John Coffyn, David Coffyn and the unstoppable army of clones

Started by Private User on Tuesday, December 7, 2010


Related Projects:

Showing all 6 posts
Private User
12/7/2010 at 6:44 PM

Erica "the Disconnectrix" Howton said:

**I'm not quite understanding your naming conventions. But there's an easy way -- I'm loading the profiles to the Starbuck / Coffins Project. Once they're there I can make them "Master Profiles." But you'll have to explain to me what "li'l John Coffin" means in one of that projects discussions. :) **

Tristram says:

oh, i just did that (Li'l) to distinguish from the 40 some other John Coffyns. meaning this is the one i would like to make the official correct profile.

Li'l is a contraction of Little, and is colloquial and used often in the urban rap culture. :) i was just being silly.

oh, in terms of naming convention, i am trying to stick with Coffyn when referring to anyone, except Tristram Coffyn Sr, across the pond. there were Coffins in England prior to 1600s (spelt with an "i"), but it seems there was no convention in place with surnames, much less the language in general.

thanks for your always gracious help!

12/8/2010 at 12:53 AM

I thought I'd explain in more detail how I as a curator can help with a family line in a Project; answer your questions about how come you have some access but not all; why there are triblets and clones and clowns oh my!; help with Master Profiles; and get naming conventions and source data on the page.

1. I wasn't sure when the name change was from Coffyn to Coffin and how you all wanted to do that (as you say, different sources can say different things). It sounds like you want to stick with Coffyn for England and the first immigrant to the US, Tristam Coffyn senior, and then do the switch over to Coffin?

2. As I understand it, the database does most accurate "searches" and matches on:

First name, last name, then maiden names, then dates, then suffix, then display names. Middle name doesn't always show in the "conflict resolution tool" I don't think.

Therefore (and for consistency) I use these kinds of naming conventions:

- Names, never titles, never nicknames, in the name fields. That means "Sir" is never a first name. (Can you imagine what kind of result you'll get with a search on first name "Sir"?)

- Nicknames in "quotes" in the Middle Name field.

- To distinguish between generations of David (for example), use Roman Numerals in the Suffix Field.

- To distinguish between David in the same in the same generation from different branches of the family, use a location in the Suffix field. In general I've started doing that for large and confusing families -- real historians do it apparently and it works great.

So, for example: David Coffin, lll, of Devon

This is also good for titles: instead of putting them in the name field, use the suffix field. For example, Margaret Cornfield, Countess of Westwood (making it up).

Display names are wonderful but get lost in merges.

Next messages to explain about why so many merges. :)

12/8/2010 at 12:56 AM

BTW I am neutral on use of roman numeral in the Middle Name Field. It can look more elegant: David lll Coffin, of Alwidge.

I just really hate in for use in the United States post 1750s when we really did have middle names.

12/8/2010 at 1:02 AM

So -- the Geni database, in historical times (prior to 1800 or so) and as I understand "the family legend," is comprised of stitched together GEDCOM uploads.

Users granted each other the right to collaborate on public profiles, meaning they could edit and merge together duplicate copies. One person might have a file with a birth date, another might have a file with the death date, merge them together and voila! A more complete profile.

Over time and merges, the data would become more and more accurate, and the profile itself show more and more "managers" who could edit the data and refine it. People put biographical and source information which percolate through.

Then ... people left the site and weren't available to "approve" a merge. And other people got a little indiscriminate with the GEDCOM uploads, and the 25th or 300th profile version of Charlemagne's profile, with duplicated information, was uploaded.

The "one world tree" starting cloning itself into an unmanageable mess.

Geni refined and continues to refine their tools. But the one I'm involved with is the Curator program, here:

12/8/2010 at 1:09 AM

In the Project, you function as a "mini curator," meaning you have edit rights on the profiles permitted to the Project, whether you are a manager of that profile or not.

This can really help when there is a manager with a profile that is correct (or duplicated) but they have not responded to your request to collaborate with them.

Since I have edit rights on all public profiles, I can add them to the Project -- most easily if you give me a link! -- and then you can merge them together and do any corrections on generational placement / naming / sourcing / etc.

If the profile is "good enough" I, as curator, designate it as a "Master Profile." That serves two purposes:

1. To let the next user know to merge with *this* one, not that *other* David Coffyn.

2. To build out the "Master Profile" into one single, documented and validated Profile as the best representative on

My interest area and better historical knowledge is Colonial America and on back to England and Scotland. We have other curators with much better knowledge of, say, the Kings of England, or Medieval times, so you will find their names on the more major figures in those eras.

12/8/2010 at 1:18 AM

One way I've worked is when you've gotten a Coffin (or Starbuck! Yay Starbucks! I have them in my direct ancestry ... and more distantly to Coffins of course then) into good shape, you post a discussion in the Project:

Please make into Master Profile (and give the links).

I get that message in my "newsfeed" (awesome!), function as a "data quality" check, and this way, as a team, we get it done.

Same thing if you run across profiles that need to be loaded into the Project.

Together we can manage the Borg and make it a singular (and therefore more accurate) tree. Six months ago Noah and I were 16th cousins. We're at 11ths now. To me that proves how much work we've done and correctly so.

I like to see the "about me" tab include the following information at the top of the Master Profile, it makes it easy at a glance:

(Name, "also known as" names, vitals - dates of birth and death, locations, maybe brief summary of why important)
(children in a list)
Weblinks <as a separate section>

Section breaks after for variable info as needed / relevant - Biographical summary, Notes, Sources, Further reading, Citations (last).

Showing all 6 posts

Create a free account or login to participate in this discussion