It's a task I've been putting off for FAR too long. I've known for a while that my Ancestry tree has a LOT of unconfirmed branches. Since I've learned more over the past few years I've discovered I need to prune that unconfirmed information out and add it back in again if I can confirm with sources.
This is mostly the result of being "young and silly" when I first joined Ancestry and you get so excited with the little green leaves and other member's trees that you go a little...crazy.
And that craziness has led me to where I currently am.
So, I didn't want to completely lose all of the work I have done so I made a GEDCOM copy of the tree I had and saved that as a private tree (I don't want others copying off that tree since it's not confirmed - it's more my giant tree of hints now). And I'm seriously pruning back my public Ancestry tree to those things I have some sort of sources for.
It's been a big pain in the rear (because I had a TON of branches that I couldn't confirm a link to) but doing this will give me a much cleaner base to run off of and I can use the private tree to help me with hints to hopefully find the source documentation to make the tree grow again. :)
So, a few tips for new genealogists just starting out:
- Think before adding to your tree (I know this seems basic - but sometimes we get a little too excited and we need to slow down and really think if we just need to make note of a source to investigate further or confirm some other way to make sure they are a relation before adding to the tree)
- Remember that the little green leaves (or the hint features of your chosen family tree software/website) are HINTS. They might have nothing to do with your ancestor. Use them as a jumping off point for further research.
- Download a copy of the documents to your computer at home (don't just have the online link) because if you drop your subscription you might not be able to view that original document again until you subscribe again and that can be frustrating. Plus, crazy things happen and the website might go down or out of business and you want to have copies of these documents.
- Other member trees - my personal belief now is to NOT add to your tree from other member's trees. I will use them on occasion as hints to use if I am looking for sources for my ancestors but adding to my tree from other trees made my tree into the mess it became (duplications, unconfirmed info, misspellings, and just plain wrong info).
Good luck and enjoy!