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Plea to all researchers - name-collecting at its worst
Posted by: Clinton Slayton (ID *****5493) Date: October 04, 2002 at 12:32:27
  of 582

Plea to all researchers

The proliferation of FTW and LDS CDs containing unresearched, incorrect, or simply imaginary data is not news to any researchers who are doing real genealogy. I am focusing here on one source of this material, as a warning to all who are tempted to merge or copy in any way, data that appears on these CDs and in postings.

A few years ago, a network of researchers were gathering information and attempting to put together some lines for names like the subject of this message board. Joe Slaten, Dixie Gallaher, Lenell Slaton, Julia O Mitchel, T D Boaz, Jack Slaten, Shirley I Slayden, Delores Slayton, Susan M Slaton, George R Slayton, Herman Slaton, Arvil Hancock, Max Slatton, and Sharon Leonard were among these, and much of the material that they collected was shared with either myself, Clinton Slayton of Chattanooga TN/Homewood AL, and/or W John Slayton of Independence MO. A newsletter was created by me to circulate groups of lines and queries and clues. This material began appearing WIHTOUT PERMISSION as postings on the Internet, some as Gedcoms bearing some of the names above, some bearing wholly fictitious names ("Elrod Slatten") and some as books bearing the name of W John Slayton. Richard Slatten of VA died in 1991 and Alton Greene of TX was dead before this, so "credit" given by W John to these researchers (none was ever given to me) is not only a lie but a damned lie. They never communicated their thoughts to him unless he has supernatural powers of which I am not aware.

In no case, did the researchers post this material or have control over it, it was all posted by W John Slayton. His stated intent was to "share" this material and to bring the names of researchers to the attention of the genealogical community, which sounds very altruistic, but the end results have been a nightmare. People were contacted about mistakes or corrections in "their" postings that they had no idea were out there, that they could not correct or delete, and some of them are STILL out there.

Far more damaging is the inclusion in this material of wholly made-up facts, birth dates from parish records that do not exist, marriages that are based on guesses, and birth places from land records. These have been COPIED and RECOPIED and are causing serious researchers, like those named above, to hestitate to post well-documented research that could be used to counteract these egregious invasions of privacy and acts of plagiarism. I am providing here RED FLAGS to let you know what to look for in these records, and I urge you to expunge this material from any genealogical software you are using. Any trees you view that contain the following "facts" are suspect:

Full birthdates for ANYONE born before 1800, especially full birthdates for George, John, or Major from Fredericksville Parish, Albemarle VA, or WIlliam b in Pamunkey Neck VA - most are at least conjectured and the the specific ones mentioned here are wholly fictitious

A marriage between William Sladding or Slatton with Mary RODES - wholly fictitious

Records that show that William & Mary RODES are the parents of John, George and Major - highly conjectural, based on the appearance of John ONLY witnessing a 1766 document for WIlliam.

The names Rachel MUIRFIELD or Rachel LAWSON as a marital partner for Arthur Slayden/Slaton, and full birthdates for Arthur - wholly fictitious, and admitted as such by the submitter, W John Slayton.

Records that show John Slaton/Slatton mar to Nancy WOODY - an old "traditional" marriage, with no proof, not necessarily traceable to W John. Nancy is all that is known.

Records that show George Washington Slaton/Slaten of Monroe co TN with a progenitor - wholly conjectural

Records that show Aaron Slatton of Hall co GA and Aaron Slatten of Benton AL/Craighead co AR with progenitors - wholly conjectural or fictitious

Records in "Monore" co TN or MI - a standard W John misspelling for Monroe

Records that show that Abner Wilson Slayden is a son of Benjamin Slayden - this is a conjecture, there are many possible candidates for his father besides Benjamin. This conjecture was made in good faith by researcher T D Boaz, but this was not released with his permission as a "provable" fact. Mr Boaz will tell anyone that this is a "best guess."

Records with Creek names for birthplaces, such as "Big War Creek" for issue of Capt John Slaton, or "Birckett Creek" for families of Joseph Slayden - derived from land records for absolutely no reason other than to gild the lily.

Records that connect any of the American families back to England - more guesswork, undermining real research being done by Delores Slayton. True England-based families of Sladens and Sladdens, such as that of Joseph Alton Sladen, are easily traced and have no provable connection to the VA or MA families that trace back to the late 1600s and early Colonial period.

Records that show ANY upward link from Thomas Slaton of MA.

Records with !TAGged formats such as !CENSUS are almost all MY research; if you examine some of the notes you will see Clinton Slayton or CS-1 (myPAF id). I should add that I have posted my proven and conjectured direct line in WorldConnect, and this one caveat may not apply to this file, since I still have a few !TAGged records in my own work. The work pilfered by W John is much older and most of the notes are !TAGged.

These are all I can think of at them moment. I am not saying that there is not good research in W John's postings, or that he did not examine any original documents, what I am saying is that he did the genealogical community no good by his dishonest pre-empting of other people's research, regardless of his stated motives. And does anyone think that planted information about a non-existent marriages and birthdates is a service to other researchers?

I am also not saying that the posters below did not do ANY research (although most clearly did not), but some have blended their own research with W John's fictions. Some have simply taken it whole from LDS CD #8 or from FTW CDs that are simply copies of W John's postings.

Some of the existing posters and their responses:
Gary Lewis gn1@ix.netcom.com - non-responsive
Unknown at nbf@desiredanimations.net - undeliverable, and thus immortalized
Micheal Roam michael@epx.net - non-responsive
Reva Wren revawren@juno .com - non-responsive
Carrie Monroe onewinflame@hotmail.com - non-responsive
Donald Barker donaldbarker@mindspring.com responded only to ask for more

Gary Silverstein gsilvers@cris.com - responded but apparently believes everything he merges. Says he would take it off but "doesn't know how."
Teresa Fraustein frosty62@dierecway.com - courteous and wishes to remove the material

Karen B Wheeler KarenBWheeler@aol.com - courteous and will probably be invited to the my private website

SUMMARY:
I cannot copyright or protect my privacy or the privacy of my family in any way since W John Slayton posted this notice. Nor can there be any intelligent basis for this research as long as the "mergers" of this info defend their postings with "you can't prove I took this from somewhere else," "you can't copyright your 15 years of genealogical research," and "I am your 15th cousin 8 time removed and that makes you part of my family." The ultimate defense is "I don't know how to remove or edit it.(!!!)" Why would anyone post something and not know how to respond to corrective materials that could completely change the line? This is a mystery to me.

The end result of all of this is that RootsWeb/ Ancestry, and especially Genealogy/Family Tree Maker, are becoming nothing but sites for data-dredgers and name-collectors. I would like to see reliable, documented material that is actually useful as a basis for further exploration, but in the world of genealogy, as in economics, bad data pushes out good data when the bad data is plausible and looks complete, and the good data admits to incompleteness, conjecture, or attempts to provide alternative interpretations.


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