Help:GEDCOMpare Improvements

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Categories: GEDCOMs

Here are bug report and suggestions for the new GEDCOMpare system. See this announcement in G2G and reply there if you have something to add, or start a new post using the tag GEDCOMpare. If you're a WikiTree Leader, you can add it here directly.


Suggested Improvements

Middle Name/Other Last Names Export Import

Improve Middle Name and Other Last Name Import and Export from Artin Modaresi (note from Abby, the current system allowing live edits should make the import issue a non-issue. You can move the names to where they go at that time)

Larger Compete Checkbox

Make the box larger from Whitney Rapp

Retain Parent Connection When Multiple Spouses

If a parent remarries, the connection to the correct spouse isn't always clear, for instance Dad remarried. On the gedcom, you have to choose which spouse to attach as mother or no mother attaches at import.

More fuzzy logic in matching names

Found that small differences in names that were indeed matches were not shown in matches due to small spelling differences Spellman vs Spellmann, Levi vs Levy, etc. From Arthur Brennan

Give matches based on correlating relationships

(I think this is like what does when you match one person to a record; suddenly you can now match that person's family to existing profiles you might have.) From Arthur Brennan (this seems to be similar to Scott's request for more details shown on matches to easily distinguish valid from not even close)

Pre-1700 (1811) Patronymics-Unknowns-Capitalized Prepositions

I really appreciate all the work that you all are doing and totally understand you want to give everyone (including new members who just arrived ?) a way and chance to add their familytree or sources here in a more quick and easy way by testing the new Gedcompare system, but wondering about it, some people after asking them if they perhaps could clean up the profiles a bit, are telling they only use WikiTree to 'dump' their Tree and using it for updating or get matches or input for the familytree they are workig on elsewhere and are not planning to work on anything after they have added them, so in other words the cleaning up, sourcing. correcting things is coming down to..the active WikiTree and projectmembers again, who have been working on this for quite some years now, so is it really needed, new inexperienced members are able to import/add Pre-1700 profiles ? Timmerman-225 07:41, 20 November 2017 (EST)

  • Pre-1700 profiles, is there a message somewhere in the Gedcompare that tells people they should look for and get in touch with or contact Projects before adding perhaps a whole bunch of Pre-1700 duplicates (again) that no longer show up as matches because of the corrected last names we have here now, and that these members probably would not even recognize as matches also ? And what happened to the Introduction course or How To WikiTree for new members has it stopped ?
  • I noticed a few Gedcompares where all Patronymics were Unknowns, or the last names with capitalized prepositions or pasted together again, I don't know if it's caused by the Gedcoms these members are uploading or if the Gedcompare system is causing this and changing them all in the old way again ? If these members are going to add them all this will really mean we will be back where we were in no time.
  • Looking at some newly added profiles that all are Unsourced but without the Unsourced template being added, they now all and only say Unsourced family tree handed down to so and so, or they are filled with the same old only member Ancestry links again, it's worrying to see how many members that just arrived, now are adding thousands of these kind of profiles including Pre-1700 ones, in just a few days or weeks. It seems strange that if other new members would add profiles in this speed and looking this way manually, they probably would be stopped or get a MIR filed or worse be blocked in no time, so I'm trying to understand what is the difference between new members trying out this Gedompare system and new members that are adding these kind of profiles manually?
  • Related G2G from a new member who wants to add her familytree (5000 profiles) using gedcompare and is frustrated by all the suggestions gedcompare match quality needs improvement

Prominent Link to Help:GEDCOMpare on the top of the Gedcompare screen

PROBLEM: The checkboxes on the lefthand side of the Gedcompare table seem to be a recurring source of problems for users who don't understand their function. People may mistakenly check the box to indicate that they finished reviewing the suggested matches, or they may check the box because they think that checking the box imports the profile to WikiTree. Some recent examples of misunderstandings:

  • This G2G is from a member who reviewed suggested matches and checked the completed box in front of over 3000 names in her Gedcompare file, then didn't understand why the people weren't in her ancestral tree in WikiTree.
  • I suspect that the user who posted this "where are my names" G2G also checked the boxes thinking that would import people. Unfortunately, it appears that he may have deleted his Gedcompare before he posted his question in G2G.

Currently the table on the main Gedcompare screen does not include an indication of the purpose of the checkbox (the only heading on the column is "ID"). The word "completed" is hyperlinked in the instructions (pointing to Help:GEDCOMpare#Completed_rows) and there's a mouseover tooltip that explains the checkbox, but some people aren't seeing these things.

