Friday, September 12, 2014

Getting the most out of FamilySearch–Family Tree (part 4)

All screenshots taken from the FamilySearch website

In the next couple of posts I want to point out a few important things.   All of them will be on the Person screen.  I can’t screenshot the entire page so this is just the bottom part. 

fs 1

Possible Duplicates is the very first thing you want to do whenever you are working on someone and you will want to check this every time you open a person.   Just because there wasn’t a duplicate yesterday doesn’t mean there won’t be one today.  I picked someone that actually has a duplicate.  Here is what it looks like:

fs 2


Fred only has one possible duplicate but you could easily have a long list.  You will have to click the Review Merge on each one.   I can’t screenshot the entire merge screen but this will give you an idea.

fs 3

I am not going to talk you through how to merge two people because this is in the Training Materials, however, there are a couple of important things I want to point out.

  • Do not use the FSID number as part of your paper or electronic filing system.  When two people are merged one of the FSIDs is lost and it might be the one you have been using. 
  • The person on the LEFT is the one that is retained and the person on the right is the one that will be lost.
  • If the person on the right has data that needs to be retained you can move it to the left.  Make sure you check all of the tabs that have information (Life Sketch, Vitals, Other, Family, Sources).
  • If the person on the right actually has more correct information than the left, you can switch them using the Switch Positions option. That will save you some time.
  • When you merge two people this might cause problems with the attached parents, spouse(s), and children.  You will most likely have to go in and merge these people too.
  • Don’t merge two people unless you are sure!  Merges can be undone but still.  All changes are logged.  If you know the FSID of a deleted person you will still be able to look them up and it will point you to the new person.
  • You can merge people from within the three programs that interface with Family Tree.  I use Legacy and I think it is easier to do a merge there than on the website.  I can’t speak to the other two programs.


Copyright © 2014 Michele Simmons Lewis


  1. Have you quit doing your own research? That was much more interesting than day after day of product instruction or review.

  2. No worries. I am almost done with the FS series. I did because I want people to use FS correctly because that does help my own personal research.

  3. If you have Photoshop Elements, you can take two screen shots and merge them together. You can also use Paint that comes with Windows. First open one image in Paint. Then pull down to create some extra white space. You bring in the next image by using the Paste From button. It takes some practice but I use it all the time to stitch together screen shots that don't fit.