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

Saturday, May 5, 2018

Building a Family Tree: An Example on -- Project Nine: Part Two

This post is another in the unending series of Projects I am doing to research different people in the Family Tree. See the comment at the end of this post for a further explanation of the Projects. Also, see this link for Part One of this particular Project.

When I left this Project, I had encountered a "merge storm" on the Family Tree. This frequently happens when there is a person who was born in the 1700s has been submitted multiple times to FamilySearch and its predecessors without a way of knowing that the submissions are duplicates. This person may have thousands of descendants and the possibility of duplicate submissions is very high. Prior to the creation of the Family Tree, there was no practical way to know if you were submitting a new name or simply duplicating the work of one of your relatives. For many years, the FamilySearch predecessor organizations, such as the Genealogical Society of Utah, tried to manually search the existing records for duplicates. In this case, the father and mother, Joseph Sewell and Ann, would have been submitted for each child. All these duplicates have to be merged before any progress can be made to find additional information about the family. Here are a few of the duplicates after I spent some time merging entries.

So, I need to spend some more time merging the parents and then the children. Once I do this, I will probably have to return to merging more duplicate parents and more duplicate children. Eventually, the pile of duplicates disappears.

The individuals with names that are different than the ones in the records are probably not duplicates but just the wrong people. I will then detach the relationship on these individuals who do not appear to be duplicates. I will often see duplicate entries but a search for the duplicate does not show up any existing duplicates. In this case, you need to copy the ID numbers of the obvious duplicates and search by ID Number directly. One issue is that even though there may be more than one child with the same name, it does not mean that they are duplicates. It was often the case that when a child died very young, a subsequent child of the same sex was given the name of the dead child.

Here's what I end up with after doing about an hour or so of merging.

Are all these children in the right family? A quick check of the entries shows that about half of them do not have birthplaces recorded but they all have christening dates and records attached..As is usual with this particular type of research, the amount of work to do multiplies automatically with the addition of more information.

I will have to take another break from this research and clean up the children's entries. I may then get back to finding parents for the father.

Stay tuned

Explanation of how this project began and why I am pursuing it.

In this project, I started out by picking a somewhat random person from my ancestors or my ancestors' descendants who probably lived into the 20th Century from the Family Tree and to hopefully show, step-by-step, the research needed to extend that person's family tree back several generations. In this particular case, I found a cousin who lived in the latter half of the 1800s. Finding a person who has no apparent ancestors in the Family Tree is relatively easy for those who lived in or into the 19th Century by much harder the further you go back in the past.  To clarify this project, I will not be reserving any of the people I discover for my own Temple List, unless, as in the case with this family, I am related to those I find. I will simply leave the "green icons" on the Family Tree for that person's descendants to find and use for themselves. Please refrain from doing the temple work for people to whom you are not related.

Now, after I got going doing the research, I got a couple of requests to research some people further back in time. These turned out to be old, established "end-of-line" situations. Since my original idea was to demonstrate finding people, I started with easier challenges. But in any event,  I may or may not find new people to add to the FamilyTree. Since the families I choose are in an "end-of-line" sort of situation independent of the time frame, there is no guarantee that I will be any more successful than the average user of the Family Tree in finding additional family members. In any event, I hope that my efforts as recorded will help either the family members or others to find more information about their ancestral families and relatives.

Why am I doing this? For the past 15 years or so, I have been helping hundreds (thousands?) of people find their ancestors. I simply intend to document the process in detail with real examples so that you can see exactly how I find family lines. I simply want to show where those "green icons" come from. Since the Family Tree is entirely cooperative, I will simply assume that when I find a family that needs some research that I am helping that family. By the way, this is Project Five of the series because I intend to do this over and over with different examples.

There is another reason why I am doing this. Because I constantly offer to help people find their ancestors and I get relatively few that take advantage of that offer. I need to spend some of my excess energy.

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