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  • Why Bother?

    Some of my new matches have posted trees, but no surnames. When I view their "tree" it only contains their name - any previous generation, usually and including only their parents names is "private".

    Trees aren't mandatory. So what is the point of posting a "tree" that contains no information?

  • #2
    No point at all!

    There were some complaints within the past few months that FTDNA had implemented a sort of default tree for everyone, consisting of just the one person, the customer. I suppose that was intended to get the customer started on building a tree, but it had the effect of making it impossible to know whether your match had a real tree, with useful information, or just the empty default tree. Is that still the situation, or have the empty trees gone away yet?

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    • #3
      Since the beginning of March I've had 286 new matches. Of those 81 indicate a tree. So FTDNA doesn't seem to still be automatically making a tree for DNA testing as it was. But many of the trees I've taken a glance at are still not exactly of the "Tree of Knowledge" variety.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by John McCoy View Post
        No point at all!

        There were some complaints within the past few months that FTDNA had implemented a sort of default tree for everyone, consisting of just the one person, the customer. I suppose that was intended to get the customer started on building a tree, but it had the effect of making it impossible to know whether your match had a real tree, with useful information, or just the empty default tree. Is that still the situation, or have the empty trees gone away yet?
        I hadn't heard of default trees being imposed. The one I got recently from a new match was just yesterday. Personally, I don't post my voluminous trees anywhere, although I willingly provide the relevant portions of my tree to anyone who can demonstrate that they are related to me, and I'm willing to help them discover and prove our relationship. I am generous when appropriate, yet I set reasonable limits in whether or how I share information.

        I wasn't aware that there was ever a 'default tree' imposed by any GG site. It sounds like 'mandatory volunteerism' - an oxymoron, if ever there was one.

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        • #5
          Another one just appeared: she stated the name and surname of her "tree" that has 8 other family members on it, all labeled as "private" except her.

          That's not a 'real' tree. All the entries might as well be blank, as it provides no information. It's just a waste of time for those of us who click on it, hoping possibly to connect with someone. I wish there were some way of filtering out these pseudo-trees. Better to post no tree at all than to post a 'pretend' tree.

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          • #6
            It may be that their privacy settings aren't set correctly

            I've seen several trees where the tester lists their name, and all their relatives are Private also.

            Sometimes it is hard to get your privacy settings correct, you think everyone sees your tree, but if you don't have a second account to see what the rest of the world sees when looking at your tree, you have no clue.

            Suggest you send a gentle email explaining what their tree shows when you view it and suggest the settings they should use if they actually meant to display their relatives to their matches.

            Those that don't post trees at all, may be just interested in the ethnicity, but they might not understand how important trees with names, dates, and locations are to figuring out where you match. A lot of the testers are brand new to this, and there is a lot to absorb.

            If we all help them through the process, they will be better partners to all of us. I find encouraging them to post trees and reach out to their matches is usually received positively.

            You would be surprised at how many people never email their matches because they are nervous or shy or thought the people who knew what they were doing would reach out to them. They don't realize we're all still learning.

            Also give them pointers to blogs, like www.DNA-explained.com for the concepts article and your favorite Youtube videos that explain the different types of inheritance or how to work with autosomal matches.

            It is worth bothering. You will have cousins among the newbies and if you don't help them they will be overwhelmed and unsure what to do. The idea of DNA testing will become something they thought would be fun, but didn't know how to approach it and couldn't figure it out. So they just gave up and that is why they don't reply to your emails.

            There goes your cousin and probably any relatives they would have brought into the genetic genealogy world to test if they had only gotten a little help.

            Help them get over the learning curve and reach out to matches and they will have fun, and tell their family and friends to test so we will all get more cousins! Instead of another brick wall being reinforced, they can help us break through.
            Last edited by GenealogyKeeper; 18 May 2017, 08:32 PM.

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            • #7
              GenealogyKeeper said
              You would be surprised at how many people never email their matches because they are nervous or shy or thought the people who knew what they were doing would reach out to them. They don't realize we're all still learning.
              @GenealogyKeeper,
              No, I'm not surprised. But you are making assumptions about people's motivations that may not be actual.

              I realize that some will consider my saying this to be harsh or cruel, but we all have the same opportunities and responsibilities available on any GG website, including knowing how to post a viable tree. Those who don't post any tree may not know how, or may not be interested in doing it. I have no problem with that, as it is their choice whether to post a tree or not. But those who DO post a "tree" that has no information in it is another matter entirely.

