Gedcom upload to FamilyTree, making messy duplicates and errors
Somebody uploaded on May 11, 2023
This one made a lot of duplicates and errors.
Now I have to clean it up, restoring accurate information backed up by sources. Even the given and surnames were wrong along with places.
Why are the Gedcoms still uploading to FamilyTree INSTEAD of "Genealogies" section?
@W D Samuelsen contact me please Hi - Welcome to FamilySearch Community and asking your question about GEDCOM files. As you probably know, loading a GEDCOM is a two step process. The first is to load the file in "Genealogies" where is becomes part of the Pedigree Resource File. It remains as you loaded it and is searchable but not combined with any other files. For many, this is all they want. For some, they want take the second step and add the GEDCOM file to Family Tree and this is where many of the problems show up. Despite the recommendations to not load large files or files that contain a lot of duplicate information, they are still being loaded. Many lack the knowledge to do all the comparison needed when adding a GEDCOM to Family Tree. There are better ways to add information to Family Tree from you own database using one of several third party program which interface with Family Search. But short of disabling the adding of a GEDCOM to Family Tree, it is hard to not have this continue. Like you, many of us have had the same experience of spending time and effort correcting the mess from loading a GEDCOM.0
This thing had been asked again and again since at least 2012.
The number one request and demand made by many, is BLOCK the gedcoms from being uploaded into FamilyTree, to steer to the "Genealogies" section.
I am still cleaning up a lot. Some of the submitters got angry when they were politely asked to put gedcoms in the "Genealogies" section. Some of them got angry when they were informed of the duplicates and errors they made, with super polite and super nice messages. One refrain several of us got was "their tree, not anybody else's tree and to do as they see fit"2
@W D Samuelsen contact me please, uploads do all go into Genealogies -- that's not the problem. The problem is that uploads don't stop there: the way the page is set up and worded, it makes it seem like adding your file to the Family Tree is just the next step in the process. There isn't a "finished" message. It never says anything like "you're done, here's how your upload looks in Genealogies, congratulations; do you also want to compare your file to the collaborative tree?"
The other part of the problem is that probably well over 90% of uploads are made by people who are unclear on concept in the first place: as you say, they all assume without a further thought that FamilySearch works exactly the same way as the individual-trees websites, and their only focus is on not needing to re-type anything, ever. FamilySearch has tried to improve its presentation over the years -- the tree landing page now has the word "shared" on it six times -- but it's the usual three problems: people don't read, people don't read, and people don't read. Also, the upload section is old, and the presentation there does nothing to disabuse people of their erroneous assumptions -- and they can get to that page (easily) without ever encountering a page that talks about the shared tree. (I should ask my friend the very-occasional FS user: has she ever even bothered to go to the tree landing page?)
I don't expect it to make you feel any better about the GEDCOM-labeled messes you've encountered, but perhaps it'll help anyway to put it into a bit of perspective: uploads are not actually the only source of such duplications. They're just the best-labeled ones. When a problem is caused by synching with one of the offline tree programs, it doesn't say so in the reason box -- genealogy software doesn't do reason boxes. I remember someone from FS (maybe Joe Martel?) saying on the old GetSat forum that these "silent" messes actually greatly outnumber the GEDCOM-labeled ones.1
Still the problem persists. I am about to message the one who submitted last Thursday, May 11th. Too many errors that have to be reversed and duplicates merged.
No mention of where the gedcom is located. No mention of a link to specific genealogy in "Genealogies".0
Yesterday some unwitting person added their entire GEDCOM containing THOUSANDS of duplicate records to the Family Tree. I spent three months this past winter carefully combing through the entire descendant family of this Revolutionary War Soldier, adding all Source files, merging, and cleaning up problems which took the better part of a month. In one keystroke this person just made a huge mess of all that work. As the group administrator for a regional surname project at FamilyTreeDNA I have been recommending members use the FamilySearch but my trust in the relative integrity of the Tree information just evaporated *completely*. Sure individuals have come along and messed things up based on old, inaccurate genealogies but while that has been irritating, cleanup was manageable. But not THOUSANDS of duplicates!! There MUST be some kind of "brakes" put in place to prevent large uploads of more than 50 individuals. The FamilySearch tree is no longer sparse on most families. The worst part of this situation is the person who did the upload said that a FamilySearch representative walked them through how to do it. The instructions for "How do I copy information frrom my GEDCOM file into Family Tree?" has instructions on preventing duplicates which were clearly ignored. This is a horrible mess and HAS to be fixed both via technology (to prevent massive uploads) as well as re-training the FamilySearch representatives.
