Help:Matching and Merging FAQ

Search WikiTree's help pages:

Categories: WikiTree Help | Profile Management Help

Language: en | de | fr | nl

Here are questions and answers on matching and merging duplicate profiles.

See also:

If you don't see your question below, ask it in our forum.


How do you find possible matches?

Our FindMatches tool is made for this.

You can also use the basic search engine or enter a surname at the top of this page and then sort the surname list alphabetically by first name or by birth date.

What if you find duplicates?

Duplicates are the enemy around here. WikiTree exists for collaboration. It exists to grow one shared family tree.

If you see a duplicate, initiate a merge.

If you see three or more duplicates for the same person, see the special considerations on project protecting and merging.

What if the data or parents for the two profiles don't exactly match?

This is often true. It shouldn't stop you from doing the merge if the two profiles represent the same person.

Before the merge is completed, you or the person completing it will be prompted to select which data fields and which parents to keep. The biographies and sources will be combined, along with memories, notes, photos, etc.

After the merge is completed, you'll be able to edit anything, just like on any other profile.

What happens after a merge?

After the merge is completed you'll be redirected to the edit page for the merged profile.

You will need to consolidate the text section so that there is a single Biography headline and a single Sources headline with a single <references /> tag beneath it. All duplicate content in the text should be removed.

What happens to siblings, spouses, and children in a merge?

Every profile is merged independently. When two profiles are merged, their siblings, spouses, and children are not automatically merged at the same time. If they are duplicates they will need to be merged as well.

This can be done fairly quickly and easily by going to the Edit page for the merged profile, looking in the right column where you see relationships, and then clicking the "display merge options" link beneath them.

What if you don't have permission to complete a merge?

Unless you are on the Trusted List for both profiles, you will not be able to complete the merge yourself. After you initiate the merge you will be asked to propose a merge, which will then be completed by the other profile manager.

Alternatively, you can request to be on the other profile's Trusted List, wait until you're added, and then complete the merge yourself.

Is it ever OK not to merge duplicates?

All duplicates should be merged, but you might not be willing or able to complete a merge at the time you notice the duplicate.

If the two profiles have a conflicting Last Name at Birth, wait until you know which one is correct. This is important. In the event that both profiles have the incorrect Last Name at Birth, see: Correcting a Last Name at Birth, or set the profiles as unmerged matches with a note explaining why the profiles are not yet ready to be merged.

You might also want to wait if the parents or data conflict significantly and you're uncertain how to reconcile them. A little conflicting information can be explained on the profile, but if there's a lot you might prefer to keep the profiles separate until it can be worked out.

Whatever your reason for not completing a merge, make sure you create an Unmerged Match. This is a temporary state. When you or another WikiTreer is able to complete the merge, it should be done.

It's a good idea to put a comment on the profile about why you haven't done the merge.

Is it ever OK to intentionally create a duplicate?

The only situation in which this is acceptable is if you (or a close family member) were adopted and you want to create a separate profile for yourself to explore your biological heritage without disconnecting yourself from your adoptive family. See Adoptions and multiple parents.

What can you do if you're waiting for approval from someone else?

If you'd like to complete a merge but it needs approval from someone on the Trusted List of a profile, click to the Trusted List page (Privacy tab) of the profile and send a message to the Profile Manager or anyone else on the list. Include the comparison URL. It will look something like this:

Keep in mind that the Profile Manager(s) would have received the merge proposal e-mail when it was proposed, but they may not have it anymore.

If they tell you that they do not want to merge because they don't want to collaborate, see Profile Managers who refuse to merge.

If they don't reply at all, you will only have to wait 30 days. If a Pending Merge is not completed, rejected, removed, etc., within one month, it is considered approved by default. You or another Wiki Genealogist can then complete it. However, if a profile is Private the merge can only be completed by a team member.

Where can you find pending merges that haven't been completed?

Our new Browse Existing Matches tool is made for this. It shows outstanding merge proposals, unmerged matches, and rejected matches.

You can also find them at the bottom of individual profiles, but that only shows the merges/matches for that one profile.

When should you remove a pending merge, unmerged match, or rejected match?

Wiki Genealogists will notice "remove" links next to pending merges and matches.

These should be used very sparingly. Removal is almost never appropriate. Removal is for correcting errors. If two profiles don't match, use the reject option instead.

If you remove a match instead of rejecting it, it may appear again as a suggested match or proposed merge in the future.

Also note that when you remove a match there will be no explanation in the Changes page about what happened.

Can you edit a profile so that it represents a different person instead of merging it?

No. See Recycling WikiTree IDs.

This page was last modified 13:45, 30 March 2022. This page has been accessed 23,735 times.