Frequently asked questions
|What are you doing to ensure my privacy needs are respected?|
|What are Source References, and why are they SO IMPORTANT?|
|General Principles for Data Entry|
|How do I input data?|
All of us here believe protection of personal information is of paramount importance.
We respect the privacy of visitors to this Web site and will comply with the provisions of the Data Protection Acts 1984 and 1998 in respect of any personal information received. We undertake not to intentionally disclose personal information to third parties without the relevant individual's consent unless obliged to do so by any law, regulation or other legally binding authority including but not limited to governmental request. Whilst every precaution is taken to ensure appropriate security measures are in place, we cannot guarantee that information sent to us by e-mail or via the internet will not be intercepted or decrypted and therefore accept no liability for such occurrences.
webtrees, the software we use, has the ability to enforce privacy at different levels - primarily our site hides details about people who are alive. Viewing details of living persons will require you be an approved site member and you must be logged on. Your membership links you to your place in the family tree.
In addition we can enforce “relationship privacy.” This feature only allows information of individuals defined as close relatives to be viewed. If you are site member and logged in and still see certain individuals or families marked as "PRIVATE", then this site feature has been activated. If you feel your viewing access is too limited, please email the site admin and explain, with details on ID numbers, where you were blocked and why you believe you should see this information.
If you feel strongly about some of your personal details being stored here, please contact the site admin. Your details can be removed from the site, however your access may also be restricted.
Also note that we do NOT distribute the information contained herein to other sources, nor do we contribute the information to any commercial venture. The database will remain within our possession, for public display of public domain information, and will not be sold, given or loaned in any fashion or form for the purpose of generating revenue by us or others. Private data will not be shared by us with any public source and our users are sworn to these same high standards.
We believe it is VERY IMPORTANT that whenever possible anything recorded on a family tree should include some evidence about where the information came from - in other words a SOURCE or references for it. In this FAQ we describe why sources are important, and give some specific help for adding source references to data on the family trees of this site.
Dick Eastman describes the issues well in his Genealogy Newsletter:
"... I well remember my early days of family tree searches. I would record new information into three-ring notebooks. (This was long before the invention of the personal computer.) I would write down names, dates, places, and perhaps a bit more information that I was lucky enough to find. Unfortunately, in those early days I did not write down where I obtained the information. Nobody told me that I needed to do this, and I wasn't smart enough to figure it out for myself. I simply assumed that everything I found was accurate.
After all, it was printed in a book, wasn't it?
As time passed, I frequently found new information that contradicted what I found earlier. When I discovered these discrepancies, I needed to determine which piece of information was more accurate. The question that arose time and again was, "Where did I find that information?" Sadly, I often did not know. The better solution would have been to always write down where I found the information along with the data itself. This is known as citing your sources. To quote author Elizabeth Shown Mills in her excellent book, Evidence! Citation & Analysis for the Family Historian: "Any statement of fact that is not common knowledge must carry its own individual statement of source. ...Source notes have two purposes: to record the specific location of each piece of data and to record details that affect the use or evaluation of that data ..."
Entering source references on family trees here is incredibly easy. They can be included with any event (e.g. birth, marriage, death, divorce, migration etc.). In many cases you can re-use an existing source reference. If the one you need hasn't been created yet, you can easily add a new one.
The basic steps, using a birth record as an example, are:
After adding the normal date, place etc for the event, before you click on Add or Save, look at the bottom of the edit screen for the line that says: "Add a new Source Citation" and click on the '+' to its left. This opens some new entry fields. The first is "Source". Here you type the reference number for the source. We have many sources already available for your use. The full list is under Lists - Source List. If you don't know the reference for the source you found, click on the 'Find Source ID' icon. If your source is not on the list, click on the 'create a new source' icon to add it. The next field is the "Citation". Here you describe, in a formal way, where in the source you found the information. This is often a list of information such as Volume, Page, Date, Place, or similar references.
The important thing to note for citations is that each element should include a ':' (colon) after its descriptor, and a ',' (comma) after each section. In some cases there is no real "citation", so that section can be ignored if necessary. In fact for many sources, all that is required is the reference number (e.g. "S25"). This is often the case when information is supplied by another researcher, particularly in the case of photographs. The final section is called "Text". This is again an optional field. It can be used instead of the citation (if there is no formal reference); or as well as. It allows for free text entry, but no fancy formatting. Often useful for explanatory notes related to the citation. Once all this information is entered, simply click 'Save' or 'Add' and the job is complete.
NOTE. By default you will NOT be allowed to add, delete or edit data. Permission to do so is at the discretion of the moderator.
When you add or edit any data on the family tree there a few general principles that should be followed:
- Every person and/or event in that person's life should include a source reference. The concept is very simple. If you have a piece of information about someone, you MUST have got that information from somewhere. That "somewhere" is the SOURCE. It might be something sophisticated like a database, a Parish register, or a book. It might be something as simple as "Auntie Mary remembered....". These are both valid sources, but the more information you can give about a source, the easier it will be in ten years time to look and say, "Ah, so that's where I got that bit of information from!"
