In the above article there are two quotes from a presentation by Ben Baker of FamilySearch at the recent BYU Conference on Family History and Genealogy that intrigued me. The first quote is as follows:
The next quote was even more interesting:
It was apparent from this question that people don’t understand that the results of FamilySearch’s Record Search is not records. It is people.
- Baker was asked how to edit a source for reuse; a marriage record might name six people and shouldn’t it be possible to adapt a source for reuse? There is no way to do this.
This record mentions four people. Should you save this record to your source box and attach it to all four? No. Notice the title. What we are actually looking at is the Alson E Abernathy detail page. This page should be linked only to Alson.Like one of the commentators to the post, I was not sure I was reading this correctly. I always thought I was looking for sources for people. Especially since I already had the people. Did he really say that you had to customize each and every source record to the person for whom it was attached, thereby creating duplicate source records for each individual? The comment made by Ben Baker explained the position, here are the relevant portions of the comment:
Thank you Ancestry Insider for doing a good job of explaining how to attach sources to multiple people in a record. He is correct that you are really linking a specific person in the tree to a specific person in a record. Just editing the heading will not accomplish the same thing. While I agree it can currently be tedious, the power that this will soon bring is great. For example, we'll be able to point out when a person in a record is not in the tree yet (i.e. everyone in the family is there except for one child that was missed before). Record hints for people in a record not yet linked will also soon be available. This way of linking will also provide the ability to create features such as "show me all of the John Does in Place XYZ that are not already linked to someone in the tree" and a host of other new features (including many yet un-imagined) that will greatly aid people in finding their families.So in order to facilitate the programmers, we are going to individually duplicate a search for a uniquely named record (even all the same record) for each member of the family. In other words, if my ancestors' family had 17 children, plus five wives and the father, that would be a total of 23 separate records, all identical except for the link and the title. Even though I have a master copy of the record in my Source Box showing the entire family, rather than simply attach that record to each family member from the Source Box, as is presently possible, I am supposed to do a separate search for the same record for each of the 23 separate individuals. I'm sorry, but I was under the impression that FamilySearch was working towards allowing a record to be attached to an entire family at one time (saving 23 separate attachments or in this case, 23 separate searches for the same record) not the opposite.
Surely, I must be missing something here. This smacks of the same problem I have with the so-called standardized place names that do not accurately reflect the name of the place at the time the event occurred. I have always felt that using standardized place names was merely a way to help the programmers with their search engines. (That is a different topic which I will likely come back to in the the not-too-distant future) So what if I simply decide not to add any more source records to FamilySearch Family Tree? How will that help with some un-imagined program feature?
So, is the conclusion from FamilySearch is that if we already have the names of our ancestors it is a waste of time to add sources, since I am looking for people and not sources? Is this true even when most of the information about my ancestors has been sent through the mixer by my relatives? Sources are only useful when you are trying to extend your line? Otherwise, don't bother. Is this the conclusion?
Well, I went back through the procedures slowly to see how this all might work, giving the programmers the benefit of the doubt. Here is the issue, yes, when I search for a record for one individual, all of the other members of the family come up as hyperlinks, but there is a flaw in the procedure. For example, if I look for the husband in a U.S. Census record the wife has a hyperlink. But the wife's name is her married name and FamilySearch (as it should be) has the wife cataloged with her maiden name. So even if you click on the hyperlink, the name will not come up properly and you still have to go back and look up each person individually.
Then, when I continue with a child in the family, I find that there is a duplicate name for the child. When I try to merge the duplicates, I get an error message telling me the person cannot be merged at this time. Hmm.
This may sound confusing because it is.
I am going to play around with this a little bit more and see if there is something I am missing. Meanwhile, I am sure that my readers will tell me if I am.