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Finding and Merging Duplicates in FamilySearch (FS) Family Tree

Family Tree Training


This Finding and Merging Deceased Duplicates activity takes place in the Instructor Materials - Simple Sandbox which is currently NOT AVAILABLE.

While the Simple Sandbox is down you can use the following Guide to practice "Creating and Merging Duplicate Grandparents in Beta.familysearch.org" [1]

What's Up?Edit

The Finding and Merging Duplicates in Family Tree (FT) page offers a lesson guide to identifying DECEASED duplicate individuals and merging them in Family Tree. The STEPS with Pictures Guide provides clear directions with FT images that shows how to find duplicates using the Possible Duplicates feature, and then how to merge their information. These steps are entry and intermediate level tasks in Family Tree.


The Instructor Materials - Simple Sandbox offers a safe place to practice, one or more times, fixing family relationships because you are not actually working in FT. YOU NEED TO WORK IN MOZILLA FIREFOX TO DO THIS ACTIVITY. Otherwise, what you see on the screen may be different from what is in the Guide.
Whenever you return to the Simple Sandbox, Reset the Simple Sandbox. No changes are ever made to your ancestors in Family Tree when you work in the Simple Sandbox.

Use of this four page Lesson Guide provides hands-on experience in performing entry and intermediate level tasks to correct family relationships in Family Tree. It can be used individually or by a teacher in a class setting.
Use of the lesson guide provides a valuable hands-on experience in performing 6 specific duplicate merging tasks in a fictitious database known as Instructor Materials - Simple Sandbox (Instructor Materials).  The Simple Sandbox is a totally safe place to practice finding and merging individuals in FT because you are not working in Family Tree. No changes are made to your ancestors in the Tree.

In addition, the single sheet Merging Exercise guide contains the steps for follow-up practicing of the finding and merging activities done in the STEPS with Pictures guide.


Merging Image for Wiki page.PNG


STEPS with Pictures Guide       -       (Do this activity using Mozilla Firefox)Edit

Finding & Merging Duplicates p1.PNG

Finding & Merging Duplicates p3.PNG

Finding & Merging Duplicates p5.PNG

Immense gratitude to Dixie S. Cragun for hours of incisive evaluation and insightful editing of the Steps with Pictures Handout.

Finding & Merging Duplicates p3.PNG|Finding & Merging Duplicates p5.PNG|Click here To view, save and print above "Finding and Merging Duplicates in FS Family Tree" Guide


Merging Exercise in FT       -       (Do this activity using Mozilla Firefox)Edit

Merging Exercise for FT.PNG


Click here To view, save and print above "Merging Exercise in Family Tree" Worksheet

Use of Instructor Materials - SIMPLE SANDBOXEdit

  • The Instructor Materials - Simple Sandbox is a fake database featuring Robert and Ann, members of their family, and other individuals. This database contains fictitious people some of which are duplicates. All of this is intended to provide a safe place to practice more complicated tasks in Family Tree, such as finding and merging duplicates and fixing incorrect relationships.
  • Use the browser Mozilla Firefox
  • To avoid difficulty with the sandbox, no more than five persons should sign-in to make an account at one time. Click the Sign-in button ONLY ONCE.
  • The first time you go into the Simple Sandbox (Instructor Materials), click on Simple Sandbox First Account. You will be asked to sign-in with your Family Tree username and password. Be patient... it will take a few minutes to generate your account.
  • Every time after the first visit, click on Simple Sandbox Reset Your Account. You will be given a new fake database. The given names that appear in each family are the same as before (Robert, Ann, Rachel, etc.) But the surnames, dates and places are different.
  • Activities done in the Simple Sandbox can be done repeatedly and do not affect your ancestors' information in FT.
  • Before any changes are made in the Sandbox, it is assumed that the correct information for Robert and Ann's family have been established through careful research.

Note: When finding and merging duplicates in the real Family Tree database, thorough research should always precede and determine what changes are made to your families.

Merging Exercise in FT       -       (Do this activity using Mozilla Firefox)Edit

This simplified Merging Exercise sheet is for use in repeating/practicing merging duplicate individuals found in the fake database called the Simple Sandbox. Click here to practice merging in Robert and Ann's family. To repeat these merging exercises Always click Simple Sandbox RESET YOUR ACCOUNT.

How to best use the "Finding and Merging Duplicates..." GuideEdit

This lesson guide can be used individually, in a one-on-one mentoring session or in a class situation. It is designed to provide intermediate level FT users with a hands-on practical experience in finding and merging duplicate individuals in the fictitious database of the Instructor Materials - SIMPLE SANDBOX.
The lesson guide is found to be most successful in enabling users to do the task independently when it is part of a "Model with Steps; Do with Steps" approach. First the teacher/mentor performs the Steps in their sandbox account... at the same time drawing attention to the specific directions on the guide. After that, the participant does the task in the Simple Sandbox by following the same Steps. Thus, by the end of the lesson, they have read through the Steps TWICE and performed the task ONCE. Retaining the guide for reference, they are better able to repeat the task on their own later on.

Other FT Entry/intermediate Task Guide (STEPS with Pictures)Edit

1. Putting Photos and Documents as Memories in FamilySearch Family Tree
2. Attaching FamilySearch (FS) Records to Family Tree Using the Source Linker
3. Putting Documents as Sources in FamilySearch Family Tree
4. Fixing Relationships in FamilySearch (FS) Family Tree

Related FT ResourcesEdit

  • FSFamilyTreeUserGroup Resources
  1. Duplicates in Family Tree: Why They're There, How to Find Them, and How to Resolve Them by Kathryn Grant [2]. Powerpoint Presentation - shows how to find obvious and less obvious duplicates and best practices for merging them.
  2. Merging people in Family Tree by Ben Baker [3]. Powerpoint Presentation - shows two ways to merge and how to unmerge in FT along with background and other concerns
  • Finding Duplicates in FT v1.2 audio visual presentation by Kent C. Jaffa [4]. Step by step run through of finding duplicates in FT.
  • Riverton FamilySearch Library website [5] features (under Handouts and Guides), "Merging Duplicates in Family Tree" [6] along with other valuable FT resources.