HOWTO: "Zombies" on Geni, and how to hunt them.

Started by Shmuel-Aharon Kam (Kahn / שמואל-אהרן קם (קאן on Thursday, December 17, 2009
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Hello all,
One of the big problems on Geni is the many thousands of profiles for long dead people, who are NOT actually marked as deceased. This prevents Collaborators from being able to access and merge these profiles. These profiles are known as "zombies".

So you can all be pro-active and go on a "zombie hunt"! Which will make everybody happier. Here's how:

1) Go to your profile (or anybody you have Permission to access/edit their profiles).
2) In the Overview tab, Press the [Profiles Managed] link in the Family Statistics box (on the right). This will open a list of all the profiles that you (or they) manage.
3) If you do NOT see the yellow box on the side of the list, press the [show advanced controls] link next to the list title.
4) In the Filters section,
where it says 'Any claimed status', select the 'Unclaimed' option.
where it says 'Any living status', select the 'Living' option.
5) In the columns section, Select a column for [living status].
6) Press the [Update List] button. You now have a list of profiles that are marked as living, and have not been claimed by an actual person.
7) Go to the LAST page of this list.*
8) Press the Edit Profiles tab at the top.
9) Go through the page of profiles, and in the [living status] column change to deceased wherever relevant.
10) Press the [Save all changes] button at the bottom.
11) Go to the *previous* page.
12) Return to step #8. Repeat as needed.

This is actually much easier than the long description would make it look. I just wanted the explanation to be clear as possible.

The other different list also make finding zombies easy, especially so the 'ancestors' list. Go to almost any profile from 4-5 generations ago (your great-grandparent), and you can almost certain that ALL of their ancestors are deceased.

Happy hunting!
Shmuel Aharon Kam

* The reason to start from the LAST page, is that if you start at the beginning, then every time to go to the next page, the list is recalculated, and you will miss pages, because it's going to the next page of the NEW list. This is avoided when going back in the list.

12/18/2009 at 6:56 AM

There is also a way to "share" all your managed profiles, but I can't remember how I did it!

Private User
12/18/2009 at 7:30 AM

You bulk-share your historical profiles in your managed profiles setting:

You can however just push this button once and have to ask to reset it for you if you inherit a bunch of unshared profiles.

Sharing your historical profiles is a great help for your collaborators if you have a lot of zombie profiles, and secondly it looks like shared profiles more often wins the primary management lottery during a merge.

Randy, just be aware that IF you have added people to your tree that are outside your Family Group, such as 5th cousins, even living people, they too will be shared. Which is why I prefer NOT to use the bulk-share feature.

12/19/2009 at 10:00 PM

I have over 50,000 profiles, a result of importing lots of work done by others, so i do not mind sharing the extended tree and letting people make changes and corrections. at least i have not been burned too much yet.

Private User
12/28/2009 at 9:51 AM

Thanks Shmuel. I have used this procedure to eliminate the zombies that I am aware of under my management.

JP Mike Pacheco

Private User
4/28/2010 at 3:57 PM

Thanks, Shmuel. I knew how to set up the first part of your process but never even looked at the "Edit" tabs. I am one of those people willing to take on abandoned profiles and give decent burials to the Zombies in those profiles. This will make it a little easier for me.


Private User
4/28/2010 at 4:24 PM

Thanks Shmuel! I would have never found that setting option. As I said another time, we have no way of knowing which of ours are Zombies, so nice to know a way to find them. I hope everyone does this.

As I said above, this process can be applied to ANY profile you have access to ==> If you can see the profile's "User Statistics" box, then you can use this trick.

So how do you find zombies in a part of the tree that you are NOT too certain about, or the profiles have no helpful dates?

You use a slight modification of the above. Instead of picking your [Profiles Managed] list, go to any specific profile and look at THEIR lists.

1) If you chose an ancestor such as your great-grandfather, look at the list of his ancestors, and filter the Living on that list. You can be certain that all of them are deceased, right?

2) If you go further back in the tree (at least 7 generations), you can even look at the profile's Family-Group. This will help you find relatives by-marriage and in-laws.

3) Go back far enough and you can even use the list of Descendants.

Don't forget that in all of these lists, the relationship of the listed profile is most often shown relative to the original "focal point", the profile that you started from. This too can give you a good indication of how far away from the present they are.

Private User
5/3/2010 at 6:05 PM

Shmuel-Aharon Kam (Kahn / שמואל-אהרן קם (קאן , I was looking at the ancestors of my great grandfather (Alexander Fobes) and my great grandmother (Honora Mary Morrell). In the process I discovered several (20+) living private profiles with no apparent managers. Whats my best et for dealing with these. I contacted Geni Help and was given the answer of requesting management through the profile. However, as these are all living private profiles I find no action available to request management.

