Avoiding Mistakes on Your Family Tree

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rp76226
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Avoiding Mistakes on Your Family Tree

Postby rp76226 » 04 Mar 2015, 03:23

Many of you likely utilize Ancestry.com for publishing your family tree to relatives and for "hints" that they give. My tree on ancestry.com totals almost 36,000 people and I have learned a lot about avoiding mistakes and finding the mistakes you missed. The same Ancestry.com hints can appear multiple times for the same family (once for each parent and child). Accepting them can very easily lead to duplication of the same person on your Tree. Family tree hints and census hints from Ancestry.com are notorious for this. Though Ancestry.com is aware of the problem, they give you no tools for avoiding them nor finding them once they are made. Also slightly different spellings of names on hints can make you think that there is a new person to the family when in essence, it is a duplication.
With family tree hints from Ancestry.com, since most names that exist for any individual also exist for hundreds and even thousands of people today and in the past, the same hint is often repeated multiple times for people with common names. Don't blindly accept these even if they look initially correct. Make sure that there are multiple other genealogy facts (relatives on the hint and on your tree that agree in name, dates, and relationships) that are in agreement first. Also, either open up your tree a second time in another different browser (e.g. one tree in Internet Explorer, one tree in FireFox or one in your Tree software if you have it) to make sure that the person you are thinking of adding onto your Tree isn't already on your tree. It doesn't matter that the hint shows no parents or no children exist on your Tree, they may still be on your tree anyway. I see many tree hints given where people have been duplicated and even triplicated.
Also make sure the dates of birth and death of the people you are trying to add through a hint make sense. I've seen many tree hints with physical impossibilities such as children born before one or both parents, or born after one of both parents are long dead, or born when at least one parent is too young to be a parent, or where the child and the parent are the same person with the same names, birth and death dates.
When a lot of information has been added to your Tree since the last time you checked for duplicate people on your Tree, I advise going to the alphabetical index on Ancestry.com and scanning from A to Z for exact same birth and/or death dates together or one or two lines apart. If the names are the same, it likely is a duplicate - so investigate those names and make a determination.
Either delete one (only if it has no spouse or children so there are no other unwanted impacts) or use the Ancestry.com "merge" feature to eliminate normally giving preference to the name with the most relationships if indicated. Once merged, check the rest of the family on the Overview page for more duplicate names. When done, to be sure that you did the change correctly, utilize the "View relationship to me" feature on the Overview or Profile screen. If you get back "No relationship to you", you have a problem you need to correct. Any person related to that person is also not related to you (go to the "Family View" screen to ascertain how many people need to be deleted if you can find no relationship link to at least one of those people.
Note - I find this review process easier for very large family trees by downloading my latest tree and using my ancestry.com software. The names and dates are much closer together making it easier and faster to spot duplicates. Newer tree software (mine is 2010) updates both the software and the ancestry.com tree simultaneously negating the need for a download which can take hours.

carubia
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Re: Avoiding Mistakes on Your Family Tree

Postby carubia » 05 Mar 2015, 03:54

What ancestry.com software are you talking about? Where can I obtain this? Is it freeware?

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rp76226
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Re: Avoiding Mistakes on Your Family Tree

Postby rp76226 » 05 Mar 2015, 04:37

It's called Family Tree Maker and it is not free. This link explains it:

http://help.ancestry.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/5400


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