How to Use FamilySearch Person IDs

June 21, 2019  - by 
A black and white image of a man sitting with his granddaughter on a John Deere tractor.

While exploring your family tree, you may have noticed a combination of letters and numbers below each family member’s name.

These are person identification numbers (ID), and understanding what they are and how you can use them can be a great asset to you as you do your family history!

What Is a Person ID, and Where Can I Find It?

Each person in the FamilySearch Family Tree has an assigned person ID, which appears as a series of letters and numbers. These person IDs are unique to each deceased person.

You can find the identification number below a person’s name in your family tree or in the header of the person page.

Person IDs in the Family Tree

How Can I Use a Person ID?

Copying the Person ID

It can be helpful to know the person ID of an ancestor, especially if you plan on returning to that person’s information (more on this later). To quickly copy a person ID, follow these steps:

1. Click or tap the person ID, which you can find below the person’s name in the family tree or on an ancestor’s person page.

2. A pop-up window will appear that says “Copy ID.” To copy the person ID, click this link.

A screenshot of the Copy ID feature

3. Paste the ID number into a document or wherever you keep a record of person IDs.

Recents

You can use the Recents feature in Family Tree and an ancestor’s person ID to quickly return to an ancestor’s page. It only takes a few simple steps.

A screenshot of the Recents feature in the family tree.

1. On your family tree, click or tap the Recents tab on the top left side of the screen.

2. A drop-down menu will appear and give you the option to type or paste in a family member’s name or a person ID. Enter the person’s ID.

3. Click Go. If the ID number is correct, that ancestor’s page will open.

Find

If you already know the person ID of a specific family member, you can also use the person ID to find the person’s page:

1. Tap or hover over Family Tree at the top left side of the screen, and select Find from the menu options.

2. Tap or click Find by ID, and enter the person’s ID number in the field provided. Then click Find. The name of the person who has been assigned that specific ID will appear on the next screen.

A screenshot of the find by ID feature on Family Tree.

3. From this screen, you have the option of clicking any of the hyperlinked names, which will then take you to that ancestor’s page.

The results page of a Find by ID search.

Merge

Sometimes, instead of relying on the Possible Duplicates tool, you can use a person ID to merge duplicate people in the tree. To do this, you will use the Merge by ID option from the Tools section on the right of the person page.

A screenshot of the Merge by ID feature on the person page.

1. Copy or write down the person ID of the record that you don’t want to keep.

2. From the person page of the more correct record, scroll down, and in the menu options on the right, click or tap Merge by ID in the Tools section.

3. In the field provided, enter the person ID number you copied or wrote down. Again, this is the person ID of the record that had the least accurate information. Click or tap Continue.

Merge by ID screenshot.

4. At this point, you will see the profiles from both records side by side so you can compare the two, and copy over any information you wish to keep. Review all information.

5. Once you have reviewed both profiles thoroughly, click or tap Continue Merge at the bottom of the screen.

6. You will be prompted to explain the reason you believe these two records should be merged. When you have entered your reason statement, click or tap Finish Merge.

7. You have now completed the process of merging a duplicate person by person ID.

Explore Your Tree

Now that you know what person IDs are and what they can help you do, visit your family tree and find ways to put your ID knowledge to use!


More about How to Use the Family Tree

Amie Tennant

Amie Bowser Tennant is a genealogy researcher, writer and presenter.She writes blog articles and other content for many top companies and societies in the genealogy field. Her most treasured experience is working as a consultant for family history. Amie lives with her husband and three children in Ohio, surrounded by many of her extended family.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Comments

  1. There are so many combinations of Personal Identification Numbers. I have seen the #1, but no #0, no letter I, no letter O. Are all other digits and letters used? Just curious about keeping the IDs clear?

  2. We are a family of 5 siblings, 3 still alive. After my brother Noel died in 2015, a cousin told his widow that our mother had given birth to a daughter when much younger. That is the first we heard of her. It appears the person contacted mum”s brother in 1966 or thereabouts to make contact. Clearly mum kept her away. We have tried find a record of her and make contact but failed so far. We do not know her name or when she was born. However mum had said she spent two extended holidays with her father’s relatives in Geraldine, around 1000 km from her home, when she was 17 and 21. We surmise the daughter was born in that area maybe the second time about 1934. We want to know if your organisation helps trace missing relatives and can help us. We went through official channels and contacted Social Welfare Dept. They said the case was sealed and access was denied. Then we explained the person had tried to find us. So SW said they would find the person and tell us about her only if she agreed. They appointed someone to do this. Shortly after they said no record was found, despite telling us of the sealed case. That is the present situation.
    My mother Ellen Agnes Verry, nee Buckley, was born 31July 1913 and died 30 January 2004. Is FamilySearch an organisation that can help find a record of this person, and if so, where to from here?

