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Merge Individuals: Help

This page is used to merge two individuals in the family tree. Information from the second individual is merged into the first individual. This is a complex process that necessarily results in some loss of information, so you will have to examine the final state of the merged individual to ensure that your intentions have been carried out.

This functionality is under development and special attention should be paid to the results. To assist this the function generates internal trace information into the resulting web page that describes exact what changes were made to the database. If you encounter undesirable results please copy the contents of that web page to your reporting e-mail.

What happens in a merge?

There is some information about an individual that is only recorded once. Since there are two copies of this information in the original individuals, some information is discarded as a result of the merge. To avoid making the user interface excessively complicated explicit control of which version of the information is retained in the final result is only provided for a few frequently used fields:

Note that serious confusion would be created if you merge two individuals with different genders so the application does not permit this.

For some information for which there is only one copy per individual the version in the first individual is retained if there is a conflict with the version in the second individual. However if there is no value for a field in the first individual then the value from the second is used. This category of information includes:

However for textual information for which there is a single field per individual, the two versions are concatenated with a paragraph separation. This includes:

All other individual events, marriages, and sets of parents are retained, which can lead to duplications that you will need to manually clean up.

All source citations are retained, which can lead to duplications.

If the two individuals were children in different families, then the merged individual is a child of both families.

The merged individual is a spouse in all families that either original individual was a spouse in. The name of the merged individual is adjusted in each of the family records to be consistent with the name you selected.

Once all of the information has been merged, the second individual is deleted from the family tree.

Using the Page

You get to the merge page from the edit individual page. When first displayed this page shows the values of the major fields for the selected individual in read-only text fields.

You need to choose the second individual to be merged into the first individual. Since the "Choose Second" button is given the focus when the page is first displayed, normally all you have to do is press the "Enter" key on the keyboard, however you can also use the mouse to click on the button. This displays a dialog permitting you to choose the second individual. Initially this is a list starting with the individuals with the same name. Only individuals with the same gender are displayed, since merging individuals with different genders is not supported. This list excludes any individuals who have previously been identified as definitely not the same individual.

When you select an individual from the list the chooser dialog closes and values of the major fields for the second individual are displayed, which gives you the opportunity to verify that you are merging the intended two individuals. A "details" button is enabled, permitting you to examine the individual in more detail. Also at this point the "Merge Individuals" and "Do Not Ever Merge" buttons at the top of the page are enabled.

Associated with each pair of values are a pair of check-boxes. This permits you, for these specific fields, to explicitly identify which of the two values is to be retained in the merged individual. Note that although only one value can be retained for each field, all citations for each fact are retained.

Note that the "Merge Individuals" button is disabled and shown "greyed-out" until you choose a second individual. Once you are satisfied with your selections click on this button to perform the merge. Of course you must be a designated owner of both individuals in order to merge them.

The "Do Not Ever Merge" button is also disabled and shown "greyed-out" until you choose a second individual. Clicking on this button records that you are confident that the two selected individuals are distinct. In future you will never be given the option of merging the two. The page is reset so you can click on "Choose Second" to try another individual for merging.

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