Private User
5/4/2010 at 1:20 AM

Correct, - those black zombies is not even listed with a manager name, so there is no way to attack them.

Noah@Geni know about this main problem and yesterday he told in the forum that they will reinstate family members access to close profiles without being a collaborator, and that might solve some of these problems:

Another thing to note about zombies you kill. If you are one of the managers of these profiles, be sure to make them public after you are done. Otherwise, your Collaborators will NOT be able to access/merge them.

5/21/2010 at 10:34 AM

@Shmuel Aharon Kam (Kahn) Thanks for Tips, I think went in and felt I was in ZOMBIE Land cleaned out about 500 Zombies from a Large Imported GEDCOM database I stated with.. If we made a mistake we can bring back to life right... Thanks Again...

5/25/2010 at 4:05 PM

Great tutorial, Shmuel! Have anybody had the problem that when you save the changes you also add "Middle name" or "Suffix" to the profiles name, if these fields aren't filled in before? And if - is there a solution to this as well? I use Internet Explorer, so I can't imagine it's the browser's fault.

Gunnar that's a recent issue Geni has been having.

Noah of Geni's staff has recently started a discussion, where you can post links to profiles for zombies, that he will then run a script to try to and "kill" them en masse -
This is good for BOTH your own profiles and those of other managers.

Private User
6/22/2010 at 2:29 PM

I used a different method to find my zombie ancestors.
Focus Person: myself
Group: Ancestors
Filters: Living Status = Living

This yielded 209 profiles (my mother + 208 zombies). I have since reduced the zombies to 9, thanks to Noah and his zombie killer script.

Private User
6/22/2010 at 2:42 PM

Good one Philip. I have 268 living ancestors! Now onto the zombies discussion ...

Private User
6/22/2010 at 11:36 PM

David, thanks for the kudos in the "Zombies please" discussion.

Note that the Relatives/Lists tab's filters can also be configured to list:
- Dead relatives with claimed profles
- Dead relatives with private profiles
- Living relatives with public profiles
and other such profile settings which either shouldn't exist or merit further investigation.

6/23/2010 at 3:35 PM

I apologize in advance... i know this is bad, but don't know how bad....

When i did the filters, i got about 80 profiles or so that were blank. A couple of them had something written in other fields (other than the name) but most were ALL blank.
I'm guessing this means i have tons of ghosts flying around the tree---- anyone know how i should resolve this issue?
So SORRY if i've messed up things for people collaborating with me!!!

Private User
6/23/2010 at 4:14 PM

Heather - based on what you have said, you haven't necessarily messed up anything.

You also started the discussion "Locked Profiles with the padlock icon" and what you are seeing here is likely the other side of the same coin. Those blank (or almost blank) entries are likely to be private profiles owned by others, which you can't access.

Yes it is very annoying when you find someone else owns your (distant) relative's profile or your ancestor's profile and you can't access it. If you can contact the profile manager and they are co-operative, you can get a good outcome. But that's not always so easy to achieve.

Good luck!

Private User
6/23/2010 at 4:19 PM

Note that the advice of Philip J. Decker Edwards on how to look for living historic ancestors and other anomalies in your relatives and ancestors can also be applied to others.

Change the focus person from yourself to a collaborator who is not related to you to your knowledge and you will see a whole new set of issues - more zombies, etc. that you may be able to help resolve.

(I have illustrated this with an entry in the "Zombies please" discussion, where I have entered the zombie ancestors of a collaborator which I found by following Philip's advice.)

You WILL be expected to try and handle Zombies on your own, but if you have a zombie that "resists", you can ask a Curator to TRY and axe it for you. See the following Public Discussion - Zombies please:

10/10/2010 at 8:26 PM

I have a "Zombie". Not sure on how to fix it. Would it be best to contact the profile manager about this?

Private User
10/10/2010 at 8:50 PM

Made it public from private. Go to the profile and click on more actions and if it says make public, click on it and it will then be public.

Private User
10/11/2010 at 12:14 AM

Margaret, only curators like you and I have the "Check Public" and "Hunt Zombies" option. Others must post a request to the discussion linked to above.

Anyhow, I started a "Hunt Zombies" on the area.

10/11/2010 at 2:06 AM

Thanks Bjorn. I kinda have to chuckle when I see them occasionally. Its quite obvious. I found one that was in Noah's (the Ark) tree and he died in "British Columbia, Canada! lol

Private User
10/11/2010 at 3:59 AM

We have several of those. A year followed by BC is automatically converted to British Columbia, and Y for Yes if the person is dead is converted to Y in Somme, France.

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