Unmerging two people who have been erroneously merged and preventing erroneous merges

+3 votes
Unfortunately I am not always on Wikitree.  I travel extensively.  While I was away, someone merged one of my ancestors with someone that couldn't possibly be the same person.  How do I unmerge?  Also, how do I prevent merges without my permission?  I know you want to clean up the tree, but merging two different people together does not clean up the tree, it only creates a host of problems
WikiTree profile: Margarite Deville
in WikiTree Help by Robin Brown G2G Crew (530 points)

2 Answers

+6 votes
Hi Robin.  Unfortunately it's not possible to undo a merge.  The only thing you could do at this point is to recreate the profile that was merged away.  If you don't have all the data at hand to do that, you may be able to find much or all of it by going through the changes log of the resultant profile.

Regarding preventing merges, you would need to be a profile manager of one of the profiles involved in any proposed merge.  You would then be notified of any merge proposal and would have the opportunity to approve or reject it within 30 days.  In the case at hand, I think you should probably contact all of the profile managers of the resultant profile and explain your concerns, offer your info and sources, and come to some mutual agreement about how to handle it.  Good luck.
by Dennis Barton G2G6 Pilot (428k points)
Any possibility of Project protection for this problematic profile?

Hi Dennis-

Katzenberg-1 IS MY ancestor.  I AM the profile manager.  He/she was merged with  Katzenberger-62.  I travel extensively and was out of the country when the merge was done.  When I returned, I was going through old emails, which usually takes over a month after an extensive trip, and found the proposed merge.  I went to stop it, but it had already been made.  I am not sure which Katzenberg Katzenberg-1 was since there are over 60 Katzenbergs in my family tree.  However, not one of them ever lived in Germany or had German roots.  Not one of them ever lived in Louisiana.  Not one of them immigrated to the US before 1785.  Not one of them was born in 1775.  And Not one were named Marguerite.  There are no DuRoches or Jeanlouis's in my tree and not a single Katzenberg has a motther with a name even similar to this.  Also, my Katzenbergs are Jewish and would not have been baptized or mentioned in any record in the Archdiocese of New Orleans Sacramental Records books.  So I am not sure why someone thought this was a duplicate record.  Other than the fact that they both had the last name Katzenberg there are no similarities.  According to this logic, we should just merge all 60 Katzenbergs in my tree into one person.  

I know that you want to clean up this collaborative tree, but just randomly merging records that have nothing in common does not clean it up, it makes a mess and destroys information already in the tree.

I don't know how to figure out what has been lost, but it is truly regrettable to lose information like this.  

I understand the frustration.  Unfortunately if you don't have the data backed up somewhere, and are unable to dig it out of the historical records of the resultant profile, I can't think of anything else to suggest.  The only thing you can do is try to retrace the steps you took originally to create the profile in the first place -- granted, not a very enjoyable task.

I notice that you are not shown as a profile manager for the current Katzenberg-1.  If you were a PM for one of the merged profiles, you should have retained that status after the merge, unless someone manually removed you.  So that's an issue you may want to ask the other PMs about.  One other thing you may want to consider for the future is that if you are expecting to have a lengthy absence, you might put a note to that effect on your own profile.  That lets other people know that you are still active on the site and plan to return, and some may extend you the courtesy of waiting longer than the standard 30 day period before initiating a merge.

I do not need or want to be the profile manager for Katzenberg-1 as I am not related to her.

How do you know that Katzenberger-62 is related to you? Going through your contributions I found all the Katzenberger's that you have included in Wikitree are still under you as Profile manager. Of course I can't see any that are unlisted.

Was this email an actual merge requested email or a Wikitree family news email? I suspect the later as I doubt that you were the profile manager for any of the Merged profiles.

It is possible that someone else has people with the family name of Katzenbuerger who had someone called Marguerite who was born in 1751. Looking at the history of the merged profiles shows that you did not upload them to Wikitree.
+3 votes

Robin, I took a look at all of the merged-away profiles to try and figure out where the error could have been. In all cases, they appeared to represent the same person. According to the change logs, following is their information at the time of their creation. Some of them went through other changes after that, before they were merged into Katzenberg-1, but after reviewing their changes, there isn't anything to suggest they shouldn't have been merged.

  • Katzenberg-1, Marguerite Katzenberg, created 03 Nov 2011, born 10 May 1751 in La. [later edited to be 09 May 1751 in Germany], died 1794 in La. [later edited to 1795]
  • Katzenberg-2, Marguerite Katzenberg, created 03 Nov 2011, born 10 May 1751 in La., died 1794 in La.
  • Katzenberger-55, Marguerite Katzenberger, created 25 Apr 2015, born 1751 in La., died 1790 in La.
  • Katzenberger-62, Margarete Katzenberger, created 09 Jun 2016, born 1751 in La., died 1795 in La.

I don't know where or how your ancestor's profile would have gotten mixed in with these profiles. I found nothing in the change logs about another Marguerite Katzenberg/Katzenberger getting merged in to this group. It's a mystery. But regardless, since a merge can't be undone as someone else has said, about the only suggestion I can make for your missing ancestor is to create a new profile for her, making sure to include as much information as you know or can reasonably estimate, so that she doesn't get accidentally confused again, and link her to the appropriate branch of your tree.

I hope that helps, and so sorry for your frustration.

by Joyce Rivette G2G6 Pilot (112k points)

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