How can we get New Members to look at existing profiles when they add their ancestors?

+13 votes
The last 2 months, I've had to work with New WT people who have entered new profiles for people who are already in WT.

When they entered the basic info for their ancestor, that person had to have come up, but they entered a new profile anyway. Nothing flagged the duplicate.

There needs to be some kind of box that pops up when there are already ancestors that match, something that makes them stop and look at the duplicates and requires a check box to continue.

I don't want to stop them from adding new profiles, but I've spent hours "fixing" duplicates for people who are already well documented, but now require us to re-edit the original profile to add the same sources, etc.
in Policy and Style by Roy Lamberton G2G6 Mach 8 (84.8k points)

3 Answers

+8 votes
Best answer

When some one enters name and birth / death dates, a list of people should be shown, which states "If any of the following appear to be a match do not proceed to create the new profile. Connect the existing profile instead."

by Linda Peterson G2G6 Pilot (803k points)
selected by Susan Smith
I  am  one   of  those  who entered a  profile  for  an  existing person, I  am  more  aware now  and  watch  for  it.  I  do  think a  big  red  stop  sign  should  pop up for  those  of  us  with apparent attention  deficit  problems. or  something  on  that  order.
However, I created a duplicate yesterday when all the initial information was identical. The only thing I had different was the married name. It wasn’t until I went to add the parents that I discovered the duplicate - and I’m experienced and quite careful.
I think that's the primary trigger that's being missed. If they create without adding a specific birth date/death date, it won't trigger. But it forces you to put *something* in there, so it's gotta be something else for this guy, maybe?
I didn't think you could add a profile without a DoB.

I would say the issue I recognize most often when I am alerted to a new merge is someone who has guessimated a date totally wildly so that the person doesn't show up as a duplicate until much, much later when another person comes across it.
Roy, a Date is required, so it could be a Death Date.  The search for a profile uses a 2 year range, I think, but I agree that I have seen a duplicate profile when everything was entered the same.  Sometimes the profiles have recently been added, so it may not have been added to the search yet, but I have seen it happen like Fiona when everything was the same.
Both people added at least 6 profiles & never noticed the dupes.

Dates were only required relatively recently and there are lots of profiles that don't have dates (over 500,000 judging by data doctor suggestions) that were created when standards were a bit looser.
This message does show, but indeed only if the DOB is there. I see two big missing parts: 1. A lot of profiles do not have country/area specified, making it impossible to match for sure and 2. Most other websites work with the private tree concept, and allow creating duplicates. The concept of one tree might be normal to us, but it is not to the others out there...
+5 votes
How are you creating profiles? Are you using a mobile device or on a computer? I'm wondering because I know certain devices didn't activate certain features for me, like placename suggestions.
by Steven Greenwood G2G6 Pilot (124k points)
The other day I made a new profile, no matches showed up so I happily created it, then went to add parents, as i knew the parents names already I did a check on find surnames to my surprise I found the profile I had just created already there, Why did that not show up in matches I thought to myself, the other profile had no manager so a quick merge was done. I was on a PC.
It is not me, it is new WT members who are just adding their family and not reading the entire screen.

If there are existing profiles, something should pop up and as "are you sure there are not any existing profiles?" much like it asks about dates. Like I said, I have spent about10 hours helping the newbie get through this, time I could have spent updating my own work.
I always review the names that pop up when I try to add a new profile.

It is people who don't look at the potential matches that cause the issue because they are not challenged to check out possible duplicates.
I think the guesstimated dates do factor in to this issue.  I recently reviewed all the nearly 2000 profiles for one of my family names -- a unique anglicization, so we are all related -- and found several duplicate profiles that seem to have been affected by a PM choosing a birth date for the parents that was based on the parents being not less than in their early teens when they had the child the PM knew about.  Since most of these people married in their mid-20s and then had kids for 20 more years, that date was often a whole generation off.
With as many false matches that the system throws up for some profiles at creation, it would be extremely annoying to have a popup warning every time.

I don't think it's possible to have warnings appear just for newbies.
Also, when matches do pop up, there could be 2 pages of people needing to be checked. Quite daunting.
+11 votes
The algorithm that wikitree uses doesn't always pick up existing profiles which can lead to unwanted duplicates. Sometimes it can be because the existing profile has different or no dates or it could be that there is a slight spelling difference or a use of a married name instead of the maiden name or using a middle name as the preferred name when some sources used the proper first name.

I have had times where i had a list of 20 possible profiles to check and i checked all 20 were not a duplicate for my intended profile only to discover when i went to add a parent or spouse that there was an existing profile already for the profile i just created. I don't know why it didn't show in the original list of potential existing profiles.

Mistakes can happen and sometimes it is caused by what people enter when creating the profiles and sometimes it could be newbies not realizing what they are looking at on the profile creation screens. Another thing could be that the newbies may have come to Wikitree from somewhere like where they have individual trees and not change their mindset to a Shared tree on Wikitree.

I applaud you for helping your fellow Wikitreer and also helping to reduce duplicates. Thank You.
by Darren Kellett G2G6 Pilot (470k points)

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