WeRelate:Suggestions/Streamline Add Person

Original Suggestion and Discussion

When you add a person, you first get a "Enter What You Know" screen that allows you to enter name, birth and death. You cannot specify parents or spouse until push Next and do a search. It would be nice if the first screen included parents and spouse, basically if you started with the second screen, and skipped the first. --Jrich 21:01, 8 October 2011 (EDT)

I'm not sure I understand this. If you already know who the parents or spouse is, why not start on their page and Add Child or Add Spouse? -- Amy (Ajcrow) 10:25, 9 October 2011 (EDT)
The problem is that the existing page for that person (if it exists) may only have part of the information. (By the way, I do start with add child or add spouse almost all the time, rarely do I find it useful to do a straight Add Person). There are two basic reasons people have created a page, either because the person is a spouse and they know the marriage/children/death, or because they are a child and they know the parents/birth. So it is common to have only half the information specified on a page. So if I don't include both halves in my search, it is very possible I end up creating duplicates. If I am adding a child, I am on the parents page, and I can see the child isn't there, but that doesn't mean somebody didn't add them as the spouse of their spouse. So to try and avoid adding duplications, when I add children, I try to include the name of their spouse in my search criteria. When I am adding a spouse, I like to include the parents if possible. --Jrich 10:54, 9 October 2011 (EDT)
A possible issue is if you enter the parents/spouse names, and you don't find a match, you'll have to re-enter them again of course when you create the pages for them. In the past that's been an issue for some people - asking them to enter something that the system later "forgets". I don't mind adding fields for spouse and parent names to the add screen; we'd just need to make it clear in the instructions that those fields are optional and are used only in search.--Dallan 20:48, 9 October 2011 (EDT)
Let's say I am adding child, just so I can give a specific example. Asked to "Enter what I know", I enter name, birth and death date and press Next. Since GEDCOM upload creates Person pages for a person named as a parent, many Person pages exist with no birth date, no death date, only a name, and a dateless Family page connecting them to the spouse. So to make sure I find this, when the Next comes back with a set of search results, I then type in the spouse name, and search again. Then if it finds nothing that matches, I press Add to create a Person page, and it does not create a Family page for the marriage to the spouse even though I entered the spouse's name. So even by adding one extra screen to the process (round-trip to the server, more waiting) it still doesn't remember this information. Seems like the same net result to me. What I am suggesting is going right to screen 2, as if the first try returned an empty search result, and allow the user to fill in any and all of the search criteria that may be used to search for a person on the first screen rather than only some of them. --Jrich 23:04, 9 October 2011 (EDT)
It makes sense. I'm planning to implement this. I just need to explain in the instructions below that the spouse and parent names may need to be re-entered later if a match cannot be found.--Dallan 15:25, 11 October 2011 (EDT)

If and/or when you make this change you need to watch out for a difference in how Place names are handled on these screens - on the first screen there is a background search for know place name matches with suggested matches - on the second there is none.

For this reason I usually enter known place names on the first screen even if I know little else about the person - then I advance to the second screen. --Jhamstra 12:01, 15 November 2011 (EST)

Maybe I should add the place auto-complete to the search screen (second screen) as well?--Dallan 20:24, 15 November 2011 (EST)
Yes - Please. That is the main benefit I find from the first screen.--Jhamstra 21:32, 15 November 2011 (EST)
Done.--Dallan 14:18, 6 March 2012 (EST)

Today, it seemed like the add process changed. Now the second screen no longer offers spouse or parents as matching criteria. Was this intended? It is sort of opposite what was asked for, which was to put spouse and parents on first screen. With many names having over 100 pages, it is desirable to be able to try and get matches to the top of the list which is done by giving lots of information so the matching page is clearly differentiated with a higher relevance. I am sure the following is well-known, but since dates only seem to support matching and not ranking by closeness, since places seem to carry too much weighting causing a sister of the wrong sex to be more relevant than a person with the same name in the wrong town, sometimes searching for a person by given parents and spouses is the best way to get the target to the top of the list and find out if it exists or not, and these fields are needed. --Jrich 10:27, 2 March 2012 (EST)

