We’re proud to announce that we just released a major round of improvements to our system for merging person profiles.

The next time you merge you’ll notice some big differences. (If you want to see them now, you could see if there is a pending merge you can help complete.)

Those of you who are familiar with our tools for merging-in data from external websites — WikiTree X and GEDCOMpare — will recognize most of the changes. We adapted the innovations made while developing those new systems into our original merge code.

Here are some of the changes:

  • You’re not limited to selecting data from the merged-away profile or keeping data from the merged-into profile. You can enter completely new data during the merge.
  • You can view, set, and modify the certainty status of data fields and parental relationships during the merge.
  • If you enter or edit the birth or death location, the standardized place name suggestions from FamilySearch will appear. You can hide these suggestions if they’re annoying.
  • You can now edit the text section during the merge. Previously, the entire text section from the merged-away profile was appended to the bottom of the text section for the merged-into profile. You then had to edit this after the merge. Now we append biography to the biography and the sources to the sources, and you can do the final edits right there on the merge form.
  • You can preview the text section before completing the merge.
  • When you complete the merge the data is scanned for likely errors. It’s the same data validation system that we have for editing profiles.

WikiTreer-in-Chief, Chris Whitten, feels very good about these changes.  As he says, synthesizing conflicting information into one coherent profile — figuring out what the sources really tell us and communicating it on the page — is high-level genealogy collaboration. It is the essence of what we do on WikiTree.

Merging can never be easy. But we can make it easier to do better merges, and hopefully that’s what we’ve done here. In the long run this should relieve some of the burden that’s been placed on the generous, experienced WikiTreers who have to clean up messy merges done by less experienced members.

Please post here if you notice problems, or if you have suggestions for further improvements, or improvements to the explanations on the Merging Help page.

Onward and upward!

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  One Response to “Have you seen the new merge system?”

  1. In my opinion, allowing editing of the text narrative during the merge is a big mistake. When people are filling out a form, they want to get to the end of it quickly. That works against the careful consideration of sources that should be performed when doing the merge of the text. This change points WikiTree toward the same disfunction as FamilySearch where uninformed rookies routinely replace well-researched conclusion with their half-baked ideas. As the manager for some profiles on WikiTree, I urge proposers of merges to leave the two text narratives as they are, so that I may go back and carefully consider all the provided sources in creating a new narrative. Careful consideration is not what this change in procedure will encourage.

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