This record was a duplicate and has been retired. We recommend using the most current copy.
I am seeing this warning on many of the people I research and I don't understand what it is warning me about. Can an explanation be added to a knowledge article or a new article create to explain what we should be doing about it (i.e. detach the source, describe the source better, report it to someone . . . )?
William Henry Walmsley [LC2W-8QM] is a good example. He has 74 sources attached. The first four are all baptism records and 3 of the 4 have the warning:
The first source was attached by "FamilySearch" and the link takes you to Film # 008086657 and opens at image 1 of 1174
This is not the right image. If you go to image 1114, you see a very clear image of the baptism record, but this is the "duplicate" that has been retired. When you click on "View Current Record" you are taken to Film # 004421681, image 616 of 757.
This is not the correct image either. The correct image is 605 and is a very very badly faded copy of the same image. It is not a true "duplicate" and is not the image I would choose to document the event. But this is the "current record".
The second source was attached by Boyd Kent Earl and does not say that it is a duplicate but takes you to the same document (Film # 004421681, image 616 of 757) - with the same URL ending in JQS3-RHM.
The third source was also attached by Boyd Kent Earl. It does have the warning. The "retired" record link takes you to Film # 004421681, image 616 of 757
The "current record" link takes you again to the URL ending in JQS3-RHM, image 616 of 757. So this is not a duplicate. It is the same record. The URLs differ, but take you to the same image.
Finally, the third source "retired record" link takes you to Film # 004421681, image 616 of 757, but the URL is:
The "Current" record link takes you to the URL ending in JQS3-RHM, image 616 of 757. This is not a duplicate. It is the same record.
In summary, there are only two records linked here. You end up going to Film # 004421681, image 616 of 757 from 7 of the 8 links and Film # 008086657 and opens at image 1 of 1174 from the 8th link.
I find myself asking if the system is broken. Can something be done to reduce the amount of time I spend viewing the same image and then being told that the extremely clear image is a "duplicate" and has been "retired". It would help, at least, if there was a KA explaining the warning message and what to do about it as I said at the top.
You might want to read this thread with some discussion of retired duplicates. https://community.familysearch.org/en/discussion/comment/511246#Comment_511246 In many cases, in my research, the preferred copy has more information than the retired duplicate. It does appear, from the discussion I linked, that there may be some errors in the retiring process.1
Part of the problem is a use of language on FS's part that doesn't quite match yours (or mine): they consider the index entry to be the "record", not the image of the actual page. There can be multiple index entries ultimately derived from the same image of the same document; add in the possibility of different images of the same document, and the "records" multiply even further. (And then you add the possibility of bishop's transcripts and archbishop's copies and 19th century transcriptions and .... Well, you start to see why the "retired record" thing was attempted.)
The image from film 4421681 (which I agree is rather low quality) has one large advantage over whatever is on film 8086657: the former is fully public, while the latter is FHC/AL only from a public FS account like mine.
If all of the different indexes of film 4421681 agree about a particular entry, then which index entry to keep and which ones to retire can be a random choice. Likewise for whatever indexes are derived from film 8086657. However, I don't think the one group should be retired in favor of the other: as far as I can tell (without being able to look at one of the films), these are not, in fact, different filmings of the same documents, but different documents: the publicly-available one is labeled "Bishop's transcripts", while the unavailable one is labeled "Parish registers".1
Comments on the above:
@Áine Ní Donnghaile implies (if I understood it right) that it may be acceptable to "retire" records, though different, based on the amount of information contained in each. I would disagree with that concept. In general, if there are two records with some of the same information there is value-added in being able to see and compare each. If that is truly FS's goal, I think that they need to rethink it.
I would like to know what the "retiring process" is. Does FS show you what they consider a duplicate for a given period of time and then remove access to the "retired" record? Questions like this could be included in a KA.
@Julia Szent-Györgyi I do not understand the discussion on "index entries". I do see now that Film # 4421681 says that it is "Bishop's transcripts for Collegiate Church, Manchester" and that Film # 8086657 says "Parish registers for the Cathedral Church, Manchester". It does not appear to me that they are duplicates of the same image. The page number at the top (533) is the same. The record number in the left column (4260) is the same. The handwriting appears to be an exact match, but I do see now that there are variations as to the placement of different pieces of information. For instance on 4421681, "Son of" is much closer to the bottom line for the row than it is on 8086657. I don't think they should be considered duplicates - they are independent sources documenting the same event.
You said that you can't see Film # 8086657 because access is limited to FSC/AL. That is an even better reason for not managing these two distinct sources as duplicates.0
I did not imply agreement with the procedure. I only said that the retired indexes I had seen, in my personal research, had less information that the current index. For example - an older index of a marriage record only showed the parties to the marriage while a newer index also showed the names of their parents.
Neither Julia nor I have any direct knowledge of the decision process. We are users of the FamilySearch website. And, if you read the other thread to which I referred you, you will see that the mod was checking on the process which may have some flaws.0
Another thing I'd like to know is whether there is a mechanism to dispute the identification (or mis-identification) of these documents as duplicates?0
I have no idea what "retirement" means in terms of continued access, if you already have the URL. I do know that the retired index entry will no longer show up in Search - Records.
I'll try to explain "index entries". I hope I don't just cause further confusion.
So, start with a parish register. It's a paper book that the priest or a minion wrote in, centuries ago. For each event (sacrament), he'd write in the names of the participants, their relationships, various other identifying bits (such as ages or occupations), and the nature and date of the sacrament. (At the same time, or at the end of the month, or at the end of the year if he was a True Procrastinator like me, he also copied that same information into another, similar book, which got sent to the bishop's office. That's the Bishop's Transcript.) You and I think of the entries in these books as "records".
At some point much later, FamilySearch came along and microfilmed those registers, using fancy lenses and specialized film to create very small photographs of each page.
At some point after that, using specialized viewers that magnified those tiny photographs to readable size, volunteers indexed those registers: for each recorded event, they transcribed what they saw for the names of the participants and the date and the type of event. The fruits of their labors were entered into FS's then-current database (probably the IGI, for English parish registers). Due to the relative ease of reproduction of microfilm, often other groups also produced indexes of the parish registers. Sometimes, these other indexes also got added to FS's ever-growing database. Each entry in the database would identify which image of which microfilm the indexer was looking at, but there were several places where errors could creep into these index-to-image associations. (For example, the bookmark images at the beginning of the film could be cut off or simply not be counted.)
Later still, FS took those reels of tiny photographs and put them through a specialized scanner, creating digital (computerized) versions of the images. The greater access made possible by digitization and the internet could lead to yet another index (or two) of the register.
(Throughout all of this, whatever happened with the parish register often also happened with the bishop's transcript.)
Each of those indexing efforts led to a new index entry corresponding to each event on the page. If the priest's or minion's handwriting was nice and clear, then all of the various volunteers who wrote down what they saw would have seen the same thing, so all of the index entries will look identical, except for the URL assigned to them by the computer.
Those entries in FS's database of indexed records are what I refer to as "index entries". FS just calls them "records".2
To add a little more mud - Ancestry also refers to those index entries as records while FindMyPast refers to them as transcripts.0