How to Write Effective "Reason" Statement in the FamilySearch Family Tree

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Whenever you add, edit, or delete information about an individual in your family tree, you should explain why you are making the change. This reasoning is intended to prevent improper changes and to direct other interested researchers to the sources that prove the information.

In your explanation, include the following types of information, as appropriate to the situation:

  • Write clearly. Use complete sentences.
  • Indicate what information is clearly supported by sources and which is not. For example, if the birth month and year came from a census, say so.
  • Identify the sources you used. If possible, you should also attach those sources to the individual.
  • If the records contain contradictory or incorrect information, explain why you think the version that you added is the most correct in spite of the evidence provided by other records.
  • Explain why the information contradicts family stories.
  • Explain why the information is correct, even though it may seem illogical.
  • If you derived or estimated the information, explain how you reached your conclusion.
  • If you are deleting information, explain why the information you are deleting is not correct and why it should be deleted instead of corrected.
  • Point out relevant discussions.

The reason fields are not the place to hold a dialog or debate with other users. Do not use them to post questions or requests for information. If an issue needs to be discussed or if you need to request additional information, use the Discussions feature rather than a reason field.