, Tuesday's Tip

Tuesday’s Tip: Cleaning up Facts & Sources in an Ancestry Tree

Cleaning up Facts and Sources in an Ancestry Tree


Today’s tip is for anyone who uses an Ancestry tree.  When we attach sources, we generally add facts to a person’s timeline.  Sometimes we get some duplicate facts that are really about the same event.  It happens.  We can avoid that, but even if you know how to avoid it, we are human and sometimes forget.

In this quick video, I will show you a person in my Ancestry tree who had three different facts about one marriage event.  I will show you how to carefully review the sources linked to each fact, delete unnecessary facts, edit the remaining fact to reflect the event accurately, and then link all supporting sources to that one fact on the timeline.

This process is pretty fast, but it’s important because it helps tidy up a person’s timeline.  Tidy trees are easier to review.




Do you know how to avoid these multiple fact entries on a person’s timeline?  I’m contemplating a follow-up video on that subject…



Happy Tuesday, I hope you make a fantastic genealogy discovery today!



ps – Did you index a batch?  I just checked the stats (I’m writing this on Monday the 23rd at 11:30ish).  It says that 4,868,080 records have been indexed and there were 60,408 volunteers participating.  I hope those numbers aren’t final yet because that is less than half of last year’s event.  But let’s focus on the positive.  That is nearly 5 million more records that will be searchable for free on FamilySearch!  If you did not participate – NO GUILT!  But, even indexing 1 batch a month is an important contribution.  Consider setting a goal for yourself that is appropriate for your time.  If all genealogists gave back by indexing one batch a month just imagine what we could accomplish together!  Except you don’t have to imagine.  I’ll do that math for you.  In 2016, there were 3.45 million contributors to FamilySearch.  Multiply that by 12 – one batch per month – and you get 41.4 million records.  Pretty awesome!

8 thoughts on “Tuesday’s Tip: Cleaning up Facts & Sources in an Ancestry Tree”

  1. Great post, Amberly! I don’t usually have this problem as each document ordinarily ends up linked to one event when I add it to a profile. Do you know why yours were separated in the first place?

    1. Thank you, Amy! Yes, I do. The first date came from the census. It was just an approximate year with no other data. The other two entries came from each marriage record. Because the place is different the default is to create a new event on the timeline. When you are in the compare screen that shows you the event next to the data about your person, if it is going to create a new fact/event, you will see “NEW …” above that item. Sometimes I don’t notice that, hit the orange “Save to your Tree” button and I’ve added an extra fact/event item to the timeline. I do it far more frequently with parts of my tree where there are multiple records for the same event, just like with Adelaide. One civil marriage record, one religious marriage record with a slightly different place name, and then the generic about year from the census. 🙂

      1. OK, that makes sense. I rarely have multiple documents for the same event except for census records and sometimes things like the SS Index and death certificates. But they must default to the same event even when there are slight differences. For example, the SSDI only has the month and year or sometimes just the year whereas a death certificate will have the exact date. Yet they both default to the same event and give me the choice of the prior record’s information or to change it to the new record. So if I had the death cert first, I keep that date; if I had the SSDI first, I choose the date from the new document. Are you saying yours is set up differently?

        1. No, mine responds that way also. But every so often there is a weird quirk. I’ve seen the duplicates enough in other people’s trees and my own that I had to figure out how to fix it. I’m glad you haven’t had to deal with it. 🙂

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