I spoke to a FamilySearch representative about this GEDCOM upload problem. Here are the steps she gave to hopefully remedy it:
**Contact the person who uploaded the GEDCOM file and respectfully explain the problem they probably unknowingly caused. They have to be the person who follows the instructions for "How do I remove my GEDCOM file?"
**If the person who wants to upload portions of their GEDCOM, direct them to these instructions and ask them to follow them FULLY: "How do I copy information frrom my GEDCOM file into Family Tree?"
Please note especially the importance of the Compare function.
Part 2 shows how to identify Potential Matches and Already in Family Tree
Part 3 IMPORTANT: this covers how to Review the Potential Match List
Part 4 and 5 also go through how to determine which records to add
If the person who has uploaded the GEDCOM refuses to cooperate and help remedy the problem, the last resort is to report them as abusers. But this is really unfair because FamilySearch technology should not be allowing people to fall into such a mess in the first place.1
@vtp Thanks for the update. This is really frustrating to many of us that are left to clean up the mess. I have dealt with many but probably not to the magnitude you are talking about. I message each one that has uploaded a GEDCOM and created duplicates. Sometimes I get a response and able to explain what is happening. But many times, I don't get a response. For those that respond, there seems to be an almost universal misunderstand of why the FamilySearch public tree is different than most other sites. I am always glad to have the opportunity to explain that.
You included a link to instructions on how to remove a GEDCOM file. I just want everyone to understand that those instructions are only applicable to removing the GEDCOM file from the Pedigree Resource File. It does not nor is there a way to removed the GEDCOM from Family Tree. Once the information is loaded from a GEDCOM file into family tree, the data is there and can't be removed other that the normal editing, merging, and adjusting relationships.
Thanks again for your input.1
Wayland K Adams thank you for your informative response. I was afraid the answer would be that once it's in the Tree then it's my problem to deal with it. That is just plain UNACCEPTABLE! FamilySearch MUST fix the ease with which new users can blunder into making such a huge mess! If this is not fixed very soon, the FamilySearch Tree will become completely useless!1
@vtp Yes, I hated to deliver that bad news to you. There are many, many that agree 100% with you. I know that this issue has been raised and the concerns expressed. And you make a very good point that the FS tree is filled out pretty good in many areas and people should really check out what on Family Tree before loading a GEDCOM. Please fill free to click of the "Suggest an idea" tab at the top and express your opinion and ideas.0
Wayland K Adams,
In my post replying to you "The number one request and demand made by many, is BLOCK the gedcoms from being uploaded into FamilyTree, to steer to the "Genealogies" section."
I got ANOTHER gedcom mess two days ago.1
VTP, those with gedcoms don't see that at all. They just go straight.0
W D Samuelsen I now realize that the people uploading their GEDCOMS don't have any idea what is happening. That is what is so very alarming. The Family Tree will soon become an unusable garbage heap if something is not done very soon. You made the point that, for starters, new users do not understand the concept of one shared, public tree because they've not experienced that anywhere else. The very fact that they can so easily upload their own GEDCOM tree 'tells' them that FamilySearch works just the same as Ancestry and the other platforms. Otherwise, their thinking goes, they wouldn't be allowed to mess things up so easily.
There's another side to this too: when someone who has been working long and hard on their tree suddenly sees another user making a huge mess by conflating and duplicating records with apparent abandon, it has the very real potential to create some undeserved animosity via the Message channel. This gap in the FamilySearch technology is actually engendering unnecessary anger and hatred because neither party understands that it's the technology that is at fault. I managed to keep a civil cap on my communications but my feelings toward this other user were very ugly until I realized where the real problem lay.
Wayland K Adams thank you for pointing out the "Suggest an idea" feature.3
Moderator note - comments were edited due to violations. Please see the Community Code of Conduct for more details.0
Family Search needs to stop trying to be like Ancestry and go back to the concept of one worldwide family tree. Period. That is what made it unique. I find that the having individual family trees in FS just makes things more confusing. It SHOULD NOT BE POSSIBLE to upload an entire GEDCOM and overwrite or create duplicates of what is already in the WORLDWIDE tree. It is frustrating enough when someone changes your tree information without ANY documentation and you have to correct it, but uploading their entire family tree without having to go through the process of comparing duplicates is ridiculous. I know a researcher who has meticulously gone through branches of our shared family tree, documenting every relationship with facts and records. Overnight, some newbie uploaded a GEDCOM and ruined MONTHS worth of work. It is RIDICULOUS that this is even possible! You will drive Family Search users to other programs if every time they login they have to clean up errors. It is time consuming and frustrating. Please FIX it!0