The Birth of Disinformation

Something recently happened at Ancestry.com that bothers me.

Ancestry has this feature called Member Connect that lets researchers connect their family trees and any supporting documents to other members’ family trees.  Once connected, Ancestry notifies members when any other members link to their trees or documents.  That’s actually a very handy feature.

Here’s the part that bothers me.  I received notification through Member Connect that another researcher had linked to the entry for William Thomas Graham in the Arkansas Death Index. At first I got excited because I thought, “Oh boy, another distant cousin that I can press for information!”  Then I looked at this other member’s tree and saw immediately that she had attached the document to the wrong William Thomas Graham!

I’ve done a lot of research on our William Thomas Graham, as chronicled here, here and here.  I’ve been in touch with our William’s grandson and great grandson.  I’m extremely certain that I’ve got it right, and that the entry in the Arkansas Death Index refers to our William.

Nobody wants erroneous information to be spread around.  I sent a message to the other member, but she has yet to make a correction.  What if she refuses to accept that she made an error?  What if she thinks that I’m in error?

In the original version of my article on Nona Elizabeth Graham, I reported that Find A Grave listed her middle name as Irene, which completely contradicts every other source I have on Nona.  I’ve recently been in touch with Nona’s son DJ and he informed me that after Nona’s passing, Franklin Lathum married a woman named Irene Jordan.  Whomever made the Find A Grave entry clearly confused the two women.

And the wrong information gets spread around the Internet.

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About Byron

Husband, father, student, USA Retired. View all posts by Byron

One response to “The Birth of Disinformation

  • Byron

    I’ve been successful at getting Nona’s Find A Grave entry corrected!

    The erroneous record attribution to the other William Thomas Graham persists.

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