Categories: WikiTree Help
Every person should have one and only profile on WikiTree. Our entire community is working together on one, shared family tree.
If you find a duplicate click here to initiate a merge.
A merge should be done when two profiles represent the same person.
For a basic tutorial, see Paul Bech's merging video on YouTube.
You will be invited to propose it, i.e. to create a Pending Merge. The appropriate Profile Managers will be e-mailed so that they can approve and complete the merge.
When you propose a merge you are giving permission for others to complete it. You are also giving temporary permission for five generations of ancestors of the profile to be merged. See the section on merging parents below.
Unanswered Merge Proposals
If a Pending Merge is ignored for over 30 days — if the Profile Managers do not complete the merge, reject it, or set the profiles as Unmerged Matches within a month — it will be cleared for any Wiki Genealogist (any signer of the Honor Code) to complete, reject, match, or remove it as they deem appropriate.
Sometimes profiles appear to be duplicates but you're not ready to merge them.
This could be because one of the profiles is private and you can't see the full information. Or it could be because there is so much conflicting information you're not sure whether the profiles represent the same person or not.
Setting the two profiles as Unmerged Matches will remind you and others that there is information to be worked out.
You'll want to use the text space and comment board on the profiles to describe any disputed information.
An Unmerged Match is a temporary state. You should work with others to resolve the open questions and either complete the merge or reject it.
Click here to browse Unmerged Matches. Be sure to review "Unmerged Matches Initiated By Me".
If two profiles look similar but represent different people they should be set as Rejected Matches.
This helps prevent you and others from confusing them in the future.
FindMatches will skip Rejected Matches by default, but you can opt to have them included if you want to review them.
Direction of a merge
One profile is merged into another. It's not that the two profiles are combined into a new, third profile. Therefore, the "direction" of a merge matters.
We always merge a new duplicate into the original, first profile.
The only exception is when the original profile had an incorrect Last Name at Birth. The Last Name at Birth forms part of the WikiTree ID, e.g. Franklin-1.
For example, a duplicate of Benjamin Franklin, e.g. Franklin-2, would be merged into Franklin-1. But if the original was called Frnklin, it would be merged into the first profile named Franklin.
Merging multiple duplicates
If three or more profiles represent the same person, the direction of the merges is very significant.
All duplicates should be merged into the final/original profile. For example, Franklin-3 and Franklin-2 should both be merged into Franklin-1. Franklin-3 should not be merged Franklin-2.
Always identify the final/original profile before merging multiple duplicates.
The final profile should be the first one that was created with the proper Last Name at Birth, i.e. the lowest-numbered one with the correct name in the WikiTree ID.
For a more technical explanation see The Multiple Redirects Problem.
While confirming a merge you may be prompted to merge or match the fathers and mothers of the two profiles.
On WikiTree we don't merge trees, we merge individual profiles. This can be time-consuming but it gives you the maximum amount of control.
If you get tired of merging parents, simply stop at a pair and set them as Unmerged Matches. That way you or someone else can pick up where you left off.
Note that when you propose a merge or approve a proposed merge, your permission to complete that merge will be recorded. Temporary permission to merge five generations of parents is also recorded.
Managers and Trusted Lists of merged profiles
However, it becomes unwieldy if there are lots of managers for the profile of an ancient ancestor, and it's unwieldy if you're the manager of thousands of profiles. It's recommended that WikiTreers share responsibility for older profiles. See the policies on project protection for historically-significant and common ancestors.
If two profiles have been accidentally merged you will need to edit one and recreate the other.
For example, let's say Joe Schmoe Senior was accidentally merged with his son Joe Schmoe Junior. There is now just one Joe Schmoe and he's listed as his own father.
Click the Edit tab on the profile and look in the right column where it lists Joe Schmoe as Joe Schmoe's father. Click the  link to remove the father. Then click [add father] and create a new profile for Joe Schmoe Senior.
If one of the accounts is active, e.g. Joe Schmoe is a WikiTree member and accidentally merged his father's profile with his own account profile, it's important the account profile be the one that's kept. See Moving Accounts to New Names for more information.
Profile Managers who refuse to merge
If a manager refuses to merge a clear duplicate, politely point out the following pages to them:
If they still refuse to collaborate, see Problems with Members.
If they just won't respond, see the policy on Unresponsive Profile Managers.
You don't need to start at the Matching and Merging form. There are direct links that auto-fill the WikiTree IDs:
- At the very bottom of profile pages in the "Matches and Merges" section.
- In search results. Look for the "show merging and matching options" link above the results.
- In FindMatches results.
- On surname index pages. Look for the "show merging and matching options" link near the top.
- On a profile's edit page. Look for the merging widget. This is the best way to merge duplicate spouses, siblings, or children.
Merging free-space profiles
Here is the form for merging free-space profiles.
This page was last modified 12:45, 16 March 2015. This page has been accessed 56,535 times.