POSSIBLE SOLUTION: It's probably not possible to add an explanation of the checkbox in close proximity to the box itself. However, a prominent reference to the Help page might prevent some misunderstandings. The header on Gedcompare page could be edited to include a statement something like this:

If this is your first experience with GEDCOMpare, please review Help:GEDCOMpare before you begin working with this file. Both new and experienced users should refer back to that page as you go.

Clarify that "Refresh the Suggested Matches" Should Not Be Done Routinely

Some users apparently are using "REFRESH" frequently while reviewing suggested matches -- possibly every time they want to close the Gedcompare or every time they want to see if their recent changes were recorded. This can lead to a lot of frustration when it continually increases the number of unreviewed matches -- for example, see this G2G. Revise the instruction to say something like: "If significant time has passed since the file upload, click the button below to refresh the suggested matches. This will find additional suggested matches to be reviewed. Your work will not be lost, but you will be unable to continue while it's searching for matches." [That part was implemented.]

Related to the above, it has been suggested that it would be good to have a prompt that confirms that they want to refresh matches after clicking the button. See this post.

Prevent the Creation of Multiple Instances of the Same FIle Name

When a user uploads multiple instances of the same GEDCOM file name, append additional characters to the second and subsequent file names to distinguish the files (e.g., MyAncestors.ged, MyAncestors-1.ged, etc.) This G2G includes an instance of what can go wrong when a user creates the same file name multiple times.

Tell People What to Do When GEDCOM Upload Misfires

The Special:UploadGedcom page needs some text saying "If this page says GEDCOMpare Report: Complete but there is no link to a GEDCOMpare file, you've encountered an unfortunate glitch in the system. We can fix it for you if you send an email message about the problem to In your message, be sure to include your WikiTree ID number or a link to your WikiTree profile page." Reason: G2G gets messages on a regular basis from users who are tearing their hair, banging their heads against the wall, and making repeated futile attempts to upload new GEDCOMs because some glitch prevented their GEDCOM upload from getting properly installed in GEDCOMpare. A message acknowledging the issue and telling them what to do about it would promote peace of mind. -- Ellen Smith

Remind people that they may not need to edit the profile

From Ellen Smith:

"For all types of profiles, the edit screen advises:

Below is the current data for Dunham-151 (left column) and the new values suggested by the GEDCOM (center column). Select what you want to keep and, if you like, manually edit it (right column). Before clicking the "Save Changes" button, be sure you have evaluated the current profile in its entirety, including any comments or Research Notes.

The final statement in the alert might be too late. People should review the current profile before they even think about editing, not as their last act before pushing the "Save Changes" button. I think it would be helpful to precede that paragraph with the advice:

Before editing this profile, review the current profile in its entirety. The information content you propose to add might already be there, in which case you should cancel your edit."

Waiting to Reproduce Consistently

In these ones we need to find an example that we can reproduce consistently. Otherwise it's hard to identify the problem. Can you reproduce the problem?

Matches Do Not Always Register

Clicking the match button is not consistently registering the match, reported by Chris Hampson

Comparison Pop-Up Doesn't Close

After adding a person, the comparison pop-up doesn't close. This is inconsistent? See GEDCOMpare compare screen reappears when added person is saved [closed] from Sharon and After adding new person takes you to compare page from Paul. Whitten-1 13:24, 12 September 2017 (EDT)

Disappearing "Add" Buttons

Abby reporting one scenario where they disappeared without explanation. They reappeared when she refreshed the page. Need more examples so we can reproduce this. Jamie also experienced this. When exactly does it happen?

Abby had it happen again after using the "Show Completed Rows" button, but then not after.

I also saw this earlier today, but refresh fixed it. Trtnik-2 14:34, 8 September 2017 (EDT)

Reported by Bill, refreshing fixed it

Reported by Paul, refreshing fixed

From Jillaine on her most recent experience of it: What I was doing around the time of the last matches: I had sorted the table by birth date. I was going through each person, line by line. I finished the suggestions. I.e., I got through the last suggestion. At this point, I would expect the table to switch to "Add" mode. It didn't but it did have the "five suggestions still to review" (or whatever it says) at the top. I use Chrome on a MacBook. Brown-8212 14:15, 5 October 2017 (EDT)

Need more examples. Is this something that can be reproduced through a series of steps? Whitten-1 11:49, 11 September 2017 (EDT)

I've had this happen twice today when hitting refresh on the browser page rather than the link on the page. McGee-1611 18:49, 5 October 2017 (EDT)

