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

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Do you understand how FamilySearch Family Tree works?

I had a rather long and involved comment to my last post. I am not quite sure what I said that elicited the comment, but there were several points that I think need responses. I will try to extract the points made in the comment (with a few small corrections for spelling etc.) and add my own comments.

Comment #1: I am not all that enthused about Family Search and the new "editing" ability for everyone. For instance, I was trying to merge a name, "Cordelia Hocker" and ended up deleting the one that had the most information.

Well, this is a pretty easy one to respond to, but not so easy to resolve. Merging and deleting are not the same thing. When you merge two records in Family Tree, you get to choose which variation of each event is preserved in the final copy. This function works essentially the same as every other genealogical database program with merge feature you can purchase today. It is actually simpler than the merge function in Personal Ancestral File. When you merge two individuals, one disappears and one remains. You need to carefully review each item on the compared pages to see which ones you want to remain and which ones disappear with the merged individual's record. If you accidentally merge the wrong people, you can reverse the merge.

When you delete an individual from Family Tree there is no opportunity to preserve any of the information at all from the deleted individual, unless you copy it before you delete. Everything pertaining to the deleted person is gone from the file. There are rather prominent warning messages explaining the results of deleting and cautioning the user to only use the delete function as a last resort.

In the case above, if the user deleted the wrong individual, you can restore a deleted person. Here are the instructions from the Reference Manual for the Program:
You can restore a person whose record has been deleted from the system.
1. Open the details page of the deleted person’s father, mother, spouse, or child.
Important: The details page that you open must be for a deceased person. To restore a deleted person, you use the change history, and the change history is not available for living people.
2. In the Latest Changes box, click Show all. The person’s change history appears.
3. In the change history, find the entry that indicates that the relationship to the deleted person was deleted. If the change history contains more changes than can be shown on the list, click the More link that is found at the bottom of the list. Tip: If the change history is long, scan the right side of the change history, and look only at the entries that contain a Reference link. All deleted relationships have a Reference link. This is often faster than looking at each entry individually. You can also use your browser’s Find feature to search for the word “Deleted” or name of the person that you want to restore. In most browsers, press Ctrl+F to use the Find feature.
4. Click the entry’s Reference link. The deleted relationship appears.
5. Review the relationship information. If you want to restore the person, follow these steps:
a. Click Restore Relationship.
b. Enter a reason that explains why this person and relationship should be restored.
c. Click Restore.
Comment #2: Also I am not thrilled with the being able to make changes anyway, whether I goofed or not.

I don't think this person meant what they said. If there is wrong information in the Family Tree program, the whole idea of the program is that the wrong information can be corrected i.e. changed. 

Comment #3: People have way to much wrong information due to that lack of good research documentation. "Our family says: so and so was born **** and the other person is wrong" is not my idea of correcting information.

One of the major advantages of FamilySearch Family Tree is to correct and document with sources the years of misinformation that have been passed down in families. The idea of the program is not just to say something is wrong, but to provide reliable, documented sources. 

Comment #4: Also, I placed my family tree on there some years ago, I have since done more research and the tree has been added to and/or changed from what is on there.

I am not sure exactly why this is a problem. But the fundamental issue here is that FamilySearch Family Tree is not owned by anyone. It is not your family tree, it is The Family Tree. You do not own your ancestors (the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution did away with that). You should welcome the changes is they are sourced and accurate. If they are not, then you can change the entries to reflect the correct information.

Comment #5: Documentation also is with the information/names. How do I go about placing this information on the site? 

When I got to this point of the comment, I began to doubt that this person has even looked at Family Tree yet. But perhaps she needs some very basic instruction in editing entries and adding sources. I suggest a class on the subject or watching a video. Here is a link to the video on Adding Sources

Comment #6: Will the old tree be deleted and the new one will be made available or will it just be added to all the other "stuff" that people have put on there?

I thought this might be a reference to, but upon re-reading the comment, I am not quite sure. In any event, goes away and the information from that program has already been made available to the Family Tree program. 

Comment #7: I am unable to go to the FHC and get this worked out as I am a stay at home person most of the time due to health issues. Therefore I cannot get help in that regard.

I suggest clicking on the link in the upper right-hand corner of the startup screen for "Get Help." You do not need to go to a FamilySearch Center to get help. There are many volunteers that will help you in your home. You can use the telephone support and online support. There are dozens of video, webinars, webcasts and other resources to teach Family Tree as long as you have an Internet connection, which this person apparently has from the comment. 

1 comment:

  1. In the FamilySearch Learning Center at there is an item now under New Courses, called Family Tree Training Lessons and Videos, that anyone using FamilySearch Family Tree should take a look at to learn the proper way to use Family Tree. These videos were created by a trainer of missionaries in the Family History Library in Salt Lake. They are short, some as little as a couple of minutes. Others are a bit longer and it is easy to find one on the list that answers one question at a time.