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

Monday, August 27, 2018

FamilySearch Family Tree Dark Matter Duplicates

How many duplicate entries are there in the Family Tree? I doubt that FamilySearch even knows the number. But I am convinced that there are many more than they or most anyone else suspects are there. Where are these duplicates? Well, first of all just like Dark Matter in the Universe, they are almost undetectable. You will not find these duplicates by checking the "Possible Duplicates" on the webpage for any of your ancestors.

Here is an example of undetected duplicates. If I look for Possible Duplicates for Thomas Hamilton LCJP-JQ2 this is what will show up as a result.

Hmm. Does this really mean that there are no duplicates? No. There are actually a considerable number of duplicates. How is this possible? Because this person's information is vague and incomplete so the search used for duplicates does not find all the variations. How do I know this? Because here are the results of a quick search on FamilySearch using the link on the Search Records part of his Detail page. Here are the results of the search.

There are 142 possible people on this search and some of them are likely to be the same person as my Thomas Hamilton or Hambleton. By the way, if I redo the search using the name "Hambleton" I get the same list of results. The real interesting thing about this entry is not the plethora of Family Tree Dark Matter Duplicates, but the fact that this person has no sources and there is no real connection yet showing that he is even related to me.

If you look at the screenshot above, you will see the icons that look like the beginning of a pedigree chart. These icons indicate that the records with the icons have been attached as a source to another person. Here is one of the others that happens to have some sources and is not in my family line.

Without doing a lot of research, there is no way to know which of all these sources to Thomas Hamilton or Hambleton are the same as my own entry. However, I commonly find this type of duplicate in my English research. Once I start doing the research, I will get more records and when I add some information, I immediately get more duplicate entries. I can spend an entire day on one family doing little more than merging duplicate entries.

So, if you think you are safe when the search shows that there are no duplicates, you might want to do a little more research and see if any of the records you find are attached to Dark Matter Duplicates.

1 comment:

  1. Yes, and one "duplicate" I find particularly annoying is where FamilySearch has created a "stub" tree consisting of only the two individuals on a record (e.g. birth record), so to attach that to a real tree, it is necessary to detach or merge - very annoying sometimes.