Error in removing data conflicts with Unknowns Project

+2 votes

Occasionally I run into a profile that needs to be put in the Recycled Unknowns. There is a procedure on how to do this from the Unknowns Project.

I have a profile that I was working on, where I was removing what little data it had because there was no known source, no possibility of finding sources, etc.

I ran into a technical issue, that I would like to point out. I was removing the birth year, and it would not let me save the profile because it has no known birth year or death year. Removing all data is the correct thing to do. The profile is going into the Recycle Unknowns category, and there is no data that is valid. But WikiTree will not allow me to "Save Anyway". So this profile has to now have some dummy data for the birth year, even though there is nothing else in the profile that makes sense.

I think that something needs to change with the error on this, and not make it such a hard rule. Perhaps allow "Save Anyway". Either that or change the policy or description in the Unknowns Project to put in some sort of dummy date.

Regardless of the outcome, something needs to be done to resolve this conflict between error handling and what to do on recycling unknown profiles.

PS: I wasn't sure what tags would be appropriate for this post. Please feel free to suggest or change.

WikiTree profile: Samuel Frisbie
in WikiTree Tech by Eric Weddington G2G6 Pilot (243k points)

The Unknowns team has a process update; profiles are no longer designated for recycling. 

3 Answers

+8 votes
Best answer
There is no plan to remove this error check.

I don't see where in the Unknowns project says to remove dates? Only where it says that if there is a date, then it shouldn't be part of the Recycle Unknowns category.

If you wanted to get rid of the profile and there is absolutely no way to identify who it was supposed to be, it would have been best to either merge it into someone with the same last name, or change it into a new person with the same last name.

Edited to add: This should happen very rarely. Just because a profile isn't sourced or has very little information, doesn't mean that you should merge the profile away or try to clear the information out of it. But if there is a profile like "Unknown Smith, born about 1800" with no additional relationships or information or way to figure out who it was meant to be, then go ahead and pick whatever Smith you think fits the best.
by Jamie Nelson G2G6 Pilot (369k points)
selected by Julie Ricketts

Selecting this as Best Answer.

As stated on Space:Unknowns (Question 6), if the profile contains identifiable data (such as birth/death dates), then 'no further actions is needed' and the profile would not fall under the purview of the Unknowns Project. There are no instructions to remove the birth/date dates.

So for the statement that:

Regardless of the outcome, something needs to be done to resolve this conflict between error handling and what to do on recycling unknown profiles.

...we can be sure that there is no conflict between the error check and the Unknowns Project.

+5 votes
Hi Eric,
I hadn't come across the Unknown Projects page before, but it looks to me that if a profile has a birth date (and in this case originally an LNAB and a spouse) then it wouldn't be a candidate for the Unknowns Project, and/or the Recycle Unknowns process?
by John Atkinson G2G6 Pilot (482k points)
My point in my post wasn't to go over whether or not this profile is a candidate for the Recycle Unknowns. The point is that there is a conflict between an error check, and how the Unknowns Project works.

But to be pedantic, this profile was created with only one piece of secondary sourcing, which was then later removed. There is basically no source for this data, and the profile is likely to be in error. I have talked to the original profile manager and he is fine leaving it up to me to decide. The profile is of a person with an unusual last name, that is typically only found in a Native American family, and is so far back in time, as to either be a non-existent person, or to have no reliable sources.

The best course of action is to remove it. I don't want to get in a long discussion about whether it should be removed or not. It is being removed. I just found a conflict with an error check that is not allowing me to remove the last piece of data.

Leaving aside the issue of whether this profile was an appropriate one for the Unknowns Project, according to the changes for the profile in question, it was originally created as Michael Bluejacket, with a birth date of 1880.  A really quick search of FamilySearch for a Michael Bluejacket with a birth range of 1875-1885, reveals 5 or 6 sources for a Michael or Mike Bluejacket, born in that time period.

Admittedly two of them were FindAGrave sources, which might not be that reliable, but at least one was a World War I Draft Record, with image of the original record.  The wife originally attached could still be de-linked if no source was found to confirm this relationship.

So I don't understand why use the Unknowns process, rather than adding a source? I realise that having an isolated profile is not ideal, but with an appropriate source someone could do some more research to find other family members.

Importantly though this would leave the LNAB as Bluejacket and avoid the 'Multiple redirects problem' which can come about from multiple LNAB changes just the same as multiple merges.

+1 vote

Hi Eric

As it is now a whole database requirement to have at least a YOB or YOD and you need to remove a date to set a 'clean' profile up for recycling then just put a default YOB of 1900 on the profile with an 'Estimated Date' Tag - This keeps it out of the must be locked/unlocked range and allows you to save it and have it placed in the 'Recycled Unknowns' for some one to pick it up and reuse it smiley

If there are no dates on the profile to start with the system will ignore this when you update the profile

by Graeme Olney G2G6 Mach 7 (72.8k points)
edited by Graeme Olney
Thank you Graeme!

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