Facts and Events—Levels of Confidence

As our genealogy skills have developed, particularly over the last year, we are more often documenting our level of confidence in the facts and events we add to our family tree, or discuss in our posts here or in other documents we author.

There are many terms we could use to express our level of confidence, and many schemes to rank these terms relative to each other. No point in reinventing the wheel, though.

After purchasing a copy of Elizabeth Shown Mills’ Evidence Explained [1], we chose to adopt the hierarchy of terms presented there in Section 1.6 Levels of Confidence.


Certainly: The author has no reasonable doubt about the assertion, based upon sound research and good evidence.

Probably: The author feels the assertion is more likely than not, based upon sound research and good evidence.

Likely: The author feels some evidence supports the assertion, but the assertion is far from proved.

Possibly: The author feels the odds weight at least slightly in favor of the assertion.

Apparently: The author has formed an impression or presumption, typically based upon common experience, but has not tested the matter.

Perhaps: The author suggests that an idea is plausible, although it remains to be tested.


Being more mathematically and visually inclined, here is how we tend to apply these terms in our own use.

We usually keep possibly and apparently to ourselves until we have done a little more research.

When we estimate an individual’s birth year, based on a parent’s, spouse’s, or child’s birth year, we indicate this with, for example, “Estimate based on her mother’s Birth.”

We assume the mother is 3 years younger than the father, and the mother is 22, 31, and 40 years old at the birth of their first, middle, and last child. These average ages were found in a reference that we unfortunately failed to record at the time. The reference though was for 1600–1900 America when the economy was largely agriculture-based.

And, if we copy something from someone else’s tree to preserve it until we have time to look at it, we now attach a source entitled “(copied from the internet; no source provided)”—copy these at your own risk!


References:
[1] Elizabeth Shown Mills, Evidence Explained, Citing History Sources from Artifacts to Cyberspace, Third Edition, Revised (Baltimore, Maryland: Genealogical Publishing Company, 2017), 19-20.

Hosting Multiple Sites on SiteGround

SiteGround’s Managed WordPress Hosting GrowBig and GoGeek plans allow you to host unlimited websites.

We recently added two new WordPress sites to our plan, one as a domain and one as a subdomain, configured them as we did this site, and immediately encountered error messages when trying to add our first media, page, or post:

When adding media, this error message was displayed:

Non-existent changes UUID

When adding a page or post, this error message was displayed:

Publishing failed. Error message: The response is not a valid JSON response.

After fumbling around for a hour in the SiteGround cPanel and WordPress, and googling various support forums to no avail, we contacted SiteGround support. They quickly identified the problem, and we were up and running.

Let’s walk through how we set up the sites, where the issue arose, and how to fix it.

The first site created with our SiteGround account is designated the Primary Domain by SiteGround. We can then add additional Domains (called AddOn Domains) or Subdomains. Tools to create these are under cPanel > Domains.

Note that when we create an Addon Domain, in addition to creating the domain (e.g. www.addon.com), SiteGround also creates a Subdomain with the same name under our Primary Domain (i.e. www.addon.primary.com).

To keep our SiteGround directory organized, we put each site in its own subdirectory, and put each WordPress instance in its own subdirectory under its site subdirectory.

Under WordPress Settings > General Settings for each site, we set the WordPress Address (URL) and the Site Address (URL). For our primary domain, here is what works.

Site Address (URL)https://www.primary.com
WordPress pathpublic_html/primary/primaryWP
WordPress Address (URL)https://www.primary.com/primary/primaryWP

We would therefore expect something similar to work for our new addon domain and subdomain. But the below WordPress Address (URL)s did not work for our addon domain:

https://www.primary.com/addon/addonWP [results in the two errors described initially above]

https://www.addon.primary.com/addon/addonWP [results in "(browser) Can't Find the Server"]

https://www.addon.com/addon/addonWP [Results in "It seems we can’t find what you’re looking for."]

So what is the solution? Simple. Set the WordPress Address (URL) to the Site Address (URL).

Here are the Site Address (URL), WordPress path, and WordPress Address (URL) for each of three such sites:

Site Address (URL)https://www.primary.com
WordPress pathpublic_html/primary/primaryWP
WordPress Address (URL)https://www.primary.com/primary/primaryWP
Site Address (URL)https://www.addon.com
WordPress pathpublic_html/addon/addonWP
WordPress Address (URL)https://www.addon.com
Site Address (URL)http://www.subdomain.addon.com
WordPress pathpublic_html/subdomain/subdomainWP
WordPress Address (URL)http://www.subdomain.addon.com

Not really a genealogy post, but it keeps the train running.

