Revise instructions for attaching hints
THE CURRENT INSTRUCTIONS FOR ATTACHING HINTS DON’T BEGIN WITH THE MOST APPROPRIATE ACTION, WHICH IS LOOKING AT THE SOURCES AND RELATIONSHIPS THAT ALREADY EXIST ON A PERSON’S RECORD.
The information that appears when you type in “Hints” in the HELP screen gives these instructions in paragraph two:
(1) “Attach all accurate record hints, even if they appear to be duplicates.” Are you aware that some FamilySearch patrons have been systematically deleting EVERYTHING they identify as “duplicates”, even when they come from different record sets? This practice is leaving more unattached hints floating around in cyberspace on FamilySearch to be attached to the WRONG same-named individuals! [If you want an example of this, I can give you at least one name of someone who has deleted multiple correct duplicates from my tree – after I had followed this instruction when I attached every one of them.
(2) “The ‘not a match’ button should be used only if the source does not actually have information about the ancestor.” The first “Step” that follows says to “find the hint” (in one of three places) and then “click Review and Attach” – which opens up the source linker. Then you are instructed to “line up the people on the left with the people on the right”. Next you are to “find misaligned people and determine where they should go and drag them to the correct place on the screen”. And to top this off, you are then told that “if the wrong spouse or parents displays on the right side of the screen, change to the correct information.” [Change WHAT? And HOW are you going to decide what the “correct information” is??]
All these sequential steps are listed BEFORE the most important step, which doesn’t show up in the instructions until STEP 4: “Determine if the record hint is a good match.”
NOTHING is said about reviewing sources that are already attached to see if there is conflicting information in the hinted source about locations, names, dates, and relationships! And absolutely NO CAUTIONS are given about being extra careful when dealing with common names.
Go back to my explanation about changing the alert warning and look at the source for William and Elizabeth Wood which consisted of an 1851 Census from Lancashire. The person who attached it probably found it as a “hint” and followed all the beginning steps as outlined – including the “misaligned people” who got dragged over and attached to the wrong William Wood family as more children – even though he already had ten! But an 1851 Census from Kent had been attached to the family who appeared in the record – and it would have been physically impossible for the same family to have been counted in the same census, on the same day, some 300 miles away!