When to choose Rejected Match?

+10 votes

This is just a reminder to folks about when to select Rejected Match:

As explained here, a rejected match should be selected when it appears the two might be the same person, but are not. 

In other words, they were born around the same time, or lived in the same place around the same time, etc.

It is not necessary to reject matches if one Jane Doe was born in 1590, and another Jane Doe was born in 1850. Those two are far enough apart as to not be confused.

I sometimes see profiles that have a VERY long list of rejected merges in the lower right section of the profile, and upon review, it's clear that there is no reason for such a rejected match.  

May I assume that when I see these, it's okay to remove the match? When it's a really long laundry list, it's difficult to find those profiles that actually MIGHT be confused with this one.


asked in Policy and Style by Jillaine Smith G2G6 Pilot (662k points)
edited by Jillaine Smith

Jillianne ~

Thanx for clarifying! 

In the case where a merge is proposed for two profiles that are not close to being a match.  What is the process to "reject" the merge?  Do you just undo the merge proposal?  I could be missing something.  But I don't see an option for that.   

I think it's possible that these long lists of rejected matches occur during the import of a gedcom when many matches are presented for consideration and have to be rejected. I have imported a couple of small gedcoms myself and found these long lists on profiles that I imported. I did remove some of them and I don't think there's any problem doing that.
Shirley, Oh dear. That's awful. Can we get that confirmed?

Mary, if someone has proposed a merge of a wildly different set of profiles, I would reject it, and include an explanation to communicate back to the proposer. Then I might remove it after if it really is VERY far apart-- like greater than 50-100 years in birth years.
Yes, that's indeed when it happens.

The Gedcom compare/import process is not very clear on this step, and especially for people new to WikiTree,

I, myself, selected a lot of profiles to reject when I imported my Gedcom, and now I wish I hadn't.
UGH, that is absolutely HORRIBLE. So is it a problem with the GEDCOM compare process-- if you have a Margaret Carter who married John Wood in your GEDCOM, is it going to display ALL Margaret Carters and Margaret Woods, no matter that their birth years are decades if not centuries apart, and demand that you reject them? That is just plain wrong!
and, as Joe says... its also when creating new profiles.

The problem is, when presented with a list of possible duplicates, the process instructions seem to imply you must mark them all. Its not clear that its not required or that its only for very close matches.

yeah, I don't know the algorithm it uses to present the list. Seems it could be fine-turned a bit.

but the bigger problem are the unclear instructions, in my opinion.
I think there may have been some updates now to the GEDCOM import process.  The instructions now clearly say you MUST reject or accept all suggestions before you'll get any "Add" buttons.  In my tree I have 1800+ suggestions (that's a lot of clicks).  So at least now maybe that's cleared up.

2 Answers

+3 votes

It is not just when you import a gedcom.  It also happens when you create a profile, or if you do a search for matches using the drop down menu.

For example, I just randomly went to my ancestor John Eaton, ran the search for matches and got 25 possible matches, none of which are close to being a match.  I should probably mark them all as rejected matches.  Try a name like John Smith and you get many dozens of possible matches, almost none of which are remotely close to being a true match.

answered by Joe Cochoit G2G6 Pilot (168k points)
Please don't mark those as rejected matches unless they are plausibly capable of being confused by a human. The software might mark a match for Rebecca Lyon, born 1902 in England, with Mary Rebecca (Jones) Lane, born in 1904 in New Zealand, but humans will not have the same problem -- and it's really annoying to have to browse through "matches" like those in order to find the pairs that are confusingly similar.
If you don't reject them, the system keeps throwing them up.  Any bad match "found" by the system is supposed to be rejected to stop the system finding it again.

The real problem here is the good matches that get rejected.  There shouldn't be anything in the rejected list worth looking for.
In my work as an Arborist, I found several matches last week which were Rejected.  Yet, when I compared them, they were identical - I mean, 'low hanging fruit' identical - so I removed the rejection and re-proposed the merge with a note that, if they want to keep the rejection, to please put a note on the bio as to why.  Guess what? Merges approved.

Although there shouldn't be anything 'worth looking for' in the Rejected Matches list, as RJ says - there unfortunately is, sometimes.

RJ: When you refer to "the system" throwing up matches, are you saying that MatchBot keeps suggesting them until they are marked as rejected?

Ros: This is one of the reasons why I asked https://www.wikitree.com/g2g/354796/improvement-request-birth-hovering-over-links-merges-matches a few days ago. It's a pain in several parts of the anatomy to have to individually click on every item in a list of rejected matches to find the ones that actually might be relevant (whether it's the child of the same name who was born in the same town 6 months later or an exact duplicate that was mistakenly created as a "rejected match").

Ellen, I don't bother marking any of them.  I am just pointing out where these long lists of rejected matches come from.  I actually don't understand the harm though if someone runs a Match Report and correctly rejects all the incorrect suggestions.

The system still finds all of these rejected matches on subsequent searches, they are just marked as already rejected in the report.
Yes, that happens a lot, Ros. One thing I would like to see is a chance for comment on an Unmerged Match. What's missing? Often, there's issues of parentage, but sometimes it's other things. A lot of times, there's uncertainty over the spelling of the LNAB. You need a closer look when one half of a proposed match has parents and siblings and the other has spouse and children. Looks good but you're not certain. (It's great to find a Census record with inlaws!)
+3 votes
In a related vein: Unmerged Match to be used when you can't rule out the match. I have seen plenty of perfectly good matches inappropriately placed in Rejected Match. Over very minor matters like a difference in spelling for the middle name. Or because one says born 1705 and the other says born before 1710. Or even because there's different spouses when the answer is that the person was widowed and remarried. Maybe one has the baptismal date entered for birth. It happens all the time.

If it could be a match, but you're not sure, Unmerged Match is where it belongs, IMO. Rejected match is when you are certain that it's two different people. That it's definitely NOT the same person.
answered by Elizabeth Winter G2G6 Mach 6 (65.7k points)

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