Unable to merge my own tree

Started by Terry Jackson (Switzer) on Tuesday, June 1, 2010


Showing all 25 posts
6/1/2010 at 9:31 AM

I have just sent the following to the help desk as I am getting really annoyed now. It seems ridiculous that I can complete so many historic profiles to which I have no relationship and yet my own tree I can't touch because some unrelated person appears to have the last say.

If anyone is collaborating or joint manager with either of these two people then Please speak up!

Private User
is my 7th cousin.
She agreed to merge trees if I did the work.
I started merging but she had her privacy settings set so tight that she recieved a message at every stage and got fed up with this as she was trying to work from a public library computer not her own, consequently and to an extent, understandably, she blocked me.
I believe that she lost patience with Geni altogether and has cancelled her tree thus passing her profiles on to someone else.... Celia Evelyn King.
Private User

When Celia first joined Geni she seemed aggreeable to completing the merges begun with Candy but said I should wait a few days whilst she aquainted herself with geni.

I waited and waited and every few months put another request to complete merge through asking if she was ready yet.

This has been happening for over a year now, I believe to no avail. I can see no relationship with Celia nor any relationship between her and my profiles awaiting merge completion. I found a very distant relative with a duplicate with her but he was unable to persuade her to merge, collaborate or become a family group member either.

It seems unfair in the extreme that someone should hold these merges to ransome. I am able to complete merges for completely non-related historic profiles and have given Geni many hours of work doing so and yet my own tree remains scattered with blue circles and yellow exclamation marks and I can do nothing about it.

Is there no way I can apply to Geni to be the manager of these profiles managed by Celia but to which she has no relationship but I do? I mean without me asking her as I believe she has now blocked me too or at least is not communicating.

Private User
6/1/2010 at 11:46 AM

I suggest you try contacting the one who added Celia. He seem to be a Pro user and might have better access and contact.

Private User
6/1/2010 at 9:22 PM

Terry, Now you have gone way too far by putting a link to my private profile and Celia's on your gripe page, that is violating our privacy.

I came back to Geni even though I got totally fed up and left Geni.com because of your constant pestering for merges. I have reported you for trying to gain access via Peter and Celia. I have blocked you and so has Celia. I will never merge with you, neither will Celia and no one else has the management to give you access.

***I am not related to you at all, you told me the connection is to your husband***
for all the trouble you have caused and are still causing why should I bother merging with such difficult and distant un-related people like you!
Yes, I was using a library computer to view Geni but I was also busy and you were denied access because of your constant nagging. I have just denied someone else access just in case they are connected or being used by you. I didn't transfer my profiles to Celia, Geni.com did that and I am so glad that it worked out that way!

No one is holding anything to ransom, poor you. I reiterate that I will not merge with you and neither will Celia. If you want to get rid of the merge flags (with blue circles and yellow exclamation marks) then delete each person (with whom I won't merge) and create a new profile for them.

Lastly, please don't harrass any more of my relatives about merging because you have lost any chance of that ever happening... due to your nagging and using other people in your scheming to get merges finalised.

Peter James Downham requested that you merge a duplicate profile for Eliza StoneHelp

"Hi Celia, I received the following from Terry Jackson. Please let me know your feelings on in regard to this. Peter Downham,

Subject: Connections Hi Peter I think I have found a tenuous connection. This is in an area of my tree scattered with blue circles and yellow exclamation marks because my 7th cousin said she'd merge with me if I did the work but had her privacy setting so tight that it meant I could do nothing without her getting messages which she got fed up with and so she blocked me. I understand she was using a library pc so understand why so many messages was frustrating but I did try to explain to her, tactfully, about adjusting her privacy settings. This was all some time ago and since then I think she may even have left Geni altogether and her profiles are now held by a Celia King to whom I have no connection according to Geni but she controls many duplicate profiles of my family. She started off saying that if I give her a few days she would sort these dups out however despite periodic reminders (one in a few months) nothing has happened. I wonder if a fresh name may be the way to solve this. This is where you come in, if you don't mind. http://www.geni.com/merge/compare/6000000001314900511?return=match&... is a dup held by both you and Celia.Evelyn King. It would probably be helpful if you could somehow become a collaborator or family group member with Celia. I hopeyou don't mind me contacting you about this. I spend a lot of time sorting out the historic tree and yet am blocked getting my own tree in order! Frustrating! Thanks for 'listening'. Terry"

