Aug 152012

Yes, I am at it again. I am name collecting.  In the past week I have added 125 names to my Deeter/Knepper line.  I have been exploring New FamilySearch and’s Family Trees.  This is my first real exploration of FamilySearch’s Family Trees.  I have searched for individuals but not searched a whole line.  This marvelous resource has allowed me to find my 20th great grandparents. Or has it?

The line extends back from my mother (Garnet Deeter) to her great grandfather (Aaron B. Knepper), from whom it branches out and goes back  to Ulrich Landenberg von Hohen and Judenta von Werdegg (both born about 1285 in Switzerland).  Of course, I am dealing with undocumented online trees and have not proved any of the connections.

I also have had 12 generations of information going back from my 3rd great grandmother Brenner (Johanna Catarina Venninger) and 25 generations of information going back from my great grandmother Brenner (Mary Ellen Cole).  I have begun to validate about half of the information on Johanna Venninger’s line through FHL’s microfilmed German church records.  I have not yet validated the links in the Cole lineage beyond my 2nd great grandfather Encer Cole.

I have made a tentative decision but have not yet checked it out with my son, who is my partner and collaborator in our family genealogy. Up to now I have only included my smaller 700 person database in our TNG website. While the smaller database is fairly well sourced (and I am continuing to update the sources), my larger database simply resides on my desktop. I have called the larger database (almost 6000 individuals) my research database.  It contains the expanded Venninger and Cole  lines, along with their cognate individuals.  The extended Knepper line (just direct line ancestors) has now been added to the larger database.

I would like to include the larger database in our website — with a caveat!  I have already added to each of the new Knepper line ancestors a note, attached to the person’s name,  which reads as follows:

I have not yet validated this person’s position in my family tree.  The information was added from’s “Family Tree.” While I have included the submission data from, I have not checked out the particulars data events recorded with this person.  The source citations listed are simply a reflection that the data comes from an unsourced online family tree.  This is neither a validation of the information nor of this person’s connection to my ancestral lines.  Further work is to be done here.

Most of the direct line Venninger’s have notations included in some of the source citations which indicate that much of the original research was either done by one “cousin” or was downloaded from an online tree.  The Cole line has similar notations about the origins of the data.   I may craft a note (similar to the one above) for each of these lines.

While I don’t want to lead anyone astray with the publication of undocumented lines, I also want to make my research database available to those who may be researching similar lines and, especially, to extended family members.  Publication of the larger database will also allow me to continue working on a single database which I can then keep updated without having to transfer data from my desktop to the site.  In the long run, it may also free me from desktop genealogy software and put me into a full genealogy 2.0 environment — online database (TNG), cloud storage (Dropbox, Box, ASUS Webstorage, etc.), online note-taking (Evernote).  I will have my data with me on my Asus – Eee Pad Transformer Tablet and my DroidX smartphone via the GedStar Pro app.  I am not quite ready to go totally 2.0, but I am getting closer and closer.

So, What do you think about this? How have you handled those marvelous “clues” found in unsourced online trees?  How do you preserve that base-line, un-validated information for your own future work and/or for those who will come after you and will extend the research work you have done?  Any suggestions?

  One Response to “‘Fessing Up — Name Collecting”

  1. I do exactly what you are planning to do,Bart. I publish unsourced data on my TNG tree on the web.

    If people copy what I have published without verifying sources they do it at tbeir peril. The upside is that by putting the names I have collected in the public domain I am likely to make connections with others following my lines.

    I applaud you for becoming a Web 2.0 man – I’m not sure that I’m ready to give up my Famiky Historian database quite yet.

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