Friday, 10 August 2012

We need to merge!

The Family Search organisation is strong on the principle that each individual should occupy a unique node in their aggregated tree. Unfortunately past practice has not always followed that principle. Members of the LDS Church have uploaded personal trees without regard for what information might already be included in the mega-database.

It seems that if you have one Mormon descendent, then you probably have more than one. And each one of them felt an obligation to ensure that the genealogy was comprehensive.

As a result, the Family Tree is full of situations like that of our 6xgreat grandmother Christian BALGARNIE. She exists as at least six distinct entities, each with a unique identifier.

  • MXQ2-LX3 … Christian BALGARNIE … christening
  • 992R-C1H … Christian BEGARNEY … marriage
  • M5D4-FRY … Christian BALGONIE … birth of first child
  • K8NF-TBJ … Christian McGARNIE … birth of third and sixth children
  • MXQ1-CH3 … Christian MACGARNIE … birth of seventh child
  • MKSH-R41 … Christian BALGARNIE … birth of last (eighth) child

In part these differences can be attributed to variant spelling in the original records, but there are also instances of duplication by users.

The capability of Family Tree is being gradually expanded with new functions. Publicly available documentation states that the ability to "merge" multiple instances of the same individual, supported by evidence and with the capacity to undo errors, is coming soon.

Until that function is activated, using Family Tree will be an enormously frustrating exercise.

I can easily correct the mistaken identification of one ancestor as the son of his mother's husband (an understandable error), but am powerless to do anything about the very obvious blunder that she appears to have married the same man three times!

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