? (ie on John's page) I am going to try and get the Maxwell DNA project to host our genealogy here, things like that would be useful. Daniel Maxwell 01:49, 15 March 2014 (UTC)
EDIT: thanks for the marriage info, though we're still not sure how these Maxwells relate to us. That's the purpose of this testing.

Yes, I did post it in the references, it is listed as follows:

Maxwell, John, dec. Administration of estate granted his widow, Rebecca. March 2, 1779.

As this is just an abstract, there is likey additional information in the Montgomery County Court records that may shed more light on his family.

Best regards and good luck,


Albemarle County Land Records [27 April 2014]

Hi Daniel, got your message on my Talk Page regarding Albemarle County, VA and Wayne Counthy, KY land records. Unfortunately, I don't have any land records in either county, but I do have the book "A History of Albemarle County in Virginia" by Rev. Edgar Woods, which I'd be glad to search for whomever you're working on... Let me know.

Best regards,

Jim:)--Delijim 14:35, 27 April 2014 (UTC)

re: Family:James Hall and Mary White (2) [1 May 2014]

Thanks for the marriage record for Family:James Hall and Mary White (2).
Do you happen to know if it is possible to tell from the FamilySearch id numbers whether the record is coming from something "primary-ish" or if it is just some type of family record submitted to the database. My concern is that it may have been submitted to the FamilySearch database by either Vonderbrink herself (i.e. the author in the first citation) or her predecessor who originally compiled Vonderbrink's information. Any insight that you might have about that particular FamilySearch database would be helpful. This marriage date/place has been floating around for decades but I have never seen a primary source for it. Regards, --Cos1776 21:44, 1 May 2014 (UTC)

No, those are taken from the county marriage books, but some time ago. It isn't like the IGI where random people 'submit' nonsense. The problem is that it is an older transcript, and some counties are missing from the 'Kentucky County Marriage Records' source that is more thorough. IIRC, the idea with the county marriage source was to eventually eliminate the need for the earlier one. Daniel Maxwell 21:49, 1 May 2014 (UTC)

Ugh... I fear you may have been misled. According to their description "... This collection may include information previously published in the International Genealogical Index ..." They must have snuck that in when we weren't looking :) I have grown wary about online databases these days. I don't feel like I can trust them without an image of the original. In any case... thank you again for your effort. I'm going to leave it on the page, since there were no sources at all before. --Cos1776 22:22, 1 May 2014 (UTC)

I have many ancestors in KY, so I have have alot of experience with that. I have never found a record in there that turned out to be wrong. What I have noticed is that very rarely when a marriage date is given (and down to the day/month), very rarely is it completely false. The dates nearly always come from somewhere. And there is another way to look at that statement - those records may have previously been in the IGI, but they don't say that is the source for the information. They just appeared there. Daniel Maxwell 23:13, 1 May 2014 (UTC)

Singleton, Warren Dallas, my Great, Grandfather. [9 May 2014]

Sorry, just added unknown because I could not add given names to us, myself and my husband, our son died and I just wanted to add him to the family history, it will not happen again, as I will not use this site again, again forgive us for our minor indiscretion--Pattylee 05:44, 9 May 2014 (UTC)

Please see my reply on your talk page. Daniel Maxwell 05:45, 9 May 2014 (UTC)

Lafons [29 May 2014]

Hi Daniel, got your message on the Lafons. Glad you were able to update the pages, that is what collaboration are all about.

Best regards, have a great week,

Jim:)--Delijim 01:39, 29 May 2014 (UTC)

What continent? [29 May 2014]

"All of my ancestors were on this continent by 1860"

Why do you infer there is only one continent of interest to WR subscribers? Believe it or not, some of us don't live on that continent. --Goldenoldie 05:32, 29 May 2014 (UTC)

Um, I mean the continent I live on? I wasn't aware this would be a controversial statement. Daniel Maxwell 05:34, 29 May 2014 (UTC)
If you thought my statement of introduction to my ancestry was meant to imply that I want the site to stay Americo-centric, you're mistaken. I do actually spend quite a lot of time with line in England. I'm a little confused what you are getting at. Daniel Maxwell 05:39, 29 May 2014 (UTC)

