Further thinking on this: "Linking individuals from different databases ... has to be the way of the future".
See my thoughts in My Behold Blog posting for Wednesday, November 23, 2005.
Thank you David for your ideas.
I think your advice is the correct advice. I have very strong feelings AGAINST merging other people's data into one's own. I'd go even farther and say that you should NOT add other people's data to your own.
Behold will be introducing a concept I call "Virtual Merging". I discuss it in my Behold Blog post of August 28, 2006.
My idea is that (with Behold's help), you specify which people in the files are the same, and Behold will produce one report for you, merging the information for those identical people from the files.
Does that make sense to you?
I am considering purchasing a membership to Behold. First however, I have a couple of questions and one led me to the subject heading of this particular post "Importing two GED files".
My files are very large, not nearly as large as some, but there are more than 2000 names in my family file. And this is mainly my paternal grandmother's side. But I also have a maternal grandmother's GED files.
I would like to keep these seperate, and so can I import my Mother side, and then a 2nd GED file for my father with one membership?
My second question, and I apologize because it is unrelated to the topic: In reading your bio stating that you are age 55. If my membership would be forever, is that my forever or your forever. What do you have in place that will allow Behold out live us both?
Currently, Behold will import two (or more) GEDCOMs and display them together. The current weakness is that it currently has no way for you to indicate the people who you know are the same in the two families, so every duplicated person will be shown twice.
In the case of your paternal grandfather and paternal grandmother, it is likely that your parents and all their descendants will be in both files, as well as possibly some cousins who may have married between the families and their descendants.
That will be fixed when I implement Virtual Merging, which will give you ways to simply mark the people that are the same so that their data and their descendents' data can be displayed combined by person. Currently, that is on my future plans page, but after Version 2.0 and editing. Although every time someone asks about something, like you just did, it moves up in my internal priority list.
In the meantime, you should still find the current merging very useful. The people will be shown separately, but the Name Index, Place Details, Source Details and everything else should prove very useful and allow you to find data problems in both your files.
Hmmm. Now you're getting me thinking of a way I can implement Virtual Merging much more quickly. I can on the Organize Families page, allow you to add the person from the Second GEDCOM file, and allow you to specify that they are the same as a previous person on that page. You'll only need to do that for a few of them, being the beginning of the common lines. It should work out quite well. I may try to do that prior to going on. Thanks for the push.
Your second question is a very good one and I'm happy to answer. Although no one can predict the future and I may get run over by a bus tomorrow. But barring something like that, I'm planning to continue work on Behold for the foreseeable future which is likely a minimum of 10 years. I'm absolutely positive it will be successful because there is no other program like it, and it's the program I will want to use to record my own genealogy (which will extensively test it as well as I start to enter my masses of data).
Currently, I have nothing in place should that bus be lurking. But I have been thinking about it. If I grow large enough, I'll hire others to help me, including programmers. (I'd love to get big enough to sponsor my own Genealogy Cruise!) If not, and Behold remains of interest, I may sell it to someone willing to keep it going, or donate it to the Open Source effort. But Behold's my baby. I won't let it die.
Besides, $40 is less than you'll spend on a single upgrade of another program. So after 10 years of use, I'm sure you won't be lamenting the loss of the $40. What will be more important to you will be if you will not lose all your hours of work and be able to continue your research with another program. Make sure your program will export compliant GEDCOM. Behold will. Many programs don't
Thank you for the quick response. You are right in that the cost of $40 is much less than other programs. That is appreciated. It almost seems worth it to purchase 2 memberships, one for files for each side of my family..... notice I said almost. Then when you figure out a way to not have one person duplicated (what you suggested above seems a bit tedious), I could possibly merge the files from the other membership so that as my immediate family grows I won't have to add new members of my family in both membership files. I'm sure that you have already thought of that scenerio and worked it into your plans.
I will want to make sure I have included all of my information before I create yet another GED file to upload to Behold.
Well, my idea for Virtual Merging is extremely necessary. Too often, people are merging other people's GEDCOMs into their own, trusting that other people did theirs correctly and proliferating what are called "junk genealogies".
Not only that, you WANT to keep your work separate. If relatives send something to you, why go through days or weeks of work to merge theirs into yours, only to have them send you an updated GEDCOM six months later. That time could be much better expended doing your own research, rather than on some mechanical merging that could be done virtually.
