Thursday, April 14, 2011

My Newest (BIG) Mistake

When I said that this would be and "occasional" blog, I didn't expect that spring pollen plus 2 infections would keep me away from writing for a month!

When I'm under the weather like that, I try to keep going with activities which won't lead me to make mistakes. I'd heard about WikiTree, so I decided to give it a try. This was just transferring my information and offering it to the public, wasn't it? I wouldn't make any real mistakes here.

Boy, was I wrong! WikiTree advises that a new member should start small, so I "trimmed" my GEDCOM and uploaded it. Somehow I managed to upload 3027 individuals — NOT a small amount. (This is only the second GEDCOM I've requested from my software and the first one where I saw the results of the upload.) Data went into the wrong fields!

OK, I could have anticipated this, and it's no big deal. But it does mean that every entry should be edited. If I edit 10 individuals a day, it will take a year to fix this. (Well, 10 entries from the Watchlist will actually be more than 10 individuals since I'm doing husband and wife pairs at the same time; but even if I cut this down to 6 months, that's LOTS of work.)

So, this is all part of the learning process — and I love to learn; so what is my problem? I made what I consider to be a truly BIG mistake, one that goes against my personal principles. In the past, I have never posted public information about family members unless I had AT LEAST supported the information with a census entry or two. You KNOW that in only 2-years of research, I do not begin to have documentation on 3000 names.

This makes editing my WikiTree entries imperative. I must do it as fast as I can. I must find ways to show which data is sustained by research and which is (mostly) hearsay. I must remove some very odd dates I had used in my software as codes to me. (I had forgotten that these codes would become part of the GEDCOM and therefore be thrust upon an uncomprehending world.)

I have put BAD data out for public view! (And I dislike it when folk do that.) I must find ways to warn other users of WikiTree that much of this data is unsupported.

Luckily, WikiTree (as its name proclaims) is a wiki area. People are invited to offer corrections, and I believe most users expect some errors in wiki-data. Still, I have given me a LARGE HEADACHE to contend with.

PS: While I was looking at my WikiTree entries in order to be correct in my reporting, I noticed that each entry is accompanied by a public bulletin board area. So I stopped blogging long enough to add a caution to each individual I have edited today, as well as to my personal entry. I find that I will have completed 30 individuals today. At this rate, I'll catch up in 100 days (3 months).

Here's to facing our frustrations.
Frustrated Sue


  1. I am not familiar with with wikitree...could you delete your tree and upload a corrected one?

  2. I was going to say something very similar to Heather. I'd contact WikiTree and ask if you could have the gedcom removed. Explain why. They should be very cooperative.

  3. I hadn't thought about that approach! Thank you for the idea. I will need to prepare a new GEDCOM first, so it would take some time — but a WHOLE lot less time then all the editing would take.

    Thank you both for your suggestions.

  4. Great suggestions. I was simply going applaud you for your determination. Many of us (and I speak personally here) would take a good hard look at the problem and move on to something else. It's important to remember that some of this wonderful avocation/occupation involves real work.

  5. Fun, fun, fun...
    I was going to wait and upload my tree to the rootsweb worldconnect site when I 'corrected' all my sources to the 'proper' format but, like you, calculated that it would not be completely done in my lifetime, so I went ahead and just did it. Glad I did - I have made invaluable contacts and, as time go by, I upload updates that fix my source citations as I go along.
    Theresa (Tangled Trees)