Posted by Tana L. Pedersen on July 26, 2010 in Family Tree Maker

Occasionally you may find that you’ve duplicated the names of locations in your tree. This might be because you ignore a place warning for a location or you’ve named one location differently. In Family Tree Maker 2009 and 2010, you can merge two locations together. That way you won’t lose the facts associated with either location.

1. Go to the Places workspace.
2. In the Places list, select the place you want to replace.

3. Right-click the name and choose Replace with Other Place Name (in 2009 the option is called Merge with Other Place). The Index of Places window opens.

4. Select the name you want to keep and click OK.

TIP: If you can’t remember which location you chose first, don’t worry. If you click on the wrong location, the OK button won’t be enabled.


  1. Caroline Gurney

    I don’t duplicate place names in my tree but the program does. When adding a place name I will start to type the name and FTM 2010 suggests an existing place name from my Index of Places. I click on it to accept it. The next time I start to type that name, the list of suggestions appears with that name listed twice. I regularly go through the Index of Places list and use Replace with other Place Name to merge all these program created duplicates, which is very time consuming. Then it happens all over again. Is there a place to report bugs like this? I also experience a bug in FTM 2010 where, after using the Copy source feature, copying and pasting from the Windows clipboard does not work correctly. These things are annoyances in an otherwise excellent program.

  2. I have exactly the same problem as the one described by Caroline in the first comment.
    It would be good to have a database of place names in the same way that “The Master Genealogist” does. Also, too many valid place names are not recognised.

  3. i was told by kevin that i had too many duplicate names therfore all the links would not correct properly, so i deleted all the info that i had work on so hard , duplicate names and all and i am right back to square one where now all the correct info isnt there and there is no pop up box that connect the tree accurately without hand loading the info all over again

  4. Kevin

    I have the same problem as #1. It would also be nice to filter place names to view either all resolved or all unresolved.

  5. Richard Davis

    I, too, have had the same problem with the program duplicating place names. It’s kinda hard to come up with two different ways to enter “Texas, USA,” much less three, but apparently FTM does it without breaking a sweat.

    Which brings me back to one of my pet peeves with the program. Apparently, place names are listed in the database as separate, unique entities, i.e. single data fields. Thus, “Dallas, Texas,” has no relationship in the program to “Texas.” It is therefore impossible to determine how many people in the tree have connections to Texas, unless one goes through the entire listing and picks out manually every entry for every city or county in Texas and lists manually every individual listed as being connected to that city or county. This is, of course, massively time consuming–and as a practical matter, impossible. Having the program arbitrarily create duplicate entries only compounds the problem. Cities/towns should be one data field, counties a second, and states a third.

  6. Lynn

    #5 Richard

    Similiar to you, I was initially frustrated that FTM’s Places did not understand the interconnection between Dallas, Texas and Texas, treating them as two different locations. But, I have since starting utilizing FTM’s filter capabilities which allows me to view specific individuals, create reports and/or separate trees that solely contain individuals that either born, lived and/or died in Texas (or other desired criteria). If you have not used FTM filter capabilities, you may want to review the most recent FTM 2010 webinar, which touched upon using 2010’s filtering capabilities.

    You can access the webinar at: (or go to the Learning Center portion of the website)

    #1, 2, 4 & 5
    Regarding FTM creating duplicate place names, I personally have not had that problem. If it is helpful, I am running FTM 2010 on XP.

  7. Aileen

    I, too, have had the same problem as described in #1. I am running FTM 2010 on Vista. It is frustrating to delete duplicate place name versions that the program creates of the exact same name. I have found, though, that the way to avoid it is not to type in “Oregon, USA” and then hit enter, but to choose “Oregon, USA” from the drop down box. Then it works ok. I think I am creating my own duplicate when I don’t do that.

    Another extremely trying thing for me with place names in the FTM program is that the word “county” isn’t used to describe whether or not I am looking at the city or the county from a particular state. For instance, does Osborne, Kansas refer to the city of Osborne which is in Osborne County, or just the county of Osborne?

    Because the word “county” is not used in the drop-down list, people often just pick “Osborne, Kansas” when they mean the town of Osborne, without looking for the county associated with it. Then the next person that looks at their online tree is confused about what they mean. Use of the word “county” with those place names would solve that. I add that word to all my county place names, and then choose “Ignore” when the warning comes up, but that defeats the purpose of using your mapping program. It’s frustrating and I’ve never really understood why people don’t identify county names, when we are so careful about other data and sources we use. Just a thought.