Lafon / Barbaron ... from France [30 May 2014]

Hello Daniel ! some help with the French language ? It's OK. Amicalement - Marc ROUSSEL - --Markus3 08:40, 29 May 2014 (UTC)

Did you see I think I found his baptism? Can you tell me if I am right? I am positive it is the right parish though. Daniel Maxwell 08:42, 29 May 2014 (UTC)
The "hole" 1740-1760 is perhaps a problem ! Did you really search in the first "books" ? I not ... but these Lafon seem to be not from Coutras. Not much records with this surname (witnesses and godparents) ! If it's confirmed, the origin is in other parishes/villages. I found some LAFON in Lagorce ... I must now try to read the "books". Amicalement - Marc ROUSSEL - --Markus3 16:24, 30 May 2014 (UTC)
I read the books from the 1730s (before the gap) just in case. I found a single *possible* Lafon (but it may not be, since it is smeared it is hard to read). I have to have some work done my car, but later on today I am going to go through 1) the banns book completely, since it gives parentage information usually 2) the 1780s-early 90s book to get every Lafon record out of it (IIRC there was another Lafon baptizing children, perhaps a brother to Antoine). If the will record is not available, that might be about all we can do. One note though - I did find a Pierre Barbaron baptism in the 1730s, but since Coutras is not called Pierre's daughter's home parish it may not be the same man. There are so many Barbaron records I wasn't noting them. Daniel Maxwell 16:29, 30 May 2014 (UTC)
One other thing - we should probably create a proper WR source for these Gironde parish records, since right now they are citations only. Daniel Maxwell 16:32, 30 May 2014 (UTC)

Any update ? [11 June 2014]

Hey Dan,

Any feedback re: Mr. R ?--Neal Gardner 02:23, 11 June 2014 (UTC)

I spoke to him. He understands what the problem was, and to be a little kinder with well meaning editors. Daniel Maxwell 06:35, 11 June 2014 (UTC)
Very diplomatic. The problem was that a bunch of pages were being entered without sources. I feel it is inappropriate to try to divine a person's intentions: requiring assumption, resulting in condescension, etc. My remarks are based on what I see done. One is free to do what one wants to do it for ones own family tree on one's personal computer, on one's own webpage where they are the only person creating material, but adding, changing or removing data without sources is completely inappropriate in a collaborative environment where we are piecing together the work of diverse people with unequal access to different sources into a coherent entity. And I will continue to say so... If pointing this out is considered unkind, then I will be no kinder in the future. The changes I have been notified of lately seem well-sourced and I am very happy to see that.
You already know my views on the matter JRich. You have an idea of Neal's intentions since he has been here for years and is a prolific editor. I merely asked you to be more diplomatic when correcting/chastising someone. I've learned in the years I have been here how easily people are scared off of the site, so I want to avoid that sort of conflict. Daniel Maxwell 16:36, 11 June 2014 (UTC)
Sorry, my post was interrupted by events on my end, sorry about not signing. It is not my intention to scare people off, but data posted without sources has the very real potential to scare off quality contributors. A reader cannot tell bad genealogy that has no sources from good genealogy that has no source, except by redoing all the research themselves, so such pages offer little value.
As my attempts at being diplomatic tend to be construed as discussions about the material, or otherwise misunderstood, perhaps I have simply learned to state my complaint too directly. But the issue needs to be discussed on its merits and not simply labeled unkind because it is a complaint. Neal and I have had previous discussions on this. But I am happy his recent posting have sources, and given that, his work, which I usually find to be right, will now be more obviously so, to the benefit of the reader of the page and this website. --Jrich 17:57, 11 June 2014 (UTC)

Hmmmmm.. interesting.--Neal Gardner 19:27, 11 June 2014 (UTC)

Thomas Lyon and Mary Hoyt (1) & (2) [23 June 2014]

