What are reason statements in Family Tree?

In Family Tree, reason statements help others understand your changes and can help prevent incorrect edits in the future. In some places in Family Tree, you can select a suggested reason statement.

The reason statements are not the place to hold a dialog or debate with other users. Use the Discussions feature to post questions or request information from other users.

Tips for effective reason statements

  • Write clearly. Use complete sentences.
  • Be concise. Reason statements have a limit of 2,000 characters.
  • Avoid “I” statements. Instead, write in the third person (such as “The census shows….”).
  • Keep your tone professional and neutral.
  • Focus the explanation on the ancestor and the sources that support the information.
  • Indicate what information the sources clearly support and what information still needs sources. For example, state that the birth month and year came from a census.
  • Identify the sources you used. If possible, attach the sources to the person, and tag sources to the information they support.
  • If the records contain contradictory or incorrect information, explain why you think one version is the most correct.
  • If information contradicts family stories, explain why you believe that your information is more accurate than the stories.
  • If you derived or estimated information, explain how you reached your conclusion.
  • If you delete information, explain why you deleted it and did not correct the information.
  • Point out relevant discussions.
  • Ask someone to read your reason statement to make sure you communicated clearly.

Examples of reason statements

  • Burial: The document provides evidence of the burial place and [key information on grave marker].
  • Civil Registration (England, Ireland, Wales): This record provides evidence of [event] year and general [event] location.
  • Christening:
    • For the child: This document provides evidence of christening date and place, along with parents' names.
    • For the parent: This document provides evidence of [parent name]'s relationship to [child], and [spouse].
  • Census: This census return provides evidence of residence, birthplace, approximate birth year, and [list other key information if applicable].
  • Draft Registration: The document provides evidence of [list key information].
  • Marriage: This marriage record provides evidence of marriage date and place and [key information on record].
  • Merge: All vital information and relationships match.
    • Note: The screen where you enter a reason statement for a merge contains several examples. You can either click a suggested reason statement to use, or enter your own.
  • Not a Match: [ID number] is a different person from [ID number] because [reason].

Edit reason statements

You can edit reason statements on sources attached to a person.

  1. Click a Source title or View Source below title.
  2. At the bottom, you can click Add or Edit reason statements.
  3. The original statement still shows in the changes list.

How do I use the discussions feature in Family Tree?
How do I update the profile, email address and other contact information on my account?

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