Online Family Trees – Be Alert

There is a story up on the Deseret News about software that could allow people to generate websites with “fictional” family trees for advertising purposes. Hopefully most people don’t automatically accept what they see on the internet as being fact. The creator of the site has this to say in their defense:

FACT #1 – Fake Family does not create “real” data. Fake family creates FICTIONAL lineages about people who have NEVER LIVED. Outside of a “Fake Family” data set, you should not find any connection with ANYONE in the “real world”.

FACT #2 – The odds of finding a connection is so remote that it makes “fact #1” moot anyhow. The data on this page is clear and open about what Fake Family does and what your odds are of finding even 1 couple in a Fake Family project that matches anything in ANY family tree in the world.

The Genealogue has covered this, and there is an ongoing discussion at Eastman’s Online Genealogy Newsletter.

Update: There is an article at the Deseret News that further explains this.