Monday, July 18, 2011

Correcting Inaccuracies

I wish to correct a number of inaccuracies recently published by a blogger in response to my article, “FamilySearch SSDI Citation Review.”

  • I understand the operating principles of a wiki community. I believe in and champion genealogy wikis. ( and others also have wikis.)
  • I love the FamilySearch Wiki. I regularly contribute. When a presenter didn’t show up to teach a session about the Wiki at a BYU conference, I helped Alan Mann and David Rencher pinch hit the session. When the FamilySearch Wiki team needed volunteers to staff the Wiki table at NGS this year, I jumped at the chance. Several attendees told booth managers that they loved my enthusiasm. At NGS the previous year I got me one of those “I Wiki. Do You?” badge holders and I wear it everyday for my employee badge. The Ancestry Insider supports the FamilySearch Wiki. Don’t believe anyone who tells you otherwise.
  • FamilySearch personnel author the record collection citations found in the Wiki.
  • I respect and honor everyone who contributes to the FamilySearch Wiki. Before I criticized the citations in the FamilySearch Wiki, I verified that they had not been touched by non-FamilySearch personnel.
  • I participate in the wiki community’s discussions about citation policy.
  • The link between record collection citations and the wiki is temporary. The wiki community can continue to set its citation policy (unless FamilySearch does something stupid) and FamilySearch Chief Genealogical Officer David Rencher will continue to set FamilySearch’s.
  • In Evidence Explained Mills attempts to teach citation principles, giving guidance on when and how to adapt formats, presenting alternatives, and warning that citations are more art than science. A citation can agree with Mills Style without precisely matching one example in the book.

It is unfortunate that misunderstandings arise. If any of you forwarded the blogger’s article with the inaccurates, may I ask that you forward this article to the same people?

-- The Insider


  1. I certainly apologize if I have cause any misunderstanding or hard feelings. Sorry for any inaccuracies. I appreciate your explanation. Feel free to criticize me anytime.

  2. Dear Readers,

    In my complaint about inaccuracies, I've committed one of my own. I've been informed that the FamilySearch staff that authors record collection citations includes interns and missionaries. When I checked my facts prior to my citation review, I found the authors listed in the employee directory and assumed they were employees. I apologize; I should have been more careful.

    FamilySearch has missionaries in their Salt Lake offices that fill the role of employees. They work full-time, have office space, desks, computers, phones, etc. Some are listed in the corporate address book and are issued phones and corporate e-mail addresses. They are essential to FamilySearch operations and I don't wish to minimize their service. They volunteer their time and pay their own experiences for periods of 1 year or longer. FamilySearch could not function without them.

    Now let me be clear. In " SSDI Citation Review" I said "I expect more from a professional genealogist than from a hobbyist." I mean it. I do not hold wiki contributors to the same standard that I do FamilySearch.

    In "Citation Principles for Genealogy Record Publishers" I said, "Like professional genealogists, professional publishers of genealogical records must provide professional quality citations." I mean just that. I expect professional quality from FamilySearch, regardless of whether they utilize paid or non-paid staff to provide it.

    -- The Insider


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