Some people eat, sleep and chew gum, I do genealogy and write...

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Individuals of Unusual Size -- Part Two

Because I live in the Mesa Temple District, we have had access to New FamilySearch for almost a year and a half. It was recently announced that Temple Districts in Utah and Idaho would start to be added to the New FamilySearch network. Because we were instructed to combine records and dispute incorrect information, many of us spent considerable time working through our online files and disputing and combining. It is evident that this strategy did not do what we expected it to do. First and foremost, it did not correct any of the online information submitted by others. What this activity did do, was to crash the system and make a mess of a lot of files.

As a result, I stopped disputing information and stopped combining individuals. In fact, I began taking off all my disputes. Over the past year or so, the system had definitely settled down. However, with the introduction of hundreds (dare I say thousands) of my relatives in Utah and Idaho, I suspect that we are in for another round of disputes and combining. This is likely to happen unless the Utah and Idaho folks can learn from our mistakes.

Some of the users of New FamilySearch likely never see an Individual of Unusual Size (IOUS). I happen to have a whole pedigree chart full of them. In researching the issue, I believe that the instructions contained on Document ID: 104186 in the New FamilySearch Help Center summarizes what should be the correct approach to the entire problem and particularly to the IOUS.

The Document states:


1. Separate out those records that clearly have been incorrectly combined. (Please do not separate records from an individual’s combined record simply because you think some of the information is incorrect. If the records are about the same individual, leave the records combined. If you separate the records, temple ordinances and research might be duplicated.)
2. Once they are separated out, a note could be added to each asking that they not be combined again, but do not combine them together and dispute.
3. Carefully check your records against those of the "correct" individual to make sure there are no errors. Do not just assume there are no errors.
4. If you find a submitter that you can communicate with, do so. If the person is a legacy contributor, you will not be able to communicate.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help from others when you have a particularly difficult IOUS problem.

REMEMBER: To separate records, click on either Summary or Detail at the bottom left of the Pedigree with Details page. At the very bottom, click on Combined Records to see the individual records that have been combined. On the left, all of the combinations of births, deaths, parents, spouses, and even those who "died before age 8" are shown.

As soon as the incorrect record has been separated, the erroneous information on the left will also be gone. If it is not gone, another record has the erroneous information also. Since patrons cannot access children as they separate records, it is important to be aware that you may be separating out children that belong to this family and have been attached to the wrong spouse or parent.
I would recommend this procedural approach to the entire database, not just to those IOUS files. It is a good idea also to refrain from adding any more information to New FamilySearch until you are absolutely sure your information is not already somewhere in the database. Please consider using one of the semi-automated programs that assist with finding information in the file, such as FamilyInsight, Ancestral Quest or RootsMagic.

More later

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