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Finding Linked Empty Records


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#1 pstaveley

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Posted 08 March 2020 - 05:24 PM

When records are downloaded from Ancestry using TreeShare sometimes RM adds empty records which are linked to either a spouse or parents.

 

The problem manifests itself when I wish to group individuals using ancestors and collateral lines. RM finds that empty link and decides that it must include all members in the tree. Once the empty record is removed (by unlinking from the parents or the spouse as appropriate) the problem goes away. However, I normally have multiple empty, but linked, records dotted around my tree meaning I have to find and remove all the linked empty records.

 

Obviously I have tried using the Database Tools especially both reindexing and removing phantom records (in that order) but that has no effect.

 

I do not wish to have to copy everything to a new database because I would be doing that several times a week.

 

The relationships in Ancestry are always correct, so that is not the problem. I find that when there are errors in the Ancestry tree they are much easier to find and solve, for example using the report for multiple parents which then identifies the problem couples.

 

The problem is that it is very difficult to find those empty but linked records. Is there an easy way to do it?



#2 Renee Zamora

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Posted 09 March 2020 - 08:18 AM

RootsMagic wouldn't be adding blank people. It would have to be something the Ancestry API is passing to us. There wouldn't be phantoms in this case so a manual unlink or delete would have to be done. On couples with extra spouses go to Search>Family List and try the different sort options to locate those with blank spouses. 


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#3 TomH

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Posted 09 March 2020 - 11:37 AM

Ancestry and RM differ in the handling of what RM calls 'family' facts. Its db structure requires a couple for these Marriage, Divorce et al facts. Ancestry handles these as individual facts and sends them as such via its API. RM has to pair up two individual and complementary facts to an existing family (couple) or create a new one. It is possible for Ancestry to have a Marriage fact on just one person. RM would create a 'family' comprising that person and a spouse whose record number is 0, i.e., there is no record.

Tom user of RM7630 FTM2017 Ancestry.ca FamilySearch.org FindMyPast.com
SQLite_Tools_For_Roots_Magic_in_PR_Celti wiki, exploiting the database in special ways >>> RMtrix-tiny.png app, a bundle of RootsMagic utilities.


#4 pstaveley

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Posted 09 March 2020 - 03:17 PM

Thanks. The problem is that I have a large tree and I need help in finding them because there are links when separate parts of the tree link together further back in the ancestors.

 

Is there any way to search on having a parent link and not having a name. Similarly having a spouse link and not having a name?

 

Just to be clear the problem is both spouse links or child links.

 

If nothing else could this be added to the list of issues that needs to be addressed when handling the Ancestry API?



#5 TomH

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Posted 09 March 2020 - 03:34 PM

Try Search > Family List > Sort Father|Mother

 

At the top of the list will be the blank spouses. Click any couple to see the links in the right pane.

 

You cannot unlink from this view so it might be helpful to launch another instance of RM from a RM2GO drive, opening the same database in Family View on the person of interest to do the unlinking. 

 

Remember to close out the other instance of RM if you want to do a backup else the backup will hang. There may be other things to watch out for while both are open, such as turning off WebHints and avoiding TreeShare and FamilySearch Central.


Tom user of RM7630 FTM2017 Ancestry.ca FamilySearch.org FindMyPast.com
SQLite_Tools_For_Roots_Magic_in_PR_Celti wiki, exploiting the database in special ways >>> RMtrix-tiny.png app, a bundle of RootsMagic utilities.


#6 pstaveley

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Posted 10 March 2020 - 04:59 PM

Just for the record that does not work because they are not blank records but empty records (or possibly non-existent records)

 

For now I have solved the problem and this time I have written a 23-point process plan as to how to remove the phantom links (obviously that includes several loops within that process). Essentially I have to move around the tree unlinking good links which might have the error somewhere in their part of the tree and seeing how many individuals are marked when I mark ancestors and all collateral lines (or descendants and all collateral lines) and if the correct individuals are marked then the problem is below that individual (above that for descendants).

 

Obviously this error will occur in the future when I add more individuals to my Ancestry tree.

 

All I am asking is that this problem is sorted between RM and Ancestry because I have suffered this problem ever since treesharing with Ancestry was introduced.



#7 TomH

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Posted 11 March 2020 - 12:33 PM

A link from a recorded person to an unrecorded person is a real link in the database that can be deleted using Unlink Spouse. A link from a child to such a parental couple is not a 'phantom' and can be deleted using Unlink from Parents or Unlink Child. So I don't understand "that does not work".