6/2/2010 at 6:11 AM

E. Candy Bridge, I don't understand. I do the genealogy work for my husband and I consider it MY family. He got stuck with mine and I with his when we got married. LOL!

The purpose of merging is to share information. This site has been described by many (and not just me) as the place to share information and create a giant Human Family Tree. I don't understand why you would join this site and then not share information.

Could you please explain your stance? To me, it sounds rather like "I'm going to take my ball and go home." I know I was sure hoping to find more info about my husband's family (inluding in-laws and in-laws of in-laws, who I love in my family as if they were blood).

One thing we were hoping to do with the Human Family Tree was show that we are all related - and maybe that would help us work together instead of against each other.

Private User
6/2/2010 at 7:47 AM

E. Candy Bridge.
You branch has as yet been connected to one of my branches.
I've never had anyone treat me like you are treating Terry.
I collaborate with Terry & even though there isn't even a "path" as yet from her to me or from me to her maybe by collaborating we'll find one in the future.

I have the feeling that you just don't understand what Geni is about. Being the kind of PRiVATE PERSON you are should have made your tree PRIVATE when you started. Then you wouldn't have started hurting peoples feelings.

And just like Marsha wrote, Terry's husbands family is her family !

MERGING & COLLABORATING is what GENI is all about ! That is what Terry wanted to do with you.

There, I blew off some steam about a ridiculus attitude. And now I'll shut up after taking Terry side.

6/2/2010 at 8:43 AM

I echo the sentiments of Marsha and Ann.

So, Candy, let me see if I understand: You have no desire to work constructively with other family members, you don't even acknowledge in-laws as family, and you accuse those of us (like me, for example) who are working hard to synchronize the data on Geni and make it a useful resource of "harassing," "nagging" and "scheming."

Er... um... Explain to me again why in heaven's name you chose GENEALOGY as a hobby?

Private User
6/2/2010 at 9:45 AM

E. Candy Bridge
It seems to me that you don''t realize that our profile page can be seen by anyone? I'm connected to 40.318.676 people. I wonder how many are connected to you. But everyone who is a "Geni Pro" can click and read the tiny bit of information you have on your own profile page. Waht is on that page is NOT PRIVATE !! So you'll have to change it and make it a blank page.

I don't believe there will be many people who are using Geni Constructively to connect with others will sympathize with your "problems" & attitude towards others.

If I were you I'd think this over, apologize to Terry and than invite her to your "family". I hope it's not too late to do so. Goodness, she didn't lie to you, she is your cousin & some one invited her to join the tree you are working on !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Private User
6/2/2010 at 12:59 PM

Hello my dearest critics and advisors!

When I first joined Geni about two years ago I was all for helping people, in fact I have been helping people with genealogy on and off the internet for over a decade and will now continue to do so, selectively.

Also, 2 years ago I was studying when Terry was constantly nagging to merge the profiles - there were more than 20 requests from her and I was on a 100Mb download limit at home... you know how much Geni uses.... so I didn't even start learning how to use the site properly until this year. That means I didn't know about all the privacy settings then.

Terry has greatly influenced my decision not to merge with anyone on that branch and yes, I have gradually been removing my information from my page.

No matter what you all assume about me when you don't even know me, I don't have to justify myself to you.

**I retain the right to not merge my profiles with Terry and I won't be reversing that decision because the profiles that Terry had started to merge she took over total management which wiped out my profile information which often differed from hers.**

Please be well aware dear critics and people who give me unsolicited advice, if Terry hadn't nagged so much the profiles would have been merged in between my studies and that process would have been completed about 18 months ago but she not only pestered me she pestered other people on this site too.

