Descendancy View Now Live: Data Problems and Research Suggestions

May 29, 2014  - by 

Two powerful new features have been added to the Descendancy view—Research Suggestions and Data Problems. They help you identify where people might be missing in your tree and where you might be able to improve the quality of your data.





You also can now use Settings to choose what information you see in the Descendancy View. You can choose whether to display the preferred portrait or the spouses. (For example, not displaying the portraits lets you see more people on a screen.) Changing a setting is easy and quick, so you can change them as often as you want.

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Research Suggestions and Data Problems

The system analyzes your tree and lets you know if a person might have had a spouse or another child or if the data has a problem (like the wife died before she had children). When the system identifies an opportunity for finding more people or discovers a data problem, you will see the icon displayed on the right side of the person.

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Click on the icon for the specific information for that record:

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What the System Evaluates

Over 25 rules are evaluated for each person—most of the rules deal with data problems; the rest are for research suggestions.

Data Problems: The system identifies unlikely dates for an individual or family. For example, the system lets you know if the dates indicate that a person died before he or she was born or if a girl was too young to bear her oldest child. The system also looks for duplicate entries in the same family. For example, it will indicate if the same child seems to appear twice in a family. This helps you identify errors you could fix.

Research Suggestions: The system checks for research opportunities, like missing information or people. For example, the system looks for large gaps between children (which might indicate that there was another child), for couples who may have had children but no children are listed, and for missing information.

In a future release, you will have an option to dismiss Research Suggestions that are not valid for a particular person. For example, if you know a person never married, you will be able to tell the system not to suggest that you look for a spouse for that person.

Using Settings

You have 4 settings you can select to determine what information you see in the Descendancy view:

  • With preferred portraits and spouses
  • Without preferred portraits
  • Without spouses
  • Without portraits or spouses

By default, you will see preferred portraits and spouses. To change the settings, do the following:

  1. In the upper right portion of the screen, click Settings.
  2. To remove a setting, click the option.
  3. The system removes the check mark from the box, and you no longer see that option.
  4. To see the option again, click Settings, and click the option. The system adds a check mark, and you see the option.

Here is the same section of Family Tree displayed with the different settings.

With preferred portraits and spouses:

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Without preferred portraits:

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Without spouses:

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Without portraits or spouses:

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  1. I just wanted to leave the comment that you have my aunt Patsy Thornhill, born 1938 as living. I regret to say that Aunt Patsy passed this February 18, 2014, Pineville, Rapides Parish, LA. She is buried in the Philadelphia Baptist Cemetery, Libuse, Rapides Parish, La. I did not check on the status of my aunt Annie Viola Thornhill, born 1923. Aunt Annie Viola Thornhill passed August 7, 2013, Pineville, Rapides Parish, LA is is buried beside her husband in Forest Lawn Cemetery and Mausoleum, Pineville, Rapides Parish LA. Thank you for all the valuable information you supply.

  2. How do you unlink someone who has been added to a set of parents? There is a data problem — child born after father died (almost 80 years after), clearly not born to the mother either. I don’t want to delete the person and cause other problems but the child clearly does not belong to the tree.

    1. I would call FamilySearch Support at 1-866-406-1830. They will be able to help you out. Good luck!

    2. You can delete the relationship by hovering over the child’s name and clicking on EDIT PARENTS, then click on DELETE RELATIONSHIP. In next window add a reason why you are doing this then click delete and relationship will be deleted. Child remains in the system but not related to these parents.

    3. Jean Evans is correct, but if there is more than one child in the family each child will have to be deleted before the incorrect parents leave. On the incorrect parents relationship being deleted -All the children under them need to have the EDIT clicked-then delete relationship

      1. Sorry Forget what I said-not enough sleep. I thought the question was about extra parents shown that didn’t belong. Sometimes they are harder to delete.

  3. How can a best import to Family Search a large amount of individual information on persons, and also many new names with info? Do I really have to do them one at a time?

    1. I believe the goal for “Family Tree” at is to have one tree for the entire human family. Uploading a large database of persons would simply create many many duplicates on the tree. If you want to help build this tree you can only add information about a person one at a time so that duplicates can be detected and merged. You can however go to this website:

      and upload your database. All your hard work will then become available for others to research.

      Good luck with your efforts!


      1. Thanks! That helps to get the bigger picture. I used to add individual info through “Insight”–when I knew it was correct.

      2. One tree for the entire human family great Idea , if every human in the tree went by their given name at birth .example , Mr.Smith changes his name , now he is Mr. Jones ,and all the descendants of the hybrid line of ”Jones” end up grafting to lineages that are not theirs .

    2. you can create a gedcom of just the people that you want to add by selecting one at a time or the group of family lines to be added to the gedcom. Most programs like Personal Ancestral File , Ancestral File, Family Tree and so forth allow you to create a gedcom which is a file that can then be uploaded to family search. You would then have to connect the file you uploaded to your tree. Start with the next to last person in a particular line of your tree that already exists in your tree. It also depends if you are adding decendants or ancestors.

  4. I know a lot of frustrated people (me too) that the feature you used to have on new.familysearch decendancy search has not been restored. It used to be that when you clicked on the decendancy arrow, all the persons children and their spouses AND if there was temple work that needed to happen on any of them showed up for all…all at once. No need to individually click on each person to see if their temple work was done. It made it so easy to find people. We as a family did over 400 peoples ordinances while that feature was available, but since it isn’t without the individual checking, that has dwindled to nearly nothing! Please restore that. If you need to call me my # is 8017631733 Thanks for all your improvements in the system…I do appreciate them, but this was the biggest mistake Familysearch ever made to take that feature away. PLEASE FIX IT!

  5. These training sights are GREAT I am a ward family history consultant and you do not know how these training and informational sites help me. I can magnify my calling to its highest and more. Thank you so very much.

  6. Thanks again. This information clarified some questions that I had but did not quite know how to put into words.

  7. When I click on “Print Article” a blank window pops up with nothing in it. Why would this be?

    I’m wanting to print these articles.

  8. Hello, many of us including myself learn better from audio. It would be great to find some lessons, especially Descendancy and Sourcing lessons in audio, if there is can you please direct me. Thank you

  9. This is a great help, The only thing that I can say is that things change so fast, hard for us “older” ones to keep up, but keep up the good work

  10. This is brilliant! Thanks for sending me this information. It will be a great tool for me to use when I’m working at the FHC. What Saint doesn’t like a bit of fun, when researching? I’m having fun just learning all this new stuff.

  11. todo esta muy bien loque pasa es que yo no entiendo lo es “sitio web” y algunas palabras que figuran aqui,

    1. Me gustaría poder ayudar, creo que ya te dije esto, pero Soporte de FamilySearch realmente debería ser capaz de ayudarle.