Some people eat, sleep and chew gum, I do genealogy and write...

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Merge, the missing link in FamilySearch's Family Tree

The documentation for's Family Tree program discusses the imminent introduction of a true merge function. However, that particular feature is not yet available as of the date of this post. What that means is that I can do nothing with my ancestral lines further back than about 3 generations. Past that point, there are unresolvable duplicates in the file that totally prevent me from making any further progress in sorting out the data ported over from

In, there was an artificial limit on the number of individual records that could be combined for any one person. However, in the case of my ancestors, the limit was way too low and there are many uncombined copies of the same individuals that cannot be combined due to the fact that the total number of duplicates exceeds the arbitrary limit. So now I have unresolved duplicate pedigrees, as well as individuals in Family Tree. So, by the time I get to my Great-great-grandfather Sidney Tanner, for example, I cannot begin to untangle the duplicates and problems without the merge function.

There is also some controversy over whether or not Family Tree will allows users to add individuals to the file directly in Family Tree. Two days ago, I was in the new FamilySearch Center in Nauvoo, Illinois and one of the missionaries there showed me how he had been adding names to his file. Until I can get a handle on the merges, I have no one to add to the file, so I cannot duplicate what he was doing. I am getting mixed messages as to whether or not adding individuals is yet possible.


  1. James, indeed the 'merge' function's absence is indeed a roadblock to cleaning up the Family Tree database. Also lacking is the promised 'delete' function, useful where some past genealogical entry contributed an otherwise unconnected and unknown person to a family.

    The 'add person' function did not work well three weeks ago, but does work now. I was able to work with a person who was an incorrectly-combined daughter of two different sets of parents and spouse of two different husbands. I picked one set of parents, deleted her from the others as child, deleted the wrong husband linked to the child of the selected parents.

    There are links on a person's page to add a spouse (below their information listing), to add parent to its right, and if parents are shown there is a link in their box to add a child.

    I was able to search for a version of the correct daughter of the other parents using the "add child" link or version of spouse of the other husband (used the main search form) -- found no likely candidate in the database, and was able to create a new person as correct child and to link as correct wife.

  2. I have been working on my tree on Family Search and have been able to make some headway using both and I have successfully added people on both websites. The merge portion on only partially works. If you add a new person it will look for duplicates. If the person is a match, you can click on him or her but it will change all your information to what is in the match. If the person is not a match, it does not give you the option of skipping it and does not let you add the person. In those instances, I have been able to add the person on

    I have successfully been combining duplicates on However, on, you cannot delete any information or relationships, but you can do this on It is frustrating and very time consuming to have to go back and forth between websites so I can get the correct information to appear on my tree. I would assume that the goal would be to combine both websites into one, but so far this is not the case.