I logged in to AncestryDNA today and was greeted by a new feature called ThruLines™ where the DNA Circles used to be.
I’m always excited to see new features and this one was no exception until I saw what was coming up in my ThruLines.
The Perpetuation of Family Tree “Fake News”
Thomas Morris and Rachel Platt are not the parents of Laban Morris. I’ve been battling this piece of misinformation for over a decade now and yet the story persists in trees all over Ancestry.
It’s because of a well-meaning Morris cousin who was trying to determine the parents of our shared ancestor Laban Morris and he found a man by the same name born in Burbage, Wiltshire, England at the same time our Laban would’ve been born. He assumed this was the right connection and put it in a family book that many Morris cousins have used as their “gospel” for our origins for close to 20 years.
Yesterday I messaged the AncestryDNA cousins with the wrong connections in their tree and I can only hope that they correct the error lest others duplicate the wrong information and it spreads further. 😬
The spread of wrong information is a problem in online genealogy no matter the site or feature.
A Suggested Improvement to ThruLines™ Results
I do see potential here for a fantastic tool IF Ancestry will add one feature. And I don’t even think it would be difficult to add.
They should allow feedback and commenting on ThruLine results. That would benefit those who are newer to researching genealogy if those of us who have been at it longer and with more experience researching certain lines could reply to a suggested ThruLine ancestor to say, “Hey, I know this person is frequently cited as this other person’s parent, but it is inaccurate information and here’s why.”
That way others who are getting the same ThruLine results could also see the comments and judge for themselves whether they want to add that possible ancestor to their tree.
In some cases a ThruLine suggested ancestor might be a truly great tip from someone who has been researching another line more than you have or who has found more information than you’ve been able to find.
Really, regardless of whether it’s ThruLines or DNA Circles, really, this suggestion is one I think Ancestry would be wise to take. Allow us to approve or decline potential ancestors with comments that are visible by all other matches so we can all benefit from shared experience and information.
Have you been able to fill in any blanks on your family tree with DNA Circles or ThruLines? Or have you had an experiences with wrong suggested ancestors coming up through those features?
If so, comment below.