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

Thursday, February 16, 2017

The Ultimate Family Tree Challenges: Consistency and Accuracy -- Part One

I start thinking about the problem

Let's pretend that we could somehow zoom out and look at the entire 1.1 billion entries in the Family Tree at the same time. Let's further imagine that we could filter our view of this huge expanse of names to show all of the inconsistent or inaccurate entries in blazing red while the rest of the tree was in some pleasing pastel color. How much of the Family Tree would be highlighted in blazing red?

At the recent RootsTech 2017 Conference in Salt Lake City, Utah, introduced a new feature for all of its millions of user family trees. The feature was given the name of the Tree Consistency Checker. In addition, for some time now, the Family Tree has implemented a series of icons like this:

Now, there is no way for me to know how many of these pesky red Data Problems icons there are in my section of the Family Tree. But by using the Tree Consistency Checker I can see exactly how many errors and inconsistencies there are in my own family tree. The answer is a startling 726 errors. This is unsettling as well as discouraging, but not in any way surprising.

This experience at RootsTech started me thinking about how I was going to approach this monumental issue. My first attempts at "correction" lead to a virtual avalanche of related errors, inconsistencies, duplicate entries and other problems. One approach to the Family Tree issues is the utility program, Even if you don't have a family tree in, you can begin looking at the errors and inconsistencies by generations using the program. Here is what happens with my part of the Family Tree when the filter is set to one generation.

It may be some comfort to know that I have entered myself correctly into the program. The fatal flaw in both these error and consistency programs is that you could be making up all the names but neither program would be able to detect fraud or lying.

For example, the "Maud" person shown above in the Data Problems icon is so far removed from reality as to be inaccurate even if either her birth date or marriage date were changed. Such a person probably existed, but not at all likely on any of my family lines. The data problem shown on is a still-born infant who has been included in the Family Tree but not further identified.

But at this very basic, initial level, using the program complemented by the Tree Consistency Checker, gives me a couple of powerful and useful tools to start addressing my own issues in my portion of the Family Tree.

1 comment:

  1. Don't get discouraged until you review all the errors. I just ran the consistency checker against my wife's My Heritage tree of about 2000 people. It found 300 errors.

    However, 150 of those were for siblings having the same name. None of those are errors, just normal naming patters combined with high infant mortality.

    Another couple of dozen were couples where the man's surname and the wife's maiden name were the same. Again, none of these are errors, just the normal use of Norwegian farm names.

    One typo in a mother's birth year accounted for about fifteen errors all by itself because of how it compared to her husband's, parent's, and children's information. Each was listed as a separate error.

    So the actual errors in your tree may be far, far less than 726.

    As far as the remaining error's in my wife's tree, it's great to see them all at once instead of accidentally stumbling over them. I'm looking forward to seriously attacking the list.