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  • Good Idea or bad?

    OK what do you think. We all hit brick walls with our research but I think I have away around it at least in some cases. I have been doing this for years and have had luck with it. I call it speculating and what I mean when I say speculating is use other researchers finding when I think it is creditable or has a good chance of being right by putting their information into my Gencom tree and see if I have any Autosomal DNA matches that share a Common Ancestor in that part of the tree.

  • #2
    Personally, I don't see the value in doing that. It may work on occasion but I don't see that it would have worked any less effectively if you had waited until a connection was confirmed before adding it to your tree. If you have speculative relatives you can still consider those surnames against your autosomal matches without resorting to adding them to your tree.

    What you are not taking into account is all the potential people who may have looked at your tree and discarded a potential match because you already had an (incorrect) name on your tree at the point where you could (or do) match them.

    I'd rather see a tree with gaps and then realise i could link in there or there rather than seeing a fictitious one that i wouldn't know was only speculative. Just my opinion!

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    • #3
      How do you propose to keep track of what is confirmed and what is speculative?

      Comment


      • #4
        Not a good idea, for the reasons just presented.

        Even if you place warnings.

        W.

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        • #5
          More Speculating

          I have more than one tree, two of them are my Primary tree and Gencom tree. My Primary tree has all the documentation and information. The Gencom tree has only Grandparents names in it along with their birth, marriage, and death information. The Gencom tree is linked to my test results from all three companies I have done Autosomal DNA testing at. For speculating to work you have to have a tree that your Autosomal DNA is linked too. To identify speculative relative from those who have a known connection in my tree I spell their names in all lower case letters. I might even have birth, marriage, and death years instead of the whole date leaving out day or month.

          I think the value is it is an option other can try when they done everything else. I have had a lot of luck with speculating more than I can keep up with. I respect the old school ways of doing things but I am willing to cheat when I can after all Genealogy is not a team sport. When I have a Common Ancestor or Common Ancestor Couple identified there is nothing in my Gencom Tree that shows they are a Common Ancestor. I do post a picture I made up in my Primary tree that’s shows who is a Common Ancestor that belongs to me in my Primary tree. Really did that to get others to test I think it has worked.

          I have taken into consideration other researchers using my tree. What I can tell you is I have no control of how or what other people think or do. My thinking is you look for conformation to what you find if you are truly interested in doing Genealogy. A good researcher will always look for back up to what they find. Than make their own judgment on what to do with the information they find.

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          • #6
            Yeah, I speculate when hard evidence is lacking. The deeper into the past you go, the more you just about have to speculate. As I am older than most of you, I have memories of specific people in my tree further back that younger generations don't have for their trees. And since my colonial branch is limited to my maternal grandmother, it's easier to narrow down matches. Although there is a tremendous amount of downstream matches that confuse the issue. Most of my FF colonial matches look to be unconnected downstream from my own colonial generations (is that confusing, or what?). I'm a dead end twig, so I'm more interested in the historical aspect than projecting into the future for direct descendants.
            Last edited by PDHOTLEN; 3 February 2015, 01:32 AM.

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            • #7
              At Ancestry, I have a tree. I add speculative ancestors, but always place (?) in front of their names. About half the time, this triggers leaf hints among my field of matches at AncestryDNA. This isn't proof, but it is an interesting way of testing hypotheses.

              Timothy Peterman

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              • #8
                I am doing that. There is a certain part of my tree I have high confidence in, and then fairly high confidence (such as information passed to me via my grandparents), then I have information trails based on things like census records that usually confirm the first two groups to a high degree of certainty. Then... I have some parts of my tree that I got from other sources. For me, I am using ICON's instead of personal photos and the main images for people in my family tree to let me know where that person stands on degree of certainty. I have a "birth certificate" image for close relatives that I am pretty certain I have accurate information on. The information may be incomplete, but I know the relations are correct (i.e. my nephews, first cousins, and other close relatives that I personally know of). I have a "Census" icon to show information that I gathered primarily through searching census and other similar records. I will be adding a "DNA" icon to those confirmed by DNA testing, and a "question mark" icon for those who I truly used speculation to determine relationship or otherwise feel I need more proof. I feel adding these speculative people is important because I do not want to lose track of them and my family is large enough that there is a decent chance I MIGHT find dna matches to fill the gaps. Speculating might mean other people copy information that is not fact... but I can't prevent that just as they could not prevent me from speculating using their information. I have found enough evidence to potential missing links this way to feel this is worth while if you can keep it straight!

