Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Dear Randy: "How Do You Match and Update FamilySearch Family Tree Profiles?"

 Genea-Musings Bill Gregg asked this on my Monday Genea-Pourri post dated 14 September:

"This mentions your efforts to match with and update FamilySearch Family Tree profiles. You've probably blogged about this in the past, but there were too many "FamilySearch" posts for me to find that to see what your process is to accomplish that. Does part of that involve "cleaning up" duplicates, mistakes, etc?

"I'm also wondering if you use the "Watch" function on FamilySearch to get notified about changes. I am doing that for my direct ancestors and I find it takes an hour or two a week to review and often correct mistakes and issues, usually from merges, etc. Particularly merges from MyHeritage Family Trees that sometimes don't seem to be as well documented as Ancestry trees.

"Thanks for any perspective you can share on this."

Thank you, Bill, for the questions.  Here are my responses:

1)  I use the RootsMagic genealogy software program to perform all data entry to my family tree.  I use the TreeShare feature in RootsMagic to update the profiles in my Ancestry Member Tree.  RootsMagic is one of the programs that can interact with the FamilySearch Family Tree (FSFT).  

2)  I wrote about Dear Randy: How Do I Match My RootsMagic Person to a FamilySearch Family Tree Profile? on 30 October 2019 that describes the process of matching profiles.  Once a profile is matched, then I can exchange information between the two profiles - I can add information to the FSFT profile from RootsMagic, or add information to RootsMagic from the FSFT profile.  Here is a screen for the "FamilySearch Person Tools" in RootsMagic:

3)  Sometimes I have more information in my RootsMagic profile than the FSFT profile, and in this case I add to or replace information in the FSFT profile, and add names, dates, places, events, notes and sources also.  I usually try to add standardized place names to the events.  Sometimes the FSFT profile has more information than I have, and in this case I add to, to replace, information in the RootsMagic profile.  My goal is to make the RootsMagic and FSFT profiles as similar as possible based on the records and sources available.  I judge, based on the names, dates, places, events, notes, sources and discussions in the FSFT profile, whether to add a new person to my RootsMagic file. Once I add a new person, I can search for more records and sources on other record providers to improve the two profiles.

4)  I cannot delete an FSFT profile, change an FSFT relationship (e.g., parents-to-child, or husband-to-wife) or find a duplicate to merge two FSFT profiles, or delete a custom fact using RootsMagic.  I can merge, from within RootsMagic, duplicate profiles who appear in an FSFT profile (e.g., a person with two different profiles that are spouses or children), but that needs to be done carefully.  If I discover an obvious error in an FSFT profile, I can click on the "Show on Family Tree" button which takes me into the FSFT website and I can change relationships or perform tasks (e.g., delete extraneous names, events, notes, sources) that I cannot perform from within RootsMagic.

5)  The FamilySearch WatchList has changed in that it is no longer accessed via email.  I have about 400 profiles on FamilySearch Family Tree (mostly direct ancestors) that are on my WatchList.  I wrote about the process in Finding the FamilySearch Family Tree Watchlist and a Surprise or Two! on 15 September 2020.  I'm trying to check these WatchList updates on a weekly basis.

I hope that answers your questions, Bill.

NOTE:  The API for RootsMagic to access the FamilySearch Family Tree is broken at this time (since Tuesday afternoon, it seems).  I cannot access the FSFT at the time of writing today.  I hope that gets fixed quickly!  Fixed later on 30 September.


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1 comment:

Bill said...

Thanks for the explanation, Randy. That Roots Magic process looks great, understand why you're concerned about the API not working!

I have my main tree on Ancestry, using FTM only for backup. So I use a two-window approach, one browser window covering only part of my desktop open to the FSFT person and the other window covering the rest of the desktop open to the Ancestry person. That makes it easy to compare back and forth on what information and records are available in each source, but then have to manually make any updates in one or the other.

Bill Greggs