Monday, July 13, 2015

How to Add an Unrelated Person to Your Ancestry Member Tree

I wanted to add an unrelated person to my Ancestry Member Tree today so that I could see the green leaf Hints and be able to add them to the person for a friend of mine.

1)  After about five minutes of trying to figure out how to do this, I finally went to the "Help" link and put "how to add unrelated person to tree" and one of the responses was:

The directions for "Adding an unrelated individual to your Ancestry tree" essentially says:

*  Bring up a profile for a person in your Ancestry Member Tree.
*  Click on the "Edit this person" on the profile.
*  On the next screen, click on the "Relationships" tab.
*  On the "Relationships" tab, click on "Add an alternate Father" or "Add an alternate Mother"
*  On the alternate parent window, add the new person's name, birth and death information. etc.
*  Back on the "Relationships" screen, you can see a "Remove" link next to the new person's name, and click on it.
*  A window opens to ask if you really want to remove this relationship.  Click "OK."
*  The new person is now set free from the relationship and is an unrelated person in the tree.  You can see the new profile by entering the name in the field for "List of all people" on the tree view and picking the person.

Whew!!  Who knew?  At least 8 steps to Add an Unrelated Person to an Ancestry Member Tree.

I tried it all:

2)  I used the profile for Hannah Sawtell on my Ancestry Member Tree.  It apparently doesn't matter which profile you use!

I clicked on the "Edit Relationships" item on the "Edit" dropdown menu in the upper right-hand corner of the profile:

I chose to click on the "Add alternate father" and the window opened where I can add a name, birth and death information:

Okay.  I clicked on the green "Save" button and then saw the revised "Relationships" window with a big "X" on the right side of the two fathers listed:

I clicked on the "X" and then the green "Remove" button on the screen above.  Done!

3)  In order to see the profile for the newly added person, I had to go to the Tree view from the profile, and put the person's name in the "Find a person in this tree" field (top right of the screen):

That worked.  Here is the profile for Henry Willis Smith (1849-1917):

Whew.  The good news is that it works.  And that Ancestry found 3 Hints for Henry Willis Smith in the five minutes it took to get to this point after creating Henry's profile.

Note that I used the "New Ancestry" screens to demonstrate the process above.  The process is the same on the "Classic Ancestry" site.

4)  The bad news is that this process is was way too convoluted and took way too long to create.  How many users will be totally confused by "you have to create a new person by adding a fake relationship and then deleting the relationship?"  I was...

I'm not a programmer, but would it be too hard to put another line that says "Add unrelated person" in the "Edit" dropdown menu in the top right-hand side of the profile?

Put it right under the "Delete Person" - there's plenty of room on the screen.

A link like that would remove the first seven (of eight) steps from the process to add an unrelated person to an Ancestry Member Tree.  It would also be logical and a lot easier for users to use.

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Copyright (c) 2015, Randall J. Seaver

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smhb said...

I add them using the spouse relationship. It's perhaps easiest as you're least likely to accidentally connect other relationships (e.g. children) and ultimately only have the one relationship to delete.

I've also used the method of establishing a blank "parent" for these folk, named by region or identifying feature (e.g., "Boston Unaffiliated" or "1st Cav Soldiers") and add the unaffiliated person as a child.

GeneaDiva said...

I add them by locating a record for the individual, then save as a new person (bottom right of the screen).

Unknown said...

I try to always make a new tree for unrelated people I want to follow. For me, making a new tree is easier than trying to create and track unrelated people in one tree.

Anonymous said...

If you have Family Tree Maker, you can add an unrelated person directly via Person > Add Person > Add Unrelated Person.

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dritchhart said...


A second to an earlier post, if you have Family Tree Maker you can add by selection Person>Add Unrelated Person (the last of five choices). You then sync your tree to Ancestry and the person appears. I did it with "John Doe" and then confirmed on he was there! . . . . Del

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