When I joined Geni I thought the website was wonderful. I am so happy to say that I have invited several relatives to Geni and have even been working on giving them management of their branches in between my studies again.

I did so much genealogical research for one lady (over a decade ago) much, much more than she asked for and I did it for free. She was so happy she invited me to stay with her family for a week in the UK and they took me to several places including Windsor Castle.

I have been successful in helping people find their relatives on the other side of the globe and have done that for free too. I don't run a genealogy service I just like helping people. But you may know the saying...

"give someone an inch and they take a mile" - Terry fits that category. She never asked me if I wanted to retain any information from my profiles but I have undone all those merges. No appologies for doing that either. I just feel sorry for people who I have had to block because of Terry so that Terry can't use those people to gain access any more.

You all may cease or continue your ranting and raving, your blowing off and not shutting up as you wish, regardless of what you do my decision remains the same. It's still a free country down here and I can be selective about who joins my tree. We have spent lots of money and time on certificates and research and I WAS happy to share that information with people who don't constantly nag. Terry spoilt it for others.

I will not reply to any further postings on this issue because I have studies and other more important things to attend to, like (to mention just a few) helping my parents and restoring family photos and wood turning.


6/2/2010 at 2:22 PM

Must be nice to pick and choose who we will punish for alleged misdeeds and who we will honor with our perfection.

As Bill the Cat used to say, "Phtttttt!"

6/2/2010 at 3:35 PM

It seems that Candy has misunderstood a lot about how to use Geni and what Geni is for. She failed to understand even after I explained that she was receiving a large number of messages because her privacy settings meant I could not merge without Geni sending automatic messages each time. She seems to have mistaken these as me 'nagging'. I would never have intentionally deleted someone else's data on a profile. I believe there was a time in which Geni was set up so that the profile with the most information took precedence so perhaps that is what happened to Candy's profiles.
I'm almost ashamed to say that she is in fact my 7th cousin and not my husband's. Perhaps she has confused me with another Geni member connected via their husband.
For the record, I too have assisted people with their family history for no fee. Do I have to apply for my sainthood or is that automatic?¦¬}
I appreciate all the kind messages I 've recieved in response to this 'discussion' thank you all.

Private User
6/2/2010 at 4:43 PM

First law on holes - when you're in one, stop digging!
Denis Healey

Private User
6/3/2010 at 1:34 AM

The solution for most "problems" are collaboration.

To compare: I am the manager of 162,477 profiles and just get two or three merge requests per day.

The solution is simple: Accept/invite to collaboration and/or family group access on the first request to give the requester access to help him/herself with the rest.

I trust people to make the right choices and that they will contact me if they need help. In any case most errors can be fixed, and I even accept on purpose bad merges since it is easier to fix errors when all duplicates are gone.

The only thing I don't accept is deleting of profiles instead of merging them because it will close down access to everyone who would have access through me to the merged profiles.

My privacy rule is simple: Things that you want to keep as a secret is simply not published on a web-site.

Private User
6/3/2010 at 5:11 AM

I am alarmed by Bjørn's comment that he even accepts on purpose bad merges. It is quite possible that most people do make good merges most of the time. But on the occasions when I spot a merge that is not a good merge, I will not accept it, and if I am certain that it is not a good merge I will unmerge it, and explain why to the person who initiated the merge.

I disagree that it is easier to fix errors when all duplicates are gone. Bad merges can be really difficult to fix. I much prefer the approach of others in other discussion threads who have said that they scrutinise and research merges before they accept them.

In particular, merges of people who have entirely different parents can be a nightmare to fix, as can merges of mixed generations of the same family.

If in doubt, DON'T DO IT!

Private User
6/3/2010 at 5:14 AM

And another thing, sometimes deletion is the correct option. if I find I have a profile that duplicates someone else's, and merging the two profiles is not critical to the tree structure (e.g. they are already brothers but are actually the same person), and merging is not trivial, then why merge? If my profile has no better information than the one that is already there, I gracefully withdraw mine by deleting it, instead of trying to force through a merge that would achieve absolutely nothing.

