Dear Ancestry Insider,
Just out of curiosity, since this has nothing to do with me—if [FamilySearch Family Tree] is a huge collective project, which it appears it is, and no one can delete a person unless they are the only ones who added the person and no one else has jumped in on it, how do you deal with what I can only imagine will eventually be thousands or tens of thousands of people—duplicates, misascribed children—who should not be there and can't be removed? My ggggrandmother's immediate family all became LDS (except for her), and the amount of well-meaning misinformation on the trees of her parents and siblings means many duplicated children with varying birthdates and children who never existed.I don't even link to most of my LDS relatives earlier trees because of this "noise." So how will they handle this problem?
True duplicates are easy: merge them.
Misascribed children are easy: delete the parent-child relationship. If the actual parents are already in the Tree, attach the child to them.
Misascribed spouses are easy: delete the spousal relationship.
Truly imaginary persons are easy: ask FamilySearch to delete them.
The obvious Frankenstein monsters—combinations of persons already in the Tree—are easy: merge the Frankenstein with one of the source persons, ignoring inapplicable information. (For more information about what I mean by Frankenstein monster, see my article “Frankenstein Genealogy.”)
That’s it for the easy ones. The remaining Frankenstein monsters are the things nightmares are made of.
Just kidding. While difficult, it will be straightforward. Of course you have followed the genealogical proof standard in the instance of your ancestor. You have proved all the facts. You know what your ancestor looked like. FamilySearch suggests creating your ancestor from scratch with the facts you have proved, their associated sources, and their proof statements/summaries/arguments. Mark the two—your ancestor and the monster—as “not a match,” providing a good explanation. If someone tries to merge the two, your explanation is shoved in their face, which will dissuade most people from merging them. I think it wise to throw something in at the beginning of the life sketch as well, since they are displayed at the top of the merge comparisons.
But what is to be done with the monster? I’ve heard someone say that as a good member of the community, you should clean up the monster, that it is particularly important if the monster is left floating without relationships. That’s fine in theory. But one should never make changes in Family Tree without proof, and you probably have not researched the persons composing the monster.
You should not delete the parts of the monster that are in common with your ancestor. While your ancestor may have been the only child born on that date in that village, one of those two facts may apply to a real person trapped inside the monster.
You should not suggest that FamilySearch delete the monster. You may be deleting one or more real persons imbedded in the monster that exist no where else in the tree. In the worst case scenario (I’m good at imagining those), if all other records are no longer available, one of those real persons may be documented no where else.
You shouldn’t delete any of the facts associated with the monster and you shouldn’t delete the monster. That’s the nightmare.
---The Scared-of-Monsters Insider