Say Anything …

“Shall we never, never get rid of this Past?” cried he, keeping up the earnest tone of his preceding conversation. “It lies upon the Present like a giant’s dead body!”

— Holgrave, The House of the Seven Gables by Nathaniel Hawthorne

Say Anything …

For there is no heroic poem in the world but is at bottom a biography, the life of a man: also, it may be said, there is no life of a man, faithfully recorded, but is a heroic poem of its sort, rhymed or unrhymed.

— Sir Walker Scott

MyTreeTags Beta FAQ

Ancestry.com is currently (Feb-Mar 2019) making available as a public beta feature MyTreeTags, which lets you “add labels to people in your tree to highlight personal details or to clarify your research status.”

  1. What is beta software?
  2. How do I enable (or disable) the beta feature?
  3. Are my tags visible to others?
  4. Can I assign more than one tag to an individual?
  5. What happens to my tags if I disable the beta feature?
  6. What happens to my tags when the beta ends?
  7. Are tags saved in the GEDCOM file for a tree?
  8. Where can I learn more about MyTreeTags?

Q1. What is beta software?

A. Here is a good description of beta software from TechTerms.com.


Q2. How do I enable (or disable) the beta feature?

A. You can enable and disable the feature on the ancestry.com website—NOT from within the iOS or Android apps.

  1. Log in to your ancestry.com account.
  2. Navigate to the Ancestry Lab page (top menu bar > Extras > Ancestry Lab) which is equivalent to going directly to www.ancestry.com/beta.
  3. Under the heading MyTreeTags, click either Enable or Disable.

With MyTreeTags enabled, when you navigate to the profile page for an individual in your tree without any tags, you will see the below add tags button in the header of their profile. Click the button to add one or more tags.

After you add one or more tags to an individual, you will instead see the tags and an edit tags button replace the above button. In this example below, the Direct Ancestor tag has been added to this individual.


Q3. Are my tags visible others?

A. According to the Ancestry support page and a seminar conducted by Ancestry, the rules for visibility and editing of tags are the same as for the rest of your tree. See the last FAQ (learn more) at the bottom of this page for a link to Ancestry’s detailed answer.

It seems likely Ancestry hopes its members will use the Research Tags in others’ public trees as one more factor in deciding what weight to give to the information there, or as an indicator to consider offering assistance (e.g. with brick walls) to the tree owner.

You can also imagine Ancestry using the Research Tags as one of many factors it considers in assigning what weight to give to information in our trees for other features, like beta feature ThruLines.

So we should not expect the MyTreeTags release to include an option to make the tags in our public trees private.


Q4. Can I assign more than one tag to an individual?

Yes, click away to your heart’s content. And you can create as many custom tags as you want.

Tags are not mutually exclusive and can be in conflict. For example, under the Research Tags, you can assign Actively Researching, Complete, Unverified, and Verified at the same time.

So you are responsible for only assigning the correct tags if the tags are to have any meaning.


Q5. What happens to my tags if I disable the beta feature?

A. If you disable MyTreeTags, the MyTreeTag edit buttons are NOT displayed and your tags are NOT displayed.

Your tags are currently (1 Mar 2019) saved when MyTreeTags is disabled. You can re-enable MyTreeTags, and the edit buttons and any tags you previously assigned are displayed.


Q6. What happens to my tags when the beta phase ends?

A. Well, the nature of any software beta phase is that the feature is under development and evaluation for possible future incorporation into the production software as a standard feature. The feature may change before production release, or may disappear. Certainly there is an expectation for a public beta that there is some level of maturity for the beta feature, and that we can expect it to continue to production with a relatively smooth transition. Our mileage may vary.

You probably should not go tag all 13,640 people in your tree during the beta phase.

Hopefully, Ancestry will clarify this as the beta phase progresses.


Q7. Are tags saved in the GEDCOM file for a tree?

As of 1 Mar 2019, tags are not saved into the GEDCOM file you can export from your tree.

This would certainly be another useful feature to add, particularly for standard tags like: Direct Ancestor, Never Married, No Children, etc.


Q8. Where can I learn more about MyTreeTags?

Here is the Ancestry support page for MyTreeTags.

Here is a video on Facebook of an Ancestry seminar presented at RootsTech Salt Lake City 2019.