Private User
6/3/2010 at 5:21 AM

Finally for now, another type of merge that shouldn't be done, but sometimes is: You have two brothers, both with the same name. One lived (say) 1770-1771. The other lived (say) 1774-1810. Clearly one child died young, and a second child was named after the older child. Merge them and the mistake might not be noticed for some time, and you have destroyed someone's research and tree, for no gain. Look before you merge!

6/3/2010 at 5:26 AM

Well; but; deletion of profiles should not be done and allowed by others, only by you-the manager of the profiles

6/3/2010 at 5:31 AM

Of course unless you have the other manager permission to do so
but you should always ask first

6/3/2010 at 5:47 AM

I think unless you have Bjorn's obviously advanced geni skills you are best advised not to merge bad merges and deleting other people's profiles is never a good idea. Yes, most errors can be corrected but, as my experience with Candy demonstrates, people are very protective of data they have entered and rightly so.

Private User
6/3/2010 at 6:13 AM

David, I was quite clear in two things: First I used the word "on purpose" about bad merges. This means that the manager doing this is well aware of the situation and you know that the manager is working on a major cleanup in the area and you have discussed earlier that the first goal is to reduce the number of duplicates. If a "bad merge" does not bring in any new connections (like one mother profile is named Anne and the other Mary) is is easier to just merge them instead of trying to cut the bad one loose and try to find another place to merge it, especially when you know that you probably already have such a profile there.

It is quite easy for a Pro user to cut bad connections when you get a better overview of a line.

Secondly: Deleting duplicates does also remove all collaborators of, and the managers family's access to an area as they would get if the profiles get merged. It is not a question about getting a unique tree, but access.

An example: You are collaborating with A and I with B (and not you). If we merge two profiles C1 and C2 into a profile C, both A and B will get access to that profile through one of us since we both will be managers of C. If I delete your profile instead of merging it, your collaborator A (and your family and friends) will not have access to it, - only yourself since you are a collaborator of me, and if I remove you as collaborator or even worse block you, your unique collaborators, friends and family will totally loose access. As a co-manager of the profile not even blocking you will lock anyone out, simply because it is your profile too, even if I happen to the primary manager and are blocking you.

Private User
6/3/2010 at 7:15 AM

Ofir, I was referring to deleting one's own profiles, not someone else's. Sorry if I didn't make that clear. The point I was trying to make is that there are two types of merges:
Type 1) Suppose Alan is my cousin. Jane is your cousin. We are not otherwise related. Alan marries Jane. It then makes perfect sense to merge my tree with yours so that Alan's family sees Jane's family, etc. That kind of merge adds value.

Type 2) Let's suppose that before that merge, I already added Jane to my tree, and Jane's father Harold. I merge the two Janes without problem. The trees are now adequately merged. But I don't have enough privilege to merge the two Harolds. What should I do:
(a) Leave the tree in a mess with two unmerged or part-merged Harolds
(b) Go round searching for collaborators to merge the two Harolds for me, thus burdening them.
(c) Gracefully delete my Harold, given that my Harold adds absolutely no value whatsoever to what is there already.

I believe I should adopt (c). But I think too many people, for whatever reason, adopt (a) or (b), and that I believe leads to mess or angst or both.

Type 2 arises in many ways, and I categorise it as people trying to merge two profiles for no added value, and sometimes reduced value. Before you merge your profile with someone else's in a non-structural merge, think: "Why am I doing this? Why is this a better option than simply deleting my copy?"

I am relatively new to Geni (less than 3 months in since I joined) and I am not a Pro, so if I got my facts wrong just shoot me down. I won't mind being corrected.

Private User
6/3/2010 at 7:36 AM

Bjørn, I had not appreciated that your "on purpose" as you say "means that the manager doing this is well aware of the situation and you know that the manager is working on a major cleanup in the area and you have discussed earlier that the first goal is to reduce the number of duplicates". Had I realised that this was what "on purpose" means, I would not have commented as I did.

