Invasion of the Smiths....

+5 votes
114 views
Just an observation and later a thought....

Usually I look at the most active surnames for the previous day when I log on and see near the top of the list is Smith.

All these new smiths, keep reminding me of the scene in the Matrix: Reloaded where more and more Agent Smith's keep popping out of the woodwork to fight neo.

Don't get me wrong, smith is a common surname and it's natural to have a lot of them. I'm not criticizing anyone for creating a smith profile.

But that brings me to a thought.

I wonder just how many duplicate smiths we have out there.  I would guess quite a lot.  The problem with smith and more common surnames is when you create a profile you can sometimes get a very long list of possible matches.   Made worse if you create a female, which then you get a match for women who married a person named smith.

It's easy for a person to miss a match or just disregard the list if too long.

I'm not sure what a solution could be, but it's a matter worth thinking about.
in The Tree House by Craig Albrechtson G2G6 Mach 8 (85.7k points)

3 Answers

+8 votes
In my opinion, unfortunately the current matching algorithm is not very useful. It's way too broad in what it finds. I understand that it's a delicate balance between returning too narrow of search results and too broad of search results. But I think that there are certain things that can be done to assist the matching algorithm and improve it.
by Eric Weddington G2G6 Pilot (240k points)
I agree, even when I create a male, I occasionally get a match where the surname isn't even remotely close in spelling.  It doesn't even phonetically sound the same.
I fully agree. I get about 100 profiles to check every time I add a Smith. I do a quick scan down to see if any jump out as possible matches but I'm obviously not going to check every single profile individually.
+3 votes
Hi Craig,  I am probably the PM on a lot of those Smiths.  Separating and sorting Smith families is kind of my thing.  Yes, the lists are way too long for a common Smith first name, but I usually try to add one of the less common names in a family first to see if the family is already there. If a family has a John, Mary, Sarah, Joseph and Harold, I look for the Harold first.  It isn't foolproof, but it does catch a lot of duplicates before they happen.

But no matter the methods and precautions, there are going to be duplicates.  When I create a duplicate in error, I state that I created it in error, sorry, please merge into the earlier profile.

When I run into any duplicates on the WikiTree, I initiate a merge request.
by Kitty Smith G2G6 Pilot (557k points)
+2 votes
I agree there are too many Smiths. I once considered changing my own name to Asmith. By the way is you happen to have any information on any Smith's in my tree I'd be appreciative. My white whale is my ggg-grandfather Elisha Smith. He appears out of the blue in the 1850 census.
by Patrick Smith G2G Crew (600 points)
Maybe he is related to my John L. Smith who also appears out of the blue in 1850 ....  !!!

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