Errors in My Tree.

Errors – yes, we all have/had these in our tree. It’s like bad fruit hanging there in plain sight… Some of these errors are primarily of our own making. Look at your tree. Have you taken bad fruit, oops HINTS, from online platforms (I confess, I did) and convinced myself – this person knows what they are doing – so it MUST be true and correct! I am sure many of you readers have done something similar.

The hints are or appear to create excitement – you can add XYZ people to your tree. One has to realise that accepting a hint without checking EVERY additional record, can cause many dead branches to occur.

Even if you have missed details (I’m speaking from experience), selecting that juicy piece of fruit (ah, hint) can send you up the garden path. My experience has shown that hours/days/months and even years in research is/were wasted. It’s just a click… I have yet to find an undo button! Please let me know if you have as I’d be extremely interested.


My example is one of my second great-grandmothers who had the incorrect father. I cannot remember the exact timeframe between when I added the incorrect record to when I found the mistake. I do remember spending so many hours researching the wrong record as well as all the family members that were added. (Secret, all my research notes even from way back whenever had the correct father.) My offline database has the records all removed. Some of the online records still have the incorrect details. I have begun to remove the mistake. (Note: Figure 5 is blurred for a reason. You will see an “X” and written to the right “Wrong Parents!”)

Figure 5. The error previously in my tree (Mary Breakwell)


I found the error in my re-do or tree makeover (basically, what I did in 2022 – my first blog “A New Year Dawns”). As I said my old research records showed the correct father. All I needed to look at was the marriage certificate as it had the correct details! Anyway, for some reason, most likely a hint, the incorrect information was copied.

One thing I have found on my journey especially whilst online – other people use your tree. When investigating further, I found that a person had taken ALL my research i.e., my tree, full branches and the rotting fruit and added it online to another site and then claimed all the research as theirs – little do they know, they have the above error showing up.

I have attempted to address the error with the owner of the other site but the excuses could be laughable. I wonder how many others have copied this site information into their tree and are yet to find the errors. If it all falls into unfertilised soil causing more rotting fruit to hang off their branches, so be it. One has to remember, “putting” your tree online can be disastrous especially when not sourced or cited.


Whilst on this note, other sites which allow you to add your tree, have their volunteers manipulate the information and change the record to whatever they believe it to be. They even delete records. Again, I speak from experience… Interestingly, facts and records along with details are altered and incorrect details added so others can pick up the wrong information – this then is copied by others so the merry-go-round, goes round and round…

Errors and/or mistakes – BE AWARE – not everything that’s online is correct.

Please check your online trees, I am fairly certain you have errors. I now keep an offline database and do all my work there… Yes, I do back it up…


  1. Just goes to show that online sites are not always the golden ticket to success… very informative rod


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