I stand by my point that bad merges (almost by definition) are a bad thing, and should not be initiated or approved. I think that your example of different mothers Anne and Mary is actually agreeing with my comment that merges of people who have entirely different parents are particularly bad!

Regarding deleting duplicates with multiple managers, I agree that this requires further thought. To clarify, I had in mind the case where I delete a profile that I manage.

I think your comments regarding blocking are the exception rather than the rule. If we all go round being paranoid about being blocked, we would all use whatever tricks we could to manage as many profiles as we could, to retain our power over them, rather than relying on each other's ongoing goodwill. Maybe that is why people always want to merge things - to keep their paws in whichever way they can, and I am just naive not to have realised that already? If merges are done just so that everyone can get their stamp as a profile manager on everything that moves, just in case someone blocks them, or removes them as collaborator, etc. then we will spend the next decade approving merge after merge, without actually achieving anything. That's not what I want to get out of Geni.

Either way, I think this is a healthier discussion than a public slanging match between two 7th cousins (or whatever relation they are).

In objecting to deleting your own profiles, Bjørn was describing a merge between two profiles that each have a SINGLE manager. Even then, there is a significant loss of access to the tree.
IMO, 95% of the profiles deleted should NOT have been, to the extent that I would prefer Geni block deleting altogether because the justified %5 are so rare, that a special mechanism to make delete requests would be better. It should be forbidden to delete ANY profile with multiple managers.

Another justification to do "no-added-value" merges (most of the thousands of merges I have done), is to strongly indicate that multiple managers have a "stake" / interest in this part of the tree. To the extent that even if I didn't add a particular profile that I'm interested in or related to, I will often request to be added as a manager. You would be amazed at how many people say things like "well if I'm the only manager, I'm allowed to delete it". WRONG! In a shared tree, if my cousin added a relative that I KNOW about, and seeing this, I then did NOT add them, and my cousin deletes it for some reason, I would have NO way of knowing this profile was deleted, and would then be missing information I already have...

Private User
6/3/2010 at 3:53 PM


1. Your first para: in the case of a profile where I am the single manager, where the only information in the profile is what I added, and that profile is not structurally important elsewhere in the tree, and that profile and all its information is duplicated elsewhere, I maintain that it can be appropriate to delete it. I think the "Harold" example I gave above could be a good example. The alternative to attempting to merge my Harold profile and creating mess is to ask to be added as a manager of the existing Harold profile. Then no access is lost.

2. Your second para: I can't comment on percentages of deleted profiles. Personally I have only ever deleted profiles in the circumstances I described above, and also in one case where someone else had mistakenly parked their profiles in two places, one of which was incorrectly in my tree. Their copy in my tree was entirely duplicated in the right place elsewhere, and deletion was a far easier way of rectifying the error than a merge which would have involved adding collaborators and family group just to achieve it, and would have been messy to separate "parents" that really had nothing to do with each other. I do think people should consider deletion in some circumstances as an alternative to leaving a mess for others to clear up.

3. Your third paragraph: the request to be added as a manager is a much easier operation than a messy merge. I take your point about collective responsibility after a profile has been added. Perhaps the circumstances where profiles should be deleted are simply the 5% that you have in mind.

6/3/2010 at 4:09 PM

If I had used your suggestion and deleted 'my' duplicate profiles what sort of mess might I be left in now. I am not being paranoid about being blocked. I'm still amazed that anyone on Geni ever Blocks anyone. (did you read the earlier part of this discussion?)

Private User
6/3/2010 at 4:55 PM

Terry I did read your earlier posts. Clearly you and Candy have different views of what you expected from each other. Online collaboration is very difficult, because we all see things differently, we have different aims and views, different energy levels and personalities.

My comments were of a general nature, in a broadening of the original focus of this thread. I have no idea what might have been the best cause of action in your case.

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