              I'm not interested in holding someone's hand or spoon feeding them as to how to post a tree. Obviously they knew enough to post one. This is not a nursery school. We can't assume that someone is nervous or shy, or that they are waiting for someone to "reach out" to them. Maybe they were selfish and spoiled, or lazy or narcissistic in posting only themselves on their single-person tree, waiting for someone to hand them everything. Those who do post a one-person tree need to make more of an effort than to post a pseudo tree. Those who expect to receive information without contributing anything or taking the initiative to contact others and inquire of them are not deserving to be handed information with no effort on their part.

              If you want to be altruistic, that's fine. However some of us view life differently than you do.

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              • #8
                I just received another 10 new "matches" added to my roster: no surnames listed, no trees posted.

                I'm subscribed to all the GG sites. On 23andme, people will propose rationalizations like "maybe they are dead". No, obviously these people are not dead. Or "maybe they are only here for the health reports". No, FTDNA doesn't do health reports.

                So why are they here?

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                • #9
                  One reason that people don't have any surnames or trees listed is that they're not interested in genealogy. We've all seen the AncestryDNA commercials which heavily emphasize that you can use DNA testing to find out your ethnicity. Many people who have never done any genealogy research are attracted to that. And they'll order a test for that reason. I think that's also the reason that some people have ordered Family Finder at FTDNA.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by GenealogyKeeper View Post
                    I've seen several trees where the tester lists their name, and all their relatives are Private also.

                    Sometimes it is hard to get your privacy settings correct, you think everyone sees your tree, but if you don't have a second account to see what the rest of the world sees when looking at your tree, you have no clue.

                    .......
                    This is where I think it would be handy to have a button/link to view your tree how Public and Matches see it.

                    They allow you to do it when your are in Settings under Personal Profile, but that is the only thing one can check on (how Profile shows to Public)

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                    • #11
                      other reasons you may not see a tree

                      Originally posted by prairielad View Post
                      This is where I think it would be handy to have a button/link to view your tree how Public and Matches see it.
                      Yes! Also we wish people would remember ----

                      Some people indicate, in the profile, that the tree is posted elsewhere, please contact for a link. Posting it on FT can really mess up a carefully constructed surname list.

                      In some cases the person doesn't have much of a tree yet because the person is adopted. Again, that information may be in the profile.

                      Or, in the case of a group of sibs, the tree might be posted to only one account. We're thinking of trying that (to avoid the surname hash whenever one wants to upload an updated version).

                      My peeve is surname lists (or trees) without locations.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by GenealogyKeeper View Post

                        Sometimes it is hard to get your privacy settings correct, you think everyone sees your tree, but if you don't have a second account to see what the rest of the world sees when looking at your tree, you have no clue.
                        I realised that quite a few people on one of my trees were Private. That wasn't my intention. I wasn't sure when or where these people died so hadn't put in any details. They were marked as living and I have my settings so that you can't see living people. Once I edited them to deceased they were visible to matches.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by abuelita View Post

                          My peeve is surname lists (or trees) without locations.
                          Compared to NO surnames, NO trees and NO locations, that's a bit better, as a step up from my complaint.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by MMaddi View Post
                            One reason that people don't have any surnames or trees listed is that they're not interested in genealogy. We've all seen the AncestryDNA commercials which heavily emphasize that you can use DNA testing to find out your ethnicity. Many people who have never done any genealogy research are attracted to that. And they'll order a test for that reason. I think that's also the reason that some people have ordered Family Finder at FTDNA.
                            As I recall, the original mission statement of FTDNA stated that it was founded primarily to facilitate and promote genetic genealogical research. I can't find that statement now, although I did see it displayed until very recently. I realize that FTDNA needs to compete with their competition to survive, but the type of customers it is now attracting (if they have no interest in genealogy) may ultimately be detrimental to the purpose of this site. If this site becomes a carbon copy of 23 or Ancestry it will have lost its value to those who expected something more substantial than FTDNA playing "me too" in the GG field.

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                            • #15
                              I discovered that by having my brothers DNA details marked "Private" (as I promised him I would) it also meant the Tree was "Private" as well-I have dealt with that now!

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