Welcome To the Matrix - thoughts on Ancestry.com
So my latest diversion is keeping me from pummeling several key people in my life. An obssession is a powerful thing....sigh. Unfortunately, those little obssessive monsters we think we can control sometimes rear up in the most vicious fashion and sink their fangs into our unsuspecting, soft underparts.
I decided to "check out" Ancestry.com on solid reference (and the mere fact that evey search engine on the planet stops there...) and at first it was wonderful. Multiple family lines right there in a single mouse click (FEEL THE POWER!) and that's when it happened. My other neurotic tendencies started vieing for attention. I understand that the LDS organisation has exhaustive genealogical evidence - and while my protestant Christian POV does not always dovetail with the reasoning behind the research - (and I'm simply not going "there" today) one cannot ignore the MASSIVE amount of data the LDS church has accumulated and made available to the common peep like me. And so, I became suspicious of the crawler mechanism that was enabling me to add so many names to my tree....how does it know? How can it be true? How can I validate it? After spending three months accumulating 1800 names the hard way - here I am with 800 names in a week...hmm.
Smith wasn't far off....Humans....they're like a virus...spreading geometrically...and I feel the strong urge to unplug from the Matrix.
The issue is, I'm anal. I want to prove the data. I want to control it. And its popping up on my pristine tree like spring leaves. I suppose I am suffering from information overload.
If you can get census data, land purchase data and birth,marriage,death records all stating the same name at the same time - I have a level of comfort. Individual family trees are a bit more suspect in my humble eyes - although surname to surname - one would think the hobbyist researcher would pay closer attention to his own bloodlines. As for me, "Stepfamilies" are common and often more known than the blood family, so I'm following a few of them too. (all the way back to the 1600's?)
And so, in the midst of things like an office move, a truck with an antifreeze leak, schools that won't call back (and registration is next week, same days as the office move) a brand new chair that won't assemble (the screw holes are not aligned on the back of the chair. Nice.) and "family" in town - obsessing about ancient deceased relatives is the preferred diversion. Its just easier to curse the little green "leaves" (if you put a name on your family tree - and Ancestry has any other information on that name - a green leaf icon pops up beside the persons name. its very cute.) on my ancestry page than it is to deal with the reality of all the "opportunities" in my day.