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

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

An example of the new duplicates appearing in the FamilySearch Family Tree

The entry I started with in the Family Tree showed Sarah Bryant, (b. 1762, d. 1831) to a "Mr. Lee" with no further identifying information. Neither entry had any attached sources. I began looking for further information on Sarah Bryant and found her in English Births and Christenings, 1538-1975.

I added this as a source and continued looking. Neither of the entries for Sarah or Mr. Lee showed any possible duplicates.

I continued to search and noted the note added by a user that Sarah "Married a Mr. Lee."  I repeated the searches in and Then I modified the entry and removed the title, "Mr." I remembered that the program suggests that entering Mr. or Mrs. is inappropriate.

I did the search again on for Sarah Briant or Bryant and after adding the spouse's name as "Lee" found the following entry.

I checked to see how far Cranbrook, Kent was from Rolvenden, Kent and found it about 6 miles away. Certainly within a reasonable distance for the time period involved. I double checked the entry to see how many possible Bryants there were born in Rolvenden, Kent and concluded that the reference to "Lee" was to "Leigh" which would be an alternative spelling.

As soon as I changed the entry to Robert Leigh, I got a duplicate entry from FamilySearch.

Remember, before doing this research and entering the information, these duplicates were not found. The duplicate entry added three children and duplicate for Sarah.

Now, I had some more work to do. I checked for duplicates and now, there were two duplicates for Sarah, one of which was from Lancashire and not a match.

I merged the duplicate entry.

I continued adding source hints that now appeared.

There were two children with the name Mary. One showed a death date, the other did not. It was not unusual when a child died in infancy, that the next child of the same gender was given the same name. Therefore this may or may not be a duplicate especially with different birth dates. However, the first two children turned out to be born in Lancashire and were not a part of this family.

This whole process is pointing out that there are not just "single" duplicate entries in the Family Tree, but also, as I have been saying for years, duplicate pedigrees. You can assume once you start to do research on an existing line that you will find duplicates up and down the line, perhaps in profusion.

The conclusion is that all entries in the Family Tree without enough information may, in fact, be latent duplicates of entries already present. 


  1. Here's a great explanation of what happened and how to handle it from Bill Buchanan in Canada.

    1. I'm sorry but that explanation is not complete. You need to make sure that all the information is copied to the surviving record, especially if there is a need to "switch" records. Most of the duplicates can be processed now without any problems other than the time it takes to do all the merges. There is much more to what is happening than I have found and explained so far.

  2. I recently told someone I would correct the FamilySearch entry for a black Mormon pioneer, Jane Elizabeth Manning James, so I went to look at her entry yesterday. Last year I merged several entries for her, and instead of preserving her historical ordinance data (1840s–1890s–1978) the system preserved some unnecessary ordinance reservations.

    The ordinances still showed as reserved yesterday, even though I requested last year that her historic ordinance data be restored.

    Then I brought up my entry for her in Ancestry so I could compare data. I clicked on the green tree to match her to FamilySearch. It brought up her main entry and ten duplicate entries. I went back to her FamilySearch entry and checked for duplicates. None were listed. So I went back to Ancestry and copied down all the identifying numbers for the duplicates.

    Next, I went back into FamilySearch and looked at most of the duplicates. I didn't see ordinance data or any additional preservable data in any of them, so I started merging the duplicates, since they were clearly duplicates. (Some entries were identifiable as having come from her descendants, others were matches for name and dates and places, so I wasn't running into the "same name doesn't mean same person" problem.)

    Partway through the ten merges I noticed that the ordinance availability indicator had changed. Somewhere during the process, the system switched back to some of her historic ordinance data, and the reservations disappeared.

    Before I merged the duplicates, the ordinance reservations had showed as printed, but not done. What happens if the woman who printed them takes the cards to the temple?

    1. I think we will see a lot more examples of this issue before things begin to calm down.