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                • #9
                  There are at least three angles to the issue:
                  • having speculative relatives to use by oneself; that is perfectly fine and a standard procedure one might say;
                  • making speculative relatives visible to fellow family researchers; regardless how careful one is, someone's else interpretation might be different and today's highly speculative ancestor might turn out to be a well established family patriarch in somebody else version of your family tree - forever;
                  • displaying speculative elements in the family tree is totally confusing to people who are not involved in the proper genealogy research on a daily basis, and I understood that you would be sharing your tree with essentially everybody.
                  W.

                  P.S.
                  During one of family reunions, the organizer presented as his research an older tree draft prepared by the family genealogists. Let's say that those who cared, knew or learned that it was not his work. However, the irreparable damage was done due to people leaving the reunion with printouts containing essentially a very wrong tree. Memories of some people were altered after they familiarized themselves with the incorrect tree, and we could not get from them any real recollections afterwards...

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by dna View Post
                    There are at least three angles to the issue:
                    • having speculative relatives to use by oneself; that is perfectly fine and a standard procedure one might say;
                    • making speculative relatives visible to fellow family researchers; regardless how careful one is, someone's else interpretation might be different and today's highly speculative ancestor might turn out to be a well established family patriarch in somebody else version of your family tree - forever;
                    • displaying speculative elements in the family tree is totally confusing to people who are not involved in the proper genealogy research on a daily basis, and I understood that you would be sharing your tree with essentially everybody.
                    W.

                    P.S.
                    During one of family reunions, the organizer presented as his research an older tree draft prepared by the family genealogists. Let's say that those who cared, knew or learned that it was not his work. However, the irreparable damage was done due to people leaving the reunion with printouts containing essentially a very wrong tree. Memories of some people were altered after they familiarized themselves with the incorrect tree, and we could not get from them any real recollections afterwards...
                    You assume the one that doesn't speculate is right and the one that does is wrong. How do we know the person passing out the family tree was not right and the other is wrong? If your excuse is that people are going to get confused and post bad information when speculating. What about those who get confused with the way you think it should get done and post bad information. People are going to get confused either way and post bad information. I give a couple of examples where I used speculating tomorrow and let others try to convince me that speculation is wrong.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I said that speculation is like a standard procedure

                      When sharing with the fellow researchers, I had used the word might . We have a shared tree. And to avoid possible problems we use an entirely separate tree for speculations we all agreed upon. Of course, anybody can have any number of their own separate test/speculative trees. And as long as one remembers which tree (as there could be more than one) the changes are being made to, we are fine. Over >10 years I have wiped out the real data (luckily from a small branch) only once, but I did not notice the problem for almost three years... Afterwards, I have implemented a different (better?) backup strategy.

