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Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Wait.... when did they become a twin? Databse problems running amuck

The ongoing struggle of keeping my database up to date is in full swing again.  I have been plodding along the last few weeks in all my copius free time trying to streamline the information.  Some days I want to run away screaming from the computer, throw it out a window, or worse yet reenact the printer destruction scene from Office Space.

I don’t know how, but somewhere along the way (I think most likely in one of the upload/downloads with Ancestry and Family Tree Maker) I acquired duplicate people.  250 duplicate people to be precise.  The only reason I found this out was by going alphabetically, person by person, through the tree.  Anytime I had two people of the same name I compared each one to see if they were the same.  I can now say that I am an expert at merging, attaching, and detaching people in the software.

Currently I am going through all the media items.   I have people attached to media that they are not in, and worse some of the media is labeled correctly for that person but the image is not what the description is.  What a mess!  It is going to take me weeks to get this all straight.  After the media is under control then I have to attack the source citations. 

With all the turmoil in my program I am not sure that I should be entering anymore data into it until it is all fixed.  Guess I better lock down the internet for a while to resist the temptation huh?  To say I am frustrated is putting it mildly, but I guess I am asking too much in expecting the program to work the way I think it should.  It is not its fault it was made this way… right?

Have any of you struggled with your software?  Any tips on how to survive the next few weeks as I clean it all up?  Besides lots of chocolate, wine, and mindless television. 

photo credit: jypsygen via photo pin cc and RenoTahoe via photo pin cc


  1. Shannon,

    Two suggestions:

    You didn't mention what version of Family Tree Maker you are using, I'll guess FTM2012.

    1) use the Tools Compact File, INCLUDING the back up option when presented

    2) Use the People, Find duplicate people utility, but merge carefully

    You didn't mention WHERE you saw the duplication, but if you see duplication of people in Charts or Reports, the duplication may be due to relationships. IF you see that, then see if they are duplicated in the Index (People Workspace, Family View, Left column)


  2. Russ: Thanks for posting this. Yes, I am using FTM2012. The big part of the problem was a computer crash coupled with a corrupted backup, that then merged the ancestry tree into it. GAH! I have used the compact file tool and back up option. I saw the duplicate people in the index, and when I was looking at my tree on the iPad. With the new interface I saw clearly that I had an ancestor with the same wife 3 times, and multiple children. I then went person by person through the index to merge the obviously duplicate people, and correct the marriage and children situations too.
    It is going to be a couple weeks before I get it all back up again. My thing right now is a few hours every day going and fixing the media and then will be source citations.