It’s fun but…
So the big all-virtual RootsTech Connect 2021 conference kicks off this week — three days of live-streamed “main stage” events like celebrity keynotes and cultural performances together with a full year of access to hundreds of recorded presentations.
It’s a wow event for sure, and one The Legal Genealogist is proud to be part of. (I have two recorded presentations going live when the virtual event launches — Finding the Law: Using Google Books and Finding the Law: Court Cases through History.)
But one part of it I won’t be spending a whole lot of time and effort with is the Relatives at RootsTech part. A part that is unquestionably fun … and even more unquestionably frustrating.
What the feature does is connect those who’ve registered for the event — more than 300,000 from all over the world — and who are entered in the FamilySearch Family Tree to all those who might be relatives based on the FamilySearch Family Tree.
Operative phrase here: might be.
Because the FamilySearch Family Tree is entirely crowd-sourced, and there are so many errors in the FamilySearch Family Tree — particularly for some of my really tough U.S. southern families — that the odds are not necessarily in our favor here.
Just a couple of examples should suffice.
I descend from Philip Shew, born c1750. We’re not sure where he was before he showed up in land records in Guilford County, North Carolina, around the Revolutionary War. He was recorded on the census there in 1790.1 He was in Wilkes County, North Carolina, by 1810,2 and still there in 18203 and 1830.4 His will was proved in the Wilkes County court in the October term 1832 and, in it, he named his widow Susannah.5
Now… there is a marriage bond in Wilkes County for a Philip Shew and a Salley York in January 1814.6 So…
Yeah, you guessed it. According to the FamilySearch Family Tree, I have all kinds of cousins who descend from the Yorks — siblings of Salley.
Except — as one smart researcher noted on the entry for Susannah “Salley” York — “Someone has confused Phillip Shew with his son, John Phillip Shew.” Because it’s the son who married Salley York and not the father.
I also descend from William Buchanan who married Elizabeth Jones in Rutherford County, North Carolina, in April 1793.7
And according to the FamilySearch Family Tree, William’s father was John Buchanan and his mother was Margaret Belle Patton. And his father was Arthur Buchanan and his mother was Mary Boswell. We won’t even get into the three different Isabelles who were each carefully recorded as Arthur’s mother.
Yes, it’s fun to find new cousins.
But it’s frustrating to be told there are nearly 13,000 of them — and find that so so so many of them are linked through information that is just dead wrong. I don’t have time to go in and correct the mistakes … as I have done in the past … only to find that someone else comes in afterwards and puts the mistakes back.
No, I won’t be taking a whole lot of time with the Relatives at RootsTech part of RootsTech Connect 2021.
But if you’re really my cousin, you know where to find me…
Cite/link to this post: Judy G. Russell, “About those Relatives at Rootstech…,” The Legal Genealogist (https://www.legalgenealogist.com/blog : posted 22 Feb 2021).
- 1790 U.S. census, Guilford County, North Carolina, p. 505 (penned), col. 1, line 17, Philip Shoe; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 24 July 2002); citing National Archive microfilm publication M637, roll 7. ↩
- 1810 U.S. census, Wilkes County, North Carolina, p. 865 (penned), line 10, Phillip Shew; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 25 July 2002); citing National Archive microfilm publication M252, roll 43. ↩
- 1820 U.S. census, Wilkes County, North Carolina, population schedule, p. 530 (stamped), Phillip Shew; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 3 August 2002); citing National Archive microfilm publication M33, roll 83. ↩
- 1830 U.S. census, Wilkes County, North Carolina, p. 383 (stamped), Phillip Shew; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 14 July 2002); citing National Archive microfilm publication M19, roll 125. ↩
- Wilkes County, North Carolina, Will Book 4:159; North Carolina State Archives, Raleigh. ↩
- Wilkes County, North Carolina, Marriage Bond, 1814, Philip Shew to Salley York; North Carolina State Archives, Raleigh. ↩
- Bible Record, contained in Affidavit, Ben Buchanan and Burns Turner, 29 January 1931, reproduced in “Buchanan Family Tree,” Families of Yancey County 10: (September 1993) 67. This affidavit, setting out a “true and exact copy as appears in the old family Bible of Mrs. Naomi Sparks of Estatoe, NC,” was executed before the Yancey County Clerk. The affidavit matches, in most particulars, a transcription purportedly of the same Bible by a school teacher, David Stamey, some years later. The whereabouts of the Bible today are unknown. ↩