  3. In working (playing) in Family Tree in a teaching moment with my adult sons, I noticed that we had three different ID numbers in each of our files. I am feeling that permanent ID numbers are only for the deceased. Would you please comment on this? Thank you for your time.

    1. Hi Betty,
      Thank you for your question.
      Living people are considered private in the Family Tree. Only you are able to see the living people in your private space. Same thing for your sons – only they can see the living people in their own private space. So, yes, each of you will have a different ID number for each living person.

  4. Some thing needs to be done about merging. It is too simple for people to do without proper consideration. Most of my family history work last year and this year had been undoing and correcting inappropriate mergers that complete change the.family dynamics. I end up doing their research to show how they made a mistake. People think information in FindAGrave and Ancestry family trees are accurate when they are full of mistakes and are not always good source material. It is easy for one person to make a mistake and everyone else follows. Frustrating. People are being lazy or do not know how to research and verify before adding. Frustrated

    1. Hi JoAnna, I find people who are not going to take the time to learn a process will mess it up for everyone else that is impacted by their carelessness. The merge process seemed simple enough just looking at the screen and reading the steps, however the merge process was not simple. For those who performed merge processes without paying attention did wipe out family links and/or merged incorrect family including merging people of different ethnicities because all other information matched. Before I attempted to merge records on my own, I contacted FamilySearch and had representatives walk through the steps with me. Having a live person be there to answer questions and/or concerns I learned more than I would from assuming I understood the written process.

      I ran into the latter situation when I discovered everything about two family lines matched except one was white and the other was black. I would have made the same mistake had I not paid attention. Upon contacting the researcher who merged the families incorrectly he realized his error but had not figured how to undo this mistake. As I had done the leg work and understood where he made his mistake I offered and reversed his merge processes. To complete the corrections, I email the researcher whose records were also impacted to let them know her family information had been altered.

      You also indicate information is not correct or accurate in Find A Grave, Ancestry Family Tree, etc. I find the reverse in using Find A Grave, and GenealogyBank.com. What may you fail to realize is all of this information is taken from family members, tombstone information, documented obituary’s from the mortuary/family also published in city newspapers, city and state hall of records, images of records released to the public. All information is subject to human error including FamilySearch data.

      It is easy to make mistakes. What some researcher’s fail to do, or own up to is go back and attempt to correct their errors. You have to realize at some point you were a beginner or novice at researching family ancestry. We all make mistakes in judgement or assume we know something that turns out to be a mistake.

      If you were not aware the merge process has been upgraded. I attempted to merge under these new changes and was thoroughly lost. For a process I was comfortable in performing I will not touch now. Before I attempt to merge again I will be contacting FamilySearch for assistance through the steps.

      Title of the email notice and date below:
      See the latest updates on FamilySearch! June 21, 2020

      Update: April 9, 2020—Additions to Record Merging Process
      Merging two records into one can be an intimidating process. However, new updates to the merging process can help you make the decision. For example, when you begin reviewing possible duplicate records, you may see a merge warning at the top of the screen. This warning lets you know if the two records have previously been merged and will give you some of the details.
      https://www.familysearch.org/blog/en/familysearch-updates/?et_cid=1739334&et_rid=114045857&linkid=CTA&cid=em-fsn-9919

  5. When doing a merge, what happens to ordinances that have been done on the “incomplete person that you are merging with the correct person? Are the carried over to the new person? Might it then show BOTH ordinances in the merged record? Or are they lost when the left-side screen is deleted? Please help!,

  6. A few of my relatives have IDs and are findable via the records search, yet when I try to attach them to my tree I keep getting a message saying that the ID is not found. Why is that?

      1. They are deceased, and there seem to be multiple entries for some of them, some of which are incorrectly overlapped with other families.