How to merge two "un-managed" (and a 3rd "managed") profiles?

+6 votes

I was entering a Mary (Emery) Moulton in my line, and was asked to match across several Mary Moultons already on WikiTree. It didn't match any of those out there, but two of those out there should most likely be merged. They both say "No Profile Manager", and I'm just hoping to clean up some data. These are Moulton-16 and Moulton-345 (345 carries more data). It may be true that one has more children (345) than the other (16), but the child in 16 (John) matches the data from 345 (John), and the husband matches completely (Thomas Fickett from Portsmouth, NH), as well as the wife of the son John (Isabel Dyer, married Dec 13, 1749 in Falmouth). And, from there, the profiles match down the line.  How do we merge these, since these particular Mary Moultons are older than 300 years, and what's the usual process when we run into such situations?  Also...Mary (Fickett) Moulton [Moulton-120], managed by Stanley Wood (added Feb. 2, 2011) looks to be the THIRD entry of this exact same person.  Can we please merge all three?

in Genealogy Help by Damion Sanchez G2G1 (1.1k points)
edited by Damion Sanchez

2 Answers

+4 votes

Hi Damion,

Thanks for doing this!

To initiate the merge, see

You should be able to merge the two unmanaged profiles yourself. I don't think you need to "adopt" either one of them first. Try it. Does it work?

Note that we prefer to manage the higher-numbered (later) profile into the lower-numbered (earlier) profile. In this case, Moulton-345 into Moulton-16.

After that's done, propose a merge of Moulton-120 into Moulton-16. To propose, you initiate the merge in the same way, but you won't be able to complete it. You'll be prompted to propose the merge to Stanley Wood. He can then come and complete it.

Let us know if that all makes sense of if anything else needs more explanation.



by Chris Whitten G2G Astronaut (1.5m points)
I was able to successfully merge Moulton-345 into Moulton-16...BUT, now there is doubled information on Moulton-16 (spouse "Thomas Fickett and son "John Fickett").  Is there a way to delete the double information without adopting the profile?  Also, if I were to adopt the profile and delete the info, can I then "un-adopt" it?
Maybe this was cleared up for you in the discussion below, but I didn't see a direct answer to your question, so: When you merge two profiles together, often they'll have multiple copies of their spouses and children. The only way to clean that up is to merge them too! That's why I like to start at the "top" ("root"?) of a tree, with the oldest person in a line of duplicated profiles. Then, I move down the tree, merging duplicate children as I go. Generally, as you move forward in time, there are less duplicates, so it's not the endless job it sounds like. :)

+6 votes

Unfortunately, there are A LOT of duplicate entries in Wikitree.  I've merged "orphaned" profiles with mine, and you can do that without further ado.  For the two "orphaned" profiles that match, you just need to click on  "adopt this profile," then merge them.

Merges will often result in a long chain-reaction of other merges and you'll need to devote a bit of time to getting it all cleaned up.  And as soon as you come on one that has a profile manager, you'll need the manager's cooperation to complete the merge.

I find that a lot of managers are reluctant to do these, and there could be several reasons for that.

1.  There is conflicting data that the manager doesn't know how to resolve.  (Well-documented reliable sources should help here!)

2. There are some messy profiles out there that will be time-consuming to clean up after the merge.

3. Those "chain-reactions" can be very time-consuming and the manager may not be able to devote the time to doing everything needed.

I'm sure there are other reasons.

I'm with you on getting these duplicate records cleaned up, but it's going to require time and patience.  There are no quick fixes or easy answers.

by Fred Remus G2G6 Mach 4 (44.6k points)
Thanks Fred. And thanks, Damion, for doing the merge.

Duplicates are a real problem. This, and the uncooperative profile manager problem that Fred describes, were the main reason we became so careful about gedcom imports, implemented the Honor Code, and finally became invitation-only.

For the most common areas of duplication we started user groups. Currently there are groups for European aristocracy, Mayflower ancestors, and Acadians. See

If you'd be willing to help on big merge projects, join or start a new group!

E-mail Lianne:
I would gladly adopt this profile just to clean a couple things up, but this is not a Mary Moulton that has anything to do with me.  Can I "un-adopt" her after fixing duplicate issues?
Sure. "Unadopting" is no problem on a Public or Open profile. You just remove yourself from the Trusted List.

We call this "orphaning" a profile. But maybe we should call it something else, since that has such negative connotations. :-)
OK...I merged two records, but I TOTALLY saw the hellstorm that awaited if I kept going down that route....everybody above and below those two profiles had about 8 kids apiece!!!  So, now I understand why the duplicates are there.  As soon as I come to the end of uploading my own family data, I will be sure to jump on board and help clean up some of these others.  Thanks for your help!
I also think part of the problem might be that it's a bit too easy to "create a new profile" for each person.  When the "possible matches" come up, can we have more information (allowing they are open profiles) on what surnames each manager is inputting, and general geographical location?  If I saw that a possible profile match was input by a profile manager in MN or WI, as well as a list of other surnames they contributed (Sullivan, Nelson, Moulton, Goggin, etc.), I might be more inclined to check that one out as being a possible match.  I think you can eventually find all this out within a few clicks, but if people are manually entering this info, as I am, they may not bother.  What do you think?
This might be complicated to implement, but the programmers at Wikitree would know in more detail.  It would be cool if possible duplicates would pop up as you were entering data, but that might not be practical.
That all sounds good to me. Like Fred says, complicated to implement, but we'll get there someday.

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