Help on Merges for Wikitreers

+2 votes
This is a suggestion, rather than a question.

I think it would be really useful if WikiTree could put together a nice tutorial on doing merges.  There are TONS of duplicate records in the database and I think a lot of Wikitreers are confused/intimidated by the merge process.  A detailed tutorial would be really helpful.

These things are not simple, but are urgently needed to make Wikitree work the way it's meant to work.
in Genealogy Help by Fred Remus G2G6 Mach 4 (40.9k points)
I agree. I love Wikitree, but there's so much I don't know yet. Good request. Thanks

2 Answers

+1 vote
I agree. I made a number of profiles that should have been merged, but the process of asking to be trusted and not getting a reply got to be a major stumbling block.  Perhaps a 'tentative' match could be a solution. I guess this would be similar to an unmerged match, though.
by Tom Bredehoft G2G6 Pilot (195k points)
Thanks, Tom.  I think another problem is people worried about getting their records "messed up" by merging them with records they believe are less accurate.  The process of working with someone to come up with mutually agreeable "facts" may also be a barrier to people doing this much needed work.

I keep all my personal records on my PC, so I don't worry too much about a record getting messed up, but we do want the Wikitree data to be as accurate as possible and getting to that can be problematic.
If people are saying they don't want to merge because it's "their" profile and they don't want other people touching it, I suggest you politely refer them to the honour code: Collaboration is what we're about, after all!
When I first started, 'way back in August, I kept encountering profiles entered by .ged transfer. I asked to be trusted and got no reply at all, I assumed that the contributor had moved on to other hobbies and was no longer responding to WikiTree requests. I eventually learned just what my options were and the problem no longer bothers me.
Another reason it's sometimes hard to merge is because there are long lists of people with the same name, but no other data. I click on one name after another and come to a dead end. No spouses, siblings, dates, nothing. So I wouldn't know if there was a match or not and there's no where to click to see if there are other relatives.
so Tom - Spill!  What are the options that make this problem of not being trusted go away?
Debby, I agree! I am new here, and I can already see that. I have for instance "John Doe"...then when I search for possible matches/merges, I get 3-5 possible matches. The only trouble as you said, are that every one of those possible matches has (beyond just a first and last name) zero additional information/data. No dates, no relatives, etc.

so Tom - Spill!  What are the options that make this problem of not being trusted go away?

I'm not sure that my method is approved, so if you get in trouble with this, you're on your own.

I develope a new profile for the matched individual, then, when all family members are attached, all dates, etc., entered, I propose a merge, this does not allow me to be trusted with other than that individual, but I don't want that (trust) anyway.

Once I have proposed a merge, whether the other party responds or not, the merge proposal is recorded. 

This isn't perfect, but it's the best I've come up with. 

Thanks for sharing. I've actually used the unmerged match selection to track profiles I've asked to be added to that I need to study to see if they're a match to my line.  Again, not perfect, but I found that's better than taking paper notes.

Cheers, Liz
If there's a merge request pending, perhaps the person responsible for the final merge might see a notice each time they get on WikiTree. The notice could also have a link to a tutorial and the honor code.

The notice could also be included in the Watch List Report  they receive every Wednesday.
+1 vote

This is something that could be put together pretty easily, I think. I do a lot of merging so perhaps this is something I could work on. :)

Have you already read this page? It would help if you could tell me what specifically confuses/intimidates people, so I could make a point to address it in the tutorial.

On a semi-related note, are you aware of the user groups? We currently have 3 Google Groups for people to collaborate on merging profiles that have particularly large numbers of duplicates: European aristocrats, Acadians, and Mayflower families. And I'm always open to starting a new group if there's another category of profiles that could use a lot of work.


by Lianne Lavoie G2G6 Pilot (428k points)
I'm sure you'd address the obvious complexities of all the ancestors, descendants and siblings that need to be fixed after a merge.  Besides that, the biggest issue is cleaning up the merged bio.  I've mention elsewhere that editing biographies could be a subject all by itself for that kind of tutorial.

As for possible projects for a group, one comes immediately to mind: Mareen "The Emigrant" Duvall and his descendants.  Duvall was a Huguenot, and thus basically on the losing side of a religious/political conflict in France.  He was born in 1625 and immigrated to Maryland sometime around 1658-1660.  To further confuse matters, he has three or four descendants also named Mareen Duvall.

I am far from an expert on Duvall (To paraphrase Will Rogers, "All I know is what I read on the internet."), but if someone is knowledgeable in this area, he and his descendants are quite the mess.  They could use some expert attention.
Thanks for the suggestions. This is a great idea for a help page. Hopefully it'll get more people confident enough to merge their duplicates! :)

There's been some talk of eventually expanding the Mayflower group to include a broader category of early American settlers. I wonder if Duvall might fit into that? There actually aren't that many duplicates of him (though I didn't search for his children) compared to some of the huge messes we've cleaned up.
"My" record for Duvall currently has four profile managers - the result of merges.  It's the descendants where things start getting messy.
I finished the last few merges on Mareen "The Emigrant" Duvall. I would try to sort out his descendants, but I can't seem to find a reliable source for them. Websites all seem to have different lists of children, so I don't trust them. So I guess we will need an expert here, or at least someone who has a good book on this family!
Thanks so much Lianne!  Yes, I've seen the various lists of children.  Most, sadly, with no sources cited.  I've also seen two completely different sets of parents for him.  Again, no sources. *sigh*

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