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The Lost and Found Project

Privacy Level: Open (White)
Date: [unknown] [unknown]
Location: [unknown]
Surname/tag: unconnected
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The Lost and Found Project is a sub-project of the Connectors Project. This project is designed to help identify, source, and connect profiles uploaded by GEDCOM which have somehow become disconnected from one another.

There are at least some GEDCOMs which were uploaded around 2010 to 2011 in which the profiles have somehow become disconnected from one another, yet there is nothing on the Changes page about anybody disconnecting them. Possibly, GEDCOMs affected didn't contain links between the profiles in it, or those links weren't formatted correctly, or, at the time, WikiTree wasn't parsing GEDCOMs correctly, and the links didn't get transferred (or possibly something else happened that hasn't occurred to me).

It is also possible for individual profiles or small branches to become disconnected from the rest of the profiles in a GEDCOM if the person adding the GEDCOM skips importing people who already have profiles on WikiTree. If a skipped profile happened to be the only link between one or more profiles in a GEDCOM and the rest of that family, those profiles can end up being unconnected.

In any case, since then, if you want to help link together profiles from affected GEDCOMs, you can look for profiles which were originally created through uploading the GEDCOMs listed below. (Or, if you find another GEDCOM where the profiles have also become disconnected, please add it to the list.)

Please note that this page is not for tracking all profiles which have been added to WikiTree through uploaded GEDCOMs, but only for cases where profiles which have been uploaded through the same GEDCOM have become disconnected from one another. If you manage to connect all the profiles which were uploaded through the same GEDCOM to each other (even if they're not connected to the main tree), you can remove the category for that GEDCOM from each profile, and delete the category once it's empty.

And, of course, any work you do in any of the profiles in these unconnected GEDCOMs would count towards the Sourcerers Challenge and/or the Connectors Challenge.

Here is a list of GEDCOMs where this has happened, along with the family names which have been discovered in each so far.

GEDCOM Filename Upload Date Associated Family Names Total Number of Profiles Unconnected Jan 2019 Working On
104-B.ged 2010-09-12 Hollingshead, Kirk 4,893282
124-DeCoursey.ged 2010-09-14 Anson 39,9592,747Jillaine, Julie Ricketts
2011-01-18 - priv.ged 2011-01-18 Turnbull, Turnbull, Ker 32213
229-Davies.ged 2010-10-19 Blood, Davies, Ledford 4,796871
3u21tu_4762293ef3f50xfb112a83.ged 2013-03-26 Grocock 3934
AlvaFAMILY.GED 2011-04-08 West 2,750464
Anderson.ged 2010-09-08 Matthews 845125
Barrett Family Tree(2).ged 2010-09-10 Hansen 6062Hazel Archer
export-BloodTree.ged 2013-07-11 Punnett, Ewing, McLean, Broster, Callaghan, found lead: Geni tree 35,7018,629
export-BloodTree.ged2015-04-17Penfold 4
gl120368.ged 2010-01-06 Punchard, Symonds, Culham, Marjoram, Pope, Elgood, Thymblethorpe, Diaper, Amass, Bacon, Bendall, Bennett, Butcher, May 1,78392Wendy Sullivan
MERRYWEATHER_2009-10-28.GED 2012-10-23 Amiel, Merryweather, Parham, Slade 1,17979
NESTRA~1.ged 2010-12-13 Nestra gedcom holding category 7,710322
Pierce_Family_Tree.ged 2014-07-29 Allen, Bjelbøle, Graneim, Hoten
PINKETTFAMILYTREE.ged 2011-08-16 Beckley, Brandon, Brittan, Carter, Chase, Clowney, Holcombe, Holmes, Jackson, Pinkett, Rollins, Scott, Slade, Somers 457155USBH Project
Rick Hoskins_2011-03-04.ged 2011-03-04 Coss, Hopkins, Lingard, Ables 2,713118
Rodney_Timbrook_Ancestors_and_Relatives_2010-09-10.ged 2010-09-10 Forest, Keim, Kuntzchmann, Timbrook 5,016209
Tonkes_Morris_Ryles_Ellis.ged 2011-03-17 TBA 2,485383John Rosser
Vorfahren Ulf Hendrich 21 11 2015.ged 2015-11-21 Hilliger, Hornig, Klinger, Kohlreuther, Roehling, Schreibersdorf, Schroll, Uthmann, von Hertwig 6565
Westhunkin family tree.ged 2011-09-29 Barron, Blackham, Burt, Dingle, Ditton, Farmer, Farmer, Gasson, Gibbard, Gilbert, Groocock, Harden, Harlow, Holehouse, Hunkin, Mills, Morris, Salmons, Salt, Severn, Slade, Tibbert, West, Williams529210Greg Slade
morrison.ged (category no longer needed) 2013-09-15 TBA 335195Carol Keeling

