Family History Research

Madness Monday – Those Ancestry Leaves

on October 3, 2011

If you follow me on Twitter @jencoffeelover, you may have seen my rant last week about those Ancestry.com leaves and people merging stuff into their trees. Let me explain.

My Holik ancestors came to Chicago from Senetin, Bohemia. They all came to Chicago and appear based on all the records I have found, to not have lived anywhere in between once they got off the ship. Their ship logs all indicated another member of the family as the person in the U.S. they were meeting. For pretty much all the kids that immigrated, Frantisek Holik, their father in Senetin or Anna Holik, their mother in Senetin, was listed as the closest relative in the old country.

I found a tree on Ancestry.com where a woman had merged all my Holik stuff into her tree for a Marie Holek. Names and birth years were close so it must be right? Right?

She took my Marie Holik, sister to my great grandfather John, as hers. She merged in records for that Marie and my great great grandmother Marie Rataj Holik into her Marie.

Now it appears her Marie was born around 1890 and probably lived in Ohio. The records for her husband Jan V* show him in Ohio. BUT her son was born when she was four years old and her grandson was born before her. So I have no idea what her real birth date is, or for her descendants either. But Ancestry showed this person all these pretty leaves so it all was merged into her tree.

Let’s look at what she merged and why I can tell you these are not the same Marie’s.

1890    Birth in Czechoslovakia

Sources: 1910 Federal Census (Chicago); 1920 Federal Censuses (Chicago and Ohio); 1930 Censuses (Chicago and Ohio); New York Passenger List for my Marie Holik.

 1906    Arrival

Source: 1920 Federal Census (Chicago) for Marie Holik born 1883. This is my Marie Holik’s sister in-law Marie nee Rataj Holik.

 28 Apr 1909    Arrival          

Source: New York Passenger Lists for my Mary Holik.

 1909    Arrival       

Source: 1910 Federal Census for my Marie Holik in Chicago.

 1910    Arrival    

Source: 1920 Federal Census Ohio.

 1910    Residence Chicago Ward 34, Cook, Illinois   

Source: 1910 Federal Census for my Marie Holik in Chicago.

 1920    Residence Gorham, Fulton, Ohio    

Source: 1920 Federal Census Ohio

 1920    Residence Chicago Ward 34, Cook, Illinois   

Source: 1920 Federal Census Chicago for for Marie Holik born 1883. This is my Marie Holik’s sister in-law Marie nee Rataj Holik.

 1930    Residence Chicago, Cook, Illinois       

Source: 1930 Federal Census for a Mary Holik married to a J. Frank Holik. These people are not in my tree.

1930    Residence Richland, Defiance, Ohio. This fact is in her profile twice.

Source: 1930 Federal Census

 4 Mar 1944      Death Chicago, Cook, Illinois           

Source: Cook County, Illinois Death Index 1908-1988 for Marie Holik Kratchovil. My Marie.

Can you see why it is difficult to even know what information is accurate for this Marie Holek in this tree?

Moral of this story is – just because Ancestry shows you all those pretty leaves doesn’t mean those records belong to your person. They are possible matches but it is up to you, the human, to evaluate the information in the record being suggested.

Have you run into this in your research? Tell us about it in the comments.

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2 responses to “Madness Monday – Those Ancestry Leaves

  1. Jennifer,

    I always turn off the ability to see results of shaky leaves for Ancestry Trees. A friend of mine called them Junk-ealogy. Myth at best.

    Great reminder of what you might find.

    Russ

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