Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Merging Profiles on WikiTree

WikiTree continues to modify and improve their profile matching and merging system.  WikiTree is a collaborative family tree with a goal for one profile for each historical person, rather than many separate trees.

When two researchers (or more!) create profiles for the same person, then someone can propose a Merge if the "owners" of the two persons agree to the merge.

I get at least 30 to 50 merge requests each week (because I have about 5,000 persons in WikiTree, some of whom are not connected to parents, spouses or children (Don't ask me why, it's a long story!).

The first notice of a proposed merge is an email.  The email says, in part:

Carole has proposed a merge between Daniel Hubbard (Hubbard-875) and Daniel Hubbard (Hubbard-658). Click here to compare them side-by-side.

Carole says Hubbard-875 and Hubbard-658 appear to represent the same person because:
Dates match.
If you agree that the two profiles represent the same person, click here to approve the merge. If the merge is ready you can select which data to keep from which profile and then complete the merge. If you're prompted to merge parents during this process, please do so. If you click to approve the merge but don't complete it, your permission will be recorded so that someone else can complete the merge of the profiles and merge parents.

If the profiles represent different people, reject the merge.

If the profiles appear to match, but you would like to complete the merge later because there is so much conflicting information to resolve, create an Unmerged Match.

Merging is essential for collaboration on WikiTree. Our community aims to have one profile for every ancestor, shared by all descendants. See the Wiki Genealogist Honor Code for our community's guiding principles. See the Merging Help Page for more explanation.

To discuss the merge, post a comment on the profile of Hubbard-658. You can also e-mail Carole Partridge directly at

I clicked on the link to compare the two profiles side by side:

I checked the names, the dates of birth and death, the relationships (none in this case for Hubbard-658 (on the right) and the information matched very well.  This is a match.

At the top of the screen above, there is a link to "merge them."

That opened the screen to accomplish the merge (two screens below):

On the screens above, the information for Hubbard-875 is on the left and for Hubbard-658 in the middle.  The proposed merged profile is on the right.   If a name, date or place is different, I can choose which one to use by checking or unchecking the boxes to the left of the left-hand profile.

I decided that these profiles should be merged, so I clicked on the green "Confirm Merge" button below the profile comparison on the screen above.

The "Matching and Merging Profiles" screen opened and told me that profile Hubbard-875 was merged into profile Hubbard-658 as a "new" Hubbard-658 profile:

The screen above provides several more options - to adjust the privacy level for the merged profile, to add or edit the profile's biography and sources, and to engage other researchers in collaborative dialogue or ask a question about the profile.

All of that took maybe a minute to accomplish.  The Matching and Merging system works very well on WikiTree and is absolutely vital to the goal of creating one profile for each historical person.
The URL for this post is:

Copyright (c) 2014, Randall J. Seaver


Peter J. Roberts said...

Very helpful information! Thank you. This is one of WikiTrees most important features and merging gets easier and less intimidating with experience. Sincerely, Peter J. Roberts

Magda said...

We also have a video on merge and matching in our help section.Randy, your instructions are great.


jillainedc said...

Nicely written, Randy. Thanks for doing this. I'd only add that there is at least one more really important thing to understand about completed merges-- the narrative from the merged-away profile is added to the bottom of the narrative of the merged-into profile. We therefore love to see people who approve merges-- especially the profile managers most familiar with the data and sources-- clean up the resulting narrative following the Wikitree standards which can be found under Wikitree's Help menu. In the meantime, thanks for the great write-up.

-- Jillaine Smith
Puritan Great Migration project @ Wikitree

Jana Iverson Last said...


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Have a wonderful weekend!