Incorrect Merges on FamilySearch Family Tree

July 11, 2019  - by 

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:

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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  1. This article has skipped one very significant issue. More often than not, after somebody performs a merge, they will go in and tweak some of the data. It can be as simple as adding a period to an initial. When this happens, the UNMERGE BUTTON WILL NOT EXIST. When this happens, unmerging the PIDs becomes FAR more complicated!

    In my experience, in most cases the unmerge button is never there. People need to be warned about this.

  2. Excellent directions. Those who are afraid to try a merge will find out they CAN do it if they follow these instructions step by step.

  3. Notice in the green box how weak and unspecific was the original reason given for merging. It contains no data. If the patron had attempted to state the actual matching data, it would likely have become obvious that there was none and that no merge was justified.

  4. Very helpful about merging and un-merging I do a lot of this on Family Search and new tips are always very helpful. It took me a while to sort out how to work on the FS tree but now I have the hang of it I find it very good. I just wish more people would read before they change something [I am not blameless I have done it myself and that has made me careful] I always try and put verification to show what I have is correct or a match.

  5. It would help if there was an actual Index for the help articles, sub-indexed by what it applies to specifically.

  6. This is a very interesting article. I have been waiting for a long time to explain the process of people’s disintegration. I’m from Poland.

  7. If changes have been done after the merge, the process is more difficult. The Unmerge button will not be available. Instead, click on the name of the Deleted Person to bring up the pop-up box, then click on the Person link to bring up the Person Page. It looks different because this is a deleted person. There will be a link to Restore This Person. As above, you should enter a reason why the merge was incorrect. Before doing the restore, it might be a good idea to look at the full change history of the deleted person.

    WARNING: If there are sources or relationships involved, they can end up attached to both of the records after the restore. You must look at both records and detach carefully.

  8. Learning to merge and combine duplicate records is very tricky especially when you run into multiple duplicate records of husbands and wives. Prior to merging on my own I contacted LDS reps who would walk me through the process. I learned you can switch the individuals you want to merge where the most inclusive record data is on the person you are retaining. When another researcher has the more inclusive data on specifics of a person I will add this reference to the record being retained. In some instances of duplicate records people have added records instead of updating or correcting the existing record based on different spellings of names, maiden versus married surnames, differences in dates of birth, etc. I add extensive documentation on why records were merged because at some point in the ancestry of the people impacted the names have crossed into relations that impact my family line. I make every attempt not to delete data or source references that identify who people are prior to impacting my ancestry line. I recently ran across duplicate records of some people where the previous researcher and I were not sure if the records should be merged based on insufficient knowledge of the person. Instead of indicating not a match which would separate the duplicate records, notes were added to both records identifying more data required prior to merging or marking as not a duplicate. I have also unmerged records I merged after looking at the merge record and discovering a mistake was made. Although most of us attempt to be very cautious prior to removing or merging record numbers it may take the merge to realize the two people are actually not the same person. Thank you Anne for these informative training tools. Between these documents and live talks with LDS research reps my experience with FS tree has been less stressful.