What have you found difficult about merging?

+1 vote
I've had a few people tell me lately that they want a tutorial on merging. I've tried to write one, but encountered a problem: I don't know what people are having trouble with. I've been doing merges for a while, and do a lot of them, so they've become second nature for me and I don't really remember what challenges there were when I first started.

So, if you've had trouble doing merges, or you haven't done merges because you're confused in any way about the process, please tell me specifically what causes difficulty/confusion for you. That way I'll be able to write a tutorial that addresses those things.

Thanks in advance! :)

in Genealogy Help by Lianne Lavoie G2G6 Pilot (423k points)
Lianne, the current problem I have is that I attempted to initiate a merge between Altig-3 and my person Altig-34. I got a response that said this merge was approved and completed back in 2011. Considering I just joined this year, how did WikiTree know I was going to request that merge back in 2011? :)  Secondly, I next checked my Watchlist and found Altig-34 still there. If the merge had actually happened I expected it to either be gone or replaced by Altig-3??
Hi Rick. The problem with your merge is that Altig-3 is a redirect. It has already been merged into Altig-20. So what you have to do is merge Altig-34 into Altig-20.

I hope that helps!


1 Answer

+2 votes
Best answer

Hi Lianne,

You've already heard from me on this, so I'll try to keep it brief.

There are three main areas that I think need to be addressed.

  1. Merging multiple copies of immediate family, ancestors, and descendants.
  2. Editing and cleaning up the merged biography.
  3. Reconciling differences in the profiles being merged.
by Fred Remus G2G6 Mach 4 (40.7k points)
selected by Mary Hammond
Good summary Fred.  I would add guidance for people to pick a sensible source / destination for the merge (A into B or B into A).
I find taking a copy of biographies before merges can be really useful !
Thanks guys!

I know Lianne is trying to distinguish what this tutorial -- started at http://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Merging_Tutorial -- should contain and how it should be different from the basics on http://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Merging and the advanced tips on http://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Merging_multiple_profiles

Wombat's point about "A into B" is covered in the latter, I think. Do you agree?

Fred's post is really helpful here. #1 touches on how to initiate merges and where to find profiles that need merging. Definitely need more explanations on these! #2 is more about style. We need a style guide that parallels http://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Name_Fields for biographies and sources. This is something we're talking about right now in the historical-ancestor user groups. (You guys should join us if you're not already.) #3 ... well ....
Sorry maybe I'm being dim but I don't think all of the nuances of merging (real or imagined) are covered and the guide assumes a certain level of knowledge that I know I don't have about how data (profile relationships) are stored in wikitree.
E.G. One of my early concerns was "If I merge a profile with a correct parents into a profile without any parent will I end up with no parents or will I get the chance to keep the right ones during the merge?"  A concerned profile manager might be put off by not having some of these "what if"s explained.  Just my two cents.

I haven't explored the user groups at all or know where to find them but on the subject of biography styles; wikitree isn't able to support my preferred biography style (formatted text with inline images) E.G. http://www.ncompass.com.au/tree/_TL&MIG.html
so I've resorted to this profile as my working draft... http://www.wikitree.com/index.php?title=Line-113

Edit: BTW Maybe there's an argument for always using http://www.webcitation.org/ for all external links?
Wombat: Line-113 is awesome!

Important thing that I'm glad I noticed: Photos like http://www.wikitree.com/photo/Line-113-5.jpg will be *deleted* from WikiTree in two weeks. We assume that a photo that isn't tagged to any person or free-space profile isn't wanted. An option here would be to create free-space profiles for the ship and church and link to those. Or link to their Wikipedia pages if they have them.
ARGH - didn't know that photos not linked to people were considered orphans :(
Maybe I should create separate pages for boats / churches / etc ? (seems like a lot of work just to achieve accuracy - will have to link those photos to a human temporarily until I find time...)
Thanks for the 'heads up' !
Hi Wombat,
I've got to agree with Chris, Line-113 is impressive.  Nice job!
I've only created one free space profile, but it's not hard at all.  Compared to the amount of work you put into Line-113, it should be a piece of cake!
Hi Fred, thanks for the bouquet and the prod :)
Your right - it is straight-forward (now that I've tried it) and it provides a useful way of collecting lots of errant bits of information...
I'm starting to feel like what's needed isn't so much a tutorial on merging, but an FAQ. There could be questions for each of those "what if"s, and it would be really easy to add to as I hear about more questions, as opposed to trying to rework a tutorial. Does that sound right?
Hi Lianne,

I really don't think an FAQ would be much help.

As Chris implied subtly, reconciling difference will be the toughy and probably can't be explained concisely.  Particularly on older ancestors, iron-clad facts are tough to come by and some people don't want to let go of their "facts" - proof or no proof.

The procedure for actually doing a merge couldn't be simpler and requires only a brief explanation.  But all the duplicate family members that need to be dealt with is worth explaining, I think.

Also, some discussion of editing the merged biography is something I think would be worthwhile.  What happens after a merge is basically just the two bio sections being concatenated.  Turning that into one coherent, readable bio is a bit of a challenge, particularly with two source sections that may duplicate sources, #S numbers, and other information.

Don't mean to be a pain in the neck, but I think this is worth doing.  For whatever reasons, a lot of WikiTreers seem to be reluctant to do merges.  Explaining the procedures might encourage more needed merges.

Does this help? http://groups.google.com/group/wikimayflower/browse_thread/thread/aa1b52bc82e55d36 Family line merges - proposed process. I described what I do for entire duplicate family lines, starting with the earliest duplicate ancestors.
Excellent detailed process Bob - Thanks!
I wish I'd seen this before I started trying to merge relatives of Oliver Cromwell :((
Something I would add is whether merging should get rid of conflicting claims. For example, if great Aunt Anne leaves a note that gets down to Bertram that the Calvins came from Detroit, but there is a county book that says Duluth....Well what if Aunt Anne provided the information to the book publishers in the first place and they screwed up? A profile by Bertram citing Aunt Anne would be more accurate than a profile by Edward citing the county book. Moreover, even if Aunt Anne is wrong, she is the source that Bertram knew. Bertram may never have seen the county book. Edward has never seen the letter from Aunt Anne.

Are both sources retained in a merge?
All the text in the main bio/sources section of the two profiles is retained when they are merged.

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