How do I change the status from deceased to living in Family Tree?

Protection of the privacy of individuals and families is a top priority at FamilySearch.

The process to change the status of a Family Tree record from deceased to living works differently depending on whether you are a contributor and how many contributors exist. When you change the record from deceased to living, the record becomes visible only to its contributor. If you are the only contributor, only you see it. If you are not a contributor or the record has multiple contributors, the process is more complicated.

Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints can sometimes see a living person as deceased. If you encounter one of these situations, please contact us:

  • The person's Church membership record was incorrectly marked as deceased.
  • Completion of temple work incorrectly marked the person as deceased.

Before you start

Be sure that your account settings contain a valid email address or phone number. Both can be helpful in working through the process of changing the individual's status. If you are using a tablet, we suggest you use the Family Tree mobile app rather than the website.

Steps (website)

If you are the only contributor:

  1. Navigate to the person page of the individual who is living.
  2. Click Details
  3. In the Vitals section, next to the listed death date, select Edit.
  4. In the box that appears, click the circle labeled Living
  5. Enter how you know the person is still alive.
  6. Click Save

The word "Living" now shows in the Death field, and the Private People banner appears at the top of the person page. The record is now visible only to you.

If you are not the only contributor:

  1. Navigate to the person page of the individual who is living.
  2. Click Details
  3. In the Vitals section, next to the listed death date, select Edit.
  4. In the box that appears, click the circle labeled Living
  5. Enter how you know the person is still alive.
  6. Click Save
  7. Enter an explanation for the system administrator to review your request. Please provide this information:
    • Your relationship to the individual needing attention
    • How you know that the person is alive
    • If possible, the living person's current physical address
  8. Click Submit.

A request now goes to FamilySearch Support. A system administrator reviews your request and takes appropriate actions. 

Steps (mobile app)

If you are the only contributor:

  1. Navigate to the person page of the individual who is living.
  2. Tap Details
  3. In the Vitals section, tap the death date
  4. On the far right of the screen, tap Edit
  5. Depending on your device, tap either the circle or rectangle labeled Living
  6. Enter how you know the person is still alive.
  7. Tap Save

The word "Living" now shows in the Death field, and the Private Person banner appears at the top of the person page. The record is now visible only to you.

If you are not the only contributor:

  1. Navigate to the person page of the individual who is living.
  2. Tap Details
  3. In the Vitals section, tap the death date
  4. On the far right of the screen, tap Edit
  5. Depending on your device, tap either the circle or rectangle labeled Living
  6. Enter how you know the person is still alive.
  7. Tap Save
  8. Enter an explanation for the system administrator who can review your request. Please provide this information:
    • Your relationship to the individual needing attention
    • How you know that the person is alive
    • If possible, the living person's current physical address
  9. Click Submit

A request now goes to FamilySearch Support. A system administrator reviews your request and takes appropriate actions. 

Steps (Family Tree Lite)

If you are the only contributor of information:

Navigate to the person page of the person who is living.

  1. Click the death date, and then click Edit
  2. Click the circle labeled Living
  3. Enter how you know the person is still alive.
  4. Click Save

The word "Living" now shows in the Death field, and the Private Person banner appears at the top of the person page. The record is now visible only to you.

If you are not the only contributor:

  1. Navigate to the person page of the individual who is living.
  2. Click the death date, and then click Edit
  3. Click the circle labeled Living
  4. Enter how you know the person is still alive.
  5. Click Save
  6. Enter an explanation for the system administrator who can review your request. Please provide this information:
    • Your relationship to the individual needing attention
    • How you know the person is alive
    • If possible, the living person's current physical address
  7. Click Submit

A request now goes to FamilySearch Support. A system administrator reviews your request and takes appropriate actions. 

Working with a system administrator

The administrator could contact you to ask for the physical address of the living person. The address helps the administrator to verify the living status of the individual.

If the administrator makes the update, and you can no longer see the person's record in Family Tree, you can add the person.

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