How do I correct parent-child relationships in Family Tree?

Correcting child-parent relationships usually requires some analysis before you begin. Two kinds of problems can exist: duplicate records or incorrect relationship links.

Solving this type of problem can feel intimidating. If you remove or replace a relationship incorrectly, you can restore it through the Latest Changes feature. Find a link to these instructions in the Related Articles list at the end of this article.  

When you remove a child's record from a family's records, the child's record stays in Family Tree. If the child is linked to spouses and children, he or she remains linked to them. Similarly, when you remove parents from a relationship to a child, the Family Tree record for each parent remains in Family Tree.

Before you start

Take some time to figure out what is wrong:

  • If the child does not belong in the family, remove or replace the child's link to the parents. Use the instructions in this article to do so.
  • If the children are right but one or both parents are wrong, you must remove or replace the incorrect parent. Remove or replace the spouse of the correct parent. Find a link to the instructions for removing or replacing spouses in the Related Articles list at the end of this article. 
  • If you see the parents and children multiple times, or in multiple families, look at the ID numbers of the duplicates.
    • If the ID numbers are different, merge the duplicate records. Find a link to these instructions in the Related Articles list at the end of this article. 
    • If the ID numbers are identical, the child is linked to one of the parents more than once. Use the instructions in this article to remove the extra relationship.

Tip: Write down the names and ID numbers of the people whose relationships you are changing. Now you can undo a change.

Steps (website)

Here are the steps for removing or replacing a child in a family using Family Tree on the FamilySearch.org website:

  1. Sign in to FamilySearch.org.
  2. Click Family Tree and then Tree.
  3. Navigate to the person page of the child with the incorrect parents.
  4. If the Details section is not open, click the Details tab.
  5. Scroll to the Family Members section.
  6. Under Parents and Siblings, find the child's name, and click the Edit icon.
  7. If only one parent is incorrect, click Remove or Replace next to the incorrect parent. If both are incorrect, click Remove or Replace next to the child.
  8. A Remove or Replace box appears. Verify relationships, sources, and notes, then click the check box.
  9. Do one of the following:
    1. To remove a parent or parents, click the appropriate Remove button. Explain why, and then click Remove.
    2. To replace a parent or parents, click the appropriate Replace button. The Replace Person screen appears.
      • If you know a parent's ID number, click By ID Number. Enter the ID number, and then click Next. Click Add Match.
        • If you want to add both parents, click Select Couple.
        • To add one parent, click Select Person. Explain your reason for the change, and then click Replace.
      • If you do not know a parent's ID number, complete the search fields, and then click Next.
        • If the correct person or couple appears in the list, click Add Match. If you want to add both parents, click Select Couple, To add one parent, click Select Person. Explain your reason for the change, and then click Replace.
        • If you see no match, click Create Person to create a parent record.

Steps (mobile app)

Here are the steps for removing or replacing a child in a family using the Family Tree mobile app:

  1. In the Family Tree mobile app, navigate to the Person page of the child with the incorrect parents.
  2. Tap the Parents tab.
  3. Find the child's name, and tap the edit icon.
    1. If only one parent is incorrect, tap the drop-down arrow for the parent, and tap either Remove or Replace Father or Remove or Replace Mother.
    2. If both parents are incorrect, tap Remove Parents.
  4. A new window appears. 
    1. To remove a parent or parents, check the box stating that you have reviewed the relationships, and tap Continue. Explain why, and then tap Remove.
    2. To replace a parent, check the box stating that you have reviewed the relationships, and tap Replace. The Replace Person screen appears.
      • If you know a parent's ID number, tap Add by ID. Enter the ID number, and then tap Continue. Tap Select. Explain why the information is correct, and then tap Replace.
      • If you do not know a parent's ID number, complete the search fields, and then tap Continue.
        • If the correct person appears in the list, tap Select.  Explain the reason for your change, and tap Replace.
        • If the parent does not appear, No Match. Explain the reason for your change, and tap Replace.

Steps (Family Tree Lite)

Here are the steps for removing or replacing a child in a family using Family Tree Lite:

  1. Sign in to Family Tree Lite (lite.fs.org).
  2. Navigate to the Person page of the child with the incorrect parents.
  3. Under the individual's name, tap View Family.
  4. Under Parents and Siblings, find the child's name, and tap the Edit icon.
  5. If only one parent is incorrect, tap Remove or Replace under the name of the incorrect parent. If both are incorrect, tap Remove or Replace under the name of the child.
  6. Do one of the following:
    1. To remove a parent or parents, tap the appropriate Remove button. Enter a reason and tap Remove.
    2. To replace a parent or parents, tap the appropriate Replace button. The Replace Person screen appears.
      • If you know a parent's ID number, click Find by ID Number, enter the ID number, and then tap Next. (FamilySearch Lite does not add the hyphen into or capitalize the letters of the ID. Enter it manually) Tap Add Person or Add Couple.
      • If you do not know a parent's ID number, complete the search fields, and then tap Next. If the correct person or couple appears in the list, tap Add Person or Add Couple. Otherwise, to create a parent record, tap Create Person

Removing or changing the parent-child relationship does not remove or change the parents' couple relationship. If the mother or father is wrong, you must also remove or replace one of the spouses.

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The same child shows more than once in a family in Family Tree

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