- All information must be factual, or described in a way that clearly indicates how accurate it is. If, for example, you know a person's age, from a census, but not their actual birth date, then you cannot say AS FACT that they were born in a certain year. There are issues of rounding, possible error on the census page, or even in some cases people might simple misrepresent their age. So use the date options like ABT (about), or EST (estimated), or CAL (calculated) to show how you arrived at the birth date you enter. Another good example is finding a birth, marriage or death on the UK's registration index pages. These only record events within a quarter (3 month period) so the closest you can record the date is, for example, BET JAN 1850 AND MAR 1850, meaning "in the Mar quarter of 1850. Entering a date like that is easy in the software we use - just type "q1 1850" and it will be converted to the full text required for you!
- Information should accurately reflect what it really is, and what you really know. This means that the date of a baptism found on a Parish Register, for example, should NOT be entered as a BIRTH. It is a baptism (or christening). If it is the only record you have for the person's birth you should either not enter a birth (the baptism will be used instead in any age calculations), or enter the birth with a date of BEF (before) whatever the date of the baptism was. That clearly shows that the only thing we know for certain is that the birth happened before the baptism, but we don't know if it was 1 day, or 10 years before! The same applies for Parish register burials. They are not a death, so the death might be recorded as BEF the date of the burial.
Here are a few pointers to aid you.:
- HELP: Is available throughout the site, in the header and everywhere behind most links and terms with the "?" image. If you are still confused, simply ask us via an email.
- DATES: We use The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Gedcom v5.5 standard format. DD MMM YYYY or 01 JAN 1822 and 22 DEC 2004 instead of January 1, 1822, Jan 1, 1822 or 01/01/1822. Abbreviations such as BEF ("before") and ABT ("about") can also be used - e.g. ABT 1795. Other options include BET (used like "BET 1900 AND 1910"); CAL ("CAL 1900") meaning "calculated as 1900"; and q1 1900 (displayed as "between January 1900 and March 1900" for dates that are only known to within a quarter, such as UK Birth, Marriage or Death index data.
- PLACES: We try, wherever known, to include the city or town as well as the County and Country. The format we prefer is: Tonbridge, Kent, England. Note that the Country is always required. For American addresses we prefer USA ( not US, U.S., or U.S.A.) behind the state but for other countries we do not use the abbreviation, but rather Ireland, Australia, Canada, etc. We do NOT abbreviate American STATES to the two letters, rather spelling out the entire location and we generally don't use periods (.) in names or locations, like Shelbyville, Addison Twsp, Shelby Co, Indiana, USA instead of Shelbyville, Addison Twsp., Shelby Co., IN, U.S.A.
- NAMES: Entering of a name is pretty straight forward on the form. The INDIvidual ENTRY BOX should already have expanded name fields. If not, both it and the places box expand by clicking the + sign. Name PREFIXes are Dr, Rev, Hon, Judge, etc. GIVEN names are the first and middle names. SURNAME is the family or last name. This is the maiden name for a married woman. SUFFIXes are Jr, Sr, III, etc and NICKname is the name commonly used for the person if different from their Given name. i.e. John "Alec" Leigh would be a nickname of Alec, Daniel Wilson Avery had a nickname of Tuggy, and many Margarets had a nickname of Maggie, Nancy, Peggy, Polly or other, etc. If you have a person whose preferred name is not their first GIVEN name, then you can add an asterisk after the preferred name. This will cause that name to be underlined on the display.
- CHANGES and ENTRIES: The changed or added data for an individual or family will not correctly appear until approved by an administrator. Although we frequently check the site, send us an email if you want us to review and approve additions or modifications more rapidly.
- OTHER TIPS: Facts concerning the creation or modification of a family unit are entered on the Family Members tab or Family link page. This is where you note marriages, divorces, children, family census - anything affecting the family unit. We find when adding several children, its best to bring up the VIEW FAMILY link for that husband/wife and add each child via the link at the bottom, 'ADD a CHILD to this Family'. It is faster than using the Family Members page as with each addition it defaults back to the Individual Details tab rather than the Close Relative page. Any questions? Just ask if you don't understand.
- MEDIA: We really appreciate your addition of pictures, Birth Certificates, Marriage Licenses and Certificates, Death Certificates - anything you've got for support. It's easy to add these from your own hard drive by using the MEDIA tab, ADD MEDIA link and UPLOAD/Browse feature.
If you have questions, suggestions, or simply wish assistance, send your digital images to us by email and we can add them too. But please respect the document owner / originator's copyright where required.
- MAPS: The Maps tab will show where all the events of an individual and their immediate family occurred. It is however, dependent on you adding the place names correctly (see PLACES above), and the system having a record of that place's latitude and longitude coordinates. If a place marker looks wrong, or is missing please contact admin so it can be corrected. There are further map objects under the Charts and Lists menus, to display the birth locations for an individuals direct ancestors and all the places used shown in a hierarchical fashion.