Are we able to combine or merge 2 trees into one?

I would like to merge 2 trees together. Is there a way to do this without having to do it in a manual fashion?

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The short answer is there isn’t a way to merge trees unfortunately.

I do have a question though. Instead of merging, what if we were to create a way for you to create links between trees: to say that the spouse/parent/child of a person is in a different tree. Would that be preferable to merging? Or would you rather have everyone together in a single tree?

I really like your idea about being able to create links between trees, that could be handy.

I can picture merging being a hard problem. Instead of merging maybe the ability to selectively copy some subset of information from one tree to the other to facilitate the process and then let the user manually merge and adjust as needed?

Thank you Dallan for your response.

Yes having the ability to link or copy (thank you Chris) a person in or a section of one tree
to another second tree, that enables us to work smarter and more accurately in our recording and research processes is what I would like to see.

Would copying give better functionality in transferring data accurately?


Let me ask you, what’s the goal for merging? Is it to combine two mostly-separate lines of research? Or to update a tree by merging a newer Ancestry-export into an older Ancestry-export? Or is there another goal?

Understanding the goal will help me come up with a good solution.

Also, merging can be difficult, but many genealogy programs export unique IDs for every person, so in this situation merging is not too difficult if you are willing to accept that if the same people are in both trees, the version in one tree always overrides the other.

Hello Dallan,
Goal is to build a tree from scratch using the rootsfinder system. It is a makeover as I want to do things better and not be tied into a commercial propriety system. I want to have as much control over what is entered and be able to extract every bit of information I can glean from a record. The ability to potentially drag information from any resource and enter in this way to my family tree is so much attractive for me.
I have started with my tree and also my wife’s tree as separate identities and now I feel it would be so much easier to co ordinate if I could combine them both together. We don’t have common children but I am building all our descendants genealogical and genetic trees as I proceed as well.

Got it. Let me think about this. I will have more time to spend adding new features to RootsFinder in April.

Any other thoughts?

Thank you. I appreciate you taking the time to work this through.

In data entry drop downs It would be awesome to be able to add fields if needed…like noting the ability to write and other quirks found in records… The adding people drop down could also do with a sibling entry please.

I find sources and citations challenging. Using the web clipper gives citations of varying consistency and accuracy, very much depending on the online database accessed. Is it feasible to have an understandable template to make sure relevant information can be added to All citations? I am trying to be as accurate as I can but do need a little encouragement to do it right.


The good news is you should be able to write whatever you want in the data-entry drop-downs.

Regarding citations, are you thinking of a single template (which would be relatively easy), or a list of templates based upon Elizabeth Shown Mills’ book (which would require more work)?

Hi Dallan,
Thank you, I must explore the data entry feature better.

In regard to citations I feel something more simple and functional but instructional would be helpful. People who are confident probably are happy to write their own.

The webclipped versions of citations can be used when dragging data, but in some instances are not very complete or thorough and need to be added to.

If you could guide us in what is needed to be complete and give value to citations without having to be over complex, it would be so very useful…and definitely for you not to have to pre guess and target all the varied sources people might include in their work,…

Templates based on the Quick Check Models in Elizabeth Shown Mills’ book would be terrific. At present, I create them outside Rootsfinder and then copy & paste them in. On the other hand, it may be asking a bit much for Rootsfinder to do everything.

What about the following?

When you create a Source, not an evidence, but a Source (under “Content Lists”), you have a place to enter individual fields for the source and also citation text. When you create an Evidence, you have the option to reference the Source you created, in which case we copy the citation text from the Source and use it in the citation text for the evidence.

What if when you created the Source, instead of making you enter the citation text by hand, we gave you a drop-down list of (say 50?) templates that you could choose from, and the Source citation text would be generated automatically from the chosen template. Then when you referenced the Source when creating the evidence, your evidence citation would come from the Source citation.

Another option would be to put the template drop-down list directly in the evidence, but then you’d have to re-enter title, author, publication date, etc. for every evidence. Sources allow you to enter that information just once and re-use it. The down-side is Sources are a separate thing you have to create. Maybe we should just make it possible to create a Source directly when you’re creating an evidence and none of your previously-created Sources apply.

Hi Dalan,
Thank you for your thought processes.
I’m no sure if I am correct but isn’t a source is a constant entity. It dosn’t change too much.
The citation carries all the variables depending on the type of information accessed, relevance and accuracy (reliability) media/transcription/microfilm/document etc, repository and many other considerations to be recorded as we enter relevant family information to our family histories.
I think therefore having more flexibility in creating the citation is far more relevant. These days we often have access to records we find online in different formats and locations, but referring back to the same repository.
With my British/Indian ancestry the diference is quite pronounced between say FIBIS, Ancestry and findmypast for example.


I manage my uncle’s “Jimmy” DNA & he had a YDNA match to a man “Hugh” that we know for sure is related but we have not connected yet in my master tree, so he sent me his genealogy & I started a new tree with his family, just for research purposes BUT once I do find our missing link family member & can finally add him into our master tree, I dread having to re-enter everyone from Hugh’s tree manually into my master tree. Is there a way to link or merge yet?

Not yet unfortunately. I’m planning to implement GEDCOM re-upload over the Summer. The plan is to allow you to upload a GEDCOM into a new tree, then to import the new tree into your original tree. So this will also handle merging two trees into one.

Kia ora Dallan,
Just a query regarding the progress made in furthering these topics to achieving satisfactory outcomes.
The ability to combine trees or parts of trees we develop separately on this site is still so relevant to many of our needs. We will often explore relationships of potential family members before finally accepting or rejecting them to be included in our main databases. Having the flexibility to manipulate separate databases built on this site would be so awesome.

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I haven’t forgotten - still working on it. I hope to have something up and running by the end of the month.

Thank you Dallan.
The outline you have proposed will be a great outcome.

Hi Dallan, I am exploring whether rootsfinder will be a suitable program for a new one name study I am starting. I will start with all the families & individuals on the 1851 census & extend back from there so the ability to have separate family groups/branches/trees then merge them when I find a link is key to the study. Will the new work you are planning cope with that?
I love the ability to share editing access with others & I have two collaborators raring to go!

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That’s an interesting idea!

I’m not sure how well the merging feature would work for this. The merge page will show two lists of people side-by-side (one tree on the left, the other on the right). If two people have the same ID (because they were both uploaded from the same GEDCOM but at different times), then they’ll be matched automatically. If people don’t have the same ID (as in your scenario), then you’ll need to match them manually: select a person from the left-hand list and start typing the name of a person from the right-hand list. If there aren’t many duplicate people between the two trees, this shouldn’t be too high of a burden, but if there are a lot of duplicates, then it will take awhile to get them all matched to each other.

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