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Routine Data Maintenance?


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#1 ThirtyOhSix

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Posted 29 November 2019 - 09:09 PM

So I find my genealogy comes in ebbs and flows even when working consistent hours. No matter how hard you try to maintain normalized data (1 fact) you always seem to end up with duplicates, and variants. So you have to spend some time on data maintenance with the goals:

1. Normalization
2. Handling Duplicates and Variants
3. Consolidation and sometime bifurcation
4. Re-categorization

You really cant get away from doing these and more activities every now and then unless you just want your database of your family tree to be more like your family weeds.

Unfortunately, RM appears to struggle in this area greatly unless I am missing something. Yes you can merge duplicate people and places which is a good start. But what if you end up with two facts that seemed to diverge in content but after further consideration you decide they should be one type. The answer of manually going to each fact/event or whatever you choose to call it and add a new item using the consolidated type and delete the old seems to be very painful especially when a merge type feature would resolve the problem.

So how can I achieve this kind of maintenance using RM? Does anyone know if this feature is included in RM8?

#2 Vyger

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Posted 30 November 2019 - 06:40 AM

So how can I achieve this kind of maintenance using RM? Does anyone know if this feature is included in RM8?

 

The ability to merge facts has been wished for over many years with the option to also combine the various Sources supporting the event so you are not alone. If you are familiar with SQL I believe TomH has a script which will create a Group where any particular Fact Type occurs more than once for an individual within your user defined year range. So if an individual had a census Fact with the date 1901 and a duplicate census Fact with the date 31 Mar 1901 and you set the year span to ONE then his script would include this individual in a Group for further reconciliation, I hope that's not too confusing.

 

I fully agree that Rootsmagic need to be providing programmed help and solutions to these very common problems and not users. You will receive many varied opinions but what I have seen of RM8 thus far has not disclosed any great enhancements but it's quite possible they are holding such needed enhancements for release, we will have to wait and see.


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#3 ThirtyOhSix

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Posted 30 November 2019 - 07:27 AM

Thanks for the response. That is very sad to hear.

#4 Jerry Bryan

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Posted 30 November 2019 - 08:55 AM

 

 You will receive many varied opinions but what I have seen of RM8 thus far has not disclosed any great enhancements but it's quite possible they are holding such needed enhancements for release, we will have to wait and see.

 

My sense is that the user response to Bruce's video has been very positive and that the response to the delay in the release of RM8 has been very understanding and supportive. But I agree that that most of what we have seen so far is user interface improvements (which look very good from what we have seen) rather than functionality improvements for common problems such as the need for fact merge as is being discussed in this thread.

 

It's very unclear what functionality improvements will be included in RM8. The only such functionality improvement that has really jumped out to me so far is that RM8 appears to have what I call shared citations so that you can change all instances of a given citation all at one go. I'm sure there are other functionality improvements we haven't seen yet because Bruce said that RM8 is the largest upgrade in his software's history. We will just have to see. But what's more important to me is what happens after RM8 is released and is stable. I really hope that needed functionality improvements, even small ones, will not languish unaddressed for years and years as they have done since the release of RM4.

 

Jerry



#5 Renee Zamora

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Posted 30 November 2019 - 09:27 AM

Sounds like you are doing a lot of merging of imported GEDCOMs. Best to clean them before you enter them into your database. Review the Place List and clean it before you start to Merge. You can also use File>Compare Files to check differences between the databases before hand. Then add only the facts or people you want. Compare Files doesn't support relationships and family facts at the moment. In that case you can use drag n drop on those you need to.

 

What's New in RootsMagic 7 

00:29:05 – Compare Files

 

Using Drag and Drop in RootsMagic


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#6 Vyger

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Posted 30 November 2019 - 11:39 AM

But what's more important to me is what happens after RM8 is released and is stable. I really hope that needed functionality improvements, even small ones, will not languish unaddressed for years and years as they have done since the release of RM4.

 

Jerry

 

 

Sounds like you are doing a lot of merging of imported GEDCOMs. Best to clean them before you enter them into your database. Review the Place List and clean it before you start to Merge. You can also use File>Compare Files to check differences between the databases before hand. Then add only the facts or people you want. Compare Files doesn't support relationships and family facts at the moment. In that case you can use drag n drop on those you need to.

 

Renee, I agree with Jerry regarding what I would describe as overwhelming enhancement needs for serious researchers but perhaps that is not the market Rootsmagic identifies for it's future. Apart from the risks of manual merging, drag and drop etc, the decision to go down the route of Treeshare means it is virtually impossible to avoid duplication creeping into ones database. The problem then results that Rootsmagic offers no programmed utility to help identify or group such duplication for resolution, the script by TomH does help in that respect.

 

Many years ago I highlighted improvements I felt were beneficial to Rootsmagics own Duplicate Search Merge routine, to date this has not been improved. Whilst I find this routine very beneficial the downside is that it almost leads to duplication by not forcing the user to the Edit screen for tidy up or providing options to select preferred facts before click the Merge button. Again the problem which must be recognized and has increased substantially in my opinion since Treeshare is that Rootsmagic provides no help in identifying duplicate facts let alone providing a programmed solution to reconcile them.

 

I'm sure you are aware of the video link below but maybe the OP is not and may benefit from what I have learned to do in order to prevent duplication whilst using DSM.

 

Duplicate Search Merge limitations and duplication concerns

 

The graphic mockup below is old but attempts to define changes which would be beneficial, time has moved on and this could be much improved.

 

merge-screen-mockup.png


Customers should never be frustrated by things they cannot do.

 

User of Family Historian 6.2.7, Rootsmagic 7.6.2, Family Tree Maker 2014 & Legacy 7.5

 

Excel to Gedcom conversion - simple getting started tutorials here

 

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#7 ThirtyOhSix

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Posted 03 December 2019 - 11:05 AM

RM is a Windows based genealogy software and it is a tragedy of Greek proportions that I should have to use a third party app to merge any key item, People, Place, Address, Source, etc...  Merge should be a feature for all major components in the next version or they should hold the software until it is. 



#8 Jerry Bryan

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Posted 03 December 2019 - 01:13 PM

..  Merge should be a feature for all major components in the next version or they should hold the software until it is. 

 

Unfortunately, there is probably a terminology problem of some sort in the way RM users talk about this problem as compared to the way RM developers and RM promotional literature talk about this problem. And the terminology problem is there across nearly all genealogy software products, not just RM.

 

What I mean is that you will frequently see reviews of genealogy software and you will frequently see comparison charts of features for genealogy software. Somewhere in such comparison charts it will say something about merging. And RM and most of it's competitors will get a big green check mark for the way they handle merging. It's only if you really dig into things that you discover that RM handles only a very thin veneer of what is really needed in the way of merging.  I suspect that the same might also be true of most of RM's competitors. So RM gets the green check mark and probably also do most of its competitors, but users who merge quickly discover that the merge functionality is very inadequate.

 

RM8 may have major improvements in merging, and then again it may not. If it doesn't, it still needs to get out the door as soon as it is ready and stable. If we have to wait for RM8 until it's perfect, it will never ship. That's just the nature of software. That's why I'm more concerned about what happens with RM8 after it ships and is stable than I am with exactly what's in it or with exactly when it ships.

 

Jerry