Genealogy Tips

Smart Matches and Merging

Yesterday, I read a post (I can’t remember which one) which mentioned that Legacy Family Tree could synchronise with FamilySearch, so I checked out the information on the Legacy site However, rather than a true synchronisation, this is really just an option to do merging, just like with My Heritage Smart Matches and Ancestry Record Hints.

The problem of course is that all these programs have the option to check the hints, and merge them into your tree on that site.  The dilemma is when you have a family tree on all of the sites, and also your tree in your desktop program, how do you keep all these trees up to date?

Another problem is that while the sites have differences in the collections they provide, they also share a lot of the same collections.  Which means that you end up getting the same smart matches from each of the sites for information you already have in your tree.  Unless you merged the information on that website, it’s not going to recognize that you got the same information somewhere else.

In order to do a reasonably exhaustive search, you need to use all of the available resources, which means using all of the sites, since they do each provide unique collections.  To avoid doubling up of research, and having to maintain a number of different trees, I prefer to work on my master database in my desktop program, and to upload a new GEDCOM to replace the existing tree on a website.

I actually have two trees in my desktop program, a complete tree, that was supposed to be for all the information I had, and another tree to share on the internet.  The problem with having two trees is updating each tree appropriately.  I’ll update the information on my internet tree, but not bother to update the complete tree, or I’ll add information to the complete tree, and never get around to updating the internet tree.  Or I’ll add information to the internet tree that isn’t really ready for sharing yet.  And then there’s finding the time to properly cite the sources.

It’s enough of a hassle with maintaining the desktop programs, without updating a number of online trees as well.

Although I’ll use the record hints from the various websites to find additional information about the individuals in my tree, I prefer to save the information to my desktop, so that I can properly review the information, and then update my desktop program manually.