Sunday, June 12, 2016

An Easier Way to Find Duplicates?

You may be aware that in May, Membership Department reconnected to the Family Tree, after being disconnected since August 2014. As a result 3 different types of records from membership were brought into FT.

1. Records of members, that were previously hidden because no death was recorded. Yea!!!! We have been waiting for this to happen!

2. Records of non-member family members who are deceased. As I understand it, these are chiefly created to allow non-member family members to be shown in ward and stake directories. Okay, but confusing! These incomplete records need to be the surviving records in the case of a merge.

3. Ancestral File records, of which Membership Department had a copy. This happened by accident. Ouch!!! These records can mess up family lines for generations.

The Find-A-Record app can be a better way of finding the duplicates so they can be merged. (This is much more difficult to do in the Family Tree.) This app can be found at

Merge or Wait?
Do you really want to merge these duplicate records at this time?
Instinctively the answer tends to be "Yes, let's clean it up right now!"
But, until the Family Tree is moved off as part of the underlying platform for the database, the surviving record in any merge must be the record created by membership department! In other words, the record to which you have attached 15 sources, 20 memories, etc. needs to be deleted, along with its history and contributors. The surviving record will be a new record that shows as being created by LDS Membership, and you will need to remember to move all relationships etc. to that record.

However, if you are willing to wait until FT is moved to the new "tree foundation" and nFS is permanently shut down, you will be able to merge the records in either direction. Then the records can be merged in the logical order, and the new incomplete record from membership can be the one deleted by the merge.

Also by waiting, we will be able to merge two membership or IOUS records, which is currently impossible.

How long do we need to wait? At RootsTech2016, Ron Tanner said that the change will happen in 2016.
Quietly, FT recently stopped using nFS to manage ordinances. As I understand it, this is a big step towards shutting down nFS, but we aren't there yet. The managers and engineers need our prayers.

A new posting by Ron Tanner, the manager of FamilySearch Family Tree on 15 June 2016:
"... We are looking to see if we can remove them without adverse issues. I would wait until June 27th to see if they are gone, if not, then merge."


  1. Thanks so much for this clear, concise information and recommendation. I had heard bits and pieces of this for a while now, but you have put it together so even I can understand it! You must be some sort of teacher!!!

  2. Great explanation! This blog was mentioned in our mission group meeting today. So happy to find it.

  3. My husband and I are the Director's of the Rexburg Family History Center and we have been on the front lines trying to know how to respond to and encourage our 70+ staff AND our hundreds of patrons through this nFS migration and eventually severing from FSFT! I believe you are correct but would love to know where you get your information from. I am choosing to hold out and wait on combining these new "LDS Church Membership" duplicates that now abundantly pepper throughout my Family Tree as I want directive from FamilySearch before I create an even bigger problem. I'm holding out hope that they may have a fix for much of this at some point down the road!? I will add my "chin up" voice to yours - yet would love to know where you get your information so I can confidently quote you :)

    1. Angie, you are wise to hold off until there is official information from FamilySearch. We are waiting for an official knowledge article, but the approval process is long. Anything that I say represents my current understanding, based on the best information I have available.
      I hope you have read the quote from Ron Tanner that I added to my blog posting today. You will see that he offers hope that these records can be removed from FT, but that it may not be possible. He suggests delaying until June 27th before merging these records.
      I think there are good reasons for not merging them until after FT is disconnected from nFS. Then the records can be merged in the logical order, and the new incomplete records from membership can be the records that are deleted during the merges.