Hi Dan, I'm trying to correct and cite the family of Thomas Lyon and Mary Hoyt. There are two Family pages (1) & (2), but group (1) has a No Merge. The Mary Hoyt page is connected to both and is mildly cited; the Thomas Lyon page is not cited at all. Can you or someone remove the "Do Not Merge" from Thomas Lyon and Mary Hoyt (1) ? I have additional sources & children from The Lyon Memorial and Fairfield Co., CT VR I'd like to add. Hate to add all that w/o resolving the duplication. Thanks, buddy.. --Neal Gardner 16:41, 23 June 2014 (UTC)

Nomerge template removed. Go for it, Neal--jaques1724 17:08, 23 June 2014 (UTC)

Thanks Jacques !--Neal Gardner 19:05, 23 June 2014 (UTC)

Places for Speedy Delete [26 June 2014]

Hi Daniel

I've had to put a couple of English places up for Speedy Delete recently. I wonder if you would kindly remove them. Normally duplicates get redirected but, in these cases, there were two places by the same name in the same county. One is Huntingdon, Huntingdonshire; the name of the other escapes me.

Regards, --Goldenoldie 04:25, 26 June 2014 (UTC)

Done. Daniel Maxwell 04:28, 26 June 2014 (UTC)

Thanks. --Goldenoldie 10:23, 26 June 2014 (UTC)

Picton, North Riding of Yorkshire--delete?? [12 July 2014]

I'm glad you picked this one up quickly. I made a mess of it the other day and didn't know Picton had "gone down the drain". Sometimes having three WR windows open at once is a hindrance rather than a help. It is now all sorted out again. Thanks.

/cheers, --Goldenoldie 18:47, 12 July 2014 (UTC)

Another Place duplication for removal [17 July 2014]

Hi Daniel

At the top of the contained places on the Scotland page are two entries which should only be one--the second one. The first has been redirected to the second but it still shows up. I've looked into the two entries several times but can't figure out what to do. Can you help?

Thanks, --Goldenoldie 06:26, 16 July 2014 (UTC)

Place:United_Kingdom_of_Great_Britain_and_Ireland? Daniel Maxwell 06:38, 16 July 2014 (UTC)

No. Under "contained places".


   R. C. Diocese of St. Andrews


   Diocese of St. Andrews (Roman Catholic)

Copied here without formatting. --Goldenoldie 11:00, 16 July 2014 (UTC)

Ah, ok. I deleted the first one, but then it seemed to mess up the Scotland page? Confusing how that sorting works. Daniel Maxwell 18:16, 16 July 2014 (UTC)

Maybe we should delete both places (retaining the body of the correct one) and start again with the only entry being "Diocese of St. Andrews (Roman Catholic)". At the moment it looks terribly unprofessional, and right at the top of the page as well! I have seen a list of other dioceses, but haven't entered them. In Scotland I am never sure if the Protestant equivalents is the Church of Scotland (the established church which doesn't have bishops) or the Episcopal Church of Scotland (which is not the established church but does have bishops).

Look forward to your reply in the morning (my time). Closing off for the night now as the sun goes down. --Goldenoldie 20:12, 16 July 2014 (UTC)

I've removed them both. I don't normally mess with place pages, but at least now it is cleaned up. Daniel Maxwell 20:15, 16 July 2014 (UTC)

And it looks 100% better. Thanks.

With a very small family, especially in the 20th century, providing better place pages is my "thing". I am about to try gedcom review and mentoring but am waiting for other people who have had to put their minds to non-WR activity for the moment. Meanwhile, there's plenty of tidying up to do, but sometimes I don't see how to do it--and sometimes there are other people's toes not to be stepped on.

