Cleaning up duplicates in your family tree is a way to keep your tree looking great! Sometimes, we get so busy, we forget to “prune” or keep our tree tidy. Here is a quick and easy way to clean up duplicate entries in your family tree on RootsMagic, Family Tree Maker, or other genealogy software programs.
Why Should You Clean Up Duplicates in Your Family Tree?
Cleaning up duplicates in your family tree will help you in the future. You know how good it feels to sit down in a nice, clean room? The same is true when you sit down to do your genealogy. Duplicate entries can be distracting and even cause you to make mistakes.
Cleaning Up Duplicates in a Genealogy Software Program
If you are keeping your family tree on RootsMagic or other similar software, you can run a duplicate search by clicking on “Tools,” choosing “Merge,” and then clicking “Duplicate search merge.” Each software program will work a little differently, of course. For those using Family Tree Maker, choose “Edit,” then “Find Duplicate People.”
There are several options for taking care of duplicates. You can search by surname, given name, or search for names that “sound alike.” Cleaning up duplicate entries is especially important if you have merged two databases in which you and the other contributor may have used different name spellings.
When you have chosen how you want the software to check for duplicates, click “Search for duplicates” at the bottom of the box. The system will tell you how many duplicates it finds and then allow you to compare them one-by-one.
Notice in the next image, each Jacob Miller has the same birth year and death year. The places are similar. The parents’ last name is spelled slightly different.
The primary person is on the left. The “primary person” is the person who was assigned an ID number first. If you look closely, you can see this Jacob Miller was given the ID #835. But, the primary Jacob Miller has less information. I would suggest using the “Swap” button at the bottom to move Jacob Miller-2763 to the left and put the person with the most information in the primary position.
If you feel these two persons are likely duplicates, click “Merge duplicate into primary” at the bottom left corner. You have now merged these two individuals. It should be noted that you do not actually lose any of the data of the duplicate person. By finding Jacob Miller in your index, you will notice he has both birth and death dates, as well as both sets of parents. You will need to delete whichever information is not correct.
Do you have some duplicates to merge in your family tree software? Go ahead and do it this week. Stay tuned for another upcoming blog post on standardizing place names and dates in your genealogy software program in the near future! We will have your tree looking great in no time!