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Duplicates are two or more profiles that represent the same person. Here is how to manage them.

See also:


Why are duplicates a problem?

WikiTree's mission is to create a single family tree with one profile for every person. Having two profiles for one person works against this aim.

This is so important that Point I of our Honor Code reads: "We collaborate. When we share ancestors we work together on the same ancestor profiles."

Duplicates are often created accidently. Merging them is a big part of what active WikiTreers do. There is even a special project, the Arborists, devoted to finding and merging duplicates.

Is it ever acceptable to intentionally create a duplicate?

There are two rare situations where it is acceptable to intentionally create a duplicate:

  1. If you (or a close family member) were adopted and you want to create a separate profile to explore your biological heritage without disconnecting yourself from your adoptive family. See Help:Adoptions and Multiple Parents.
  2. If Private or Unlisted profiles were created for your close family members and the Profile Manager is completely unresponsive and you are waiting for the profiles to be deleted after the former member's account is closed by the WikiTree Team.

How can you find duplicates?

Whenever you create a new profile, manually or through GEDCOMpare, we automatically suggest likely matches.

It is important to review the suggested matches. Many can be discarded quickly. With some, especially if the person is modern and the profile is private, you may need to contact the Profile Manager to ask if your person is the same.

To look for duplicates of existing profiles in your Watchlist, use FindMatches. It's important to do this periodically because thousands of new profiles are added to WikiTree every day. The people adding them may not catch the duplicates.

Dates and locations help avoid duplication

An important factor in avoiding duplicates is ensuring your profile has dates and locations.

WikiTree is one place where an approximation is preferable to a blank space. A new profile "John Jones" will most likely produce many hundreds of potential matches. An approximate date entered, e.g. 1750, makes it easy to rule out a match for a John Jones born in 1850, or a John Jones who died in 1650. A broad location, e.g. "United Kingdom" or "Europe", makes it easy to rule out John Jones who were born in Australia.

When making estimates, just be sure to use the "certainty status" button for "Uncertain" that you'll find under the data entry field.

See Help:Estimated Dates and Help:Uncertain Locations for more information.

Getting help

Sometimes it's hard to know whether two profiles represent the same person. This is one of the great challenges of collaborative genealogy. To coordinate work on these challenges the WikiTree community has developed special projects for topics and regions.

If you don't want to join the project or privately contact project members, post a comment on the appropriate profile or post to G2G using the profile's WikiTree ID and the appropriate project tag. You can also tag your question arborists.

See Help:Merging for more details.

This page was last modified 13:07, 9 October 2021. This page has been accessed 13,671 times.