Add Statement in the Genealogies window/page regarding GEDCOM Uploads
Can FamilySearch add a statement in the Genealogies window/page recommending that the person who is considering a GEDCOM upload of their own family tree first review the Family Tree for the same ancestors. If their ancestors are in Family Tree, they do not need to add them by GEDCOM upload to the existing Tree? If their ancestor is already in Family Tree they can add to the detail directly in the Tree.
I apologize for the lengthy explanation. I enjoy doing family history research, and I use the Family Tree as the primary place to do my work and keep those family records. Yes, I do have Ancestry and RootsMagic. A few days ago an individual did a GEDCOM Upload which added a lot of duplicates, merges and errors. Having heard about the difficulties arising from GEDCOM uploads, and reading the Help/Knowledge Articles from April 2020 which describe how to do GEDCOM uploads, and which state that, as to transferring the information to Family Tree: "We do not typically recommend that you do this, since the information may already be in Family Tree. Transferring the information from a GEDCOM file can end up creating more work for you or someone else to do".
as well as: "After you upload a GEDCOM file to the Pedigree Resource File, you can copy the information into Family Tree. When you copy this information, however, you could inadvertently create duplicate records. You could also add information to Family Tree that is incorrect, or erase information another user contributed. Rather than copy all the information into Family Tree at once, please consider transferring the information manually, entering only the dates and facts that you know are correct."
I decided to do some tests with GEDCOM uploads, to see how they are done in FamilySearch, and how the problems can result, and what information was being given to the person doing the Upload to FamilySearch. I spoke to a Helper from the Help Line, she described it well. The GEDCOM is a tool. It can be very helpful, and it can cause problems, depending on its use.
I created in Ancestry a small family tree with three people, myself as the living person, my father who has passed away, and a fictitious mother for my father. I actually adjusted the information for the mother a few times, did a few ‘create GEDCOMs’ from Ancestry, and then did GEDCOM uploads to FamilySearch. My first tests were in Beta. I did a final Upload in the main FamilySearch to verify I would get the same thing in the main as I was getting in Beta.
Here’s how it worked and what I observed.
1. Having prepared the GEDCOM file from Ancestry and saved it to my computer, I went to FamilySearch Beta, Search Tab, drop down to Genealogies, and then opened the Genealogies window/page.
2. I was now in window 1, the ‘Genealogies’ page, the beginning stage for an Upload. At the bottom of the page was a box to “Upload your individual Tree”. The information above this box asked the question, “How is FamilySearch different from FamilySearch Family Tree?” then it stated:
“Genealogies is a database of tens of thousands of personal family trees, lineages, and other histories. The FamilySearch Family Tree, by comparison, is a single tree or lineage for the entire human family.”
There is nothing here to indicate that it would be helpful to review the Family Tree first, or any concerns with uploading GEDCOM files. I then clicked on “Upload your individual Tree”.
3. A new window opened, window 2. Entitled “Upload your tree”. There were three messages scrolling across the upper left side of the page.
The 1st one tells me: “Upload it on FamilySearch. Once uploaded, it becomes searchable within 15 minutes and will be preserved on FamilySearch”.
The second message tells me: “Compare it with Family Tree. Reduce your work by identifying already researched ancestors or possible matches to your ancestors.”
The third message tells me: “Contribute your GEDCOM to Family Tree. After comparing your GEDCOM you can share your research with the Family Tree community. Any living people in your GEDCOM will not be added to the Family Tree.”
These scrolling messages last each eight or nine seconds on the screen.
Message number 2 tells me I can reduce my work by identifying already researched ancestors or possible matches to your ancestors. However this message did not recommend that I do the review of the Family Tree before the upload, to see if my Ancestors are already there, or to avoid the duplicates or other problems that could arise as noted in the Help Articles.
I then clicked the “Upload GEDCOM file” button, which opens a pop up screen to find the file on my computer to Upload, and then clicked button “Upload”. The bottom of window 2 showed the uploading and then a compare button. I clicked the ‘compare’ , it showed ‘comparing’ and then status ‘ready’ and the word “View”. I clicked “View”.
4. A new window opened, the third and final one in the Uploading process. This third window showed me the three people from my upload, and it showed me if there are matches, no matches [indicated simply by ‘add’], possible matches, invalid as still living, etc. For any with matches in Family Tree I could compare them with the matches. The fictitious mother was an ‘add’ [no match in Family Tree]. This fictitious mother had a different first name from the actual mother (already in Family Tree), and the birth date and death date were each earlier by 2 years. It said I could add her in Family Tree. It did not tell me that there was already a mother for my father in Family Tree. I added her and a new PID was generated. In Family Tree it showed her as another mother to my father. In Family Tree it also allowed for the request for certain temple ordinances for that new PID. The next day I repeated this same procedure to check the process, and it allowed me to add the same fictitious mother a second time and generated another PID for her. It did not show her as a match to her PID from the day before, nor that there was already the original mother in Family Tree. As this was all done in Beta, the following day I did one GEDCOM upload into the main FamilySearch website to see if the same actions were needed and the same results. They were.
My observations. Many have described this as a two step process, first the Upload into FamilySearch to the PRF [Pedigree Research File], then a second step, if I chose, to take the people from the Tree I have uploaded into FamilySearch/Genealogies/PRF, and load them into the Family Tree. From the user/uploader’s perspective it was not a two step process. It was a single, continual flow process. At no point was there a break to say you have now uploaded into a Genealogy file in FamilySearch separate from the Family Tree, do you want to go see that file. In fact it did not indicate where that file would be. I searched through the alpha list in Pedigree Resource file, both in Beta and in the main Family Search, and did not find my Uploaded Tree by name. A search by the fictitious mother’s name, dates of birth and death, country of birth in the window ‘Genealogies’ gave me 8,083 results.
As stated previously, there was nothing during the 3 window upload process which indicated/recommended that I should first look at the Family Tree to identify my ancestors before starting a GEDCOM upload, to avoid the problems of duplication, etc.
Conclusions. I agree that where no ancestors exist in the Family Tree, a GEDCOM Upload would be a great way to entry a lot of people very, very quickly. I also agree that the ‘GEDCOM’ problem may be a small part of the duplication and merge problems that happen in Family Tree. However, in the process there are no recommendations or warnings to first look at the Family Tree itself, and I would suspect that most GEDCOM Uploaders are well versed in what a GEDCOM Upload is and how it works in other family history websites, that is, they are creating their own tree at that website. They may have very little understanding of how the Family Tree works. The scrolling three messages in window 2 may have very little meaning to the Uploader. The ‘match and add’ system of window 3 still allows for duplications, extra people and errors of information. The frustration felt by other FamilySearch users/patrons directed to the ‘GEDCOM problems’, is probably heightened by the fact that the GEDCOM Upload by its nature can have a large volume of changes input in a very, very short period of time, which can overwhelm the users who are trying to keep the PIDs in line with FamilySearch’s goal, "The FamilySearch shared tree uniquely strives to have just one public profile for every deceased person who has ever lived. Descendants contribute what they know about a person to a single, shared profile, rather than scattering their knowledge across multiple profiles on several trees, some of which may have privacy barriers."
All of this brings me to my question I asked of FamilySearch in the 1st paragraph.