Genealogy from the perspective of a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon, LDS)

Friday, November 21, 2014

Can you manually merge IOUS records in FamilySearch Family Tree?

I ran across an interesting statement in a Help Center article on The article is entitled, "Understanding records of Individuals of Unusual Size (IOUS)." The article says, in part:
The FamilySearch Family Tree program was created with the ability to merge IOUS records. However, at the present time, Family Tree is still synchronizing with nFS and must abide by the constraints that have been placed in nFS. When nFS is permanently shut down, and Family Tree no longer synchronizes with nFS, then all records will be allowed to be merged in Family Tree. In the meantime, though, some merges in Family Tree will fail if the merge would cause nFS records to exceed the size constraints. While waiting for Family Tree to cease synchronizing with nFS, some patrons may want to attempt to manually merge these IOUS records.
The last statement about manually merging these records caught my eye. I have attempted to do this quite a few times without success. Is there a way to merge these IOUSs in the present program?

There is another Help Center article entitled, "Merging duplicate records in Family Tree."  The article starts with a Note of caution:
Note: Merging is a complex process. You must decide if two entries are for the same person. If the same person, you decide the information to keep. Please take the time necessary to carefully review each possible duplicate.

To prevent incorrect merges, Family Tree has a Not a Match feature. Choose Not a Match to indicate that the two entries are not matches. You can enter a reason to explain how you know. If you indicate that two entries are not a match, the system no longer suggests them as possible matches. This helps prevent incorrect merges from occurring. (Emphasis in original).
There is a further article entitled, "Cannot merge duplicate records in Family Tree."  Here is the explanation about the IOUS records:
One of the records for the individual is too large
  • These records are often referred to as IOUS, meaning "Information of Unusual Size."
  • Presently, other records cannot be merged with an IOUS record nor can IOUS records be unmerged.
  • This is a known issue, and there is no estimated time for a fix.
If the records cannot be merged for other reasons 
Click the Feedback button at the bottom of the screen, and request that a system administrator merge the records for you. In your message, include:
  • Your full name.
  • Your birth date.
  • Your helper number.
  • The records you want to be merged.
  • The ID number, name, birth date, and birthplace found on the records to be merged. If the records have more than one version of this information, you can include just one. If the record does not contain all this information, provide as much information as you can.
  • A reason or a source that verifies that the records should be merged.
It appears that the mention in the first article about a way to manually merge the IOUS records is not correct. There is a now-dated FamilySearch "White Paper" on this issue entitled, "Dealing with Duplicate Records of People in Family Tree, A FamilySearch White Paper, 21 June 1012." This paper concludes with the statement:
In, duplicates are combined. It is very easy to combine records about different people. There is no way to prevent the wrong records from being combined. Once a wrong combine happens, it is very difficult to fix the problem. 
Family Tree will provide a better solution for duplicate records. It: 
  • Solves the IOUS issue because it does not try to keep all of the duplicate records that are stored within a combined record.
  • Lets users correct both inappropriate merges and provides features that allow:  
  • Undo merges if no changes were made after the merge.
  • Easily correct and re‐create the records when records are changed after a merge.
  • Prevent the merging of wrong records with a new “not a match” feature.
Presently, we will just have to wait until finally is completely, and not just mostly, dead to resolve the IOUS issue.

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