Incorrect Merges on FamilySearch Family Tree

July 11, 2019  - by 
Two happy boys walking on a railway.

Have you accidentally merged two people together on FamilySearch Family Tree and then later realized you shouldn’t have? Or has an ambitious relative gone on a merging spree and you have been tasked with fixing the incorrect merges? Well, this article will help you through that process.

Finding Merges on Family Tree

There is an easy way to determine if your targeted person has had any merges.

When two records have been merged, one of them remains in Family Tree while the other is archived. These changes and others are collected and can be viewed.

On the person page of any deceased individual in Family Tree, you will see a Latest Changes drop-down menu on the right side. Under Latest Changes tool, you can see changes to this person’s profile. Changes might include sources being attached, children being added, couple events, residences added, and merges.

The most recent changes can be seen from this screen. However, all changes can be seen by clicking Show All.

Further, you will be able to see when a specific change was made and by whom.

From the full list, merges are quickly located because they are outlined in a green box.

Fixing Incorrect Merges in FamilySearch Family Tree

If a merge has taken place recently, it will show up in the Latest Changes section.

To unmerge, click on Merge Completed. At the next screen, simply click Unmerge to the right. Be sure to include a reason statement for unmerging the records.

Screenshot of the unmerge option on the merge screen.
A screenshot of the 'reason for merge' box.

All the old information will then be restored for both the surviving and deleted person.

Merging or unmerging records can be a complicated but necessary process, and not all merges are undoable using this method. For more help on the merging process or cleaning up your family tree, check out these helpful articles:


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.

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Comments

  1. if the unmerge button is not there? It ŵould be at the very top of Latest Changes, if not, then you need to “restore”.
    click on the deleted person’s name [inside the green box], it will come up with square that includes a black line which says “person deleted”, click on the “person” in the gray line, this will bring up a page where you can restore the merged record
    following is from the Help Center]
    https://www.familysearch.org/help/salesforce/viewArticle?urlname=Restore-a-deleted-person-in-Family-Tree&lang=en
    hope this helps

  2. The problem with this help page is it doesn’t tell you where to find “click on Merge Completed. At the next screen, simply click Unmerge to the right.” And under RECENT on the account page doesn’t show “LATEST CHANGES SCREEN.” Can there be more up to date information?

    1. Thank you for pointing that out Cecelia. The experience was just recently updated and we are working on getting new information on this help article. It should be up in the next few weeks.

  3. This article, the posts and comments are about fixing merges. The article title and date is “Incorrect Merges on FamilySearch Family Tree – July 11, 2019 – by Amie Tennant”.

    My questions and concerns are the merge process was revised and new instructions on how to initially perform a merge was published in 2020. See that information below.
    1. The previous merge process allowed people to determine which record to retain and which record to merge data from. The new merge process does not allow for the switching of record ID’s on the merge screen to retain the record on the left instead of the record on the right.
    2. In addition to this system change under the new merge process when a record is determined not to be a duplicate it does not allow the ability of the person to then determine the merge of the two records was correct and continue the merge once you have existed the process. If this is an inaccurate statement please advise. I have an existing duplicate record situation for 2 people with multiple record ID’s involved. Some ID’s reference the duplicate ID’s previously indicated as not a duplicate where others do not.
    3. As the merge process has been systematically revised and new instructions published in July 2020 does this change the Unmerge Process and system identified in April 2019?
    4. If researchers are performing merges with assumptions, they can still determine which record ID to retain how many records are inaccurately being merged then inaccurately unmerged?
    5. How much source data is being lost in these processes resulting in inaccurate person information?
    6. I have performed merges under the old process after working with LDS techs to learn the process. After much reading and reviewing of the new merge screen and it’s processes, I was finally able to accurately perform at least 3 merges under the new system changes.
    7. I have not performed an unmerge of record ID’s under the new merge process because I took advantage of the option to cancel the merge instead of indicating “not a duplicate”.

    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.

    1. Hi Doniece! Thanks for your feedback.
      #1: You can switch the records at the top of the first merge screen.
      #2: Click on the person’s detail screen. Then on the right side, under “Research Help” select “Show All”. Then select the tab “Dismissed Helps” and you’ll be able to see any duplicates that were previously marked as ‘Not a Match’.
      #3: The unmerging process is the same.
      #4: The information about numbers of merges and unmerges is not something that is available.
      #5: The new merge process brings over all relationships and all sources to the remaining person.

      1. Amy thank you for taking the time to respond to my lengthy concerns. I have a few additional concerns or clarifications.

        Responses to your replies:
        Item #1: Locating the identification to switch record ID’s on the merge screen is not the issue, I located the option with no problem. The problem is with the source data on each record switching with the record ID.

        1A: The first time I attempted to merge under the new process I opted to switch the record ID’s so the remaining record at the end of the duplicate process would be on the left. When the records switched positions on the screen all of the data pertaining to each record failed to switch positions as well.

        1B: I unswitched the records back to their initial position and existed the process. I attempted to switch the record positions again from left to right noticing the data information did not completely follow its corresponding record during the switch. Being a left-handed person performing a merge and retaining the record on the left was more comfortable for me. Due to the inability to view the record source information switch with the corresponding record ID I am learning to merge and retain the record on the right-hand side of the screen.

        1C: Am I the only person that has brought this issue/concern to your attention
        pertaining to the source data on the record not following the record itself? What I am referring to is the person and source data identified by the system to merge or delete.

        Item #2: Thank you for the information on where to find merge/unmerge data. It has been some time since I merged multiple duplicate records and documented these situations as being a duplicate or separate people. With the new ‘Filter” feature it should be easier to separate and view these conditions separately.

        Item #5: Due to the manual intervention of people performing merges even under the new merge process it is imperative the merging person verify the appropriate moving of source data to the remaining record. The option is still in the hands of the merger to delete or accept people and source data to the all-inclusive record.
        There are no bells or whistles to alert the merger to verify what they are merging is accurate. The only stop gap measure is the option to continue or cancel the merge.

        1. Hi Doniece! Thanks again for your feedback.
          I personally have merged hundreds of people over the past few weeks and all the sources from the record on the left will be added to the record on the right (surviving record). I have switched the records and haven’t seen the sources not move with the records as you are experiencing. If you continue to experience this, please contact FamilySearch Support directly at support@familysearch.org.

          1. Thank for letting me know you have not experienced the issue I described in switching the position of records in the merge process. I will monitor and contact the support staff should I notice this issue from here on out..