(Pat) --Goldenoldie 06:53, 17 July 2014 (UTC)

Most users on this site are inactive (this is true for most genealogy sites, even Ancestry), so you could clean up most things here without stepping on any virtual 'toes'. But if you want to do it without much weeping and gnashing of teeth, look into cleaning up the pages of some of the 18th century New England families. They are usually easy to source by that point and have many descendants. Our coverage here of 17th century New England families is excellent, but in the 18th century it starts to taper off some. Or being as you are an expat in the UK, 19th century English trees would be something pretty quick and easy to clean.(anything before that is a pain, thanks to the spottiness in available English parish records online) I have no Canadian ancestry and have never had a Canadian client, so I don't know what would be easy there.
In general though there is another problem - we don't have a an agreed upon clean up guide yet. Since this site allows some stylistic differences, it might be best if those that do most of the cleanup vote on specific items at some point down the road - but I already can foresee resistance on a couple of points. I may just make the plunge and start it myself. Daniel Maxwell 07:12, 17 July 2014 (UTC)

Start with re-writing the instruction and FAQ pages. We must start telling the newbies what the "description" box is for, and to add sources--not just sources of sources.

I do have an 18th century not-exactly-New-England line. My Arnolds (nothing to do with Benedict) came from New Jersey. At least three of the sons moved permanently to just north of Toronto around 1800, another might have put his toe in the water and gone home. But, of course, they were on the "wrong side" and had to keep a pretty low profile. New Jersey trawling is useless from a distance. I don't even know the names of all the children.

Husband says it's lunchtime. No time for chatter.

--Goldenoldie 11:37, 17 July 2014 (UTC)

New Jersey is one of the most difficult of the original 13 colonies to research. I too have a line from New Jersey that dates at least back to the 18th century - the Cliftons - starting with George Clifton, who is the first provable ancestor of that line (there are online trees that 'trace' it further - in the next generation through a man whose will clearly shows he had no children - all his property was left to nephews and their children). I'd go one further and say that all of the mid-atlantic colonies are difficult - New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and to a lesser extent New York. Thankfully I have just one other line that is from New York (The James Stephens of Tepic, Mexico line, untraced in NY itself), but I have several PA lines mostly through my mother, who comes from Pennsylvania Scots stock on her father's side. Daniel Maxwell 11:51, 17 July 2014 (UTC)

Deletion of Andrew Hays LW&T Transcription [9 August 2014]

Hello Daniel,

I just tried to reference the transcription of Andrew Hays' LW&T that I gave to Bill. I see that it was deleted by your user id. I looked for a reason in the history but didn't see it. Can you tell me why it was deleted?

Thanks, Mark A. Hays --motohays 18:44, 9 August 2014 (UTC)

What page was it located on? I only delete transcriptions for a few reasons 1) It is a giant wall of text on a page, and should be edited for conciseness 2) It contains information about descendants of a person, and really should go on their pages, not their ancestors 3) transcriptions that contain a very large amount of text from a copyrighted work, beyond the scope of fair use. Other than those 3 reasons, the only other time I would delete a narrative or transcription is by request. I don't remember deleting anything beyond my Livings cleanup in the last couple of weeks, so you will have to clarify where this was located. It may have been an oversight on my part. Daniel Maxwell 18:45, 9 August 2014 (UTC)
Was it this page? That was marked by Quolla saying this page was more comprehensive. However, Person:Andrew Hays (2) still links to the deleted page. --Jennifer (JBS66) 19:22, 9 August 2014 (UTC)
Thanks. Then I deleted it by request because it was speedy delete tagged. Daniel Maxwell 19:23, 9 August 2014 (UTC)

Yes, I see that the new transcription is listed in-line with Andrew's page where Quolla6 put my document as part of a separate Transcription entity. I prefer the in-line listing of the transcription but you should then also remove the link to the transcript page since it's essentially broken. I see the content is identical with a minor style difference.

In my personal documents and those I post as part of my family tree, I correct the spelling errors and expand the abbreviated notation for the common words that were used in that era for purposes of readability. I keep all vernacular that is particular to the persons writing style like reference to "negroes wench" rather than "negro wench" as it would be written today (not that that phrase would be used today -- phew!). I also include the actual document though for someone to see the actual handwriting of the testator or the court recorder whichever the case may be. I see the one included here has all the typos and such. I wonder which is preferred in the professional genealogist and transcriber community.

