Friday, September 6, 2013

Follow-Up Friday - Interesting and Helpful Reader Comments

It's Friday again (every week, it rolls around very fast these days as the sands in my lifeglass run out) and time to see what Genea-Musings readers think and say:

1)  On It's Really Not That Easy! (posted 28 August 2013):

a)  Chris said:  "The origin of Thomas Trowbridge of Dorchester & New Haven, as being from Taunton, Somerset, England is very clear. The Trowbridge Genealogy, shown in the episode, cites many original documents verbatim in the text, including on pages 46-47, portions of New Haven Land Records, volume 1, page 202 which state - 

“ '… I Thomas Trowbridge of Taunton in ye County of Somerset, Gen. doe hereby make ordaine, constitute and depute and in my place and stead put my three sons Thomas Trowbridge and William Trowbridge of Newhaven and James Trowbridge of Dorchester in ye Bay in New England in ye ports of America beyond ye seas …'

"You can see the Trowbridge genealogy in its entirety at 

"Other articles that detail the Trowbridge ancestry in England in considerable detail with documentation in include 'The Trowbridge Ancestry in England,' prepared for Francis Bacon Trowbridge [author of the above Trowbridge genealogy] by Donald Lines Jacobus, published in The American Genealogist, 71 (1942): 129-37; and Charles Fitch-Northen, 'The Trowbridge Ancestry,' The Genealogist, 9 (1988): 3-39."

My comment:  Thank you, Chris, for providing more information about Thomas Trowbridge.

a)  Geolover helped:  "Jacob Layman could not sell the land to Cornelius Feather. As your certificate for issuance of Patent shows, it was Cornelius who paid the Land Office, and he to whom the Patent was to issue. Jacob could only sell his "interest" in the tract.

"If you have not checked for details in the Warrant and Patent Registers, or looked at the copy of the original Survey (date of survey is part of the story), you can find them from the PA State Archives Land Office records gateway, here:

"Sometimes there are little details about someone's not having fulfilled some part of the land procedures in the registers, and occasionally the Surveyor also comments."

My comment:  Thank you for the additional information and corrected interpretation of the document.  I will see what I can find on the Pennsylvania Archives site.

a)  Densie said:  "I prefer Old Search because the way I have it set up is much more compact, enabling me to scan through it much more quickly than New Search. New Search requires much more scrolling through "pages" of hits, even when using the Category tab.  I don't think I find more hits with Old Search, it's about the same. Just much faster to do."

My comment:  That's the only unique reason I've seen to prefer "Old Search."  I like the "New Search" presentation because my old eyes don't have to squint to see the details.  Truly in the ye of the beholder!

b)  T commented:  "To muddy the waters and get a bit off topic, I got different results in a search, both when I was paid and when I wasn't, than did my cousin who had the world subscription even though we were both looking for people in the U.S. I got so frustrated with her because she didn't see the person I was talking about by giving directions such as third one down on the second page. Come to find out her results were never the same as mine."

My comment:  I think that it is much more likely that you and your cousin used somewhat different search field entries and search check marks to find and compare the results.  That's been my experience while working with colleagues and readers on identical search problems.

c)  Karen Sipe noted:  "You state that we are not to use "exact match." What happens to your search results when you do?

"I almost always use exact match so it keeps more of the unwanted search people out of the results. This means fewer people to scroll through and faster easier searching at least for me."

My comment:  I addressed using "Exact Match" in Ancestry "Old Search" and "New Search" Comparison with Exact Matches (posted 5 September 2013).

In that post, I also showed why you might want to rely only on Exact Matches with full name spellings.

a)  Goneresearching said:  "After the RootsTech 2012 presentation on FamilyTree I went into FamilySearch thinking I'd correct the incorrect and source it properly but what I found made me want to cry. 

"The Dunham entries I wanted to work on I could not because they were IOUS (Individuals of Unusual Size) -- all of them. Guys with different names were smashed together as one person (when they were clearly not the same guy) and at the same time married to the same woman multiple times (when they should have been merged). Add to that the same kids multiple times and then multiple parents. 

"And different people are editing them each thinking the guy is someone else. It is a mess. 

"Yes, it is a nice thought/plan for 'one tree' but there is no good way to un-knot the spaghetti even with scissors. I'm in the process of submitting unmerge information to FamilySearch for them to do in newFamilySearch but it takes a couple days just color-coding person identifiers for just one Dunham guy and then writing it out who is really who. And I still don't know if they'll do the correction.  All I wanted to do was source some information on my guys so the correct info was out there, but it is taking longer to get it cleaned up than it would to do the sourcing.

"I thought I was alone in this problem. It sounds like you got a case of it too."

b)  Donna noted:  "I've been working on my tree as well and it is a nightmare to try to get the duplicates merged. Additionally, If the first name wasn't fully gender specific, many people input them twice - one of each gender. You can't merge people of opposite genders and you can't delete the profile either. So you have to contact Family Search with the information and let them take care of it. There are also many people of the same or similar name with no parents, no spouse, little to no information on when or where they might have been born, so those are going to just remain cluttering up space with nobody ever able to guess who they have been intended to be. It is my opinion FamilySearch should clean up their own mess."

