Probabilistic Record Linkage for Genealogical Research

With increased interest in family history research, there is a great need for the improvements in procedures for generating genealogical information. One of the most time-consuming parts of the work is searching through records (such as civil records, church records, census records, immigration records, wills, deeds, and certificates of births, marriages, and deaths) for information about an individual. When multiple records are searched, an individual may appear numerous times. Each of these occurrences may contain identical or unique information about the individual. More complete information (such as pedigree) can be constructed from an individual by combining or linking all the records about that individual, especially when in one record the individual appears as a child and in another record as a parent.

Presently, when a genealogist searches through records he or she usually links records manually. This process entails looking at the individual records and comparing the information within each record. The genealogist then decides if any records are matches, representing the same individual. Done on a record-by-record level, this is a time-consuming and expensive process.

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