Separating Combined Records

alan_wambold
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Separating Combined Records

Postby alan_wambold » Thu Jul 10, 2008 11:34 am

I have spent many hours cleaning up the records for my family in the new Family Search and suggested an enhancement that I think would save many users of the system a lot of time in the combining and separating process.

There are cases where there have been two individuals with the same name combined, each of whom already have a record that is the product of several combined records.

For example I have an Isham Melton who was born in Virginia and moved to Indiana that was combined with an Isham Melton who was born in Virginia and moved to North Carolina. Both men are similar enough that I can understand how they were accidentally combined. Once combined there were 60+ records to sort out and separate (in some cases I have had well over 100). It would be nice if you could select all the records that pertain to one of the individuals and separate them out as a group instead of having to do so individually. It seems like this just wastes a lot of my time and creates a bunch of individual records that need to be recombined.

I have made this suggestion more than once using nFS feedback and am wondering if there is a technical reason this change has not yet been implemented as it seems like a logical enhancement with no drawbacks that I can see.

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garysturn
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Combining

Postby garysturn » Thu Jul 10, 2008 11:55 am

I have also made similar requests and have talked to many others who have submitted requests for faster uncombine solutions. I know that faster uncobmining abilities is on the list of things being worked on. I do not know how soon we will see a better solution inside nFS. We did get one improvement in the Feb 2008 update, prior to that update we had to scroll through combined records from the beginning each time. Now we can jump to different pages or to the last page.

I attended a presentation from Ohana Software the maker of PAF Insight and they mentioned that their new program (Family Insight) will contain a method to do uncombining in nFS very quickly. They did not mention when this upgrade would come out or whether this feature would be in the next release or a future release but they do plan to offer that feature.

Other commercial software companies are also planning nFS combining, uncombining, syncing, and updating features for their next software updates. I got the impression from some of these vendors that we might see some of these programs being released this summer sometime.
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Postby lajackson » Thu Jul 10, 2008 6:49 pm

GarysTurn wrote:Ohana Software ... Other commercial software companies are also planning nFS combining, uncombining, syncing, and updating features for their next software updates.


But it is nFS we are supposed to be using, right? I am going crazy with nFS, and I cannot even get my wife to touch it.

I feel like I just left Egypt and may have to wander in the wilderness for 40 years first. [grin]

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Postby aebrown » Thu Jul 10, 2008 7:02 pm

lajackson wrote:But it is nFS we are supposed to be using, right? I am going crazy with nFS, and I cannot even get my wife to touch it.

I feel like I just left Egypt and may have to wander in the wilderness for 40 years first. [grin]


nFS includes interfaces for third party applications to interact with the nFS data. Family Insight from Ohana will be one such application. So when you are using Family Insight, you are using the nFS system.

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Postby lajackson » Thu Jul 10, 2008 7:32 pm

Alan_Brown wrote:nFS includes interfaces for third party applications to interact with the nFS data.


You are saying then that I could be using a third party application and actually be updating nFS as I worked? Fascinating. I did not know about that feature.

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Third Party use of nFS database

Postby garysturn » Fri Jul 11, 2008 8:34 am

lajackson wrote:You are saying then that I could be using a third party application and actually be updating nFS as I worked? Fascinating. I did not know about that feature.


nFS has an API (Application Programming Interface) and is certifying third party companies to use the nFS database to create thier own applications to update and access the nFS database. None of these program have been released yet that I am aware of but I have seen demonstrations from three companies of their capabilities (see Review). nFS will not allow these third party companies to clear names for the Temple yet but that may be comming at some future time, but they will be able to do most other functions.

Several of these programs will work with nFS directly from your PAF data comparing your data with that on nFS. They will allow you to sync your PAF database with nFS and clean up nFS in the process. You will be able to add information from your personal database into nFS with out the use of GEDCOM files. You will also be able to load data from nFS into your personal database.

