Log in
Sign up
View all  |  Close all
#
Subject
Posted by
Actions
1
Smart Matches are CLUES, not EVIDENCE!
Tom Gray
- Close
Went to a Genealogy workshop yesterday and in the morning session, the presenter, a professional genealogist of thirty years' experience, started off with a list of the Ten Most Common Mistakes of Beginners.   

Here's Number Two:

MYTH: If It's On The Internet, It Must Be True! "The Internet is a valuable genealogy research tool, but Internet data...should be approached with skepticism. Even if the information you find seems the perfect match to your own family tree, don't take anything for granted....The trick is to learn how to separate the good online data from the bad, by verifying and corroborating every detail for yourself. Contact the researcher, if possible, and retrace their research steps. "

That applies to Smart Matches.   In every case where a SM has had data that's not in my tree, when I contacted the site manager to ask, "How do you know that he was born in that place on that date?", the answer is, "I don't know.  I got it from a Smart Match."  One piece of data I chased back through seven trees before I gave up:  Everybody had just copied blindly.  Nobody had bothered with a source citation.  NOBODY knew where that data came from.

I have seen the most ridiculous errors listed in tree after tree because somebody copied the data without looking at it carefully and without checking original sources to verify that it was copied into FTB correctly. Mind you, citing sources will be easier once MH gets proper citation handling in place (it's pretty crude right now, but even so, please use it).

Go ahead, find those SMs.  But when you confirm the SM, be sure to also confirm the accuracy of the data.  Otherwise, you're probably just copying somebody else's mistakes. 

A Smart Match is a clue, not a conclusion.

Tom Gray
Canada
- Reply
2
RE: Smart Matches are CLUES, not EVIDENCE!
Niels-Jørgen Kronborg Kvist
- Close
The issue of people just copying data from somebody elses  trees is really a concern for me. The validity of the tree is impacted gravely if you can not be sure that the data is correct ie. validated against formal information sources. The possibility of marking the information as positive or doubtful is of course in the system, but when you look at the tree it self, you cannot see this information. A colour code could be the solution or a different font on the data. In relation to smart matches, a marker on the information that will show, when you check the information to see if it is relevant for you, could be a great help. The mark could be a notice that this information is copied or is from original sources, defined as formal information about birth, death and similar facts.
Niels-Jørgen Kronborg Kvist
Danmark
- Reply
3
RE: Smart Matches are CLUES, not EVIDENCE! [2]
Athol Geoffrey Stewart
- Close

Hi, Niels,

You said, "The possibility of marking the information as positive or doubtful is of course in the system".

 

Where??

How??

Geoff

Athol Geoffrey Stewart
Australia
- Reply
4
RE: Smart Matches are CLUES, not EVIDENCE! [2]
Athol Geoffrey Stewart
- Close

I have several times suggested a big green 'watermarked' question mark on records and SmartMatches that were uncertain.

Geoff

Athol Geoffrey Stewart
Australia
- Reply
5
RE: Smart Matches are CLUES, not EVIDENCE!
Jenta Orsik
- Close

But it is also a FACT that if you "take"  a smart match-- discover an error  (or query) - and then try to make contact with the site manager or site managers- and discover that they are NOW unfinancial subscibers- you can do NOTHING to have the error corrected and the error WILL CONTINUE to be perpetrated and myheritage in their infinite wisdom will not take steps to rectify the error or even make an annotation or some alert. But I think the error is set for all time and cannot be altered.

Thus if you alter the data in YOUR record -YOU are the one who appears out of line with EVERYONE else and your correct data WILL BE IGNORED based on majority - even in error. 

 

And its called smart match!!

Jenta Orsik
Australia
- Reply
6
RE: Smart Matches are CLUES, not EVIDENCE! [2]
Athol Geoffrey Stewart
- Close

A certain other popular program allows comments by others pointing out possible errors in their birth certificate, etc., index. 

It would be logical (and probably simple) for MH to allow similar notes to be placed by members in records (without active 'owners') that may be in doubt; without changing the actual tree.

Geoff

Athol Geoffrey Stewart
Australia
- Reply
7
RE: Smart Matches are CLUES, not EVIDENCE! [2]
Tom Gray
- Close

And therein lies one of the flaws of both democracy and social media:  the majority is not necessarily right!

Over at ancestry.com, when I find a match, I can see if it has sources.  A well-sourced site will be worth more of a look than one that's unsourced.

Perhaps Smart Matches also indicate whether the target match is sourced, and reveal the sources.  Right now, I can't find that information (doesn't mean it's not there, just that I don't know how to find it).  

If source info is not currently available, I can only hope that it soon will be.

Tom Gray
Canada
- Reply
8
RE: Smart Matches are CLUES, not EVIDENCE! [3]
Jenta Orsik
- Close

In response to TOM GRAY- may I ask you, if you operate in both "camps".

Is it efficient or confusing to have two systems runing.

I think its like speaking in Russian and thinking in Peruvian.

The two idelaogies ( ancestry V Heritage  sulery require a differnt thought pattern and I wonder why you would - I thiunk I may switch to Ancesrty, but I would forgo myheritage ( I think this is a reasonable and well used option) .

My guess is that if I move to Ancestry - I will be able to re-kindle genealogy bonds origianlly developed in Heritage.

