Separation (not just unmerging)
Situation: 2 people look the same, and even have sources that belong to each other. A well-meaning researcher (sometimes me) decided to merge the two. After adding more sources, it became clear that this was 2 people.
Upon inspection, it doesn't make sense to unmerge them since they had some of each other's sources, I instead need to separate the individuals based on the virtue of their sources.
It would be nice to have a "Staging Area" where I could drag and drop each of a person's sources into groups (proposed new individuals).
If the sources all look right, it would be nice to detach them in bulk, and either attach them to an existing individual or create and attach them to a new individual. On organization tool even without the bulk operations would be nice.
I found a relative that was possibly 3 people combined with many sources and a sandbox area, or staging area where I could organize a proposed set of changes for sources would help. Right now I have to use a text editor and it's time consuming to get right. If there's an existing tool for this already, please let me know.
Paul W ✭✭✭✭✭
The first thing I would do in a situation like this is to make notes in the Collaboration section - as much as for myself as any other users who might be interested in this profile. I would detail my theories as to the probability of the ID including details of more than one individual, of very similar identity.
Don't rush things, as you might make further incorrect assumptions and errors. However, as soon as you have established there are two separate persons involved, try to trace the parents for the one who does not fit below the parents the current ID is attached to - creating IDs for them (the individual and other parents) if you cannot find matches in Family Tree.
As I say, the key is to take things slowly. Examine each piece of detail, including sources, to see which belongs to which of the two suspected individuals. I cannot see what you mean by they "even have sources that belong to each other", as I can't see how different persons (of the same name / very similar identity) could possibly share the same source.
In summary, I really don't see the need for any "staging area", just patience in working-out what needs to be detached and added elsewhere, or left where it is. Possibly with the need of good, old-fashioned pen and paper, to make detailed notes on the identifying factors of "a" and "b, so you can be quite happy you will reach a worthy end-result.2
I assume you have the situation where John A and John B were created in Family Tree or an earlier system.
In the process of time and as information was added, facts and sources for John A were added to John B and facts and sources for John B were added to John A. This made them look so much alike that John B was merged into John A, leaving just John A.
What I would encourage you to do is to to to the incorrect merge and restore John B. Then go to the earliest entry in the Change Log for each of them, either their creation entry in Family Tree or their 2012 import date and looking at that first bit of information, determine who each of them were supposed to be. That gives you a good foundation for the work because this really is a situation where you need to go back and completely undo incorrect work, not just charge on ahead.
Then when you have that good understanding of who the two are, work through each piece of information to decide what goes on each person, moving any sources on John A that belong to John B to John B and vice versa one at a time.
This really will work better than creating one or more new people to move the sources and other information to, even temporarily.3
Thank you, this has been a complicated situation for me. I'll definitely leverage the collaboration section more. It also makes sense to try to preserve or recover the original IDs so ordinances remain tracked, when practical.
Gorden, I thought you described the situation well.
Thank you, both of you, for your support.0
@nephis10101 No, definitely unmerge them and then sort out the vital info, relationships and sources that are incorrectly attached to the wrong profile. The reason being that the initial merge was wrong because the focus was on the similarities rather than the (sourced) conflicts. The sources are everything; if there are two sources that conflict, that almost certainly proves the existence of multiple people, which must be resolved before any merge happens. This is especially true because if somebody unmerges later, the restored profile has all the mistakes that caused it to get merged in the first place.
(It's different when the conflicts aren't backed by sources, because then it could just be an estimate or somebody copying incorrect information from one of the dozen genealogy sites like Ancestry, Geni, Find a Grave, MyHeritage, etc. whose designs facilitate the spreading of misinformation. If the names are the same and there are no relationship conflicts, date and location mismatches are probably the result of bad guesses.)
Unsourced information (or information from unreliable secondary sources) deserves no respect. Family Search won't adopt or enforce a rule requiring sources, but there's nothing that we as editors can't do that if we have legitimate doubts about what's entered.0
Thank you @RTorchia. Some of the information I run across has no sources or comments to back it up (and it's add date isn't in 2012 with the import date), so I've leaned toward not respecting it when in conflict - it's nice to have a second opinion.
Other than for ordinances, what are some other reasons why we should carefully preserve the original IDs through unmerging them (other than it's what we do)? I see some of the people I work with arguing that if none of the ordinances were done, and the sources, comments, and relationships are right in the end, it doesn't matter. I thought since you have a lot of experience here, I could benefit from your perspective on it. Thanks0