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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.



Duplicates need to be merged. That is, when there are two or more profiles that represent the same person they must be combined into one profile. This is how we maintain one collaborative family tree.

Click here to initiate a merge. If you are on the Trusted List of both profiles you will be presented with a confirmation page that enables you to choose which data to keep from which profile.

For a basic tutorial, see Paul Bech's merging video on YouTube.

Pending Merges

If you aren't on the Trusted List for both profiles, you can initiate the merge but you can't complete it.

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 permission for five generations of ancestors of the profile to be merged.

Click here to browse Pending Merges.

Unmerged Matches

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".

Rejected Matches

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.

Click here to browse Rejected Matches.

Merging Help

Using the merge table

The merging table has three columns of data:

  1. The first column displays the current information in the profile you are merging into. The background of the column is green.
  2. The second column shows the current information in the profile you are merging into #1. The background of the column is orange.
  3. The third column shows what the final profile will contain. The default is that it remains as the data from #1, unless the data field for #1 is empty. You can select the data from #2 using the button in the second column. You can also enter completely new information in the third column. If you enter new text or change the certainty status of a data field the background of the third column will turn white.

Merging text

All profiles should have one == Biography == headline and one == Sources == headline with one <references /> tag directly beneath it.

When you merge profiles, the text sections must be combined. Our merging software attempts to make this easier for you. The text from the biography section from the merged-away profile is appended to the bottom of the text from the biography section of the merged-into profile, and likewise with the sources sections.

This automatic merging is rough. Always review and edit it.

You can experiment by clicking the button to restore the original text from the merged-into profile or merged-away profile. If you do, a button will appear to re-merge the text. Don't click any of these buttons if you have made edits to the text section that you want to keep — they will replace it. Another way to view the original text of the profiles is to open them in new browser windows.

You can preview the text section before confirming the merge. Please make sure that it's worthy of your ancestor. Thank you!

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. For example, a duplicate of Benjamin Franklin, e.g. Franklin-2, would be merged into Franklin-1. But if the original was called Franklyn, it would be merged into the first profile named Franklin.

Merging multiple duplicates

If three or more profiles represent the same person, 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.

If there are lots of duplicates for a very common ancestor, seek the help of a WikiTree Leader for project protecting and merging.

For a more technical explanation see The Multiple Redirects Problem.

Merging parents

If the two profiles being merged have different parents you will be asked to merge or match them.

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 Proposed Merges or 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 merge proposal your permission to complete that merge will be recorded. Temporary permission to merge five generations of parents is also recorded.

Merging spouses

If the two profiles being merged have the same spouse you can select whether to keep the marriage dates and location from the merged-away profile or the merged-into profile.

If the two profiles being merged have different spouses they will both be kept. You can later merge or disconnect spouses, as appropriate, from the profile's edit page.

Managers and Trusted Lists of merged profiles

When two profiles are merged, all the managers and Trusted List members from both profiles are combined. If you were a manager before, you'll still be a manager. However, there are two exceptions:

  1. If a profile is merged into a Project-Protected Profile (PPP), the managers of the merged-in profile do not automatically become managers of the PPP. They are still added to the Trusted List.
  2. It becomes unwieldy if there are lots of managers for a profile, or if you're the manager of lots of profiles. It's recommended that WikiTreers share responsibility for older profiles. If a merged profile has more than four or five managers, any of them should feel free to remove some of the others. It is best to discuss this. See Profile Managers for more information.

Merge Problems

Accidental merges

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 [edit] 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.

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.

If a profile involved in a pending merge is Public when it is approved by default, it will be changed to Open.

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 section above on unanswered merge proposals and the policy on Unresponsive Profile Managers.

Profiles matched to themselves

Sometimes you will see a profile with a pending merge or rejected match to itself. Please report these to and they will be removed.

Merging Shortcuts

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.

For more information, see the Matching and Merging FAQ. If you don't see your answer there, ask in G2G, our friendly community forum.

See also:

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This page was last modified 19:43, 7 August 2018. This page has been accessed 69,581 times.