What happens when you attach a sibling to someone with an existing parent?

+3 votes

I had to detach Gilman-2 and Gilman-163 from the respective spouses and re-attach them to correct spouses. 

In the case of Gilman-163 (newly confirmed sister of Edward Gilman-12), after detaching her from an incorrect spouse, and now having her without parents, I attempted to make her SIBLING to Edward Gilman-12 (who was-- at least at the time; he won't be for much longer) son of Robert Gilman-29. I edited HER profile, selected ADD SIBLING, and then entered Edward-12 into the "existing profile" space. 

The result?

Un-named Father Gilman-598 was now the father of BOTH Edward Gilman-12 and Mary Gilman-163. 

Where the heck did he come from???

I then reconnected, one at a time, Gilman-12 and Gilman-163 to the correct (at the time) father Gilman-29.

The rest of the several siblings were not affected.

So something went haywire when I added Gilman-12 as sibling to Gilman-163.

I don't think it's supposed to work this way.


WikiTree profile: Unnamed Father Gilman
in Genealogy Help by Jillaine Smith G2G6 Pilot (781k points)

1 Answer

+3 votes
Best answer
I'm not sure if I entirely following you, but maybe this can be explained by the fact that sibling relationships on WikiTree are created by shared parentage.

That is, there's no such thing as a sibling relationship, technically speaking. It's only inferred from sharing one or more parents.

If you try to add a sibling when there is no parent, it will create an unnamed father as a placeholder so that the sibling relationship can be established.

Be sure to edit or merge that unnamed father when you have the father's information.
by Chris Whitten G2G Astronaut (1.3m points)
selected by R. G.

Chris, there was a parent.

Gilman-12 had a parent Gilman-29

Instead of adding Gilman-163 as a child of Gilman-29, I clicked on "add a sibling" on the edit page of Gilman-163 (the reason I'd done this is because all of the literature I'd been reading had led to the conclusion that Gilman-163 was a *sister* of Gilman-12, so I was in a sibling frame of mind).

After the sibling attachment was completed, Gilman-29 (as father of Gilman-12) was replaced with what I presume to be a brand-new profile, Gilman-598. Gilman-598 also showed up as parent to Gilman-163.

BUT, oh i think i'm getting it now. Gilman-163 did NOT have a parent at the time I added her as a sibling to Gilman-12 (who did have a parent). So wikitree saw "no parent for Gilman-163; we better create one" instead of seeing the existing Gilman-29 as a potential father. I can understand the creation of a new profile for a fatherless sibling, but I don't see why it replace Gilman-29, an existing parent.

In any case, I place this topic here as a warning to NOT use ADD SIBLING, even though the command is there, and the subsequent page allows you to attach an existing profile.

What would be great is if when you try to attach a parentless child as a sibling to anyone, it stopped you from doing so. Ideally, it would recognize, oh, [target sibling] has a parent; are these the appropriate parents for [attaching sibling]?

And if not that, then just prevent Attach Sibling from parent-less, existing profiles.

Or, if they each have a father, for example, one should have to actively choose which father.  If one has a father and the other doesn't, use the one that is defined.   If neither have a father, then create the unknown (or don't?).


In any case, I place this topic here as a warning to NOT use ADD SIBLING, even though the command is there, and the subsequent page allows you to attach an existing profile.


Found that out the hardway myself, it gets even more interesting when you have multiple marriages for the parents, my record was 12 unnamed fathers in one family.

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