Posted by on 4 May 2011 in Site Features


Family merge is a great feature that we’ve had on the site for a number of years. This feature makes it easy to save family trees and certain census records to multiple people in your tree—without having to save the record separately for each person. However, the merge has had one particular limitation that we have now corrected.  In the past, the merge hasn’t let you control who the record gets saved to. If you were saving a record and someone was suggested as a “new person,” and you knew the person wasn’t new, there was no way to correctly match up the person in the record to the person in your tree. Now, the family merge has been upgraded to give you some control over who the record gets saved to.  

If the merge incorrectly suggests that a person is new or matches the record to the wrong person in your tree, you can choose the person that the record should be merged to.  

To try out this feature, I looked for my grandfather’s 1930 census record because I knew it would likely have additional family members.  When I got to the merge page, sure enough, I saw his parents and siblings included in the family portion of the page. As I scrolled down, I noticed a sibling named Wilber, who was listed as a “New person”.  I looked at the mini-tree at the top of the page to make sure Wilber was really a new person.  There wasn’t a Wilber, but I did have a William, who was born the same year.  Since my grandfather only had one brother, I knew Wilber was really William (who was known as Bill, which is apparently short for Wilber, not William. Oops.) 

I clicked the “Not a new person?” link to fix the merge.   


Once I clicked the “Not a new person?” link a window appeared. Wilber’s information was on the left and a list of all the children in my grandfather’s family were on the right.    


After selecting William from the list of individuals, I was able to select which individual facts I wanted to save from the record, such as the name Wilber.    


Another scenario you may come across is when two people with very similar names are incorrectly matched in the family record merge. If that happens, you can also select the “Not a match?” link and correctly match the right individual to the record.

In the 1930 census below, Jean Curry is listed as a match to Jen Curry. I knew that Jean is really Jeanette, who is already in my tree, so I selected the “Not a match?” link.


By selecting the link I was shown the same window as before that allowed me to choose the right Jean in my tree.   


After selecting Jeanette as the match for Jean, I was reassured that the record was now being saved to the correct person in my tree.  

I love that I now have some control over how people in records are matched to people in my family tree It’s been really great being able to merge a record to people that I previously would have had to skip over because they were either mismatched or incorrectly listed as “new.”  I hope this new addition to the record merging feature helps you as much as it has helped me.


sheila mackenzie 

this will be a great addition, had to ignore some records in the past as they kept insisting it was a new person and i couldnt adjust it,

4 May 2011 at 12:56 pm
Paul Horvath 

Great,just has my subscription is coming to an end :/

4 May 2011 at 2:31 pm
Simon Jary 

I noticed this the other day – handy.

Sometimes, however, it fails to pick up other family members and I have to add all the children individually and then add the parents individually to each child – which could surely be better automated.

4 May 2011 at 2:46 pm

I agree with Simon the act of adding both parents for a large bunch of kids can be a bind. But this new option is a real advance which I wish was around a year ago. Well done, thanks.

5 May 2011 at 1:15 pm

This improvement is long overdue and too late to be of much help to me, but it is nonetheless welcome and will I’m sure be appreciated by many users.

I agree with previous posters about the failure of the system to always pick up other family members, something that can happen for example when some members of a family are staying away from the family home on census night (their relationships are then shown as being to the head of the household rather than to the head of their own family). Perhaps one day it will be possible to add other members of a household using this facility, regardless of whether or not they are shown as sons, daughters, spouses etc on the schedule.

6 May 2011 at 6:43 pm
Margaret Howlett 

Fantastic improvement but I wish it had been there about 4 years ago !

9 May 2011 at 11:32 pm

Already found this feature very useful.

11 May 2011 at 11:03 am
Susan Schibli 

fantastic help this is, well done

11 May 2011 at 1:06 pm
Lynette Terrill 

These changes are great, all we need now is to be able to print the family sheet, Perfect

11 May 2011 at 7:48 pm