Project: Mentors/Draft Duplicates


What is a Duplicate?

Quite simply it is a profile of a person that is the same as another profile of the same person. There is only one person but the person has two, or more profiles on WikiTree.

Why is this bad?

WikiTree is aiming is to create a single family tree, with one profile for every person, having two profiles for one person works against this aim and as well as taking up server room it can get confusing.

Imagine two profiles are made for one person by two different members, perhaps the information they both start with is very similar but as time goes by and more facts are discovered some are placed on one profile and some on the other, maybe family relationships are added differently on each profile, they begin to look like different people but parents or children might need to be duplicated to preserve the two duplicates. Future researchers will not know why there are two but assume they are different, and WikiTree fails in it's objective.

How can I find duplicates?

Whenever you enter a new profile, manually or through a GEDCOM import WikiTree does a check of existing profile to see if there any matches it can see. Wikitree matching may miss some matches, if you have baptism dates and not birth dates for instance, or it may find several that are not matches but the profiles have no dates which confuse the matter.

With profiles that are already on your watchlist you can use the Find menu Matches for family to search for matches, you can alter the search parameters to give a spread of birth dates, or restrict the search to just one family, the system will give a list of possible matches.

In some cases the profiles are obvious duplicates, the same vital dates and places, the same parents, the same spouse and the same children.

Even if some of the above data is missing you may be able to call them duplicates, especially if they are in one of your research lines, or if you know you accidentally created them both. With practice your skill at spotting duplicates will increase.

In many cases the task is harder, there may be data missing from one or both profiles, names may be spelt differently or mistakes may have been made in the past on one or both profiles. If the profiles do not justify the facts with reliable sources you may need to research from scratch. This is a particular challenge with distant ancestors who may have had several names (e.g, with most royalty and early immigrants). We have Special Projects to help with these ancestors so please contact the relevant coordinator before entering your own data.

Some of the active projects are:

There are several more Projects and more are being added frequently. You should check the Projects page for complete lists.

What to do if you spot a possible duplicate

There are three basic scenarios.

  1. You are the Profile Manager or on the trusted list of both Profiles.
    In this case, if you are certain of the match you can complete the merger yourself.
  2. You are the Profile manager or on the trusted list for one of the Profiles.
    Here you will need to collaborate with the other Profile Manager, you can initiate the merge and explain your reasons but you will have to wait for them to agree, or not, before things progress. You could also request to be on the trusted list for the profile and complete the merge yourself. If they agree with your merge request they will complete the merge or add you to the trusted list, if they do not agree then it is time to discuss reasons, perhaps they have information that you do not.
  3. You are not the Profile Manager or on the trusted list for either profile.
    This is similar to scenario 2, only you need to wait for both Profile Managers to add you to the trusted list or complete the merge.

Tips for avoiding duplication

An important factor in avoiding duplicates is ensuring your profile has dates and locations included. WikiTree is one place where an approximation is preferable to a blank space. It is better to give a birth location of "United Kingdom" or "Europe" than to have nothing. Better still is a country.

A new profile "John Jones" will most likely produce many hundreds of potential matches. An approximate date entered, e.g. 1750, means at a glance this is not a match for John Jones born 1915. A birth location of "Europe" means all those born in Australia can be eliminated. It is important to mark these approximations by checking the radio button for the event as uncertain. It is also useful to add a note in the Biography section explaining how you estimated the dates.

When adding profiles it is important to check the matches found, a lot can be discarded quickly as they are very different in dates or places some are more problematic, you will need to look at the profiles to check family relationships and possibly estimate dates from other relatives. If you end up with any that you cannot decide on as there is not enough data to work with, possibly due to privacy settings then you will need to contact the other Profile Manager for advice, give them some detail of your person so they can decide.

It is important to go through your watchlist regularly checking for matches, people may have updated other profiles, added dates, corrected errors or names, what did not show as a match earlier may do now.

When should I leave duplicates on wikitree

You will come across duplicates that look quite complex, covering multiple generations and different names, if you are uncertain how to handle them it is better to ask for help or advice. Use the G2G forum and tag your post arborists.

Sometimes you will see that arborists are busy with some profiles, often there will be a note on the profile advising other members, in this case leave it alone.

You may be uploading a GEDCOM and are planning to leave a duplicate so that all the family relationships import correctly, in this case you may leave the duplicate until the import is finished, then you should merge them as soon as possible.

This page was last modified 12:15, 22 September 2021. This page has been accessed 63 times.