Recording Incorrect Information and Disputed Facts

I will sometimes deliberately record incorrect data for a person, particularly if many others have these same “facts” in their online trees, so I can document why these “facts” are actually incorrect. The info is then quickly accessible if I need to share it with someone else.

I have done this for the death of a particular person in my tree and selected the “proof” option as “disproven”.

However, despite doing this, the incorrect data now records on all the views in the People Page (pedigree, family etc). Changing the fact to “disputed” does not solve the issue.

Previously, I have been able to get around this by selecting the “primary” checkbox on the correct death event, and this then “forces” the display of the correct information. (Note that if there are two death facts, an earlier one that is disproven and a later one that is proven, it will still pick up the earlier, disproven death fact, until the primary check box is ticked on the correct one!)

However, in this instance, I do not have a death date and could not even put in an accurate guess – the closest I could get (at this stage) is to say “after 11 Jun 1848” which was the last time she was sighted in the records (the date of the marriage).

I guess my point is that if the fact is disproven it should not display on the “banner” People pages and require a “primary” fact to override it that may not even be close.

Further, the disproven fact also prints on the Individual Summary and Family Group Sheet just like the other facts (ie. without lines through it as displayed in the Edit Person screen, or anything else to suggest it could be disproven or disputed). So a cursory glance of the report seems to suggest this is the death date. It is only when reading the notes that the “status” of the fact becomes known (ie, that it is proven to be incorrect).

My thoughts are that:

  1. disproven (or disputed) birth, marriage or death dates should not appear in the People pages (on the pedigree, family views etc) and this shouldn’t be contingent on an alternative, primary fact, and
  2. disproven and disputed facts should be tagged in some way in the individual and family group sheet reports so it is evident up front that their status is questionable.

Does anyone else record “incorrect” information in their trees and have you come across these issues – I’d be really interested in your thoughts and comments.



A couple of other things which would by good to be able to do:

  • visually differentiate between disproven and disputed facts (I have resorted to adding :x: for disproven and :warning: for disputed facts in the description field - yes that means that I have had to update some facts to display this field) since RM used strikethrough for both

  • show/hide disproven/disputed facts on Edit Person

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Yes, they’re really good suggestions @klmeagher !! Disproven and disputed facts look the same in the edit person screen and your suggestion overcomes that issue - thank you! :slightly_smiling_face:

Very good points, @JillV . One thing that I do differently, is to put disputed information as an alternate fact – Alt. Birth, Alt. Death, etc. At least this seems to differentiate it better from an actual birth/death date, etc.


@klmeagher How do you add the two symbols to RootsMagic, and do they display as symbols?

The uselessness of these fact qualifiers has been the subject of various enhancement requests since they were added. It’s one of several half-baked features that cry out for development to their full potential.

Your ideas are very good. On the old RootsMagic Forums there was a Wish List forum. Not sure how something is to be flagged on this platform so that @rzamor1 (who is currently very busy with support issues) will capture your wants as an enhancement request.

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I think the idea that is most likely to transfer to other genealogy software and which is most likely to display correctly in RM8 itself is the Alternate Fact idea.

It’s a very difficult problem in general. RM7 handled the problem more gracefully than RM8, but even RM7 didn’t handle it especially well.

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@mapleleaf I use the Windows10 Touch Keyboard and yes they display as symbols onscreen. Unfortunately the symbols aren’t appearing on reports at this stage. Not a big problem for me as I also mark these facts as private and generally don’t print them.


Just installed RM8.0.4 and you can now add characters through Character Map (Arial font only). These will appear in Individual Summary report (not tested any others)

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Thanks to everyone for their input and I’ll now review how I treat “incorrect” information. It seems like using alternate facts might work best (as @Helen_CO_USA does and as @thejerrybryan says, they’re the most likely to be picked up with Gedcom), and then tagging the notes in some way like @klmeagher has suggested so the fact stands out as being disputed / disproven.

One other idea I might toy with is setting up a new fact type labelled “disproven” and enter the information under that fact - not sure yet, and also have to consider that custom facts might not export too well!

And although I was not familiar with the old RM forums, I was interested to hear that they had a “wish list”. Perhaps that is being captured when a new message is tagged with “feature request”?

And although the whole functionality is probably not working as best as it could, I do appreciate that we can input alternate facts and have multiple ways of tagging them, noting etc. This enables “incorrect” information to be cited which is sometimes just as important as the real stuff!

Thanks once again everyone for all your suggestions! :blush:

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I noted that tag after I posted. I think the tags “question”, “issue”, “tips” & “tip” correspond with the three sub-forums “Discussion”, “Issues”, “Tips & Hints” of each RootsMagic X forum in the old Forums system and the tag “feature-request” with the “Wish List” Forum there. It has been @rzamor1’s practice in both the Forums and the Facebook Groups to acknowledge a request with “Confirming enhancement request is in our tracking system.” (or words to that effect).

@klmeagher I found out I can press the Windows key and period key to bring up an Emojis window which includes the two you showed. Cool!

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Hi @TomH , that’s good to know that Renee was following the conversations on the old forums and noting the issues and feature enhancements. I’m sure, allowing for a bit of well-deserved breathing space, that that practice will be followed here too! Or if not, guidance on how to “formally” lodge feature requests will be provided.

And thanks @klmeagher and @mapleleaf for sharing the emoticon feature – this will change my life!!! :joy: :joy:


Has anyone tried to upload a tree to Ancestry that includes disproven or disputed assertions? I’m wondering how they display on Ancestry. Does Ancestry accept them?

There’s nothing in the Ancestry API to distinguish a proven fact from a disputed or disproven one.