Genealogy from the perspective of a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon, LDS)

Friday, January 30, 2015

Where are the duplicates in Family Tree?

Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are urged to provide accurate information when submitting names for Temple ordinances. Part of the process of being accurate with the Family Tree program is resolving any duplicate records. Referring to the Help Center about providing accurate information I find the following statement:
Assuring the accuracy of the information involves documenting and presenting the information used when submitting a name for ordinances. In many cases the FamilySearch software assists in this process. However, some additional steps may be required and should not be skipped - such as evaluating possible duplicate records.
How easy is the process of finding duplicate records in the Family Tree and what are the consequences of ignoring this requirement?

 It is important to understand several facts about the Family Tree:

  • The program inherited its data set from
  • The original data added to consisted of several large databases which already contained duplicate entries. Those databases included the Ancestral File (AF), the Pedigree Resource File (PRF) and the International Genealogical Index (IGI). 
  • The program did not resolve the issue of duplicate entries.
  • Information from the program is being imported into the Family Tree. This process is ongoing and will not be completed until sometime in 2016.
  • The Family Tree program is full of duplicates. Some of the entries have dozens, perhaps hundreds of duplicate records. 

If you know what to look for, you will see that finding duplicate entries is quite simple and easy. Usually, the program marks the potential duplicates for you by Green Arrows or Green Temple icons.

Here are some examples from my own perspective:

1. My Grandfather's Family

Here is a screenshot of my Grandfather Harold Morgan in the Family Tree traditional view:

Notice the Green Arrow. This does not mean that Temple ordinances are available. It means that there are duplicate entries. Here is a screenshot of the duplicate entries, all for the same person.

I choose the first entry to try and merge in the two obvious duplicates and here are the results:

The record cannot be merged with the obvious duplicate at this time. When will I be able to merge the duplicate record? When the program is finally taken down and all of the information has been transferred to Family Tree. Reviewing the ordinances for this family reveals that his parents were married in the Temple and he was "born in the covenant or BIC" The only ordinance that needs to be done is sealing to parents which has already occurred.

However, there is a third copy of this person. Here is a screenshot of the third Calvin Christensen Morgan:

This third record is interesting. Even though there is a death date showing on the record, the file shows up in a Private Space that came from FamilySearch. I did not create this record. It also does not show up as a duplicate even though it is obvious from the list of children in the family that it is a duplicate.

Hmm. So let's do a little more digging. All of the changes to this third Private Space person came from FamilySearch. How did a person with a death date get into a Private Space?

Let's go back to the Family Tree. For the time being, I will stay on the same family line. To speed up the process of looking for Green Arrows etc. I change to the Descendancy View and look at all of Harold Morgan's descendants. On the descendancy view, there are two Green Temple Icons for Calvin Christensen Morgan:

Good news here, although there are clearly Green Temple icons, there are also warnings for possible duplicates. But nevertheless, I could proceed with the ordinances assuming I was the closest living relative.

All of the descendants of Harold Morgan's father, John Morgan, started out as members of the Church. In going back in descendancy view, I find two individuals with ordinances in progress. Once I get back a little further in the pedigree, I find more opportunities marked by icons but the information is scanty. For example, there is a Temple icon showing that ordinances have been printed and reserved for a person named only "Addison" with no firm birth date, no death date, no sources or any other information at all.

I suggest that we follow the rule and check for duplicates and do some documenting of the people.


  1. Here is an excellent presentation on 4 ways to find Duplicates in Family Tree by Kathryn Grant besides using the very inefficient Possible Duplicates tool on a Person Details Page - at and also on the Learning Center at

    In addition, sometime the Private Spaces banner is not used just for the living, but also for read-only restricted records which FamilySearch wants left alone for whatever reason. Sometimes it has to do with family relationships and temple work. Send in a Feedback and see what you get, but don't take the first response as final. Good luck.

    1. Thanks for the links, they are very much appreciated.

    2. My Grandmother Anne Morgan (Herbert) is the daughter of Harold Morgan and Jessie Christensen. I was delighted to see that you are a descendant of theirs as well. I would love to learn more about them and to learn more about how to help with Family History work.

  2. My Grandmother is Anne Morgan (Herbert). She is the daughter of Harold Morgan and Jessie Christensen. I am just getting started with Family History and was delighted to read that you are a Grandchild of theirs. I would love to learn more from you about how to get involved and I would love to learn more about our Ancestors.