Tuesday, March 2, 2021

My March through the FamilySearch Family Tree: Day 2 (my paternal grandmother)

Yesterday I explained what I have set out to do this month, and why. I've reviewed the entries for my parents (no duplications and the facts appear to be correct). Today I move into my grandparents' generation.

When I first began researching my family back in 1992, I realized that there were some big differences among my grandparents. 3 of the 4 had extremely common surnames: Smith, Martin, and King. Smith is acknowledged as the most common surname in English-speaking countries, and Martin and King both appear among the 100 most common surnames in the United States as of the 2010 census (Martin is ranked 20th, King is ranked 34th).

This means that, unless my ancestors all have very unusual first names, I'm going to be working through a lot of possible duplicates in my Smith, Martin, and King lines. But that leaves my 4th ancestral line, that of my paternal grandmother: Weinglass. The Weinglass family is also the last one to arrive in the United States (in the 1870s), and so I would expect to see fewer duplicates and other problems. So let's begin with Rachel Weinglass, my paternal grandmother.

A search for Rachel Weinglass in the Family Tree gets a large number of hits, although I would get far fewer if I marked the search fields as "Match All Exactly". I can also slide the switch to Show Exact Searching Fields, which gives me a checkbox for each field.

The first result is my grandmother's cousin, also named Rachel Weinglass (my grandmother's father was Louis, her cousin's father was Harris). The second entry is my grandmother:


I am already following her entry. As I continue to scroll down the list, I see a number of other individuals, including my grandmother's siblings. Then I get to one for Ray Weinglass. Same parents, and I know that my grandmother went by "Ray" as her nickname. So I decide to merge this person into the entry for my grandmother, using the Merge By ID option in the right-hand menu. It warns me:

"Merging is a complex process in which you decide if two people are the same person. If they are, you choose which information should be kept. Please take the time necessary to carefully review each possible duplicate."

I enter the ID for my grandmother (the one you see in the URL above) and click Continue. I now see the profiles side by side.

Because I was looking at Ray when I chose to do the merge, it lists Rachel as the duplicate and Ray as the surviving profile. It will keep Ray and delete Rachel, which is the opposite of what I want. Fortunately, there is a Switch button at the top, and when I click it, it explains which profile survives.

I continue, and it shows the details of what will be kept. I click the "Yes Continue" button.

I don't need to bring over any other info from the duplicate profile, and Continue.

In the 3rd and final step, it asks me to provide a reason. I write: "Rachel went by 'Ray' as her nickname. All other details are the same (or very nearly so), including the names of the parents."

I click Finish Merge.

One more step here: I decided to edit her first name so that it reads as: Rachel "Ray", so that it will be clear that it's the same person.

Am I done with my grandmother? Not quite. FamilySearch alerts me to another duplicate, this one with the name Rachel Heinglas. I click on that one. Yup, same person as my grandmother, even with the right parents, but the surname has been incorrectly transcribed as Heinglas. Apparently the info was taken automatically from the New York Births and Christenings collection.

So I merge those, too. (It tries to add her incorrectly transcribed parents, too, but I'll get to them another day.)

That's about it. FamilySearch also warns me that using "Manhattan" is non-standard, so I change her birth location to "New York City". 

Finally, it suggests that I attach her birth record from another collection, so I do. And now I'm done.

Tomorrow, I tackle her parents.

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