Am I correct

Jenta Orsik
Australia
- Reply
9
RE: Smart Matches are CLUES, not EVIDENCE! [4]
Athol Geoffrey Stewart
- Close

Hello, Jenta,

My wife (Dorothy, born Treffene) has worked on her tree using the old Family Tree Builder that I got her on a cd. Then she subscribed to ancestry and got help there and from a professional genealogist in what was a very difficult family tree. Ancestors of Italian race from Switzerland came to Australia and there were five different variations in the family name that followed, and a couple more in a later generation.

For a couple of years I have worked happily (though it is very time-consuming) on my own family tree in My Heritage, building it up (in numbers and details) via SmartMatches. The deciding factor at first was that my cousin had heaps of relations on her MH tree and I got the matches from there, but later I got them from all over the place.

And six months ago I started my wife's family tree in MH, and have built it up from a few hundred to well over a thousand via SmartMatches. Carefully comparing every detail as I go! In this tree I have looked up nearly every fact which is normally documented, birth certificates and so on, using her ancestry subscription. Which increases accuracy a hell of a lot.  MH research facilities seem to be getting better, especially for USA; but we still can't usually filter out USA, here in Australia...

And just using my wife's ancestry subscription for her tree the way I do there is no confusion at all, MH is the operating system and SmartMatches give access to many more family members; the other is just for documentation.

Regards,

Geoff

 

 

Athol Geoffrey Stewart
Australia
- Reply
10
RE: Smart Matches are CLUES, not EVIDENCE! [4]
Tom Gray
- Close
Jenta Orsik wrote:

 I ask you, if you operate in both "camps".

Is it efficient or confusing to have two systems runing.

My guess is that if I move to Ancestry - I will be able to re-kindle genealogy bonds origianlly developed in Heritage.

 

I maintain an account at MyHeritage, Ancestry.com, and Ancestry.ca.  I have had temporary memberships in other sites as well.  I started thirty-plus years ago with Broderbund's Family Tree Maker (since bought up by Ancestry).

Genealogy is genealogy, with a number of established standards. The software is just to help you keep track of your data, display it, publish it. They do it in different ways, not as different as Russian and Peruvian, maybe more like two different dialects of the same language.

What I like about MyHeritage and Family Tree Builder

  • It's a social networking site; my family likes coming to MH better than Ancestry
  • It had (in V6) an excellent customizeable front page for the online site (they wrecked it with V7 and haven't put it back to rights yet)
  • It has in my opinion a better, easier, more fluid user interface.  I've used MH for over two years, Ancestry for about a year and a half, so I'm comfortable with both and still prefer MH.
  • The company is in an aggressive growth mode which will (I sincerely hope) lead to great things down the road

What I like about Ancestry and Family Tree Maker

  • The search engine works and produces useful results
  • Data produced by the search can be imported for all relevant family members 
  • It is a more professionally oriented product with good source citation
  • I think the publication features are better

It's no coincidence that the things I like about ancestry and FTM are the things that I find weak or lacking in MyHeritage. 

It is my understanding that all of my concerns (and those of other users) are taken seriously and that MH is working towards making needed improvements.

Yes, you will be able to "rekindle genealogy bonds originally developed in Heritage".  I saved a GEDCOM from MyHeritage and imported it into Ancestry.com and it mostly worked.

SmartMatches didn't transfer (no surprise, really) and I spent a lot of time weeding the things out of my Ancestry data.  Fortunately, I had very few because I've never found SM useful.  If you have a LOT of confirmed SmartMatches, you'll create a lot of weirdness in your ancestry data.  It may not bother you; it bothered me.

I also have spent a lot of time correcting and trying to straighten out the citations from MH and putting them into Ancestry formats  (MyHeritage plans to improve how they handle citations).

I've tried here to be accurate and fair in comparing the two products.   Hope that answered your questions.

Best wishes

Tom

Tom Gray
Canada
- Reply
11
RE: Smart Matches are CLUES, not EVIDENCE! [5]
Athol Geoffrey Stewart
- Close

                "If you have a LOT of confirmed SmartMatches, you'll create a lot of       weirdness in your ancestry data. "

Hi, Tom, and everyone,

Tom, I don't seem to have the 'weirdness' you talk of... Is it because I am meticulous in comparing and where possible confirming people and details when merging? Or are you mainly concerned about citations? Or have I missed something? Which is perfectly possible.

Regards,

Geoff

Athol Geoffrey Stewart
Australia
- Reply
12
RE: Smart Matches are CLUES, not EVIDENCE! [6]
Tom Gray
- Close

Hey, Geoff

The "weirdness" to which I refer was what ancestry did with some FTB citations when I imported a GEDCOM from MH into FTM.  As I recall, they were from SmartMatches, maybe from other things.    They started out MYHERITAGE: REL_UNKNOWN or something like that, with a bunch of numbers after.  I can't even find one to show you because I chased them all down and deleted them some time ago.

Quite possible that it was something I had done, no fault of FTB.  Sorry I can't be more clear.

Best wishes

Tom

Tom Gray
Canada
- Reply
13
RE: Smart Matches are CLUES, not EVIDENCE! [7]
Athol Geoffrey Stewart
- Close

Thanks, Tom, that pretty much explains it. Since I only OPERATE with My Heritage, only using my wife's ancestry for document look-up for her tree (well, I might sneak a look at one or two of mine...) ; and have NEVER used Gedcom to transfer anything, I don't have whatever your weird situation might be.   Good!

But it does serve as a warning; nearly ALL of my tree entries are from SmartMatches (with the detail meticulously checked).

Regards,   Geoff

Athol Geoffrey Stewart
Australia
- Reply
 
Loading...
Loading...