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The Birthplace of Robert Flowers

Started by Private User on Monday, August 15, 2011

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  • Private User
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Private User
8/15/2011 at 5:32 PM

There is absolutely no evidence that Robert Flowers was born in Misterton, Nottinghamshire, England. This is a mistake!

Private User
8/16/2011 at 8:38 AM

Recently, at least both OneWorldTree at Ancestry.com, and two individual subscribers at GenesReunited, have mistakenly reported that Robert Flowers was born or christened in Misterton, Notts, England. This has probably come about through the way OneWorldTree automatically stitches user-submitted family trees together, and how the two researchers gather the data they report.

To analyze the way this happened is an illustraton of how a family historian/genealogist must be constantly wary of how they obtain and use information.

OneWorldTree at Ancestry.com automatically generates family trees by combining information from user-submitted trees, in this case by looking for what seem to be similar entries for Robert Flowers on these different submitted trees.

OneWorldTree found twenty-two submitted trees for the Robert Flowers of New Carlisle, along with his wife and at least some of his children, and automatically combined it with another tree that listed a "Robert Flower" b. ca 1750 in Misterton, Notts. married to a woman named "Sense," and having a son, Robert b. 1778. (The twenty-three total trees that are reported have Robert being born, variously, anywhere from "Misterton," to "New Jersey," to "New Carlisle, Quebec" and then to more general areas like the "British Isles." Most of this, of course, is either false, or there is simply no evidence for these assertions, other than the one for the more general "British Isles," for which at least some evidence exists.

At least one of the users at GenesReunited probably also subscribed to OneWorldTree and the second user might have obtained the Misterton misinformation appearing on their tree from the user who originally reported it. There is no way to tell, however, how many users have obtained the Misterton misinformation from either of these sites or from individuals who have unknowingly now included the misinformation in their own research, which they now may pass on to others as "fact." It will be interesting, but frustrating, to watch as this proliferates througout the Internet and research of the researchers of Robert Flowers.

I have attempted to correct OneWorldTree, but the misinformation still appears on the index page. The actual tree reported there now, thankfully, appears to represent the existing evidence about Robert. This is available only to subscribers, however. But the index page, minus the Misterton misinformation, and containing the "tease" of Notts, appears to even non-subscribers. You can only access the index page, which includes the "Mis-info-terton," only by being a subscriber to OneWorldTree. All of the trees that the Robert Flowers OneWorldTree results were based on, however, are available even to non-subscribers of Ancestry.com.

When I first spotted this at OneWorldTree it had William Flowers and Martha Norton of New Jersey as the parents of Robert Flower of Misterton, Nottinghamshire, marrying a "Sense" and becoming the Robert Flowers of New Carlisle. Scary!

I want to point out that I subscribe to and use both OneWorldTree and GenesReunited and have obtained information from both that has advanced my research goals. However, information obtained from these, and other, sources must be used with a critical eye and and should be used only as a "finding aid."

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