Thanks and regards, Mark A. Hays --motohays 19:56, 9 August 2014 (UTC)

John MacAskill (3) and Mary Unknown (2514) [12 August 2014]

Hi Daniel

Looking through "what links here" this morning I found Person:John MacAskill (3) and Person:Mary Unknown (2514) with son Person:Alexander MacAskill (2) born 1779 in Lower Barvas, Ross and Cromarty, Scotland. John and Mary are listed in red--perhaps because they are dateless and thus rejected candidates for Speedy Delete? I think birth dates of "abt 1750" would be appropriate for both. Would this change their colour from red to blue? I found them through their son's birthplace which is part of my editing exercise of the moment. It will turn blue within the hour.

/cheers, --Goldenoldie 08:34, 12 August 2014 (UTC)

Very weird. I occasionally see these 'ghost' people in the database, which somehow exist but yet have none of the WR formatting. I've restored them. Have at it. Daniel Maxwell 08:40, 12 August 2014 (UTC)

John MacAskill (3) and Mary Unknown (2514) [12 August 2014]

Hi Daniel

Looking through "what links here" this morning I found Person:John MacAskill (3) and Person:Mary Unknown (2514) with son Person:Alexander MacAskill (2) born 1779 in Lower Barvas, Ross and Cromarty, Scotland. John and Mary are listed in red--perhaps because they are dateless and thus rejected candidates for Speedy Delete? I think birth dates of "abt 1750" would be appropriate for both. Would this change their colour from red to blue? I found them through their son's birthplace which is part of my editing exercise of the moment. It will turn blue within the hour.

/cheers, --Goldenoldie 10:09, 12 August 2014 (UTC)

John Wells [9 October 2014]

Hi Daniel, I took at look at John Wells, and it appears that User:Innoculator added him to an apparently unrelated family (John Kimbrough and Elizabeth Spiller Bradley), so I have removed him from that family. It did look very strange until I noticed he was added to that other family.... Hope that helps.

Have a great week,

JIm:)--Delijim 01:25, 9 October 2014 (UTC)

The Philosophy of Unknown [10 October 2014]

Hi, for your consideration...

I just got notified of 15 changes, all because you changed Mary Sturgis to Mary Unknown. In the process it does not seem that you were able to show that Sturgis is wrong, merely that one author says there is no evidence for it, meaning he does not know what the right answer is. So it is still possible, and in fact, some other people appear to think this is the most likely answer. And so, perhaps, someday, when we know the correct answer, it will need to be changed back to Sturgis? Further, many people coming to the site, after today, may come in thinking Mary Sturgis is the right answer, and may think they are performing a service by by adding a new page for her. And I wonder, who is more likely to recognize their search results, a person searching for Elisha Hedge and Mary Unknown who sees a page called Elisha Hedge and Mary Sturgis, or a person searching for Elisha Hedge and Mary Sturgis who sees a page called Elisha Hedge and Mary Unknown? Wouldn't it be just as effective to leave the page as it was, merely adding the source that reiterates the lack of evidence and explains the doubt about the conclusion?

So, while I understand the school of absolute proof, I am not sure it is appropriate for WeRelate. We have lots of unanswered, possibly unanswerable problems (i.e., records lost, destroyed, etc.) that we need to represent so others can help us work them out. Problems that are unanswered are likely to have current working hypotheses that are not known, and do not have proof. Those hypotheses need to be stated to be collaborated on by others, whether positively or negatively. Whereas I can see that Robert Charles Anderson, as he puts his book to press, must make a single-instant decision that, at that one point in time, whether he has a probable answer versus "unknown". But we, who live with a dynamic dataset, either adding new sources, or uncovering new data today, tomorrow, ten years from now, we can certainly live with answers that are only possible, as long as we allow for the expression of the doubt, along with the proposed answer.