We can run a WikiTree+ report in order to identify all profiles that were uploaded in a particular gedcom.

As an example, this is the script for the Westhunkin Family Tree.ged: https://plus.wikitree.com/default.htm?report=srch1&Query=Westhunkin_family_tree_ged&MaxProfiles=5000&SortOrder=LNAB&PageSize=500.

And the report to identify all unconnected profiles from that same gedcom: https://plus.wikitree.com/default.htm?report=srch1&Query=Westhunkin_family_tree_ged+unconnected&MaxProfiles=5000&SortOrder=LNAB&PageSize=500

Within the search box in WikiTree+, simply insert the gedcom name, replacing all spaces and punctuation marks with an underscore. The unconnected number can be ascertained by adding the word 'unconnected' to the search criteria. Similar reports can be run using 'connected' and 'unlinked'.

If you find a disconnected GEDCOM, please put a category in every profile from that GEDCOM that you can find. Enter a new line at the top of the profile, and start with two opening square brackets ([), then the word 'Category', then a colon (:), then the filename of the GEDCOM file (replacing spaces and periods/full stops with underscores), then two closing square brackets (]), like this: [[Category:Example_family_tree_123_ged]]. When you save the profile and look at it again, you will probably see 'Example_family_tree_123_ged' in red (unless somebody else has already created that category). Click on it, and then enter [[Category:Lost_and_Found_Project]] and save the category. From then on, every profile you mark with the category for that GEDCOM will be linked to a category showing all the other profiles marked as belonging to that GEDCOM, and that category will be linked to the Lost and Found Project category, which, in turn, links to this page.

Free space profiles (like this one) work pretty much the same way that profiles for people do, so all the same syntax applies. So to add a new GEDCOM, edit this page, scroll down to the table, insert a new line before the closing pipe (|) and brace (}) and the end of the table, then then add in the information for the new GEDCOM. On the new line, enter a pipe (|), then two opening square brackets ([), then a colon (:), then the filename of the GEDCOM file (replacing spaces and periods/full stops with underscores), then another pipe, then the proper filename of the GEDCOM, then two closing square brackets (]), then put two more pipes between each successive column, like this: |[[:Example_family_tree_123_ged|Example family tree 123.ged]]||2009-08-07||[[Grubstake-1|Grubstake]]||[[Slade-590|Greg Slade]].

