Ancestral File Revealed

Ancestral File Revealed Professional Genealogist Insights & News Briefs A professional genealogy and family history research and information source, news and information in the field and common sense tips. Professional genealogist researcher and novice or hobbyist information. :

Ancestral File Revealed  
Ancestral File (AF) for short is a collection of submissions by individuals to the website. Although a disclaimer appears on printouts from the website, many novice researchers, hobbyists, or amateur genealogists fail to read it.

Heres what it says:
“Ancestral File is a collection of genealogical information taken from Pedigree
Charts and Family Group Records submitted to the Family History Department since 1978. The information has not been verified against any official records. Since the information in Ancestral File is contributed, it is the responsibility of those who use the file to verify its accuracy. “

Two statements need repeating:
1. The information has NOT been verified against any official records
2. It is the responsibility of those who use the file to verify its accuracy.

What does that mean:
Sorry no shortcuts. It means you can’t just accept the information. You have to research it and find primary documents (vital records-birth, marriage, death, church records, cemetery records, etc.) to prove the dates, names, and places or hire a professional genealogist researcher or professional genealogist research company [Shameless plug – ] to do that for you.

Unfortunately, too many ignore this disclaimer. Its not verified. Its not documented. You need to verify it. You need to find documents to prove it. That’s what they are saying.

Why the disclaimer. Because every day thousands of people download the files and take them as correct. They erroneously assume that because its on a site provided by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (nicknamed the Mormons because of a belief in the Book of Mormon, another testament of Christ) that it must all be done and correct.

So why post it. Because its a tool to help others know what’s been done and others working on the same lines. Its a clue to help others.

In the professional genealogist research world, Ancestral File is looked at as only a clue, a starting point, not a destination. Sorry to present the gloom and doom but that’s how it is.

Other Problems with Ancestral File:
1. When you submitted (submissions no longer updated for AF, since 2002) your GEDCOM file (a genealogy program file format) was uploaded to their file. Unfortunately they didn’t tell you that it would strip all the notes and sources. [Oops!!!!] So all the documentation or verification done from others was stripped. [Thank you to the great minds who thought up that blunder]

2. AF no longer updated!!!
So if you are still sending correction diskettes or CD-ROM’s … STOP!!, they are not getting corrected and updated. Repeat – They are not getting Corrected or Updated!.
AF hasn’t been updated for years, even prior to a formal announcement to Family History Consultants in early 2004 or 2005 that never got down to all the submitters. And yes, the printed correction pages where still on the shelves of the LDS Distribution center for AF years after they stopped updating.

3. Pedigree Resource File (PRF) –
Why PRF? AF was no longer being corrected or added to.
A. Because it didn’t have the sources or notes.
B. Because computer matching and merging of the information had created mistakes in the matching. Ex. You could find loops in pedigrees where the improper merging took two identical names and made the child and the grandfather have the same information. [Oops!!] Or two like named individuals had their marriages mixed up. And so on. [Among some researchers its referred to as incestous file, for all the improper matching and marriages.]

[Stay tuned for future post/article on PRF – its a dandy too!]

4. Why not just get rid of it?
With all its problems its still a source of information that can help others with clues. You just have to remember that this rose “AF” has some thorns.

[2016 One more note: Ancestral File Submissions are some of the Databases in New Family Search. But instead of checking and using the latest files of submitters they put them all in, that’s right, each time you submitted corrections they kept the old ones and now it is the cause of most of the duplicates in New Family Search. The Same can be said for Pedigree Resource Filer multiple submissions.  With the discontinuance of New Family Search the information was moved over to Family Tree, hence its still messed up.



Ancestral File Revealed Professional Genealogist Insights & News Briefs A professional genealogy and family history research and information source.

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