Saturday, January 26, 2013

Merging Duplicates in Family Tree

I've made a video showing the merge process, when you find a possible duplicate that you are confident is truly a duplicate. I advise everyone to research the person you are thinking about merging, so that you can make confident, source-based decisions on which information to keep and merge in, and which to reject or let go.

Research the person you're thinking about merging by looking at sources: either the sources that someone else has already attached, or by finding them on the internet and attaching them yourself. These sources often include census records, headstones, certificates (birth, marriage, death), or written histories. If someone has already attached sources to your individual, you will find them in the "Sources" section on the person's page in Family Tree. If you find them yourself, they will likely be on places like,,, or other sites.

After you've looked at the sources and feel like you have an idea of who this person is, and what information seems accurate according to the sources, go to the person's page and click "Possible Duplicates", which is in the "Tools" box on the right side of the page. The possible duplicates show up, and you can click "Review Merge" to see everything in more detail and compare the records side by side. If they do seem to be the same person, keep the information that is most accurate. Everything on the left side will be kept, and things on the right will be discarded. So if there is some more accurate information on the right, move it over to the left by clicking "Replace" or "Add." At the end of the process, click "Continue." Then explain why the merge is correct to the best of your knowledge, then click "Finish Merge."

If the possible duplicate looks like it is actually not the same person, you won't click "Continue", you'll click "Not A Match." FamilySearch will no longer suggest this record that was on the right as a possible duplicate for the person you had on the left.

Feel free to leave comments if you have any questions or need clarification.


  1. Ali, Is it easier to merge duplicate children on a perent's page and then merge them later or is it easier to copy the information about the child on the right to say Evernote, not merge the child on right and later edit the information for the child on the left after you have finished the merge for the all other parent information?

  2. That's a good question. I haven't come across multiple family member duplicates until I made this video. What has been your experience?

    If there are two different records for the same child, it would make sense to me to add the one on the right into the family on the left and merge the child records later. Eventually we don't want there to be any duplicates in the Tree, so I'm currently of the opinion of merging people whenever I know they are the same person, I've done research on their information, and the system will let me merge them.

    What do you feel is easiest or best?