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How do I discover the cause of and fix duplicate records on Ancestry, and on FamilySearch?

How do I find the true dates and places of life events, the true names of people, and their true relation to me when incorrect information is submitted for them or they have records stating contradicting information or are missing information?

How can I get these people's records changed once I do discover the truth?

For example, my paternal great-grandmother, Golden Blanche Sorenson (married name is Steele and she was born on August 1894 in Mammoth, Juab, Utah and deceased since May 1935), has "Missing Standardized Death Date" and "Missing Standardized Death Place", and I researched her birthdate and she has:

  • some on Ancestry that has August 2nd and August 4th, and
  • some other records which say August 3rd.
  • Her FamilySearch profile says August 2nd and
  • her Ancestry profile says August 4th while providing multiple records with more than one birth date.
  • When you say "FamilySearch profile" do you mean this record" "Find A Grave Index," database, FamilySearch (familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:QVKN-2V6P : 11 July 2016), Golden Blanche Sorenson Steele, 1935; Burial, Goshen, Utah, Utah, United States of America, Goshen City Cemetery; citing record ID 41342984, Find a Grave, findagrave.com. – PolyGeo Jul 12 '17 at 7:53
  • I would vote to close this question until it can be improved because it is very broad and contains more than one question. You seem to be asking about both the historical records and the tree sections of two different websites, so this is really two questions in one. – Jan Murphy Jul 12 '17 at 16:04
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    Yes, it's important to distinguish between the historical records and the family trees. Errors in the historical records come from 2 sources - errors in the indexes and errors in the original documents. Errors in people's trees come from perpetuating errors in historical records and indexes and errors in research. Fixing errors in trees varies between Ancestry where updates can only be done by the tree owner and their nominees; and Family Search Family Tree where anyone can correct data - or make it worse. Each of these is a separate topic, it's that big. – AdrianB38 Jul 12 '17 at 16:34
  • The only true record I would trust completely would be the notice/birth certificate hand written by the doctor. Most of those stopped in 1905 when most states required certificates be submitted to the state. Even then you might have problems because the doctor wrote baby girl / baby boy.The rest of the records are subject to human error. I was born in 1954. My true birth date is July 15, however since I was born just a little after midnight, other family members wrote July 14 in many family records.The only other records which I think are absolutely correct are the burial records. – Learned Man Apr 17 at 17:22
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It is OK to have different dates because really the several records may co-exist. For example, the birth certificate was issued in war time and lost and after the birth date was recorded from the words of person (and she/he could tell incorrect date).

Also the errors constantly occur when volunteers try to convert scanned records into digital form because of different reasons: poor quality of source, difficult to understand typefaces and so on.

Another thing is that really some facts can be changed. For example, one person was born under one surname and after some time changed it to another. You will see the records with both and the question arises if these two "persons" with different names are the same or different.

Always try to rely on the primary sources of the information. The familysearch, ancestry, myheritage are aggregators and they took their data from archives, magazines and so on. You can make the same, but I understand that it is difficult.

So if you make investigation, you need to check EVERY available record and make consistent view of whole situation. If you are sure that you are faced with error in source data you may always contact with the data supplier and send them the report. FamilySearch service has great support the contacts are available here: https://familysearch.org/ask/help

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