Flagging a conjectural link across two individuals

Say you have a number of individuals sharing the same name (five men named John Smith, for this discussion). You have some information that leads you to conjecture that two of the individuals are in fact the same individual, but it would be premature to merge. What is the best way to flag this conjecture, say in a Note, so the reader can unambiguously see which John Smith is the conjectured match? In a Wiki, each John Smith would have a permanent URL, so one could embed the URL in the text of the note. In GRAMPS, at least as I use it, the person ID is not quite as reliably permanent, and anyway doesn’t seem to facilitate URL-style linking.

Lurking in the background here is that I share my tree on a GRAMPS-generated webpage, and ideally would like the links in the note to be clickable so the reader could flip back and forth between the two John Smiths in question.

If this isn’t an available feature, perhaps reclassify my question from Help to Ideas?

Michael Gordy
Takoma Park, MD, USA
(GRAMPS v. 5.1.3 on Ubuntu 20.04)

You could create Associations between them, or you could create links within Notes.

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Create an Association between the John Smiths called something like ‘Merge Candidate’

Since this is a symmetrical association, you can run the Sync Association 3rd party add-on tool periodically to make sure the duplicate can be found from both sides.

Another alternative is to create a “Merge Candidates” ToDo Note. Then drop a copy on your candidates. Looking at the References allows an overview of all candidates. You can add reminders in the note about why you are uncertain.

I keep several such Research Management notes in Gramps. They are all anchored to a dummy bookmarked ‘Gramps’ person to make them easier to access.

In the Note linking markup, Gramps uses the more indelible Internal Handle, not the user-editable ID. The ID as a discrete label object is not a feature. So it is not recommended to transcribe IDs into the body of a note.

Hopefully, the web export tools convert Note links to URLs during webpage generation.

I like the note option. Besides making a link to each person (which uses their handle not an ID) you can list the pros and cons for each individual and any other relevant information. Then the same note can be added to each person’s record.

A note can also be given the type “To Do” to be added to the To Do gramplet.

Both ideas work brilliantly. Whether you use an Association or a link in a Note, the links are clickable in the GRAMPS-generated website.

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Thank you, especially for the pointer to the Sync Association tool. I also like the idea of a dummy person as a sort of persistent clipboard for the ToDo note.

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Yup, works perfectly. I was unaware of the “handle” as distinct from user-assigned ID.

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I agree, Dave. I’ve tested all the proposed solutions, and all work well (with slightly different pros and cons).

A hint about that…
If you open that Note from the dummy person, then you have to leave the Edit Person window open too. Closing the Edit Person also closes the spawned Edit Note window.

To get around that limitation, drag the Note to the Clipboard and open it from there instead.

This is how I always process Obituary transcriptions… Once the transcribed note is attached to the Newspaper, close the Note Editor & copy the Note record to the clipboard. Then close the Citation Editor & copy the Citations record to the Clipboard. Then close Person. Finally, re-open the Note by double-clicking its row on the Clipboard.

Now you can start searching the People view to link the attendees or add the clipboarded citation to the Sources in those Persons.

There are some ugly idiosyncracies when adding links to Notes. One has to do with the crippling of the Clipboard features during the linking process.

When you highlight a name in the Note & click the link button, whatever was in your clipboard is wiped & replaced with the highlighted name. (Wha? Huh? Why would the Link button change the Clipboard buffer?) Worse, you cannot use the Note to temporarily store the clipped data while using the Link feature. That’s because you cannot pick up fresh text from the Note while the Edit link window is active. It is a modal dialog and has to be closed before the underlying Gramps windows can be accessed. You’d have to use an external notepad application to convey the clipboard data. (I usually get bitten by this clipboard discontinuity when copying URLs to make linked text in the note… like a wikipedia definition.)

HOWEVER, when adding a person link, if the Relationship view is active, the Active Person will be the default link target. So you can use the Relationships selection to very quickly link all the sibs, spouses, parents, in-laws listed in an obit. (Sorry… you’ll still have to find those pallbearers, officiants & coworkers manually!)

The Families, People, Sources, & Media category views are similarly able to link without relying on the Select Object Windows. (But it won’t work for Events, Places, Citations, Repositories, or Notes. The People & Combined Relationship have some wonky exceptions too.)

The upside of the links is during the generation of more navigable websites. The downside is that they skew relationship analysis. – The Deep Connections Gramplet gives a Note Link almost as much weight as an immediate family relationship.

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Thanks for the elaboration and warnings about unintuitive clipboard behavior. The trick of dragging Notes or Events to clipboard in order to allow the originating Edit window to be closed is one I had discovered independently over the years. (I think I’ve been with GRAMPS for 20 years now.) But I hadn’t experimented so systematically with OS clipboard interactions.

After some experimentation, I concluded that an Association is the most lightweight way to annotate in the way I wanted, but without the Sync Associations tool (thanks again for the pointer) it would have been too much work. Once I figured out how to find and edit the plugin’s Python script, it was easy to implement.

Then you have been with Gramps from the beginning. Don Allingham (Gramps’ creator) just posted a 20 year Happy Birthday on the mailing lists.

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