20 June 2009

The Top 10 Things You Need to Know Before Using new FamilySearch

I’m sure that some members may try to use new FamilySearch without taking the online training classes, but, I’m hoping that you read these suggestions first.

1.   Take the online training classes! You will find you make fewer mistakes and assumptions if you do.

2.   Do not add ALL your living relatives to nFS. Only add your spouse, or possibly an in-law so that you can work on that line, too. Adding living people creates duplicate records.

3.   Only dispute an individual if that person DID NOT exist. An example is where a child’s sex was unknown when the record was created, so work was done for the person as both a male and as a female. In this case, I would dispute the person, because the wrong sex individual did not exist. Only you can delete the dispute, so use it sparingly. If you don’t think that the person belongs where they are, then try one of the following options.

    a. First, look at the combined records and see if one was combined incorrectly. Then un-combine that person.
    b. Dispute the relationship. If you can’t find a record that needs to be un-combined then just dispute the relationship, not the person.

4.   Do not dispute the spelling of a name, an incorrect date or location unless it is very misleading. On the Summary screen just select the one that you believe is the most correct. That’s all you have to do.

5.   If you submit a record for someone, or data for someone, and realize that you did so incorrectly, do not dispute it, just correct it or delete what you entered.

6.   Remember that everything you add, change or delete from nFS can be seen by everyone else. It is not just YOUR family, it is EVERYONEs family in the tree.

7.   If you add another opinion, remember to go to the summary screen and select it as the default view.

8.   If you do dispute something, make sure that you have contact information set to display so that someone can contact you and discuss the dispute.

9.   DO NOT submit a complete gedcom of your data to nFS. A gedcom will only add another record to every person you have in that gedcom that then has to be combined. If you have done further research and you are absolutely positive that the people in your gedcom are new to nFS then submit a very small amount at a time and combine or link to existing records. (The best tip here is to use a third party software package, like RootsMagic 4, where a simple click of the button from your personal database will add the new person(s) to nFS.) There is no extra typing.

10.   When you start combining multiple copies of records of the same person, think of it as a figure-eight process. What do I mean by that? Well, combine all instances of a person, then the spouse, then the children, then the parents again, then the grandparents and back to the person. Why? Because as you combine people in the family, you frequently will identify more possible matches for the other family members that you already combined the first time. So go down to the children, back to the middle (parents), then up to the grandparents, and back to the middle…a figure eight.