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Thursday, October 13, 2011

Asterisks and New FamilySearch

One of the features of New.FamilySearch.org appears as an asterisk symbol to the left of entries for certain families. Perhaps there needs to be some additional explanation of this symbol because the consequences of having an ancestral line with asterisks is pretty complicated. Here is a screen shot showing several asterisk symbols with arrows pointing to each one:


As you move through a pedigree, the asterisk for the person moving to the primary position will disappear. Here is a screen shot showing that the asterisk for Francis Tanner disappears when I move him to the primary position:


However, note that there are icons that look like two people with a box containing a plus sign after both Francis Tanner and his wife that were not apparent in the previous screen shot. According to the Help Center, the official description of the asterisk (*) is, "The individual has other parents. Click this icon to see them." Unfortunately, that is not quite all of the issue raised.

Think of New FamilySearch as a huge network of pedigrees. Each pedigree exists as a collection of links between the individuals. In many, many cases, the individuals added to New FamilySearch were added as nodes embedded in pedigrees. So there even though there is a huge pile of individuals in New FamilySearch, the individuals are linked in a huge pile of pedigrees. Referring to the the asterisk marker (*), the list of other parents does not just indicate that there are alternative parents, but that there are "alternative pedigrees." So looking at Joshua Tanner, you will note that his father Francis Tanner has an asterisk icon. Clicking on that asterisk icon shows a screen with each pair of alternative parents:

But remember what I said about the individuals. In fact, each of those "alternative" parents leads to a completely separate pedigree. So choosing which one to select is not a simple matter of making a guess at which one looks the nicest, but it requires you to evaluate the entire pedigree to see if that is really the line you want to follow. Yes, I said that right. There are twenty different pedigree choices for Francis Tanner. These duplicates are in addition to all of the combined records for Francis Tanner in the program already. For example, here is a screen shot showing that Francis Tanner has 45 combined records:


If there is no asterisk does that mean anything? Not really, there may still be a number of duplicates in the file that have yet to be identified. Just thought you would like to know.

1 comment:

  1. Can you combine the duplicates and get rid of the asterisks?

    ReplyDelete