Hints and Tips

  • Here are some tips on how to find profiles which have become disconnected from their GEDCOMs:
    1. Under the "Find" menu, click on "Unconnected People".
    2. The next page should start with "WikiTree's mission is to connect the human family on one tree. A total of..." Click on "total" to see a list of all unconnected people.
    3. Click on "Fewest Connections on Top", and the list will sort that way, and you should see a long list of people with 0 connection.
    4. If you want, you can enter a name from your own family tree or a one-name study that you're working on, and click on the "Go" button to limit the list to only those profiles with that last name.
    5. If you go into a profile, and you see that it was created through a GEDCOM upload, then it's a candidate for the Lost and Found Project, because it has become disconnected from the rest of its GEDCOM.
  • Here are Greg's tips for working on profiles from a GEDCOM upload which have become disconnected:
    1. Check the Lost and Found Project page to see if that GEDCOM is already listed (and add it if it isn't).
    2. For each profile in the GEDCOM, check the profiles before and after it to see if they came from the same GEDCOM, even if they're not connected. (So if you're looking at Example-137, check Example-136 and Example-138.) You may find that the GEDCOM extends to dozens of profiles with the same last name, and because they come from the same GEDCOM, they'll have consecutive numbers except for those which have been deleted or merged away.
      • You may also find that, while most other connections have been lost, at least some spouses from disconnected GEDCOMs are still connected to one another, so that can lead you to more last names that you can check for consecutive profiles.
    3. Another way you can find other profiles from the same GEDCOM is this:
      1. While you're looking at a profile from a given GEDCOM, click on the "Changes" tab.
      2. Unless the profile has been merged, the first entry (at the bottom of the list) should say something like "[Name] imported the data for [Name] from [GEDCOM filename]." Click on the "imported the data" link.
      3. Near the bottom of the next page, you should see a 'View all contributions by [Name]" link. If you click on that, you should see a list of that person's contributions. (If that contributor has been very active, you may have to scroll through a number of pages to find the entries for profiles created through that GEDCOM.)
    4. I find it useful to keep a spreadsheet for a disconnected GEDCOM I'm working on. I put each family name on a separate line, and then put numbers in each cell in that line for the WikiTree IDs with that last name. (For instance, if a GEDCOM has, say, Jones-123 to Jones-157, I put Jones in the first cell, 123 in the next, 124, in the next, and so on. That way, each profile gets its own cell, but the columns don't have to be very wide. Then I colour each cell depending on its status: green if that profile is connected to the main tree, yellow if it's connected to other profiles in the same GEDCOM but not connected to the main tree, orange if I haven't been able to identify or connect that profile at all, and red for profiles which somebody else is managing and has set the privacy to public or higher. (And, of course, the ones I haven't worked on yet, I leave white.) I also add comments in the cells to link between family names. For instance, if Smith-123 is married to Jones-456, I put in a comment so I know that they're linked together. That way, if I connect a profile, I can go back and mark all the other profiles that are connected to it green as well. This helps me to keep track of my progress, and tells me where to focus my efforts.
    5. If you find multiple profiles with the same first and last names, and the same (or close) birth dates and places, you may be tempted to merge them, but check first to make sure that you aren't dealing with cousins who have been given the same name to honour a grandparent, or (at least in some places at some times) siblings where the older sibling died before the younger sibling was born, and then the younger sibling was given the same name.
      • The person who uploaded the GEDCOM may have been working on that tree for weeks, months, or even years before uploading it, and in my own reconnecting work, I have sometimes made changes on the basis of a first pass at the sources, and then had to go back and restore the original data after checking further.

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Comments: 56

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PINKETTFAMILYTREE.ged is now all but finished. USBH is putting the finishing touches on it, so we don't need the category. Should it be deleted? Emma
I just found a disintegrated GEDCOM much later than the others I've seen so far: Vorfahren Ulf Hendrich 21 11 2015.ged

This one is different than the older disintegrated GEDCOMs I've traced. In the older GEDCOMs I've seen, the spousal links were still intact, but the parent-child links were broken. This one still has at least some parent-child links (or at least, mother-daughter links), but no spousal links.

posted by Greg Slade
edited by Greg Slade
Greg, we found a new GED with no connection and no dates: Kadukanmakkal.ged was imported in 2012

It has 972 profiles of which only 23 open, only https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Valavanadu-1 has dates. My gut instinct says these profiles should be re-used, or do you want to include the GED to the sheet?

posted by B. W. J. Molier
edited by B. W. J. Molier
Re-using profiles is almost never appropriate. See https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Help:Recycling_WikiTree_IDs

I would say to add that GEDCOM to the page here. I would also recommend going through the procedure at https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Help:Unresponsive_Profile_Managers to try to make contact with the profile manager. If he doesn't respond after you've gone through that process, you can ask for access to the profiles so you can work on them.