  8. Tana L. Pedersen

    Aileen has given a great explanation of what happens with place names. If you enter your own name for a place (Beaverton, Michigan) rather than choose the name from the drop-down list (Beaverton, Gladwin, Michigan, USA), Family Tree Maker will consider that place “unidentified.” And essentially you have two versions of the same place name. Yours and the database’s name.

    In addition, the “incorrect” name will now become an option in the drop-down list. So the next time you go to enter a place name you’ll see “Beaverton, Michigan” and “Beaverton, Gladwin, Michigan, USA”. If you choose Beaver, Michigan, again (the location YOU entered), you will once again have an unidentified location in your tree.

    That’s a long way to say, if you want to avoid duplicate names, choose a name from the drop-down list (if available) instead of entering the name yourself.

    From the discussion it’s obvious that there are some adjustments that could be made to Family Tree Maker that could simplify this process. Thanks for all the suggestions.

    # 2 Ken
    You suggested that Family Tree Maker should have a database of place names like Master Genealogist does. I assume by this you mean the ability to see all the locations that are part of the Family Tree Maker locations database?

    #7 Aileen
    I too add the word County to all necessary place names and then have to chose to ignore the warnings. I hope the ability to better distinguish counties will be an upcoming enhancement.

  9. Barbara Cunningham

    Not adding the county in place names is poor documentation, in my opinion. There is a difference between Dallas, Texas and Dallas, Dallas County, Texas. Normally, there are several communities within a county, and, more often than not, a city or town with the same name as the county. How does a careful genealogist distinguish between the city or the county? This lack of differentiation results in many duplicate place names and makes it difficult to correlate people with places.

    And, yes, I, too, add the word “County” (or “Parish” in the case of Louisiana) to my place names when I know the county. It helps in my research. I think it should be a standard.

  10. Tess Cruickshank

    At least the people in the USA have a wide choice to pick from. Over here in England, our second largest city is Birmingham, second only to London – this is not an option in FTM2010, I just have to IGNORE it.

  11. Kevin

    Tanya, I tried your fix to avoid duplicate place names. I created a new fact, typed “Tor” in the place field and clicked on “Torrington…” in the drop-down list. Now I have two places called Torrington, one unresolved. Am I doing something wrong. The only way to get the drop-down list to appear is to start typing.

  12. Caroline Gurney

    Tanya, if you re-read my original post you will see that I am not retyping the place and am choosing from the drop down list. It is the program, not me, which is creating the duplicate place. As Kevin says, in order to get the drop down list to appear you have to type something. I just tried typing “t” (lower case) and the list of places beginning with “T” (upper case) appeared. I selected the very first one – happened to be Taiwan. I then moved to the next place field and typed “t” again and the drop down list reappeared, now with TWO places called Taiwan at the top. I only typed “t” – I did not type “Taiwan”. FTM created the duplicate.

  13. Caroline Gurney

    I’ve found the answer to my own question at the top of the page – you can report bugs here: Under the heading “Additional Information”, in the “Feedback About” drop down box, select “Bug Report”.Let’s all pile in with bug reports on the duplicate places and maybe something will get done.

  14. Judith Chidlow

    Tess’s comment (#11) applies to Canadian locations as well. When I have added a place name, I have to IGNORE it when I use it again. Then it will be added as a duplicate. Can’t I just turn the thing off while working in the places FTM ignores?

  15. Ann A

    This post came at a very good time for me. I had a duplicate listing of Florida, USA. No matter how I tried to correct it I couldn’t. I changed the name and then went to the drop down and picked Florida, USA that came up, but again I had a duplicate listing. This fix merged the two listings and now I only have one. Thank you.

  16. ann thomas

    Are you able to obtain the Family Tree Maker 2010 Book written by Tana L. Pedersen?

    I have tried to obtain it locally through a reputable Book Shop but, they cannot get it for me.

    I really would like to purchase the book and if you could either give me information on how or where I may obtain the book or even if you can obtain the book for me – I would purchase same.

  17. Lynn

    #19 ann
    Two places that you can find the FTM 2010 book are:
    1) store
    2) Amazon. Additionally, Amazon is taking pre-orders for the 2011 FTM book by Tana (i.e., FTM 2011 will be released in several weeks).

    You may also want to visit the “Learning Center” section/tab on the main home page. There are FAQs, Webinars, etc. that may assist you.

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