Why is the error report flagging unique first names?

+16 votes
Error 511 on the new error report appears whenever the program thinks that it has found a unique name.  I would like to suggest that a unique name is not an error.  Many non-European people have unique names.  Native Americans come to mind.  Many African Americans try very hard to find a unique name for every new child.  Calling every unique name an error could be very off-putting to some of the very people who we would like to be adding to the Wikitree database.

I understand that the unique name editing is an effort to make Wikitree files easier to match against other files.  I think that Ancestry.com has demonstrated that computer logic can be made to do reasonable matching without forcing users to make their data conform to standards.  Ancestry matching is far from perfect, but it has improved over the years.

Instead of editing the first name field for uniqueness, I would suggest that we edit that field for the multiple names that the GEDCOM decoding routine has been putting there.  The program needs to look for alpha characters followed by a space followed by more non-space characters.
in WikiTree Tech by Pat D Saunders G2G6 (8.1k points)
retagged by Maggie N.

>> I understand that the unique name editing is an effort to make Wikitree files easier to match against other files

Its a way to find profiles with errors.....

Check 511 errors reported its enormous a lot of garbage uploaded see links below

0000-0000    0001-1499    1500-1699    1700-1799    1800-1899 1900-1999  2000-Now   Now-9999 
52066     6710      13045    23179      118249   79108     1575         9    
There are a lot of 511 errors but many of them have nothing to do with truly unique first names.  More than half of mine had both a first and a second name in the first name field.  Many of those second names came from someone else's family name.  I.e. "Freas Brown", "Florence Wythel", etc.  I would welcome an error message that told me that I had multiple names in the first name field.  I really don't want to have to look at large numbers of error messages that tell me that no other profiles have the first name "Freas". etc.

I would welcome an error message that told me that I had multiple names in the first name field.

Problem is that this is a World Wide family tree so you need to specify a name rule like

  1. For profiles in Norway
  2. Before 1800
  3. Then the first name if it ends with xxx is wrong

==> Then an new error in the database error report could be defined if that is wrong ..... 


A search on Freas on page ShowFirstNames ==> it's just 3 profiles that get the error 511 ;-)


Total: 3 FirstNames for "Freas".

First Name Total Public Gender Empty Gender Female Female (%) Gender Male Male (%) Name Type
Freas 1 1 0 0 0.00 1 100.00 Undefined
Freas Bennington 1 1 0 0 0.00 1 100.00 Undefined
Freas Brown 1 1 0 0 0.00 1 100.00 Undefined



See also section Validation

I have a problem with these errors too. I have a gggrandmother whose name is Coramay and a distant aunt by the name of Watana - both were flagged unusual names. Both two weeks in a row were flagged as a false error and continue to appear. I am trying to eliminate all my errors, but this will never happen at this rate.
If those names are spelled correctly, click false error and that is it.
If you did that, can you tell me the profiles wikitreeids so i can check what the problem is.
I have also had names I had previously flagged as "False Errors" turn up again. Always Maori names. Maybe we can flag the identified language of a name as a way to validate the "False Error" and prevent it returning.

Errors marked false error should not appear again 

You dont have a language flag its when a name appear more than 5 times in the database it's not seen as an error see Space:DBE_511 section Validation

"It must appear at least 5 times, to be considered correct."

Kellas-88 is flagged error 511 because


Lynlee, as stated before, it shouldn't happen. Give me the profile ID, so I can check if something works wrong.

1 Answer

+14 votes
Best answer
I think.unique names is a great potential error to for. Many.of my British relations have a "first" name which is an ancestor's surname and i appreciate being encouraged to look for misspellings.  I also enjoy reducing the number of "errors" by hitting "false error".

None of the African American Arbuthnots have a problem with this feature.
by William Arbuthnot of Kittybrewster G2G6 Pilot (186k points)
selected by Living Sälgö
I was just thinking about comparing first names also to lastnames, since it is often used and would significantly reduce false errors.
That would be good.  It was not unusual for a son to be given a first or middle name that was the surname of his grandfather.
I too like the feature.  There are many names with unusual, possibly unique spellings.  But sometimes it's just a typo.  It really does no harm to point out an unusual name.  It just gives everyone the opportunity to verify that it is correct as it stands, or to correct it.

Oh, I had to google Aleš.  Likely Czech, a variant of Alexander.  :-)
Now I should be offended. I am from Slovenia, not Slovakia. And Aleš has nothing in common with Alexander. :-)
According to the website I looked at, the name is most common among Czechs, followed by Slovenians and Slovakians.  And they definitely said it was a form of Alexander (or Aleksander, etc., etc.).  This may be another fine example of why you shouldn't believe everything you read on the internet.  :-)
I think a classification called something like "warning" or similar would be warranted. I think a lot of the people reacting strongly to the various kinds of errors are reacting mostly to their connotations of what the word "error" means to them.

Some of the errors are straight up undeniably errors. "Father is self" for instance. 511 includes a bunch of obvious errors, but it also includes a bunch of perfectly legit names, so I think it should be classified differently and presented differently to users.
Hopefully, I've been doing the right thing as finding several ancestors that actually had unique names i.e. Edstel, Colanza, Eada Edie, etc.  Since these profiles are sourced and the unique name appears on a majority of the evidence I've just been flagging them as "False Error".
I too have some ancestors with very uncommon names.  One of my grandmothers, as one example, had the first and middle names "Lura Leota."  That's not an error and I have also been clicking on False Error on those.  I don't see how that could be a problem.  If the name is correct as it stands, that seems like the only thing to do.
Fred, I believe we share that same ancestor... chuckle.  After clicking the false error I also click the temp hide in hopes that it will not reappear.

According to Wikitree's relationship calculator, my grandmother is your 16th cousin once removed!  Small world.  :-)  I should add the caveat that I have not researched and verified the medieval ancestor you share with Grandma (Richard Talbot, abt. 1361 - 1396), but somebody on Wikitree says it's so!  :-)


Maybe you're right, but this really doesn't strike me as a serious issue.  The errors list calls our attention to these because they could be errors.  To me, it's worthwhile to go back and check your sources to make sure the name is spelled correctly.  If a given name is unique in all of Wikitree, that doesn't automatically mean it's wrong, but it does suggest that it might be worth checking.

In any case, if the name is correct as it stands, it's one click on the False Error link and it's gone from the error list.  This, to me, presents no meaningful problem.  It's just something worth verifying.

I too have been first searching the names, if they're proven I select false error, then temporarily hide the error. After my query, if the name is still questionable, I try to contact the profile manager in an effort to resolve the issue. I hope this practice doesn't create more work for someone else.

If you select False error, there is no need to temporarily hide it. It is already hidden due to False error.

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