How can you be sure you're not duplicating a profile with 40 possible matches?

+11 votes

I was recently trying to fill out some ancestor lines on Isaac Saunders [[Saunders-2753]], father of one of my ancestors.  I ended up at Thomas Potter (1676-1750), [[Potter-2875]] created that profile, and went on to his wife, a Mary Babcock (1669-). As I expected, the possible duplications were overwhelming, 30-40 or so. I'm not complaining about going through the list before creating a new profile, mind you. But some of the ones I view (and this is so often the case when I've done this for other ancestors) have so little information, you can't really say they're the same or not, even though you suspect that some of them probably are.

So, what do you recommend doing in these situations?  Create the new profile (and add to the clutter, knowing there is probably duplication there somewhere)? Match it with the most likely one? Contact some other profile managers? Maybe not add it at all and put a note on the biography of a child's profile? 

Please give me a few guiding rules to follow.

WikiTree profile: Mary Potter
asked in Policy and Style by Bob Scrivens G2G6 Mach 1 (16.4k points)
recategorized by Keith Hathaway

Great question. Seems to be a ton of Mary Babcocks all born in the same area around the same time. I think for your purposes, you should probably connect to Babcock-1193, but with WikiTree presenting SO MANY potential matches with no dates and little information, I'm fairly certain one of the lower-numbered Babcocks is a duplicate. So you might want to hold off on Mary Babcock merges till both Babcock-1193 and all the others have better sources and lineage. Good luck!

oh dang - I just realized you already created a profile for her. You can either mark Babcock-1193 & Babcock-1216 as an unmerged match (meaning more research is needed) or add a link to the highly probable duplicate in the biography area. With all the Mary Babcocks, you probably don't want to start merging until you can not only tell them apart but figure out which has the lowest ID number. Cheers, Liz
and, since I didn't really answer your question in my previous comments (hopefully another Arborist will offer some opinions), I would say that NOT working on a profile for her is my least favorite option. You're right, adding another duplicate isn't ideal, but it gives you somewhere to start trying to gather documentation and strengthening the identify of this Mary Babcock and a place to collaborate. If you can figure out if Babcock-1193 is the lowest WikiTree ID, propose a merge so that y'all can collaborate on a single profile.

Question to fellow Arborists - should the clear duplicates be merged even though the lowest ID number hasn't been determined?
Are there not children or spouses or parents or siblings that would point you to the correct Babcock?
Eugene - not as much as could be hoped. see for example (nada) and (looks like it should be a match on vicinity and general timeline, but dates that are there are far enough apart to make it seem they're not a match (that and they married to different guys, but in that time multiple marriages were common, so they can't be ruled out as a match because of that).
I SEE! There isn't much there on Babcook-11. Must be a stray created through a GedCom import. That's another reason not to like them. Perhaps a super should step in and adopt this stray and work with the other manager to put the profile to good use.
Yea, that was part frustration. I figured I could do the merges after.

Actually, I was really addressing the more general problem that occurs when you find a lot of potential matches but the profiles have virtually nothing but the name, maybe one date or place.

RE: Eugene's comment: "Are there not children or spouses or parents or siblings that would point you to the correct Babcock?

Of course there are! You can probably eliminate half of them that way.

The problem is the one's that don't even have those minimal details. Then, there are the dates that are pretty close, close enough to make you think they're not exact; the same is true of places: there are three or four places around the Rhode Island area that are proximate to one another, and that, again, makes you suspicious that you may be looking at a match.

4 Answers

+7 votes
Best answer

To answer Liz question. I wouldn't merge them because of the redirect issue.  Makes it really hard to piece incorrectly merged profiles  back together. Lately I'm finding lots of redirects when fixing merge issues which makes the process very time consuming.

I will take a look and see if I can find the lowest #.

This is What I do with so many possible duplicates. Which depends on the amout of time you want to spend working on this specific profile.

 1.Look  at the list of Mary Babcock's & find the ones with no dates. These are the profiles you will want to post a question on the profile page asking for more information such as an estimated birth or death date. Hoping you get a response.

2. Start comparing the profiles to the lowest number you can find. Mark all the ones that aren't duplicates as rejected matches. Which makes things much easier later when someone else starts working on narrowing down the duplicates for this name.
answered by Michelle Hartley G2G6 Pilot (149k points)
selected by Keith Baker
Bob I'm not finding a lot of duplicates according to the birthdate. I've added estimated birth dates to some of these profiles with the guess template at the top of the Bio. I found a few that were duplicates but not to the profile you are working on. I'm still looking for the lowest #.

I went and marked a bunch of those profiles that were similiar but not duplicates as rejected matches.  Some of the profiles with no dates I added estimated dates if the parents or spouse had birth dates. I usually estimate 20yrs difference. Placing the date guess template on the profile so others see its only an estimated date. On profiles without dates I asked for more info. This should help narrow down the lowest numbered profile.
+3 votes
RE: Mary Potter;  Everything that Liz has said is what has to be done.  There is only 1 profile per member according to the policy of wikitree.  Insteadof adding another profile, start merging the ones that have no data in them to your profile for Mary Potter. Eventually, you will reach the lowest number profile.  Its a lot of time comsuming work but it has to be done.   Mary
answered by Mary H. G2G6 Mach 7 (78.2k points)
Thanks ladies, I have found this interesting and helpful.

Please find the lowest numbered profile first. Until one has the pleasurefrown of fixing a bad merge with multiple redirects it's hard to understand just how bad multiple redirects are.

A profile may appear to have no data. In the changes tab there might be data that was once in the profile. Not in every instance though. Say there's a bad merge. In order to correct it a new profile will need to be created. The changes tab will show all the data.  If each of those profiles with "no data" actually had data in the changes tab how do we decifer what data to use? If there were four profiles merged into the same one and all four had different data in the changes tab which data would we use? We could possibly figure it out. But, who has that much time?

Please please please avoid redirects at all costs if possible.

Nae has a good post about redirects.



+2 votes
I'm not sure this will help you.

    When I find such cases, I look to the biographies  of  the suspects to see if there are any duplications of spouses, parents, or children for two (or more) profiles.  I leave messages on such profiles suggesting that they be merged.

   One should also pay attention to places and dates mentioned in the biographies.  There will be some that will obviously not match, and these can be sorted out.  It's a process of elimination, and one needs to do this extremely carefully, consulting other sources, including wikipedia for information.
answered by Dan Sparkman G2G6 Mach 1 (17.5k points)
–1 vote
Check each one.
answered by Anonymous Vickery G2G6 Pilot (236k points)
Thanks John....

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