I'll make the virtual merging painless. The most difficult thing for me will be figuring out how to help identify who might be potential merge candidates, since names and places might be spelled a little differently, dates might be different, and spouses and children can be different or missing. Once I figure out something for that, the rest is a piece of cake.
Browsing this Forum on linking vs merging, I came across Louis' post from Nov 2005 with a comment on the program GenP and it's ability to link mulitiple databases. Since I'm totally convinced that small databases with linking are the way to go (one of the many things promised in Behold that I can hardly stand to wait for), I decided to take at look at it. I downloaded the demo version and generated a couple of minimal databases, based on two grandparents. Grandpa's file included both his ancestors and descendents, but no spouse. Grandma's file had only some ancestors. (The demo version won't import GEDCOMs).
For me the pgm had a rather steep learning curve, but after much fiddling around, I did manage to create a working link between them, specifically between one of Grandpa's children in his file and my grandmother in hers. It works both ways it seems, the child's pedigree includes his parents and grandparents on both sides, and a descendents list for grandma's father includes her son from grandpa's file.
What it didn't do is make a connection between grandma and grandpa, so that grandpa's family page has no spouse. GenP seems to be resolutely agnostic on relationships; if I'm understanding it correctly, every one needs to be specified. Accordingly, I guess that one would also need a marriage link between grandma and grandpa, and I don't know if that is allowed. And each of the other 7 children in grandpa's family would need separate links to their mother?
The instructions are less than clear and the video tutorial on linking goes by so fast that even after many re-runs, I'm still not clear on what is important or not or why certain sequences are as they are.
Working with GenP did point out one problem with being dogmatic about relationships. If there is no "child" category with implicit relationship to a set of "parents", entering large families becomes a lot more work. You certainly want a way of entering non-conventional relationships, but even in today's societies, some specific block of children biologically associated with one male and one female parent are in an overwhelming majority and a shortcut to that assumption is a good place to start.
I guess I don't have the time or the $50 to invest further in this program, but it was an interesting exercise, for what it's worth.
Thanks Dave for the review of GenP - which I actually haven't tried myself. Unlike GenP, Behold maintains the two-way relationships. When one way is created, the other is as well (and Behold will identify one-ways in the GEDCOM that should be two-ways).
Hopefully, when I add virtual merging to Behold, I'll be able to make the identification of identical people very simple, so that it shouldn't take more than a couple of clicks. Then, somehow it will have to cascade to spouses, children, parents etc and allow some sort of checklist confirmation of the ones to combine. But that will be worked out when the time comes.
I completely agree with the need to keep GEDCOM files from other users separate. When I first started doing genealogy research online (decades ago), I fell into the newbie trap of merging GEDCOMs into my own and ended up with a huge mess.
I do need the ability to view GEDCOM files side-by-side and merge individuals into a single family tree. I have experimented with multiple genealogy software products over the years and now have about 20 versions of my family tree spread out all over the place. I am looking for an easy way to merge all of the various trees into one family tree so I can identify the gaps are in my research. Once I get all the pieces into one tree, I will be able to delete all the old versions and clean up the space on my computer.
I am also doing a one-place study on a town for their 150 year celebration in 2018. I hadn't really thought through my approach when I started the project 35 years ago or when I started moving it all to computer files about 20 years ago. Frankly, I never thought that I would be doing the research for the town celebration at the time the project started. So now I have a separate tree for each census year for the town. There are numerous overlaps of people from one census year to the next and I need to merge all of these trees into one tree for the town history project. You are correct in your statement that the merge functions in the software products on the market are limited and it has been a grueling task trying to clean up the mess I made when I created separate trees for each census.
I look forward to the addition of the side-by-side and combine feature in Behold.
I doubt I will be implementing a side-by-side feature. My current thoughts are that I'll probably be mixing the data together, with events for each person ordered by date, and allowing you to highlight the data from the different GEDCOMs with a different background color.
You would not want to use any genealogy program's merge utility to merge people in different censuses at one place. All program have people-based merges, that don't work for sources. You need a source-based data entry system, one that will suggest likely people that the source refers to. There isn't one out there that I know of (yet).
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