c)  SearchShack commented:  "I've been working to clean up the duplicate SHACKFORDs in FSFT and am finding the same issues that you raise -- more so on the original settlers - 9 duplicates, then duplicates of their differing parents, etc. Also see the issue with anyone with lots of children as the parents were entered separately for each birth. I've made a small dent in cleaning up the tangles. It is very time consuming and frustrating but in my case it actually helps me think back through the genealogy relationships as I work through the corrections. Also but I'm now seeing a few others posting on these same trees via the WATCH feature and am getting replies and some new collaborations when I write to those others interested in the same family lines."

d)  Lauri observed:  "As I was connecting people in a family tree I also had one of these. Over 99 instances of the same person that needed to be merged. I got through some and then too many and couldn't merge anymore. The children have similar problems and it is a disaster. Decided at that point to just wait on that branch of the tree."

e)  John thought:  "It is time for the Powers That Be at FSFT to issue some guidelines/rules. For example: 
1. Governor is preferred over Gov, Gov., (Gov), (Gov.). In other words avoid abbreviations wherever possible.
2. Titles, like Governor, should be entered as a prefix, not as a suffix.
3. Christian names and surnames should be entered in standard upper and lower case format, e.g. Thomas Dudley, not Thomas DUDLEY
I am not saying the above rules are right or wrong. I just believe we need some rules."

e)  Geolover noted:  "FamilySearch Family Tree is chock-full of such messes. While all of the duplicates (with or without duplicate and/or incorrect spouses, children, parents) may have been combined in the older new.FamilySearch tree, some crew at FS has been separating out versions of individuals, and this may be what you are seeing. in new.FamilySearch one could not truly merge persons or undo what someone else had done, for the most part.

"Some of my ancestors have more than 100 duplicates in FS-FT. How could one even select the least wrong version to start with, in less than a couple of hours (if the program were running a lot faster than usual)?

"Stuff that was extracted from actual records and put in IGI years ago appears now in FS-FT stripped of any identifying information as to source.

"In my forays I've found that as 'sources' and reasons for presenting some data, people are giving internet trees, message board posts and 'from GEDCOM.'

"And some entity identified only as 'FamilySearch' keeps adding wrong dates, spouse(s) and as many as several sets of wrong parents to individuals I look at occasionally because they are subjects of Widely Held Mistaken Beliefs in myriad publications and trees.

"In addition to those problems, given the hodgepodge of database sources, place-name problems, cultural/social biases and rather odd programming bugs, it's hard to see this as a really viable vehicle for genealogical accuracy."

f)  Kellie Reeve opined:  "This is one of the reasons that I prefer WikiTree over the FamilySearch tree. These issues are addressed daily by some marvelous folks over there, and duplications are easily handled. Corrections and updates are easy to make, too. I wish FamilySearch luck with their endeavor, but I think they were at a disadvantage from the beginning."

My comment:  I'm glad that I'm not the only one with problems here, we can all commiserate together, I guess, until FamilySearch finds a way to deal with the problems.  I continue to think that the concept and implementation is pretty good and will be helpful, but the "problem children" in FSFT are going to be difficult to iron out.  

a)  Geolover advised:  "Concerning Knowledge Document 100446, FS has been moving a lot of stuff around -- and it is possible that document is available only to those with LDS accounts.  To find its equivalent, use the search box in the 2nd screen in your first image, search for 'merging.' You will find a list of articles, including one 'Cannot Merge Duplicate Records in Family Tree.'

"Left-click on the link (you can not open it in a separate tab or window in order to save it--another annoying feature) and an article with numerous links will open. I can not give you a URL because it does not have a separate URL from this 'product support' section. I do not know if this is a version of the Knowledge Document referred to in the manual, but it seems to cover the merging problem instances.

"Regarding the IOUS merging issues, so common among New England ancestors, these will disappear when FS-FamilyTree no longer synchronizes with the new.FamilySearch database. This is promised by early in 2014, when new.FamilySearch will become read-only and will be kept in existence for some unstated time period.

"There has been a delay in separating the two because the FS-FT program can not directly 'read' the material in new.FamilySearch, and there has been a major problem with transferring LDS Ordinance data to FT from n.FS and with developing the subroutine in FS-FT for handling LDS Ordinances.

"There will still be data-management problems with the IOUS individuals because the person-page will not display more than 100 versions of spouses, parents, etc. Only in a general tree search can you determine how many versions there might be for an individual and for each spouse. But such a search will not tell you how many permutations and combinations there may be."

My comment:  Thanks for the lead to the document.  I found it...and also read the Ben Baker presentation and handout from the BYU Conference.

I hear your message about IOUS - my best course is to wait until the link to nFS is broken before trying to deal with them.  That's OK, I have plenty of other work to do in FSFT.

b)  Jim Gill asked:  "I agree with your work process for unraveling FS-FT spaghetti. It will take me the rest of my life to unravel my ancestors lives, more if FS keeps dumping garbage into FT. Is there a forum some place where FS-FT users can exchange ideas, woes, problems, solutions?"

c)  Geolover answered Jim's question:  "Jim Gill, a lot of the problems and tricks for dealing with FamilySearch Family Tree are dealt with in the large how-to document for which Randy gave a link.

"There is a message board for discussion of FamilySearch site issues, including FS-Family Tree:

"It has no topical subdivisions, and you can not sort posts by subject, but you can use the rather primitive keyword search at upper right to determine if your question or problem may already have been addressed there. Most problems that users have encountered have been discussed, some at great length."

6)  That's enough for this week.  Thank you to my Genea-Musings readers who often are more knowledgeable about genealogical records and events than I am.  

copyright (c) 2013, Randall J. Seaver

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