Several pages I have worked on have been changed by various people to match Robert Charles Anderson's "Unknown", in some cases erasing hypotheses, and throwing away analysis and arguments in their behalf, when they are not wrong, merely unproven. RCA's needs in publishing a book are different and I believe he is being misused when his exact representation of data is insisted upon verbatim in WeRelate. I hate to call it a tyranny of RCA, but it feels like that sometimes. I would ask you to consider waiting until you can show data is wrong, or at least unlikely, before removing it. Merely "not proven" does not seem adequate justification to remove data, and actually might be a bad idea when most secondary sources say it (leading to duplicate pages, with decentralized information). It seems to me that if you can't disprove an answer, or provide the proven correct answer, a better service would be to simply document the lack of certainty. --Jrich 03:43, 10 October 2014 (UTC)

How many times do we have to go through this Mr Richardson? You already know what I think - making these kinds of claims the burden of proof should be on the person whose made it. Most of the other people who work on the same era of pages here agree. It isn't WR's job to document every half-cocked idea of whose maiden name is what. If there is a legitimate reason (even if wrong) for thinking some wife's maiden name is something, I've always tried to quote the full theory and the author's idea of why it is wrong. Expert opinion, by the way, should trump an amateurish theory every time. Usually though there is no theory (though not in the Sturgis case), it's just a guess. The whole point of WR is to weed out the guesses and get people who will come along and say 'no'. If you like, I may start moving the names to altname so people at least see these names, even if they have no proof. Jaques occasionally does the same thing. If we all 'waited' for new data to come in (it rarely does), I wouldn't be able to clean up half the pages I do.If new information comes in, I am happy to change it, whatever. I do monitor current genealogical happenings, so unless new information is someplace very obscure, there is a good chance I will see it. Daniel Maxwell 03:56, 10 October 2014 (UTC)
Read Robert Charles Anderson carefully: his expert opinion is that the previous answer is not proven by evidence, but NOT that the previous answer was WRONG. A world of difference. If an idea is half-cocked it should be easy to disprove. If it is not easy to disprove, then perhaps it deserves consideration. The whole point of this website is collaboration to find the right answers, and to weed out wrong answers (as opposed to your word, guesses). An educated guess with the reasons for thinking it possible are the stuff of collaboration, and is needed. Yes there is a problem that it seems acceptable to enter such data without providing sources or explaining the basis for it. Such posters are not helping others to collaborate on the idea they are posting. But unknown is not an improvement. It tells us no more. If you can provide a proven answer, that is obviously the best approach. If you can show that previous answer to be wrong, documenting why it is wrong, so that people stop propagating it, so that people learn how to spot such half-cocked answers, that would be an improvement. But if you can't do that, it might be more respectful of the people you are collaborating with to simply document the uncertainty, so that people can consider the proposed answer without getting too fixated on it. But simply suppressing what might conceivably be a correct answer is not an improvement.
How many times do we have to go through this Mr Maxwell? Well, you keep doing it, so I keep complaining. I think it is wrong. I think the collaborative process demands that you should at least be able to show something is unlikely before removing it... --Jrich 05:00, 10 October 2014 (UTC)
Most of the examples you've complained about haven't been more than just the remnants of old uploads with information scrubbed from the IGI. I feel no guilt about removing those and will continue to do so (as do other users, not just myself. Yet because I am younger and online more often, you come to me). My attitude is this - Anderson, or whatever author, as I don't know that I am an Anderson partisan, I don't like that he doesn't track the death dates of the children of immigrants who married in GM - makes a statement that there is no proof of a name, it is better than the zero evidence given from the other side. Anderson makes a move on the chessboard, but the other side can't even put forward a pawn, well I can't say I feel sorry for these fallen theories of the genealogical battlefield. Much of the time I can't find a whiff of even where these names come from - as though they were pulled out of a hat. I don't mind the mentioning of actual theories with some basis, as long as the theories are not shown to be the leading information, which in my mind includes the naming of pages - Unknown, Sturgis, Richardson, Maxwell, Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious, or whoever. In the future, I will continue to rename pages where current sourced information shows to be the current majority state of research, but I will 1) note theories that have a basis in reality 2) move theoretical names to altname so that the probably wrong theories can at least be found by the less knowledgeable genealogical newbie. No one else has complained about this that I am aware of but you; on the contrary, most new users are happy to be corrected. But I have to insist on the current state of research retaining the top position; the site would be a mess otherwise. Theories should remain the minority. Daniel Maxwell 05:18, 10 October 2014 (UTC)