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

Sometimes you find a family where one or more of the children is listed multiple times. If the child had multiple parents, such a biological and adopted parents, this information may be accurate. However, if it is not accurate, you need to figure out whether the problem is caused by duplicate records or incorrect parent-child relationships.

Naming traditions

Some cultures and countries have naming traditions that result in children having the same or similar names. Here are a few common reasons this happens:

  • In some cultures, when a child died, the next child of the same sex was given the same name as the child who died.
  • In some families, different children may have the same first name and different middle names.
  • In some families, children have the same names.
  • Twins may be given similar names. 
  • Some people, when they marry, each already have children with the same or similar names. 

Before you make any corrections or merge any duplicates, look carefully at the birth and death information of the apparent duplicates. Watch out for multiple births and blended families. It is also helpful to examine the sources and reason statements to make sure that the records are about the same person.

Duplicate records in Family Tree

Sometimes, a child has more than one record in Family Tree, and the duplicate records all show up as separate children of the same parents. In this situation, the duplicate children have the same or similar names, birth dates, and other information. But they have different ID numbers.

This situation most typically occurs when someone merged records for the parents but then did not also merge the duplicate children. Viewing the list of recent changes will tell you whether this happened.

If you find duplicate records, first verify that the family had only one child by that name. Then merge the duplicate records. If the duplicate records each have a different sex, you need to correct the sex of one of them before merging.

Duplicate parent-child relationships

Sometimes, you see the same child listed in multiple families. Just like in life, a child in Family Tree can have multiple parent-child relationships. This allows you to record biological, step, adopted, foster, and other relationships.

When a child is linked to multiple parent and some of them are wrong, then you need to correct the parent-child relationships. Specifically, you need to remove the relationships that link the child to the wrong parents.

Sometimes a child appears with his or her parents and then shows again with one of the parents and an unknown spouse. In this case, the child has one relationship that links him or her to the correct father and mother. The child has a second relationship that connects him or her to one of the same parents and unknown spouse. You can delete that second relationship without affecting the first one--even though the same parent is in both relationships. 

Undoing your own mistakes

When working with parent-child relationships, it is normal to be concerned about doing the wrong thing. It can also be helpful to write down the names, ID numbers, and relationships of the people you are working with. Remember that you can use the list of recent changes to undo merges and changes made to relationships. 

How do I specify biological, step, adopted, and foster relationships in Family Tree?
How do I merge possible duplicates in Family Tree?
How do I correct parent-child relationships in Family Tree?
How do I see what changes have been made about a person in Family Tree?

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