Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Exploring WikiTree -- Post 10: Merging Two Profiles

The Exploring WikiTree Compendium has all of the posts in this series. 

Because I imported only ten generations of my ancestry, I did not have my Mayflower 1620 passengers in my WikiTree database.  I decided to add three more generations of ancestors for several of my "end-of-line in WikiTree" ancestors to test the Merge process and to try to attract more collaborators.  I uploaded a GEDCOM with 360 more persons in it, including four of my earlier uploaded persons.  At least, that's what I thought.

One of the ancestors that I added more generations for was William White (1683-1700), whose parents were Sylvanus and Deborah (--?--) White.  Here is my Profile of him from my first GEDCOM submission:

In the William White Profile above, you'll notice that it lists his spouse and children, but not his parents.

Here is my Profile of the same William White from my second GEDCOM submission.  You'll notice that it lists his spouse and parents, but not his children:

Because these are the same person, but have two Profiles in WikiTree (both submitted my myself), they need to be Merged.  How do I do that? 

I went to the Search for Matches from my NavPage.  After scrolling through several pages of matches with other WikiTreers, I finally found my William White born 1683, and there were two Profiles created by myself:

There is a "[merge]" link after the second one.  I clicked on that (two overlapping screens below):

There was a list of the information for each of the Profiles for William White born 1683,   The left-hand column has information colored green, and includes the parents of William White.  The middle column has information colored yellow, and does not include the parents of William White.  The "new" William White in the right-hand column has the information from the green column by default, plus any information from the yellow column that is not included in the green column (which shows up in yellow in the right-hand column, no examples of this on the screen above).  If the user wants to use the information in the yellow column for one or more facts, then they unclick the check box to the left of the green column for specific Facts.  If the check box is unclicked (so that the check disappears), then the information in the "new" Profile turns yellow color.  This is really neat once you figure it out. 

At the bottom of the "Merging" page above is a "Merge Profiles" button.  I clicked on it and saw:

The screen above says that the two profiles were merged into one.  Were they?  Here is the Profile for William White-2352 (which was the Profile number for him from the first GEDCOM upload):

The screen above shows that the parents of William White born 1683 has been added to the Profile.  The Family Tree for William White also shows the link:

That worked, but finding the matches seemed pretty clunky to me (see Post 9 for details).  I had to scroll through several pages to find the specific match using the WHITE surname.  The actual Merging process is pretty easy and fast.

I should have checked the WikiTree Help section first, I think.  The Help page for Merging says:

"If there is more than one profile page about the same person, they should be merged.

"Here is the merge tool.

"Note that you need to be in the Trusted List of both profiles before you can merge them. If someone else created one of the profiles you may need to request access.

"Warning: Merge should be used with caution. It is irreversible. Once two records are combined they can't be separated again."

When will I learn to check the Help page first?  It must be a male thing... I guess that there is no such thing as a wrong way, it can always be used as a bad example.  I digress.

There appears to be a "better way" to do the merges, according to the Help page.  That's good, because it seems that I have many more than four matches in my two uploaded GEDCOM files, since the siblings of the "end-of-line first GEDCOM" persons were uploaded in the second GEDCOM.  I'll report on this "better way" in the next post.

One suggestion for a WikiTree improvement is to be able to perform a search for duplicates owned by the WikiTree user.  I didn't see a way to do that - I had to do it using the surname for the whole WikiTree system rather than for just my WatchList (more on the WatchList soon!).  Even better would be an automated WikiTree matching system that tells me that I have duplicates and asks if I want to merge them.  I think Chris is working on improving the Merging system.  I'll wait! 


Dr. Bill (William L.) Smith said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dr. Bill (William L.) Smith said...

Thanks, again, Randy. I'll be watching for that "better way" myself! ;-)

Chris Whitten said...

Randy, good idea about having an option to restrict the search for matches to your own Watchlist.

By the way, we just added an explanation of the colored icons -- something you suggested earlier.

Bill and Randy: Our system for proposed merges is almost ready. Actually, I think it is ready, but I want to hold off on making it live until I'm back from vacation. I want to roll it out slowly and be here to manage it in case there are bugs. As you noted from the Help page, merges aren't easy to reverse.