Reducing Gedcom file size

+2 votes
I'm new to WikiTree, and I have a question as pertains to ancestors from before 1700 and 1500. The guidance seems to say you need to be certified to work on those profiles. I am just an amateur, but I have  ancestors on both my maternal and paternal sides that go back to that period on my tree. In an attempt to limit the size of my GEDCompare file, I eliminated my maternal side of my tree. The resultant file was still over 1000 people. Should I now eliminate all ancestors from 1600 and earlier since apparently I wouldn't be able to edit their profiles without jumping some hoops.
WikiTree profile: Joe Ellis
in WikiTree Help by Joe Ellis G2G Crew (310 points)
recategorized by Jillaine Smith

4 Answers

+7 votes
Best answer
HI Joe,

I'm bound to bump into you out there, Cousin!   I'm relatively new to Wikitree too, and have been slogging through my 3800-person  GEDcom file since July.   Only recently did I lose my sense of humor and ask for advice on how to "pray my profiles out of Pergatory!" I had already invested so much time in my monolith GEDcom, that starting fresh with a smaller one was still going to be a lot of repetition.  Besides that , my brother in Hawaii is possessive of the family's presence, and I'm sure would get a little snippy if I came back asking for different permutations of the GEDcom.  I'm sure he's already feeling usurped--he had been quietly doing a lot more work on it than any of us had realized.  So that wasn't an option.   What I did get was the very important advice to NOT HIT REFRESH once you get going, even though it says to every three days.  Doing so turns the whole thing into a Sisyphean exercise that'll make you lose your fire for all this, as your rejected matches get replaced with a new bumper crop of even worse matches to click and drag, reminiscent of Trouble with Tribbles on Star Trek.  No, it's going much faster now that I've left Sisyphus'  rock up where it belongs!   

I'm still forging ahead in spite of all the admonitions that it's a fool's errand, because what I'm finding is that a) almost half of the heritage ancestors are already in the system, so matching to them means I don't have to enter a new profile at all (Only about 20% of the time does it look like mine have more/better info, and it remains to be seen how well sourced some of my stuff is.) and, unless I'm mistaken, by matching, then my new additions will inherit all the linkages of the profiles I attach them to as children, siblings, parents, etc.  So, I don't  yet agree that it's less work to start manually, but I may later be convinced.   And dont' assume the pre-1700 certification process requires a specialized PhD and is going to leave you out in the cold.  They basically just want to make sure you know to take it seriously, that you understand it's not your own bat and ballpark anymore like it is in Ancestry, that project groups have probably spent way more person-hours on trying to get it right  than you will ever be able tol,  and that you understand how things got majorly effed up early on by bull-in-China-shop GEDcom import behavior, etc.  I got pre-1700 certified lickity split, but ironically the result is that I"m only matching to pre-1700 right now.  Like you, I'm anxious to have some sense of accomplishment by getting at least one "Pilgrim pull-through' linked up; I'll make a later pass through the matched ones to see if I've got anything to enhance, and if my incremental info isn't well-sourced, I'll still get in touch to see if maybe this more specific birthday, or that city in France with the accents properly applied, or that complete list of offspring I have, might be the  one hook  they needed to finally snag an elusive source in their searches.  There tend to be projects working on almost everything in my heritage generations.  Oh and a key trick when you match is to NEVER leave the "automated updates" selected for the Sources section -- leave it as original text and cut and paste in your additions from the update preview, and  put them where they belong.

Another reason I'm wanting to find a way for the GEDcom digital breadcrumb trail to work, is that it's giving my 92-year old mother a lot of satisfaction that all of her work researching and populating Family Tree Maker in the 90's, is now contributing to this effort, not to mention all the work my great grandmother did, to take her mind off worrying about my grandfather fighting in World War 1.  (Lifelong mustard gas cough, but survived until he was 70.   i missed him by a year!).  What fascinates me is that she did such a good job researching, that the job was essentially done--for good!    How much in life can you say that about?   That's what has me at this keyboard.  Yes, it needed to be digitized and verified, which dilutes the impact of my story.  But all the more reason that if the next layer from my Mom can contribute to this even more cumulatively, we can all feel better about the accelerated progress. So if i have to paddlle like hell underwater to make it appear that way, I'm willing to do that, even if I have to clean up mess after to mess on new profiles I push into the system,I like that it will still keep her digital signature on it.  I know that might sound a bit sentimental or foolhardy to the hardcore types on here, but hopefully they'll take a breath and remember this is about family.

