Sunday, July 19, 2015

Cleaning Up Individuals on Family Search

Right now I don't have any more life histories or other records to share on this blog, but I thought I would share what I've been doing on Family Search lately.

I grew up thinking that for the most part my family history was done on both sides. My ancestors were all Mormon pioneers and my family members said the work was done already. But what I've been finding is that there is still plenty to do. I've only had to go back as far as my great-great grandparents and their families to find errors and redundancies on Family Tree. So here I will give some examples of what I'm doing to clean up these records. I don't know about you, but I think when Christ comes back and wants to see our family history work, he's not going to be that impressed if it's a big mess.

Today I am working on Hannah Luticia Worthen, the sister of my great-great grandfather James Alfred Worthen. Here are some of the issues that I need to address:

1. Alternate names

This is pretty repetitious and these can't possibly all be her birth name. What I need to do is find as many sources about her as I can and use those to determine what her birth name really was. Then I can delete all the extra birth names.

2. Legacy NFS sources

Family Search has been migrating information over to Family Tree from the [now old] New Family Search, the Ancestral File, and the IGI. Some of it was useful and some of it is useless. So I will need to open the Legacy NFS Sources and determine which ones have useful information and which ones can be deleted. The ones with useful information should probably be edited so it's easier to tell what the source is.

3. Notes

I already cleaned out the notes from Hannah, but here is an example from her father's record. Often the Notes or Discussions sections have entries like this that are information migrated from New Family Search. The ones about GEDCOM lines don't have any useful information and can be deleted. The other ones might have information or links that could be useful. It looks like they have links to sources, so for the sake of organization when I start working on his record I will look for those sources, add them to the sources section, then delete the notes.


I start by going through the the sources. I open the sources and verify that they seem right based on the information I have, and while I'm at it I make sure that everyone mentioned in the source is tagged.

The first Legacy NFS Source refers to the 1900 census, but that has already been attached as a source, so I detach the NFS source since it's a duplicate.

The next Legacy NFS source has a similar problem, except this has links to the 1880 census on Again, the 1880 census has been attached to this person elsewhere, so this is a duplicate. For some reason when people attached sources from Ancestry to New Family Search, the way they got migrated to Family Tree shows the same link several times. It's kind of confusing. Usually with sources like this I end up following the link, creating a new source, and deleting the Legacy NFS source, because with RecordSeek it's easier than trying to clean up the Legacy NFS source.

The last two Legacy NFS sources don't have any useful information, so I delete them.

Now that the sources section is cleaned up, I look for other sources on Family Search and Ancestry. There are plenty of other places to find sources, but those are a good place to start. Usually with the sources on there I can get a pretty good idea of whether the dates and names on a person are accurate, and of course if more information is found about her it can be changed to reflect that. As I go farther back in my family tree I'll have to get smarter about where to find sources.

Next I go through the sources and memories and compare them to her name and dates. The dates seem fine. Based on the sources, especially her death certificate, it looks like the most accurate spelling of her name is Hannah Luticia Worthen, so I keep that one and delete all the alternate names.

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