So Many Merges Required

+13 votes
I stumbled across a lot of duplicates, it looks like two duplicate family trees.  They cover many generations and many children of each generation.  I stopped proposing merges as there are so many.  If someone likes proposing merges, this would be a fun task.  I also think they will need guidance as where to start the merges.

There is a slight difference in the spelling of the last name but everything else is the same Ownbey_259 vs Owenby_30
WikiTree profile: Joshua Owenby
in WikiTree Help by S Stevenson G2G6 Pilot (153k points)

3 Answers

+15 votes
Best answer
Often this happens in families that change the spelling of their name. Someone will take the old original spelling and work forward and someone else will take the present name and work backward. The trick is finding where the change was and having that person born with the old and current with the new.
by Steven Tibbetts G2G6 Pilot (350k points)
selected by Shaun Doust
You also have my 'favourite', the sloppy gedcom import. I've frequently found multiple copies of people with no difference except perhaps which relatives they have. Sometimes it's an entire branch of a family tree that's been duplicated by the same importer, who has built the branches separately for two people they apparently didn't realize were siblings.

And then you have the people attached to the wrong families...
Awesome comment R that should have been an answer!
+9 votes
Ack! The worst is when I find a family to connect to that already has a previous merge, I often find that there are a bajillion children, all half to each other because the whole family wasn’t merged. Here’s a really bad one....


This is a direct ancestor of mine that I connected to, but someone had already been there before me merging William, but not his wife (wives?!?) nor his eight hundred children (hyperbole, yes, I know).  I have come across more than a few of these. Guess I’ll have to start sending out those merge requests, huh?

Off to the races!
by Pip Sheppard G2G Astronaut (2.5m points)
+4 votes
May I also suggest that if you can access original handwritten sources you should study very closely the surnames of various sources.

An example of a family I have worked on recently.

Frydenlund from a gedcom in 2011 & not touched since

Just two of the surname variations was Frydenlance & Floydenlund

If you come across this add a note to the bio so that others do not just accept the transcription version.

By the way - that gedcom family had multiple duplicated profiles from an Ancestry source but hopefully with a bit of work all is solved
by Roger Davey G2G6 Mach 3 (30.3k points)
The problem with "original, handwritten" sources is that often names were written by others, such as a census, and the person writing it spelled it as they though it should be without asking the actual persons -- if that person actually new how they spelled their name.

This can be true even in "modern" time (1800-present) as I have a marriage licence c.1905 apparently filled out by the town clerk where the groom's name is given three times and with two different spellings.

Going further back in time, when a large majority of the population could not read or write, we are more likely to have diffing spellings in various sources. Even cemetery monuments can be wrong.
Does putting in all the various names under Other Last Names help with the search function?  Is it more likely to find someone also looking at these other last names?


I usually search before starting a new profile and do find similar versions of names provided back, but would like to know if it uses all the names provided.  In other words, is it worth it to put them in?

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