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Merging two databases

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#1 JeffH13

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Posted 15 June 2014 - 05:28 AM

I have two databases I want to merge.  Many of the people are the same between the two.  The two databases resulted from re-doing sources to the latest formats, starting over, etc.

 

While many of the people are the same, one file contains many more facts and sources for some people, and the other file has many more facts and sources for other people.  So I want to merge these two databases and keep all the information.

 

I've watched some webinars and read some of the help file, but I'm not clear how to proceed.  Do I just drag a person from one file to another?

 

Thanks,

Jeff



#2 zhangrau

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Posted 15 June 2014 - 09:01 AM

When I have files to merge, I try to take a few steps prior to the database merge. These steps will vary from a few minutes to many hours of work, depending on how much standardization I decide is needed.
1. -- BACKUP both databases. :mellow:
2. -- Examine Given and Surnames in both files, and make sure they use the same standardization. I prefer all names in mixed upper & lowercase, whereas some prefer surnames in all uppercase. I prefer to enter unknown maiden names as [SpouseSurname], which works well for sorting purposes, and seems much superior to leaving all those surnames blank or [Unknown]. I also use [Unknown] for both Given and Surnames, and [Living] for Given names, where appropriate.
3. -- Save a text version (with elements NOT reversed) of the Place List from my most complete main database. Use copy & paste to make all of the place names in the new (to-be-merged) database agree with my standard list. This means that place names from the new database will automatically merge with existing place names when I do the drag & drop in step 8.
4. -- Examine Sources and Repositories in the to-be-merged database, and try to make them match any existing references in my main database. Again, this will improve automatic merging in step 8.
5. -- Use Tools | Count Trees to find orphaned individuals in the to-be-merged database, and delete any that I don't want in my main database. Usually I try to get this database to include only a single tree.
6. -- Run Database Tools and BACKUP on both databases. B)
7. -- Place the two databases in side by side windows, main database at left, to-be-merged database at right. Reconsider how well I've completed steps 2 thru 5. <_<
8. -- Display a common individual in each database, then use drag & drop to merge the new database into my main database.
9. -- Do a fresh BACKUP of the main database. :P
10. -- Run Tools | Merge | Duplicate Search Merge to find more common individuals. Using those individuals, trace through ancestors and descendants to look for more common individuals. Use manual merge with constant opening & closing of edit windows to clear up fact discrepancies.
11. -- Run Database Tools after every few dozen merges of individuals. Excessive? Maybe, but it also encourages me to take short breaks....
12. -- Re-iterate through steps 10 and 11 until I think I've found everyone that needs to be merged. :blink:

13. -- BACKUP :D

14. -- Relax.  :wub:



#3 Jerry Bryan

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Posted 15 June 2014 - 05:47 PM

There are  many good ways to do this. You might play around a little bit in copies of your databases until you decide what's best for you.

 

I would probably approach it as follows.

  1. Make a new empty database to contain your combined database. Your two original uncombined databases will serve as backups.
  2. Drag and drop both of the original databases into your new, combined database. All remaining work will take place in your new, combined database leaving both originals untouched.
  3. Go through the Place List, merging duplicates that aren't spelled exactly the same or which don't quite meet your current Place Name standards.
  4. Do the rest of your merging with Tools | Merge | Duplicate Search Merge. It will be a very tedious process, but nonetheless that's the best tool presently available. This is where I would reconcile differences in sources and citations.
  5. I deliberately don't try to get down to one tree. For example, I will go through an entire cemetery or an entire county for a particular census year or through any similar set of records looking for surnames of interest and enter all of them into my database. I often make the connections of people long after entering them into my database.

Just to repeat myself, you mileage may vary. There are many ways to approach this task, and what works best for one researcher may not work as well for another researcher. So play around a little in a play database before you attack the problem seriously. A good way to make the play database is to do the aforementined drag and drop of your two databases into a third, play with the third, and delete the third. Then do it again, this time not making all the mistakes you made when  your were just playing.

