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Monday, April 23, 2012

Things to come in Family Tree?

I wasn't quite through with talking about FamilySearch Family Tree, the replacement for New FamilySearch. As a matter of fact, I probably will never get through with talking about the program as long as there is genealogy and as long as there is a FamilySearch and as long as I can stay out of the care centers.

Family Tree appears to have the beginnings of a program that will work for creating a more accurate database with source citations and justification for entries. Here are a few random observations and thoughts:

Family Tree appears to be much easier for people to understand conceptually than the New FamilySearch program. I have helped two or three people who had little or no experience with genealogy get started with the program and they seem to get the idea of the program readily unlike with New FamilySearch. A lot of people never seemed to understand the point of New FamilySearch. I am hoping that my first impressions are correct and Family Tree does turn out to be more easily understood.

One of the main issues with New FamilySearch (NFS) that carries over to Family Tree (FT) is the inaccurate linking of individuals. For example, showing wives and husbands that did not exist such as showing my Grandfather with his second wife as his mother and stuff like that.  At this point, Family Tree has not yet implemented a way to resolve these issues, but the documentation indicates that this is a feature they are working on. Depending on how this works out, the program may enable the users to solve most of the existing data problems visible in NFS.

It looks like unresolved duplicate individuals have been carried over from NFS to FT. For example, there are at least two instances of my Great-greatgrandfather Sidney Tanner (KWJ6-DZX and LZXK-Y57). The issue here is not just a duplicate individual, but two separate and not equal pedigrees which include these duplicates. So, if I view the tree for each, I see a whole pedigree. In one instance the line shows Sidney's (LZXK-Y57) father as Joshua Tanner, who is actually his Grandfather. The other instance shows his correct father, John Tanner, but how do you choose which pedigree line to follow?  The line with Sidney (KWJ6-DZX) has John Tanner (KWJ1-K2F) as the father, which is the line showing in my initial pedigree. But how do I know if either line is correct? Do I have to examine both lines clear out to the end before choosing one?

From reading the manual, it appears that the solution for duplicates is a forthcoming merge function. What happens if someone merges two individuals that are not related? What if I go into the program and find my whole line merged with someone unrelated? If the merged individual disappears, then how do I work my way out of that problem? I am not clear on this issue as yet.

What about revert wars? Who is watching Family Tree to resolve issues where rogue relatives start merging and changing relationships without any documentation to suit their own view of the world? What if I reverse the changes and then they change it back etc. (revert war)? Are there moderators or arbitrators who will decided when to shut down or lock an individual? Can individuals be locked?

On a note having to do with Temple Ordinances, I see green arrows already for people who are long time members and did their own Temple work. Are we starting another round of duplication?

Some of the lines show a list of children as "living" in addition to a list of deceased children. The living children are duplicates of the deceased children, but of course are not further identified. How do I merge an unidentified "living" person with a know deceased person?

Some of these questions will likely be answered soon enough as the program progresses but there are issues and problems that will have to be resolved. I think it is a good start in a good direction and am looking forward to how these issues might be solved, or not.

1 comment:

  1. In Family Tree I went to look at the wrongly-linked marriages that were at the New FamilySearch and as you say, they're still there and with no way, yet, to fix them. I spent several hours at the New FamilySearch some months ago sorting out the confusion but it's back again. I like the look of where Family Tree is headed, generally speaking, but it's got a ways to go before it's functional enough for me.

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