Today marks the 209th birthday of Joseph Smith (1805-1844), the Mormon prophet. This posting begins with a 5-generation pedigree and ahnentafel for the Prophet Joseph, followed by a standard 9-generation presentation covering the ancestry of his father Joseph Smith (1771-1840). The next two postings will cover the ancestry of his maternal grandparents Solomon Mack (1732-1820) and Lydia Gates (1732-1817). He descends from seven Mayflower passengers on his maternal lines.
The Prophet Joseph Smith admonished his followers to “present in his holy temple, when it is finished, a book containing the records of our dead, which shall be worthy of all acceptation” (D & C 128:24). The LDS faithful may want to ask themselves if the work displayed in the FamilySearch versions of these postings is “worthy of all acceptation.”
The risk in calling attention to the error rate in the FamilySearch pedigrees is a possible knee-jerk reaction by administrators that ends up throwing out the baby with the bath. This would be a huge mistake. People all over the world are grateful for the voluminous resources made freely available on FamilySearch. And the pedigrees are not all bad.
LDS submitters have done quite well on their closer generations. Beyond about their tenth generation, however—and especially on colonial New England lines where there are often millions of descendants and numerous conflicting sources—they have not done so well. Most of them do not have the training or the critical thinking skills to distinguish the good from the bad, the good sources from the bad sources. The advent of the internet and the ease with which any submitter can find a source to support almost anything and then go in and change anything at any time has resulted in a database for the 16th and 17th centuries that is constantly changing but has become progressively worse.
The work shown on Joseph Smith’s lines is no better and no worse than that on the lines of thousands of other Mormon pioneers who share large New England ancestries.
More than forty years ago, the LDS Genealogical Department abandoned programs that assisted and coordinated the efforts of genealogists who were working to update and correct their linked ancestries. Since that time, the Church emphasis has been on name extraction and indexing, with little regard for whether or not ancestries are correctly linked. It should not be surprising, then, that the accuracy of the FamilySearch pedigrees has deteriorated.
Postings on this Mormon Pioneer Genealogy Library website, the source for reliable scholarly genealogy, began in July 2014. Serious genealogists are invited to phone Michel L. Call to share ideas and discuss what they can do to help.
|by Michel L. Call, P.O. Box 11488, Salt Lake City, UT 84147; (801-450-7410); firstname.lastname@example.org; www.mormonpioneergenealogylibrary.com; www.royalancestors.com; www.mayflowerancestors.com. Color Coding: BLUE indicates Mayflower or Royal ancestry. RED indicates wrong or speculative ancestors in LDS FamilySearch Family Tree (December 2014).|
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