Phantom links would require a link to a non-zero record number for a person or family for which there is no such record. I don't recall that having been an issue for others but it is technically possible.

Tom user of RM7630 FTM2017 Ancestry.ca FamilySearch.org FindMyPast.com
SQLite_Tools_For_Roots_Magic_in_PR_Celti wiki, exploiting the database in special ways >>> RMtrix-tiny.png app, a bundle of RootsMagic utilities.


#8 Jerry Bryan

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Posted 11 March 2020 - 04:53 PM

Do I understand correctly that after you find a link to what appears to be an empty record, you can get rid of the link via Unlink Spouse or Unlink Child and that the problem is finding the link in the first place? (Well, the deeper problem is why exactly is TreeShare creating the links, but that's outside your control and cleaning up the links is under your control.)

 

Jerry

 



#9 pstaveley

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Posted 11 March 2020 - 06:55 PM

Jerry, yes that is exactly the problem.

 

I would say that it occurs in around 3% of new individuals that have been created in Ancestry. In 100% of cases there is no problem with the relationships in Ancestry (where there are errors in Ancestry Relationships the error is easy to find, such as the individual report for multiple parents).

 

Unfortunately it only takes one error to stop a grouping to fail to work.



#10 TomH

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Posted 11 March 2020 - 08:28 PM

(where there are errors in Ancestry Relationships the error is easy to find, such as the individual report for multiple parents).

I don't see where in Ancestry one can get this report. Or are you saying that RM's Individual List with the filter option "Multiple parents" helps you find some problems in Ancestry but the 3% of newly created individuals in Ancestry that surface with what you describe as "linked empty records" in RM are not among those on the Ancestry Tree that do have relationship problems there?

 

As to the finding of "linked empty records", I understand that to mean a couple where one spouse has a Record Number (RIN) greater than 0 and the other spouse has no RIN (internally it is 0 in the FamilyTable but there can be no 0 record in the PersonTable. And I think for the child-parent link, what it means is that a child (RIN>0) is linked to such a parent couple (one empty spouse).

 

As I've described, the Search > Family List tool sorted appropriately will help you find all those couples. However, they are a legitimate and necessary construct in RM when one of the parents is unknown so some of them will not be a source of lineage or relationship problems for you. You could inspect each pair, looking at the list of children in the right-pane for links you may want to delete or preserve which may drive what you want to do with the spousal link. You cannot edit the nameless spouse but you can edit the named one from that screen to see more facts about the person. If your review indicates that you can safely unlink the children and/or the spouse, you cannot do it from within either the Edit Person screen or the Family List. That trap should be removed in RM8. Until then, either you have to back out to a Main View or, as I suggested, open another instance of RM on the same database in Main View to highlight the person who you want to unlink from the empty spouse or the half-empty set of parents.

 

Other than the Family List and the Multiple Parents filter, I don't think there is much more help to you from within RM. It lacks filters such as 'Half-Empty Couples' and 'Children of Half-Empty Couples'. Printing and reviewing ancestors and descendants lists, charts for small databases is a possibility. Outside RM, you could use SQLite queries on the database or export to other software that might have useful tools. FTAnalyzer might be one.


Tom user of RM7630 FTM2017 Ancestry.ca FamilySearch.org FindMyPast.com
SQLite_Tools_For_Roots_Magic_in_PR_Celti wiki, exploiting the database in special ways >>> RMtrix-tiny.png app, a bundle of RootsMagic utilities.


#11 TomH

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Posted 11 March 2020 - 08:43 PM

On the SQLite front, I developed a query years ago to find and another to delete 

Phantom Spouses – Unnamed and childless

 

Unrelated to Ancestry but maybe worth trying:

SpouseID Invalid

 

Which was a post-fix for a possible side-effect of

Merge Duplicate Single Parent Couples

 

This one finds a parent with an extraordinarily large number of children:

Statistics #child

Edited by TomH, 11 March 2020 - 08:45 PM.

Tom user of RM7630 FTM2017 Ancestry.ca FamilySearch.org FindMyPast.com
SQLite_Tools_For_Roots_Magic_in_PR_Celti wiki, exploiting the database in special ways >>> RMtrix-tiny.png app, a bundle of RootsMagic utilities.


#12 pstaveley

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Posted 13 March 2020 - 04:32 PM

Thanks