                      W.
                      Last edited by dna; 4 February 2015, 10:25 PM.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by dna View Post
                        P.S.
                        During one of family reunions, the organizer presented as his research an older tree draft prepared by the family genealogists. Let's say that those who cared, knew or learned that it was not his work. However, the irreparable damage was done due to people leaving the reunion with printouts containing essentially a very wrong tree. Memories of some people were altered after they familiarized themselves with the incorrect tree, and we could not get from them any real recollections afterwards...
                        See, I have a problem with this because a true genealogist will not take the word of others, they will go out and research and verify their own facts. If someone choses to take other's family tree info as gospel, then that is the risk that they take. I personally do not claim to be a true genealogist. It is a hobby that I have taken up off and on over the years. I use an online family tree, NOT because I want to publish it for the world to see, but because it is the best way to research other probable branches. I take the information I find, and decide how LIKELY it is to be true and then decide whether or not to add it to the tree. For example, one extremely likely ancestor of mine is Johann Dietrich Hefner (with many variations of spelling) of Lincoln County, North Carolina. I and many researchers can find some evidence that he is indeed our ancestor. However, his FATHER, many list as Melchoir Hefner. Many people have him listed in their trees DESPITE the fact that they have a 7-12 year age difference, DESPITE the fact that Melchoir's children were all born somewhere else, and DESPITE the fact that the mother of all of Mechoir's children was born AFTER Johann. Initially, I added him to my tree so I didn't lose his information, but I looked into as much info as possible and decided it just made no sense and removed him and all of his descendants from my tree. Later, I found on the FTDNA website that had the Hefner Surname project and see that they have determined that Melchoir and Johann are not closely are likely related at all. I do not regret having had Melchoir in my tree, and I am grateful I found evidence that I was correct in removing his branch. Now... as for Johann... I am still needing positive confirmation that he is my great(whatever number) Grandfather which is one reason I am doing FTDNA. Again, I might find that this information is incorrect in my tree, OR, I might find MORE information to add it. Anyhow... I don't think it is the family tree genealogists responsibility to protect those who want to copy their tree. You copy another tree at your own risk. I have borrowed information from other trees, some information as I described proved to be wrong, but I am betting most of the information is correct to a high degree. I think my DNA test will verify some of this information. Anyhow, speculative information is fine, as long as you can keep it straight. I am still learning my system as I am developing it as I go along, but overall, I know which branches I am confident in and which branches I don't truly "know" for myself at all. I do know, I do not add anything that does not make total sense, or if I do, I add it and then try to research more to clarify (as in, are the birth dates accurate for spacing of parent/child or sibling relationships).

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                        • #13
                          Paternal line and speculating to prove the connection.

                          I researched my Paternal line for about ten years and I was only able to push that line back to my Great GrandFather Edward. The paper trail from me to him was strong but he was never found living with his parents. He was found living with a widow who called him her Grandson in the 1880 Federal Census and I was not sure it was him or if she was really his Grandmother or some nice old lady who took in a Orphan after the Civil War.

                          The only clues I had for his parent were from Federal Census and his Death Certificate. Clues in the Federal census were First Father born North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia. The Widow in the 1880 census name was McCarty. From Edward's Death Certificate father name was Joe Hill born North Carolina. For his mother Federal Census has her born Georgia. From Edward Death Certificate Mother maiden name McCarty born Georgia.

                          From these clue I figured he didn't know his parents well. Looking at his Children's names for possible name of his parents I found one Joseph. He had only two daughters and neither one had a names that matched the known daughters in the McCarty family.

                          Since McCarty appeared to be his maternal side of the tree I researched that McCarty family pushing it back many generation. My research turned up documents that connected who I thought was Edward's mother to her parents and other documents that linked the next three or four generation. From there I did some speculating and used other researchers information to build these part of the tree up.

                          What I call Speculating is really looking to find connection to the Grandmother of my tree. My thinking if I think Mary McCarty is my Paternal line Great Great Grandmother I should have Autosomal DNA matches that tie me into her part of the tree.

                          I have Autosomal DNA matches that link me to almost every couple in Mary's part of the tree between the sixth and tenth generation. To me this is a good sign that my decision to use speculation and those other researcher information was correct. The more matches who we have that share a Common Ancestor the stronger the case is that...that Common Ancestor is related.

                          Now with the Speculating showing Common Ancestor being found it is up to those who use Speculating to do their own research and find the documents that prove those other researcher right. To me it cuts down on wasting time researching the wrong people.

                          I ended up doing the Y Chromosome DNA test to help with my Paternal line research. The answer it gave me was I wasted ten years researching my Paternal line. I had thought I found Edward father a Joseph B Hill who lived close to where Edward was born.

                          But the Y DNA test matched me up with now 7 Lee's and no Hill's. My matches and sponsors were nice enough to share their information with me. About ten years later I figured out who Edwards father probably is a John Lee who enlisted on the same day into the same Company and Georgia Regiment that Joseph Hill enlisted into at the beginning of the Civil War.

                          To help prove this connection I did some of my own work and figured out who I thought was John's mother family. Than found some others researchers work and added it to my tree and hoping DNA matches would prove I had a connection to who I thought was Tabitha family and I did. Tabitha is not shown in any tree before mine as the daughter of William.

                          Speculating should always be followed up with your own research.

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