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Duplicates need to be merged, i.e. when two or more profiles represent the same person they must be combined into one profile. This is fundamental to our collaborative, single family tree and point I of our Honor Code.

Here is how to merge profiles, and when to propose merges, set matches, or reject matches instead.

See also:



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. create a Pending Merge. The appropriate Profile Managers will be emailed so that they can approve and complete the merge.

When you propose a merge you are giving permission for others to complete it.

Click here to browse Pending Merges.

Unmerged Matches

Sometimes profiles appear to be duplicates but you're not certain and more information is needed.

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. An Unmerged Match is a temporary state. Use Research Notes and profile comments to discuss the open questions.

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.

Special: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.

How to Merge

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.

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 into 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. That way you or someone else can pick up where you left off.

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.

Merging duplicate accounts

If there is more than one profile for a member:

  1. If only one profile is an "active" account profile, i.e. has an e-mail address and password, do the merge as you normally would. Enter the two IDs here.
  2. If both profiles are active accounts with e-mail addresses contact us

See also: Moving Accounts to New Names.

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.

Merging shortcuts

You don't need to start at Special:MergePerson to initiate a merge. 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, click the link that says "[duplicates? please merge]" in the Edit Family column. This is the easiest way to merge duplicate spouses, siblings, or children.

This page was last modified 15:18, 20 July 2022. This page has been accessed 262,117 times.