So if you prefer one of these other applications and their method of updating nFS over the nFS web site you will be able to purchase one of these desktop programs. Each program will offer its own method of displaying and updating the data so we will have a choice.

There will also be other web sites which will be certified to use the nFS databases.
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Postby lajackson » Fri Jul 11, 2008 1:15 pm

GarysTurn wrote:nFS has an API (Application Programming Interface) and is certifying third party companies to use the nFS database to create thier own applications to update and access the nFS database.


This is encouraging to hear. However, I have always been of the opinion (silly me) that the tools provided by the Church (PAF, and now nFS) should be able to do what needs to be done. And I guess, in a very simple way, they can, if you are not concerned at all about the time it takes to do something.

I find it intriguing that third party companies will be the first to provide the kinds of interfaces that I would have thought were basic to the functionality of the original Church program.

Then again, I have a warped (and cheap) view of the world. I have spent my money serving in the Church (mostly travel expense) and supporting children on missions. So far, I have not spent any money on family history software. And it was only last year that I finally splurged on a $10/month DSL connection.

Perhaps, when our last son returns from his mission there will be some funds to redirect. (Last son means currently serving plus two more, so it will still be a few years. :) )

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Postby russellhltn » Sat Jul 12, 2008 12:49 pm

Keep in mind the original PAF program 2.0 (we'll ignore PAF 1 as it was CP/M (Pre-IBM PC)), cost $35. And that was in 1980's dollars. Today there are any number of choices cheaper then that - even without adjusting for inflation. You can even get a version of The Master Genealogist which is considered "professional grade" genealogy software.

But if you're really frugal - consider Legacy Standard Edition. It's well beyond PAF, it's free and I've been told it will sync with nFS when it becomes available.

While it's true that the tools that the church provides "will get the job done" I think history has shown the commercial sector has done a better job of providing "slicker" software that justifies the price to many members. With the API, I think the church has realized that it's better to let develops do what they do best and have the church concentrate on what it alone can do. Notice that the church has stated they will no longer develop PAF (The Windows version of PAF is derived from a old version of Ancestral Quest. So while the Church provided the tool, by in large they didn't write it.) There's enough to choose from in the personal database area, the church is putting it's resources elsewhere.

Standard disclaimer on products mentioned - no endorsement intended.

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Commercial verses Church Applications

Postby garysturn » Sat Jul 12, 2008 1:22 pm

RussellHltn wrote:While it's true that the tools that the church provides "will get the job done" I think history has shown the commercial sector has done a better job of providing "slicker" software that justifies the price to many members. With the API, I think the church has realized that it's better to let develops do what they do best and have the church concentrate on what it alone can do.


Part of the reason Commercial sector vendors can do things "slicker" and quicker and with more advanced features is because they do not have to worry about the world wide implications of their project. They can consentate on a specific task for the English speaking, tech savey market. They might add other language support later or they might not. The Chruch has to plan everything they do with the ability to someday work in many different languages and work for peoples from many cultures and education levels. The Church can not make things to difficult for peoples in other countries with much lower technical skills, so often some of what we see comming from the Church might seem to simplified to those of us in more developed areas.
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Postby russellhltn » Sat Jul 12, 2008 5:33 pm

GarysTurn wrote:Part of the reason Commercial sector vendors can do things "slicker" and quicker and with more advanced features is because they do not have to worry about the world wide implications of their project.


Well, maybe. I don't see where any commercial packages have taken any shortcuts in that department. OTOH, PAF4 has a Spanish Version, PAF5 does not. Which I believe is the primary reason that PAF4 is still distributed. That doesn't speak very well about "worrying about the world wide implications".

I think one of the issues with church development there are a number of projects/issues competing for a limited development resource. Private enterprise is free to spend as much time as they want developing and only has to answer to it's end users.

Then there's always the idea that we only see the good ideas that "made it" and are blind to how many tried the project and gave up before they got very far. Think of it as software Darwinism.


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