Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Using the MyHeritage Consistency Checker - My Tree is Imperfect!

At the San Diego Genealogical Society Fall Seminar on Saturday, 31 August, Daniel Horowitz of MyHeritage described the Consistency Checker feature for family trees on MyHeritage.  I don't recall if I tried it out months (years?) ago when it was first announced, but I came home and worked with it for several hours last weekend.

Daniel also said that he had seen only one family tree with no consistency errors - it was Judy G. Russell's!!

I expected that I would have a few errors that it would find - maybe 1%?.  I uploaded my most recent MyHeritage tree back in October 2018.  I use it for my DNA matches and also to generate Record Matches from MyHeritage records.  This tree has 50,878 profiles.  How many of them have consistency check errors?  It takes a while to find out, since the Consistency Checker goes methodically through your MyHeritage tree.

A user can get to the Consistency Checker by going to the "Family Tree" link and clicking "More" on the dropdown menu to find the Consistency Checker link (shown below):

When I clicked on the "Consistency Checker" link, the error checking process started.  I took this screenshot about five minutes into the process - it was 4% complete with 1,800 profiles out of the 50,878 profiles already checked and about 1:15:44 hours left to go:

As I write this (at about 2:45 p.m.), the process is 57% complete with 29,000 profiles checked.

The Consistency Checker categories include (I will add the numbers after it completes):

*  Birth after death (11)
*  Child older than parent (4)
*  Child born after death of parent (20)
*  died too old (>110) (1)
*  Alive but too old (> 110 years old) (14)

*  Parent too young when having child (< 16 years old) (33)
*  Parent too old when having child (> 64 years old) (54)
*  Fact occurring after death (61)
*  Fact occurring before birth (11)
*  Siblings with close age (206)

*  Large spouse age difference (> 35 years) (36)
*  Married too young (< 15 years old) (76)
*  Multiple marriages of same couple (36)
*  Married name entered as married name (34)
*  Multiple birth facts of same person (31)

*  Multiple death facts of same person (45)
*  Incorrect use of uppercase/lowercase (3)
*  Disconnected from tree (2)
*  Siblings with same first name (496)
*  Same sex spouses (1)

*  Double spaces in name (13)

When I did this the first time, I corrected many of the entries in my RootsMagic tree file based on the information found in the checker.  I especially worked on the obvious errors (fact after death, fact before birth, death before birth, birth after death, parent too young or too old to have child, multiple birth and death facts, multiple marriages, etc.).  I corrected about 150 to 200 profiles the first time through.

There were too many entries for siblings with same first name (in colonial times, they reused first names) and siblings with close age (many birth facts are from baptism records), etc.

I did not correct the errors in my MyHeritage tree because I will eventually replace it with all of these corrections.  It serves only as a DNA match magnet and a Record Match generator which I mine regularly for records from MyHeritage collections.

The Consistency Checker finished just now after about one hour of working.  It found 1,191 issues.  I'm going to leave that tab on my browser open so I can double check that I corrected the errors.  I didn't see any way to save the list on MyHeritage, but I used my Print Friendly and PDF Chrome extension to create a PDF of the list and saved that.

This is a very useful tool to check the accuracy of my family tree.  I have about 160,000 events in my tree, so 1,191 is 0.74% errors, and with 50,878 profiles there are errors in 2.34% of my profiles.  Frankly, I am surprised it is that low!  I've always assumed I make about 1% errors just typing - they are inevitable.  After all, Pobody's Nerfect!  But I'm working on it.


Disclosure:  I have a complementary subscription to MyHeritage, and have received material considerations from MyHeritage over the past ten years.

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