Examples of when you should or should not merge
OneGreatFamily is the first truly collaborative
genealogy service that allows everyone in the world to
work on a common family tree. Overcoming the challenges
of letting people work on the same family tree hasn't
been easy. First, we had to ensure that people would
always be able to retain "their own" view of their
family tree. This means that OneGreatFamily respects the
opinions and information provided by each person using
OneGreatFamily and preserves each unique perspective.
Where conflicts or disputed evidence occurs in
OneGreatFamily, each person maintains his or her right
to see the information believed to be "right" or "most
Where other software applications require an
immediate choice made as to which version of information
to keep when merging two individuals together,
OneGreatFamily allows users to merge individuals and
still preserve all of the information from both trees
that have been merged.
The rule for merging two people together in
OneGreatFamily is quite simple (but can actually require
collaboration or additional research): "Feel comfortable
merging together any two individuals in OneGreatFamily
who you are confident are actually the same person." The
question then becomes, "How confident?"
OneGreatFamily can help with your confidence level.
When you click on a hint light bulb, you will see a tab
at the top that shows OneGreatFamily's confidence level
that the two records are duplicates. Hints only occur if
there is a high probability of duplication. You can look
at parents, spouses, children, siblings, and event
information to become more confident in your decision to
either merge the records or to reject the hint.
Here are two good examples:
Example 1: Two individuals in
OneGreatFamily have the same name, parents and birth
information. They also have identical spouses by name.
On closer examination, however, you see that the version
in your tree includes three children and the other
version includes only one child. The child included in
the other version is also included in your list of
This is a case where you can safely merge the two
individuals. OneGreatFamily did not automatically merge
them because they had different information for the
children; however, the chance that they are actually two
different people is remote.
Merging these two people will create a conflict, but
that's OK. You will continue to see three children from
your perspective, and the person who submitted the other
version of the family tree will now "inherit" two
additional children. Merging the two lines together may
provide both of you additional names and information for
your known family trees.
That's part of the power of OneGreatFamily. You can
collaborate with the person who submitted the other
version of the family tree. In this case, there is a
good chance the other researcher has only focused on a
direct line and has chosen not to research other
siblings. Merging the common ancestor can provide one or
both of you with exciting new leads and information to
verify and "make your own."
Example 2: Two men in OneGreatFamily
have the same parents and birth information, but their
wives and children don't look the same. Upon closer
inspection, the two men have one wife in common, but one
of the men has a second wife listed. You look further
and recognize most of the children also have the same
information. The common wife also has the same birth
information and names for parents.
In this case, you can also safely merge the two men
and the wife who is listed as the spouse in both cases;
however, be careful NOT to merge the second wife who was
listed for one of the men with the first. Merging the
two duplicate men does not mean you agree that he had
two wives or that you necessarily agree with the
information included in the other family tree. It simply
means there is enough information available to identify
both individuals as the same person.
Merging these people will also create conflicts. You
will have conflicts on the children as well as on the
spouses. You will want to merge both instances of the
common wife, since you have verified that the
information has been duplicated and merge together any
duplicate children. Take care NOT to merge the two wives
together, since they are not the same person and come
from different families.
You can feel comfortable merging people together who
are obviously the same, even if all of the detailed
information doesn't match perfectly. Use your common
sense to only merge together people who are in fact
duplicates of each other. Looking at available notes and
sources can be another tool to identify when two people
You will always be prompted to resolve conflicts that
occur as a result of merging people together. Don't feel
that you need to accept the information that has been
supplied by others as your own. You will want to refer
to notes and sources to inform any decisions you make.
You can also contact the other researcher to learn more
about the information they have supplied. Differences in
opinion or evidence are natural in genealogy. Resolving
all conflicts, although it may sound like a noble goal,
is not necessary to succeed with OneGreatFamily.
OneGreatFamily will continue to automatically provide
hints and merges; however, your participation and the
participation of others is vital in the effort to create
a "common family tree" for all of humanity.