Wednesday, May 25, 2011

New FamilySearch Family Tree - Post 9: Combining Records in newFamilySearch

Previous posts in this series can be read in the New FamilySearch Family Tree Compendium. As mentioned in earlier posts, a researcher needs to have registered for a free FamilySearch account, and be granted access to newFamilySearch (currently, only LDS church members and selected non-members, like myself), in order to access the NewFamilySearch Family Tree. FamilySearch has stated that the system might be open to everyone in late 2011.

In New FamilySearch Family Tree - Post 8: Adding a Family using RootsMagic 4, I added Isaac Seaver (1823-1901), his spouses and his children (and their spouses) to the newFamilySearch system using RootsMagic 4.  I knew that there were several entries in newFamilySearch for this specific Isaac Seaver and his spouses, so now I need to "combine the records" into one Person Identity for each of them.  I didn't do this in RootsMagic 4 because I wanted to put my own person into the newFamilySearch system and see how this record combining works in the system.

In this post, I'm going to demonstrate how to combine records in the newFamilySearch Family Tree. 

After logging in to newFamilySearch, clicking on the "Me and My Ancestors" tab, and then clicking on the pedigree chart to get back to Isaac Seaver (1823-1901), I clicked on Isaac's link on the Pedigree Chart and saw the "Summary" page for Isaac:

The information that I entered for Isaac yesterday from RootsMagic 4 is in the newFamilySearch system (it was there immediately after I entered it yesterday).  He has Person Identifier Number LHT7-5YJ. 

I was curious to see how the information for his spouses and children looked, so I clicked on the link for the "Spouses and Children" page and saw:

That all looks pretty good.  What about the "Parents and Siblings" page?

That doesn't look so good to me!  The parents (Benjamin Seaver (1791-1825) and Abigail Gates (1797-1867)) are correct, but 11 children are listed with birth dates from 1789 to 1825.  Two Isaac Seavers are listed - the Isaac Seaver (1802-1870, who married Abigail Gates after Benjamin Seaver died) and my Isaac Seaver (1823-1901) - they are not brothers!  The last five children listed are the ones born to Benjamin Seaver and Abigail Gates.  The other six children were born to Benjamin Seaver (1757-1816) and Martha Whitney (1764-1832), the parents of Benjamin Seaver (1791-1825) and Isaac Seaver (1802-1870).  This family entry is really messed up - two families have been conflated here.

I'm at a loss now as to how to "fix" this specific problem, which I'm thinking is probably fairly common in the newFamilySearch system.  Should I try to fix it by adding the correct information, and then combining records so that it turns out right?  I may try to do that later.

I now have my Isaac Seaver's information in the system, but I know that there are other records for him, and as a responsible newFamilySearch user (hey, I'm trying to be!), I need to combine as many records for him as I can. 

I clicked on the "Possible Duplicates" button and saw:

In the list of Possible Duplicates are eight names - four named Isaac Seaver married to either Juliet Glazier or Lucretia T.; two named Isaac married to Lucretia T., and two with no name married to Juliet Glazier.  In the screen above, I selected the first six possible duplicates, and clicked on the "Compare in More Detail" button:

The screen above shows the comparison of my information (on the left of the screen) with the first possible duplicate (on the right).  There are three choices at the bottom of the page under "Are these the same individual?":  "Yes, combine the information;" "Yes, but some information is different;" and
"No, or I cannot tell."  I chose the second option, and clicked the "Next" button. 

I did this for the first six possible duplicates and after clicking on "Done" I saw this page:

This "Finalize Your Decisions" page offers a last chance to Cancel, go Back, or Combine the Records.  I clicked on "Combine the Records" and was back to the "Details" page:

While all of the "other information" that I combined is shown on the "Details" page, at least the records in newFamilySearch for Isaac Seaver (1823-1901) is correct and complete (I think!).  Until one of the other submitters of this "other information" changes it. 

During this exercise, I took the opportunity to select the "best information" for Isaac's children, his wives, and Lucretia Smith's parents.  I now need to enter the families for the next generation back from Isaac and Lucretia (Smith) Seaver to see if I can "fix" the wrong information in the newFamilySearch tree.

It took less than ten minutes for me to "fix" the Isaac Seaver (1823-1901) family information (except for the Parents and Siblings problem).  It was fairly straightforward and logical.  I don't see how it could be done easily any other way (as long as someone having the capability to throw out the wrong information!).  But I'm leery of doing this for EVERY family in my ancestry, or worse yet, every family in my genealogy database.

I had a comment on Facebook to one of these posts that said "it's very complicated."  Yes, it is.  But every online family tree system is complicated, and every family tree software program is complicated.  It just takes time to learn and use, and users need to remember that the "Help" button is their friend.  I'm writing these posts so that I can help my readers navigate, enter data, and edit data in the newFamilySearch

I'm not sure what I'll write about next in this series - I have some comments and emails on these posts, so maybe I'll highlight them so that my readers can benefit from their collected wisdom..

1 comment:

JL said...

I've run into something similar where an entire line of descendants is linked to the wrong parents. There are two Mary Cooke's in the vicinity and they ... well, several people ... linked to the wrong one. If you're on the Summary tab, click on 'Combined records' along the bottom of the screen. This will take you to a page (or several pages) displaying the various connections other people have made. Here you can select incorrect records and separate them out.