 

Jerry



#4 zhangrau

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Posted 15 June 2014 - 09:26 PM

As always, no substitute for experience.... Dive in, and be observant for things that don't work out quite how you'd prefer - that's where the REAL learning happens. Keeping the original databases and appropriate backups will allow you to step back and re-do things when necessary.



#5 JeffH13

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Posted 16 June 2014 - 11:35 AM

Thanks for the detailed steps.  I think one of the tough parts will be to get down to a common set of sources/citations.  One file was created back when there were no source templates and everything is the generic source template.  The other file uses the Evidence Explained templates (some standard and some that I've modified).

 

Thanks,

Jeff



#6 Jillaine Smith

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Posted 03 July 2014 - 11:27 AM

Jerry, how do you do # 2? Specifically?

Thanks.

 

There are  many good ways to do this. You might play around a little bit in copies of your databases until you decide what's best for you.

 

I would probably approach it as follows.

  1. Make a new empty database to contain your combined database. Your two original uncombined databases will serve as backups.
  2. Drag and drop both of the original databases into your new, combined database. All remaining work will take place in your new, combined database leaving both originals untouched.
  3. Go through the Place List, merging duplicates that aren't spelled exactly the same or which don't quite meet your current Place Name standards.
  4. Do the rest of your merging with Tools | Merge | Duplicate Search Merge. It will be a very tedious process, but nonetheless that's the best tool presently available. This is where I would reconcile differences in sources and citations.
  5. I deliberately don't try to get down to one tree. For example, I will go through an entire cemetery or an entire county for a particular census year or through any similar set of records looking for surnames of interest and enter all of them into my database. I often make the connections of people long after entering them into my database.

Just to repeat myself, you mileage may vary. There are many ways to approach this task, and what works best for one researcher may not work as well for another researcher. So play around a little in a play database before you attack the problem seriously. A good way to make the play database is to do the aforementined drag and drop of your two databases into a third, play with the third, and delete the third. Then do it again, this time not making all the mistakes you made when  your were just playing.

 

Jerry



#7 Renee Zamora

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Posted 03 July 2014 - 11:28 AM

We have a video that demonstrates how to do a drag n drop.

 

Using Drag and Drop in RootsMagic

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#8 DeaneHunter

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Posted 30 November 2014 - 04:23 PM

Okay, I confess, I have not yet watched the videos.... but, I am planning a similar merger... This would be 3, maybe 4, different RM6 databases that I would like to combine into one.

Questions;

       Can I color-code each individual database and have those colors end up on the merged file??  IOW, 1 red, 2 blue, 3 green... merged would have red, blue, and green,  which I hope would let me see which original DB each individual came from?

 

        Is there any way to tell the program to "merge all", IOW force it to just transfer every single entry of every single type, and just transfer it into the same field on the new DB ..... assuming I make sure I do not have any duplicated person(s) ??

 

Would these questions be answered already in any of the help files and videos, if so, please point me there ;)

 

Thanks,

 

Reason for all this is, I'm thinking now, that one database would be better/easier to manage than keeping the individual files that I had originally thought might be better !!!



#9 Renee Zamora

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Posted 01 December 2014 - 12:26 PM

You could open the files, color-code them and then drag n drop them into a main file, the color-coding will be preserved. You could use Tools>Merge>Automatic Merge to get the exact duplicates merged. Then you would have to follow up with Duplicate Merge Search and Manual Merge to clean the rest. In those merges it will save all facts, even with the slightest difference.

 

I highly recommend before the merging begins take time to clean up your Place List and Sources. This will help prevent some of the duplication during the merging.

 

If you upgrade to RootsMagic 7 we have a Compare File feature. It will compare two different databases and allow you to transfer over the people, facts, notes, sources, and media that are different.


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#10 DeaneHunter

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Posted 01 December 2014 - 01:38 PM

Thanks Renee, that was what I needed to know!

 

Now if I could just figure out what FTM just did in this latest update...GRR!!