One last point now that I'm officially long-winded here.  My great grandmother who did all the work--her father is our family's revered civil war hero  We all have one, if our families have been in this country for a minute.  ((sorry, not an Ellis--they met their quota in the Revolution, as you probably know only too well.)  My Dad used to read from his war diary as we sat down to dinner every Memorial Day Weekend. "1700 we left, 300 we returned, etc. etc."  We would get choked up.  We were honoring his memory.  Imagine that?  I'm convinced it made the burgers taste better too.  On that note, we obviously have a meaty profile for him in the GEDcom.   Well, when I came upon his match in Wikitree, I took a cursory look and saw that a totally unrelated volunteer was managing it.  I probably came in with a little bit of 'tude, basically like "thanks for babysitting this, but a descendant is here now.  I got this," expecting her to hail me as her liberator and step out of the way.  But, instead, she said "why don't we manage it together and get it nice and cleaned up? It sounds like you've got some great stuff!"  And I did, but then humility shot at me from my monitor, as I saw what a beautiful, respectful job she had done on my GGGF's profile.   I was floored.   I asked her how she can nurture that level of interest in someone else's family.  She said that her ancestor had fought in the same regiment, and she wasn't sure who he was friends with, so she basically props them all up in case they were.  She made sure I knew that I had ask -forgiveness-not-permission status on our co-owned profiles, (but I was under no misconception that she didn't have standards that she intended to maintain.)

I"m so glad I had that lesson so early on.  This is community property tended by volunteers.  Tread lightly!  Especially if it looks like the profile manager gives a hoot and has stayed engaged.  And of course, this co-manager of my GGGF's profile doesn't miss an opportunity to thank me for every little thing I do.   It's a nice counter balance to all the thankless tasks all of our lives entail :)

OK-sorry for the length--I think I needed to give this pep talk to myself as much as to you!

Yours in Surname,

Bernard Ellis
by Bernard Ellis G2G3 (4.0k points)
selected by Bernard Ellis
Great post!  Thank you for writing it!
Much appreciated--thank you for reading it!  It keeps me from thinking how many GEDcom suggested matches I could have processed instead!
+9 votes
I have learn the hard way that Wikitree is not built for Gedcom-files.I imported 1200 and I should only have started with 20 persons by Gedcom. Then I had realized how much work it is with these 20 to make them easy to read. Because for example the source should not be written under Source but above.!... to be seen the proper way.  It is easier to rewrite each person one by one  into WikiTree..
+5 votes

Well Joe, if you don't have the certifications to work on those era Profiles in WIkiTree, GEDCOMpare knows this and simply won't permit you to add them.  And though I am big user of GEDCOM files, due to the nature of Sources for Pre-1700/1500 Profiles, you are better off adding those manually anyways.

You might want to take a look at this page as it has some tips, hints and links to WikiTree Help pages to assist you in transitioning your GEDCOM file to WikiTree. Especially useful for the newer user of GEDCOMpare and WikiTree itself.

GEDCOM File Usage Primer

This should answer your question and possibly some you haven't thought of yet when you start using GEDCOMpare.

I strongly suggest you take a look at various existing WikiTree Profiles especially like those you mentioned, to get a feel of what we are trying to accomplish here.  WikiTree is bit different in how information is presented than other sites or programs.  There is a link to Examples of Good Profiles on that page.

by LJ Russell G2G6 Pilot (169k points)
+7 votes
When I started, I did use gedcoms. My first upload was too big, although it was, as I recall, only 3 generations. After that, for a short time, I uploaded single nuclear family gedcoms. That was too much, also, as I wanted the profiles to be clean & easy to read. There was so much editing required to eliminate the gedcom junk, I might as well have just created each profile manually.

I now create each profile manually, and I recommend it as being accurate, faster, and less frustrating.
by L Sauls G2G6 Mach 1 (13.5k points)
edited by L Sauls

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