Monday, December 1, 2014

Monday Mailbox: Requiring an Email Address

The Ancestry Insider's Monday MailboxDear Ancestry Insider,

This is something FamilySearch needs to CHANGE: REQUIRE an active email address for the privilege of having a FamilySearch account! 

How can I ,"collaborate on ancestors" with someone I can't contact through an active email address who makes inaccurate changes to our shared family tree? I have 30 + years of research with documents, records and sources to conclusions.  Yet, in a matter of minutes the family tree can be mutilated by an unknown unaccountable person with bad data or no data. How can any well sourced tree be preserved for generations?

Why doesn't FamilySearch require all who use Family Tree have an active email address?

Thank you,
Jay Wood

Dear Jay,

An email address is required for a FamilySearch account. But the user doesn’t have to make it public. I seem to recall Ron Tanner publicly saying that he would like to get an anonymous messaging system added to One could send a message to another user, regardless of whether or not they’ve made an email address public.

I like the basis of your comment. FamilySearch should make it so that only users with a publicly visible email address would be able to make changes to Family Tree.

Until one of these solutions is incorporated, when I need to communicate with an anonymous user, I’ve created both Notes and Discussions. Don’t tell Ron Tanner, but I’ve been known to add a name suffix such as “STOP CHANGING THIS, YOU KNUCKLE HEAD!” (Okay, perhaps I’m exaggerating a teeny, tiny amount.)

---The Ancestry Insider


  1. Does FamilySearch Support have access to the non-public email address? Could they perhaps intervene?

  2. I asked FamilySearch Support to contact someone for me to see if they would allow emails. The person they contacted declined to participate. And all I wanted to ask was whether they had a source I could view. Very frustrating!

  3. An active email address available to others will not solve any problem involving edits to any tree. The people changing your documented tree will not change anything. They likely aren't even checking familysearch, just doing hit and runs on any tree they can.

  4. The lack of email addresses has enabled a stranger to pollute my family history with major errors. I confronted her once by email, she replied with a nasty sentence. She deleted her email and left the errors in the tree. I'm unable to edit it out.

  5. Take the example. Each member has a username and an e-mail address. If any member wishes to contact another member he may use the message board within the website. Each member's e-mail address is kept private but it is still possible to make contact somehow.

  6. I determined long ago that, although I will use FamilySearch and input data, MY data is secure and correct in either RootsMagic, AncestralQuest, or Legacy. Although RootsMagic is my primary database, I like some features in AQ & Legacy and will use them for those features.

  7. The elephant in the room is that the FamilySearch shared trees in my experience are a fiasco. I have had the same problem as Jay. Perhaps requiring a real citation to make changes would help.

  8. All I can add to this is that the added suffix (which I've done, but not quite at this level) made me curl up and giggle into my keyboard. Great response to an all too common problem.


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