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 as biological and adopted parents, this information is usually accurate. However, if it is not accurate, decide whether duplicate records or incorrect parent-child relationships caused the problem.

Naming traditions

Some cultures and countries have naming traditions that result in children having the same or similar names:

  • 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, children have the same first name and different middle names.
  • In some families, children have the same names.
  • Twins are 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. 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.

The situation most typically occurs when someone merged records for the parents but then did not also merge the duplicate children. The list of recent changes shows you whether records were merged.

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, correct the sex of one of them, and then merge them.

Duplicate parent-child relationships

Sometimes, you see the same child listed in multiple families. A child in Family Tree can have multiple parent-child relationships. The system allows you to record biological, step, adopted, foster, and other relationships.

When a child is linked to multiple parents and some of them are wrong, correct the parent-child relationships. Specifically, 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.
  • And the child has a second relationship that connects him or her to one of the same parents with an unknown spouse.

You can delete that second relationship without affecting the first one by removing the child from the relationship that shows the child with only one parent. The single-parent relationship box will then disappear, leaving the correct 2-parent family relationship intact.  
See the related articles for details on how to correct parent-child relationships.

Undoing your own mistake

When working with parent-child relationships, it is normal to be concerned about doing the wrong thing. We suggest that you 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 see what changes have been made about a person in Family Tree?
How do I correct parent-child relationships in Family Tree?

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