New FamilySearch: Combining Duplicates

FamilySearchFirst of all … I love the new FamilySearch and Legacy integration. Amazing, amazing effort.

But, just because we can combine duplicates on the new FamilySearch does not mean the information is correct. And, of course, we already knew that.

So, here’s my plan. I’m going through all my peeps using the Legacy Family Tree integration. It’s fun watching the progress bar move along gifting me with a 0.01% increase for every person on FamilySearch I can match to my own database.

There’s nothing to do except click on a person, wait for FamilySearch to look for a match and then designate the people who come up as either Same Person, Not Sure, or Not the Same Person.

New FamilySearch Combining Duplicates

I like the Not Sure button best. I use Not the Same mostly for things like born 1850 on my side, married 1791 on the FamilySearch side. Sometimes I think nFS bring up possibilities like that just to test if I’m paying attention.

After combining what I tell it to, it will present me with the output ready for the next step, Share Data.

New FamilySearch Combining Duplicates

The next step is to download changes from FamilySearch to my database or upload info from my database to FamilySearch using the little button next to each field. That sounds simple except for what I said at the top. This information is not necessarily correct on either side.

I could decide to only add information for my near and dear ones where I know the information is absolutely verified. We know no-one has ever put an incorrect date on a headstone (cough) or a BMD certificate.

No, this is not the time to exchange information. This is the time to start emailing people and asking for their sources. Included with each record is a number identifying the submitter. Assuming it’s a person not called FamilySearch Data Administrator, there’s probably an email address to write to.

There’s a place to add sources on the FamilySearch side with drop-down choices that make it relatively simple.

nFS Add Sources

But, people don’t always do that.

Wouldn’t it be funny if people wrote me back saying, ‘I got it from that Jgen website‘. Oh, did you really? And where did I get it from? Third cousin who got it from her sister who made a trip to Salt Lake City 45 years ago and she’s pretty sure there’s paperwork for it somewhere in her climate-controlled storage locker that she’s been renting since before scanners were invented but right now she’s having another cat healthcare crisis and it might be awhile before she can dig it out of there but she does plan to do it as soon as she has time.

Talk to people, people. We’ll get this all sorted out someday.

9 thoughts on “New FamilySearch: Combining Duplicates

  1. Wendy Lavender

    Good article. So there’s going to be a lotta correspondence coming up by the sounds of it. My progress is slow, looking forward to being on my own computer with my broadband but will have to wait until the end of June. It is rather fun. I’m amazed at the programming that’s running NewFamilySearch.

    Wendy still in tropical Townsville.

  2. Yvonne

    New Family Search seems so much easier to me when I use it through my Roots Magic. If I go directly to the site, it’s slow and painful. When I access the site through my Roots Magic software, it’s as smooth as can be…just like your Legacy.

    Could you also write one on UNCOMBINING records directly from New Family Search? I have a few that need to be done~

    1. JL Post author

      Sure, I’ll get right on it. 🙂

      I’ve only done one so far. On the Summary tab at the bottom of the screen at nFS is a link that says ‘Combined Records’. On the next screen, you’ll see a few or several pages of combined records. You can click on the ones that are wrong and separate them out, which I think means they go flying off into space ready to be combined with some other records. It’s interesting to think that while I’m working away at merging records someone else could be un-merging them. I’m hoping FamilySearch has a good backup plan.

      1. Yvonne

        OK, found the ‘combined records’ link, but wowser! They’ve been combined from now through eternity…literally. If I uncombine the incorrect ones, will it uncombine on just MY lineage or everyone else’s as well? I’d hate to undo others’ work….maybe yours? 🙂

        1. JL Post author

          I don’t know. Who are you dealing with there? Adam & Eve?

          To try to give you an example: I found a line of descendants going back about 300 years connected to the wrong parents. So, I simply disconnected them. At that point, literally, the umbilical cord was cut and those children + their 300 years worth of descendants were sent into nFS cyberspace to become another line. They didn’t ‘disappear’. They just got cut off from that particular set of parents. If someone wanted to, they could link them up again. And then I’d have to cut the cord again and leave a nasty message saying, “Stop messing around with these peeps and get a life.”

          What do you mean, ‘MY lineage’? Are you living in a vacuum?

          I’ve only done this once so I’m not an expert yet. The problem was a woman married to the wrong man and 300 years of descendants said to sprout from that marriage. It’s a matter of disconnecting the right-wrong records. I found the records that said she was married to so-and-so, the wrong one, disconnected those records and hooked her up with the right husband. Does that help?

          Before you bring the wrath of the Universe upon yourself, you might want to make sure you have source documentation up the yin-yang to support what you’re about to do.

          1. Yvonne

            Sometimes I would prefer living in a vacuum.

            Yes, I understand what you’re telling me. You have helped. lol@ bringing the wrath down upon me. That already happened, and I survived. I’ll be fine. 🙂

  3. Randy Seaver

    Hi JL,

    Thanks for the peek at nFS through Legacy. It looks pretty similar to RootsMagic.

    I think we’re the only two that are blogging our way thorugh nFS. And are using standard place names.

    Keep up the good work — Randy

  4. Nancy

    Thanks for this post. I’m still living in the dark ages using PAF and feeling unkind thoughts for nFS. This post and the discussion it prompted have encouraged me to buy a new program (probably Roots Magic) to help sort out the mess of my tree on nFS. Thank you also for the encouragement to disconnect from my line at least one individual, a wife, because there is no documentation to support the marriage (so far, only the wife’s first name is known). The question then becomes, what about the children when there is documentation for the relationship between them and the father…. I haven’t explored enough to know if both husband and wife have to be on the tree before children can be added. Slowly but surely many of us will figure out how to best use nFS.

    1. JL Post author

      For sure, you can add children to the father without knowing who the mother is. nFS is a compilation of everyone’s knowledge and differing opinions. Maybe someone else has that piece of the puzzle that you don’t.


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