Posted by on 10 December 2012 in General

A lot of people have asked over the years how to clean up duplicates in their Ancestry Member Tree.  If you are one of the people who discovered that your mysterious distant cousin Mary was really the same person as Uncle George’s wife Mary, then you’ll be happy to learn that we have a solution that makes it simple to merge two duplicate people without losing any of the relationships, facts, photos, or stories you’ve entered.

Select one of the duplicate people in your tree

Go to the person’s overview or profile page and from the “More options” menu, select “Merge with duplicate.”

Select the other duplicate person

On the left side of the page, you’ll see the person you’ve already selected. On the right side of the page, you can select the person’s duplicate in a few ways.

  • Select a possible duplicate. We’ll suggest people who might be duplicates (for example if they have the same first and last names and their birth years and birthplaces are similar).
  • Type the person’s name.  If you know the duplicate’s name, simply type it in the field and select the person from a list of individuals who match the name you’ve typed.
  • Select from a list of people. You can browse a list of everyone in your tree and select the correct individual.

Select the facts you want to display

After you’ve chosen the duplicate individuals, they’ll be displayed side-by-side so you can compare the two and choose which facts you want to display for the merged individual.

  • If facts are identical. A same label shows which facts are the same; they’ll be merged into one fact.
  • If facts are different. Both facts will be included in the merge, but you can choose which fact is preferred (the default fact that displays). The other fact will be added as an alternate.
  • If you’re not sure what to do. You can click the Compare button to see more details about the two individuals.

Already, I’ve been able to clean up some of the messiness that existed in my own tree by using this new feature and hope it helps those of you who have been looking for a solution for merging duplicate people in your own tree.

About Emma

Emma Pulman is a Social Media and digital Marketing Executive for Based in Ancestry's London office in Hammersmith, Emma regularly tweets and posts on Ancestry's Facebook page.


Denise Hughes 

Will this work for married cousins, for instance my Grandparents on my mothers side are cousins. And on my dads side His Mums Brothers Granddaughter is now my Dads second Wife.

11 December 2012 at 2:47 pm
Glenn Ludlow 

Will this work across two trees, when it is found that they join?

11 December 2012 at 5:52 pm
Trevor Thacker 

Glenn, The new merging tool allows to you merge individuals who are in the same tree, not across two trees.

11 December 2012 at 6:10 pm
Maddy Hinton 

Thank you so much for this.I have two sets of twins in my tree who married brothers and also a few cousins.Tree looks so much better now.
Kind regards to all the team.

23 December 2012 at 1:47 pm