Wednesday, June 18, 2014

FamilySearch Family Tree Recent Questions

Family Tree was truly a brave roll out. So much was new and so much needed improvement. It is fast becoming a pretty solid website. Still, there are numerous parts yet to go live.

I thought I would share some questions and answers we get from our users.

Q: Why can't we give an indicator as to whether there are any possible duplicates on a person?
A: The programming call, or effect on the load, to check for possible duplicates uses a fair amount of system resources, so we don't want to execute this process every time a person page is opened. We are looking into ways to speed this up and/or provide better mechanisms to let patrons know when possible duplicates exist.

FYI: My observation is that this shows the character of this initiative, and the willingness to even embark on family tree. It is a major effort, moving all the records ever submitted to the church, over decades, having them in multiple data bases, having being a massive collection, every entry being the opinion of the provider. Moving from that model to one tree for all mankind is loaded with issues. It is evident now, after more than a year that it is worth it.

Q: Should I mark a person as Not A Match if I'm not sure if they are in fact the same person?
A: It depends. If you are worried about other people merging them and want to do more research or want to prevent the merge it is likely a good option. Just note, that when designated as a Not A Match they will no longer appear as a possible duplicate. I have actually done this with the sole purpose of assuring that people will not make the merge in a future time. Some of the ugliest events can happen with incorrect merges.

Q: What if I now a person matches, but doesn't show up in the possible duplicates list?
A: After clicking the Possible Duplicates link from the person page, click on the merge by ID tab. Copy the ID you would like to merge into the text box and proceed with the merge as usual.

Q: What happened if I went through all of the steps to merge, clicked finish merge and I get a pink message that these people can't be merged?
A: Most likely you have encountered a bug. Please call support to report it or send an e-mail to The only legitimate reason this message should appear after initiating a merge is that it took over 15 minutes. This is another constraint of the system that will be resolved when synchronization with search is off. Merging will be much quicker.

Q: What happens to photos and stories attached to a person during a merge?
A: Any photos and stories on the person deleted during the merge will not be copied to the resulting merged person. This is a known issue relating to the different data models that will be resolved soon.


Q: Why don't merges show up in the watch list even though they do show up in the watch emails?
A: This also is a known issue that is being worked on.

Significant changes to the watch list are coming soon.

1 comment:

  1. I actually get the pink message that two people cannot be merged quite often. I have found that most of the time this means both records contain information from LDS Church Membership. If you open a case they will usually forward the issue to someone who can resolve it.