The reason I made the change is because we don't store the relatives' names when you create the person page, and I've had several people complain that they felt like they had to enter parents/spouses names twice, once when they were creating the person page, and again when they created the pages for those individuals. Ideally the system would remember relatives' names and use them when you were ready to create pages for the relatives, but that's not going to happen in the near future. So here's what I've done in response to your comment: I've weighted the person's given name and surname higher in the search ranking so good matches will hopefully show up higher, and I've added the "Keywords" field back. You can add names of relatives on the keywords line to get people with those relatives to rank higher.--Dallan 14:18, 6 March 2012 (EST)
Well, we'll see how it goes. I will point out that I just created #400 of John Johnson the other day, and as usual with colonial names, the sons all name sons after their father, often the brothers do too, and then the nephews name sons after their uncle or their brother take your pick. So the ability to do pinpoint searching to avoid duplicates is going to get more important as the number of people with the same name increases. Right now the most precise searching is for a family because the combination of two names together (three names if you are searching for a child having specific parents) is much rarer than the single name alone. Now that is being relegated to the keyword field which might just as soon match a comment that says "He is not the son of so-and-so and such-and-such". Plus it cannot leverage the similar spelling logic. Couldn't those extra fields go into a shaded box or something to indicate they are thrown away after searching? If people don't want to use them don't have to, but people that do want to, can't now.
Ordering by date in some manner would be hugely useful. If not scored by date, the ability to specify a precision on dates if entered, to say within 10 years, so there is less clutter, and duplicates stand out more? If I go look for John Johnson b. 1632, #400 is indeed at the top of the list, but there are 198040 entries returned. Exact and close match only returns one entry, #400. Going back to the full list, several entries born in the 1800's and even 1900's (which are clearly not possible matches) are listed before one born "about 1633" that should probably be checked out. 1633 or 1631 are very interesting in this case due to discrepancies in double-dating, and an "about" qualifier would certainly seem to suggest this is a possible match. But he is buried on the long list of result and absent on the short list. --Jrich 18:44, 6 March 2012 (EST)
I would agree with Jrich regarding searching by family members when adding a Person. When working in the Netherlands I often find that at some point I cross-over with the work of others, and that the names (and places) are frequently reused (there were many Jan Jans, Gerrit Gerrits, etc in Friesland before surnames were introduced 8-). Often when adding a spouse to a Family, a Person page for that spouse already exists from prior research. In this case being able to filter the search with the other spouse would be very helpful. It would be even more helpful if when adding a Spouse or Child to a family the name(s) of the parents or other spouse would be automatically filled in the search filter. Even when adding a Child I sometimes find duplicate parents - not supposed to happen but it does, due to carelessness, variant names, or other causes.--Jhamstra 19:07, 6 March 2012 (EST)
I see what you're saying. The right way to approach this is to enhance the person pages to remember the names of spouses/parents whose pages haven't been created yet. If we have this, we can add those fields back onto the search screen (and on the add screen as well). Perhaps it won't take as much time as I thought to implement. Let me think about it.--Dallan 17:54, 8 March 2012 (EST)
I am not sure we have quite connected yet. One of my suggestions is that when adding a Person to an existing Family (as Spouse or Child) the search filter default to include the known existing Parents (when adding a Child) or Spouse (when adding the other Spouse).--Jhamstra 22:51, 8 March 2012 (EST)
I think I can make that work -- display the parent's fields only when adding a child to an existing family; display the spouse fields only when adding a spouse to an existing family.--Dallan 16:13, 11 March 2012 (EDT)

I agree with JRich's initial request. I like the idea of pre-populating the parents or spouse if known from context, but I think it is equally important to provide boxes to supply the opposite info, for the reason JRich pointed out - I am adding a child to a family and I want to know if they exist with their spouse (or vice versa). If you could "remember" the info and use it to populate the parents or spouse section of the new page, great. If not, could you please add it below the other search criteria with a note to indicate that the info will not be carried forward onto the page.

Also, I assume it would be more cost-effective overall to implement this suggestion together with Adding of Baptism/Burial date field on 'add person' page. Could that be taken into consideration, please. Thanks--DataAnalyst 16:50, 25 April 2015 (UTC)

As I stated in the suggestion to adding baptismal and burial dates to the handy "Add A Person" pop-up window, I feel adding any further information to it or to its search data fields is unnecessary, unwarranted and has little value added when compared to the programming cost of doing so, now that program improvements have a cost factor associated with them. I do not remember a single time when I added a person and wanted the program to search for parent data at that point. Personally, I don't think this idea would be "streamlining." You can accomplish what you intend by conducting a Person Search. Therefore, I would recommend investing costly programming dollars to other programming improvements. Just my opinion. --BobC 20:37, 9 July 2015 (UTC)

First of all this suggestion pertained to the way things used to work, "streamlining" because it was asking to add fields to make a three step process go to two. Things have been made worse since then in that you can't even specify a spouse or parents anymore. You used to be able to on step two, the select or add screen, but that was removed (apparentlty to make things more "intuitive" to people that are new to the system, but to the detriment of people that use it a lot), and consequently I have created about 5 duplicates this week because the existing pages had no date, but the add-person process only searched for matching dates, and the search was therefore unable to warn me the pages already existed. I mostly work with pages other people have created, and there are a lot of pages that have only relationships and no date (GEDCOM upload insists on creating pages even if empty except for the name), and there is no way in add-person to search for a particular relationship. Sure you can put a spouse's name in the keywords field, and if you are lucky enough to guess which spelling variant the existing page has, you might find it, but if the spelling is different that will guarantee you don't match since the keywords match is verbatim. Sure I could do a Person Search, but then if I don't find one, there is no add button and I have to re-enter all that data again on the Add screen. So I believe it has value, and would be a good addition. --Jrich 22:14, 9 July 2015 (UTC)



Admin Follow Up (Oct 2016)

We are working through the backlog of Suggestions.


  • Rejected: Request to add parents and spouses to first screen of "Add Person". However, keywords and name weighting were implemented to aid in Search.
  • Implemented: Request to add auto-complete to Place on second screen.
  • Implemented: Request to pre-populate search with known parent or spouse names when adding Person to existing Family pages or Family to existing Person pages.

This Suggestion will be moved to archive if no further response or objection is received within 10 days. --cos1776 23:24, 31 October 2016 (UTC)

Moved to archive. --cos1776 18:35, 18 November 2016 (UTC)