posted by Greg Slade
I found another disintegrated GEDCOM: Pierce Family Tree.ged
posted by Greg Slade
M, if you click on the "More Comments" button at the bottom of this column, you should be able to find a comment where Carol explained how to search for profiles which contain the name of a specific GEDCOM. And, yes, you're quite right, the first step in reconnecting a disconnected GEDCOM is finding all the scattered profiles and adding the category for that GEDCOM!
posted by Greg Slade
I'd like to help knock some of these off the list, but I'm not sure how to access the unconnected profiles. The category for 104-B.ged doesn't have any profiles, and and for the DeCoursey.ged many of the one's tagged are already connected, but there are only 800 or so, so looks like there are many unconnected profiles that don't have the category?
posted by M Cole
On 'Associated Family Names', I only add a name to the table if it occurs at least four times in the GEDCOM, and if at least one profile with that name is set to Open. And I only put in one example of each family name. The point of that column is to let people who are doing One Name Studies that there are people in that GEDCOM with that name.

'Number of Profiles' is the total number of profiles which have been found from that GEDCOM, whether they're connected to each other (or the main tree) or not. (The number may well be out of date, as more profiles are found and marked with the category for that GEDCOM.)

posted by Greg Slade
Clarification please: purpose of table columns
  • 'Associated Family Names' - Where a particular last name occurs multiple times in the gedcom do we add only one example of an open profile with that name? or do we add one example for each distinct branch of that name in the gedcom? (eg. in Tonkes_Morris_Ryles_Ellis.ged there are 17 profiles with last name Adams; amongst these there are two distinct family units (comprising 7 and 8 profiles) plus 2 profiles that appear unrelated to either of the previous family groups and are each linked to a wife only)
  • 'Number of Profiles' - is this intended to show the total no. of profiles that were uploaded in that gedcom? or is it the number that remain unlinked (to any other profile)? (or something else?)
posted by John Rosser
Hi John. I just did a WikiTree search for this gedcom, and found pages of them. But it looks as though quite a few of the profiles have been adopted and connected, so I think you've been getting some help along the way. I'll try and tag a few of them that I find, especially the unconnected ones, which obviously need some attention.
posted by Carol (Winton) Keeling
Hi all. I just added 'Tonkes_Morris_Ryles_Ellis.ged' to the table. I discovered it in late 2016 and have been chipping away at in fits and spurts ever since. (Now that I have recovered my tracking spreadsheet I thought I'd actually touch base). I haven't yet identified all surnames included in the file so I suspect there will be many more. I'll have to go back and add the project category to each one in any case - I discovered this project well after I'd started.
posted by John Rosser
Sarah, most of the time when I see a disintegrated GEDCOM upload, none of the links between parents and children or between siblings have come through. Spouses usually stick together, but the other links are broken. And, when I look at the Changes tab, there's no record of people disconnecting them: the links just didn't survive the import process.Looking at Mason-410, her link to her son (and his links to his children) are still there, and I don't see a record in the Changes tab of anybody re-connecting them, so I think what you have found there is a normal GEDCOM upload which just hasn't been connected to the main tree yet.
posted by Greg Slade
I find a lot of Gedcom generated profiles. How do I know if they are disconnected from the rest of the upload? Is there a way to search for everything from a particular upload? For example, I was looking at Mason-410. She was created in the Russell 1.GED upload in 2010 and she is unconnected from the main tree. Her son has a lot of information, none of it properly cited, and clean-up was still needed 8 years after the upload. So, how should I proceed with this information as applies to this project? Thank you.
posted by Sarah Mason
Am working on a more recent Gedcom muddle, entitled Family Tree_2015-05-02.ged, uploaded in 2015, main surname Barber. It's not all totally disconnected, it's just been split into smaller pieces. Started with 408 unconnected, reduced that to 280 last week, and have cleared over 100 more this morning. Have not added a category, as I think that they will all join together eventually, and I aim to clear more every week.
posted by Carol (Winton) Keeling
Thanks for clarifying Greg. I know there are way more profiles floating out there from this GEDCOM. When my head fell into "add category to profile" mode I started adding it to those I found, but I know I have missed a fair few already.

I think I removed the category from those specific profiles listed, which now in hindsight was probably not the correct way, but I will leave it on until the end in future :)

posted by Wendy (Ling) Sullivan