This is (probably) caused by the internal count of suggested matches going awry. The code running in the browser tries to keep that count up to date through various edits. The "Add" button will only show up in the grid if there are no more suggested matches. If we incorrect increment that count, then the "Add" buttons will go away. They'll be restored on a refresh because the counts come out of the "real" data in the database.
We haven't been able to reproduce this. If we have an example GEDCOM where this was observed, it might give a clue to what sequence of events led the count to go bad. If this happens a lot, but remains difficult to reproduce, we can replace the update-count code with a quick check back to the server for the "real" counts instead of trying to increment/decrement the counts within the page. This should be a very reliable number, and isn't a huge extra bit for the server to do after a saved change. [Comments from BC] Whitten-1 10:30, 27 October 2017 (EDT)
Abby had this happen while testing on the php testing site, as well as on the live server, again. In both instances, the buttons disappeared after using the "Add" button once to add someone. I wonder if it's linked to the system looking for new suggestions after additions? Refreshing the page returns them, but sometimes it also returns new suggestions that were not there before. At the same time, the matches count also goes awry, giving negative numbers. Again, refreshing helps. Brown-8212 11:00, 23 March 2018 (EDT)

"Add" Goes to Wrong Person

From Jillaine Smith: "I clicked on ADD for Erhart Weiler b 1834; I was taken to a completely different person. "Jillaine noted that reloading the page fixed the issue.

also experienced by Wm. Webster; took him to one of his rejected matches repeatedly

Kirt Fetterling, same issue. In his case, he was awaiting trusted list access.

The "Add" link gets the (pending) user id from the internal data of the grid. If the links are going to the wrong person, then that data is somehow getting off. We can't think of a way that would happen, and haven't been able to reproduce it yet on the dev server. We need to find a small test gedcom with which we can consistently reproduce it. Whitten-1 10:30, 27 October 2017 (EDT)

Parents and Spouses Still Not Linking Correctly

Sharon Casteel is still having issues with imported profiles not linking with existing family.

We need more details on the sequence of data and actions here. From BC: "I don't know whether the GEDCOM upload had two individuals marked as spouses, the WikiTree site already had profiles as matches to them both, or something else.'" Whitten-1 10:30, 27 October 2017 (EDT)

Will Fix

Add ANSEL character option to uploads

ANSEL characters are imported incorrectly in gedcom uploads

Adding conversion. Whitten-1 11:59, 15 November 2017 (EST)

Add message suggesting clean-up of GEDCOM junk

John Atkinson wrote via e-mail: "I'm wondering if there should be something on the GedCompare page, encouraging people to edit or check profiles as they go, particularly as there still seems to be a lot of gedcom junk added to many of the profiles." We have a small line at the top of GEDCOMpare reports, plus messages when you are editing an existing profile using a GEDCOM, including a big status message after a save. We don't have anything parallel for new profiles and we should. We can add this to the Edit Family form if it's a GEDCOM edit, above the Notes section or between this and Sources. (We can't have a status message after the save because the user is sent to the Trusted List additions form. Whitten-1 12:32, 11 October 2017 (EDT)

Check tabindex settings

Tab takes you to email before to sources, which leaves you putting sources in the email line if you aren't paying attention from Patricia Kent (Skipping the email line is the the way it works on regular Add New Person)

Preprocessing changes

  • Line Breaks Not Coming In On Import: Jillaine had text running into the next lines instead of line breaks where indicated in the gedcom.
I waited too long, and now Jillaine appears to have deleted the raw GEDCOM. Asking for more information. Whitten-1 10:29, 29 September 2017 (EDT)
  • Numbers Preceded by Dollar Sign Not Coming Through in Biography:

Tom Blumer noticed that any occurrence of a dollar sign and the number following are not in the biography upon import of the profile.

Long strings don't wrap in comparison table

When you are doing a MergeEdit with GEDCOM data, long strings don't wrap and stretch the table.

An example can be seen here:

Editing Boone-18 with GEDCOM #108400 Person I501893 Editing Higgins-2221 with GEDCOM #108400 Person I500989


Multiple Pages of Matches Do Not Display Page Number in Designated Box at Bottom of List

Paul is unable to see which page of matches he is on when he has multiple pages of matches in GEDcompare.

This works for me. We'll see if others complain. Whitten-1 10:24, 29 September 2017 (EDT)

Suggested Change to How Comparison Pop-Up Windows Close

Have Compare Go Back to Previous Popup Instead of Main GEDcompare Page: Paul thinks it would be more intuitive to have a secondary compare screen go back to the previous compare screen, instead of closing both and going back to the main GEDcompare screen.

This is in BT 813. This is feasible but would have to be done carefully. Deferring for now. Whitten-1 10:38, 27 October 2017 (EDT)

Smart Sort to Easily See Family Groups Together

Scott wants to sort his matches so he can see a whole family at a time, other options

This could be really complex logic, and very resource-intensive on large files. From BC: "A related option might be to 'filter' the results by family. The grid could be limited to just descendants of a particular pending profile, for example." This may be something to think about again in the future, but the comparison detail page is intended to be how you go through families. Whitten-1 11:59, 15 November 2017 (EST)

Won't Fix

Remove Matches that no longer qualify if a genuine match is made

If, for instance, a woman is uploaded with no maiden name and thus many matches are given, but in the process a match is made with a woman that now gives the maiden name, remove the other matches that no longer match due to the maiden name now being in place. From Arthur Brennan

Reduce number of web pages

Arthur Brennan finds it difficult to move between the main GEDCompare page and the pop-up comparison pages. Fewer pages or the ability to download the pages to look at later were his suggestions.

More specificity in birth/death dates

Arthur Brennan thinks it would encourage the process to have dates from both matches and to remove matches that have dates outside a 2 year range that are from obviously different regions, family connections, etc.

Show entire middle name instead of just an initial

from Arthur Brennan (this seems to be similar to Scott's request for more details shown on matches to easily distinguish valid from not even close)

No All Caps on Import

Philip and Isabelle have noticed imports with all caps in the surnames and in data fields- can they be changed upon import?

Let's watch this one. We do quite a bit to convert case on names. We do as much as we have felt is appropriate, because it's easy to do too much and cause a lot of frustration. As a general rule, people would prefer you don't modify any data automatically if more than a few mistakes would be made. For example, changing "du TOIT" to "Du Toit" or "O'Reilly" to "O'reilly" would frustrate a lot of people. If we come back to this, see e-mail re: "Help:GEDCOMpare_Improvements" on 11/13/17. Whitten-1 12:15, 15 November 2017 (EST)

Source Comparison on Matches

Compare Sources to find more matches?

Show Matches to Spouses and Children Before Sibling Matches

from Scott Lawton; because direct lines are more likely to have matches than siblings

Add Individual Right Away Instead of After All Matches in the Gedcom

Scott wants to add the person right away instead of going through all the matches and suggestions in his gedcom and then getting the add button.

Rejection Option in GEDCompare List

Valerie would like to have the birth information list as well as a complete birth date when in the list format, and then also a box to click to reject from that point instead of needing to go through and actually look at all the details. (I think needing to go through and look is a necessity myself and wouldn't want to make it easier for people to ignore possible matches based on just this information. Brown-8212 15:49, 2 November 2017 (EDT))

Add Suggestions for Missing Relations to Main Table

On popup compare page you display a button to Add Father-ID as father of ComparedProfile-ID in case when both profiles are matched and relation is missing in WikiTree. I had this button for father, but it is probably on all relations. That is great thing to identify this missing relations.

But you should somehow present this missing relations also on GEDCOMpare page, so user knows the relation is missing for some person. Otherwise you see it only it you open Compare page. Trtnik-2 12:46, 11 September 2017 (EDT)

I don't think this is feasible. The missing relationship is identified when the comparison pop-up is loaded. To put these on the main table I think we'd have to search all relationships for every person with a confirmed match, over and over again. Maybe it could be done periodically or on demand? Whitten-1 13:12, 11 September 2017 (EDT)

Save Confirmed IDs for Future Uploads

See Paul Taylor's GEDCOMpare not making best use of ids. Not possible now but might be reconsidered if we save GEDCOMs for longer periods of time and encourage it for syncing. Whitten-1 13:32, 12 September 2017 (EDT)

Add Birth Information for Matches to Main GEDCOMpare Table

Paul thinks it would aid comparison to have birth dates and locations for matches and the ability to reject matches all on the main table.

This would be a significant change to the UI. We would have to carefully consider whether this would lead some new users to dismiss suggestions to quickly and easily. Responding on G2G. Whitten-1 13:39, 21 September 2017 (EDT)

Separate First Name and Middle Name Fields

Paul would like to see when the first and second name will import all in the first name field, or will import them in first name field and second name field.

Suggested Changes to MergeEdit Format

Default to New Information Filling Empty Fields from Paul Taylor

Some members would disagree that empty fields should be filled in by default. It would have to be discussed. I don't see this as worth doing right now. Whitten-1 16:50, 22 September 2017 (EDT)

Completed Counts Problem

From Jamie Nelson: "Out of 90 it says 45 have been completed but there are only 19 left to do." Refreshing fixes it.

I also saw this and after refresh it fixed the count. Trtnik-2 14:36, 8 September 2017 (EDT)

In itself this seems too minor a bug to pursue right now. There is a link to refresh the counts. Whitten-1 12:05, 29 September 2017 (EDT)

Suggested Changes to Comparison Pop-Up Format

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