How do I delete my family tree from Family Search
My family tree, a tree that I researched and developed, has been compromised and is incorrect on FamilySearch.
I have extensive research on my family and ancestors.
I have family tree on a number of sites - MyHeritage; Ancestry; Findmypast and WikiTree.
However, the tree that I uploaded (GedCom) to FamilySearch has now been amended without my input and is totally
incorrect and misleading.
I now want to delete my family tree from FamilySearch.
Firstly, it is unfortunate that FamilySearch still allows for GEDCOMs to be uploaded to Family Tree, as they usually lack accompanying back up (sources and reason statements) - e.g. just "GEDCOM" to explain why the input is correct. Also, many of the individuals were probably already to be found in Family Tree, so you have probably created many duplicate records.
Secondly, it would have been worth you checking out the (open edit) nature of Family Tree before you added your family branch(es) to the program. Once another user has made inputs / changes to your records, the IDs involved cannot be deleted. You then have to reverse the changes (preferably in liaison with the other user who made them) or let the errors stand.
Your only option now is to delete relationships, so your relatives are effectively disconnected from the main tree - although that would not stop another user reinstating the relationships and carrying out merges with existing individuals of the same identity.
In short (and I know this may sound blunt), you do not have a family tree in FamilySearch - it became the "property" of the community (and an integral part of it) as soon as you added it there.1
Thank you Paul W for your response.
I am not happy nor am I impressed.
In effect this means that there are many inaccuracies in FamilySearch records!!!!
Also, I will never ever post to FamilySearch again.
It looks like that I will now leave a totally inaccurate record with FamilySearch which is a
sad indictment and reflection process!!!
It is not reliable!!!!!!1
So Paul W how do I now delete relationships???0
Alongside the name of the individual there is a "Pencil" icon. So, for example, if you want to detach a relationship between a child and the parents another user has incorrectly added him/her to:
First, click on the "pencil" by the child's name. This will open-up Parent-Child Relationship details. Again by the child's name, click on "Remove or Replace". Next, to confirm you are sure that you really want to remove that child from a relationship with these parents, check the "I have reviewed the relationships, sources, and notes for these individuals" statement. Unless you want to immediately place the child under another set of parents, click on "Remove Parents". Finally, in the next box ("Remove Person"), provide a reason statement - e.g. "Child known not to be a member of this family" - and hit "Remove" to complete the process.1
Here is a link to steps required to remove a wrong spouse from the relationship:0
You are not alone ...
I, 'here'; and, 'understand', your frustration and angst ...
Belatedly; and, in hindsight ...
Further to what 'Paul' has already proffered ...
It is extremely unfortunate that so MANY Users/Patrons (BOTH, New; and, a number of Old), DID NOT; and/or, DO NOT, understand the basic 'nature' and 'premise' of "Family Tree" of 'FamilySearch' ...
Far too many of us do not do ALL the necessary 'Reading' and research, to 'see' if particular programmes/applications suit our needs.
Many of us are guilty of not reading all the ... 'fine print'.
I was one of those.
These days, for example, for "Mobile" Applications, in particular, I now especially not only read the 'fine print'; but, I also look for and at any "Critical" Reviews, on the applications, before committing to 'Download' and 'Use'.
That said ...
As to the basic 'nature' and 'premise' of "Family Tree" of 'FamilySearch' ...
We do not have our OWN "Tree" in "Family Tree" of 'FamilySearch'.
We ONLY have "Branches" (ie. Ancestral" lines), that are interconnected, in this SINGLE "One" World "Tree", for all of us, that is "Family Tree" of 'FamilySearch'.
"Family Tree" of 'FamilySearch' is NOT like 'On-Line' "Websites" (eg. "Ancestry_com"; or "MyHeritage_com"; or, the like); and/or, 'standalone' personal (computer) programmes (eg, the OLD, now no longer supported, "PAF"; or, "Ancestral Quest"; or, the like).
We DO NOT have "Private"/"Personal" 'Trees' in "Family Tree" of 'FamilySearch' like other 'On-Line' "Websites"; and/or, 'standalone' personal (computer) programmes.
We do not even, own; or, manage; and, are NOT even responsible for, the "Deceased" individuals/persons in "Family Tree" of 'FamilySearch'.
And, more importantly, we do not even, own; or, manage; and, are NOT even responsible for, Our OWN ("Deceased") Ancestors (or, Immediate Family) the in "Family Tree" of 'FamilySearch'.
"Family Tree" of 'FamilySearch' is built on a "Open Edit" Platform - hence, why any registered User/Patron can "Edit" (ie. Add, Delete; and/or, Change) ANY "Deceased" individual/person in "Family Tree" of 'FamilySearch'.
Another thing that one, should be aware of; and, always remember ...
'FamilySearch'; especially, "Family Tree", was originally 'Created', by the Church, for the Use of Members of the Church, to further their beliefs ...
"Family Tree" of 'FamilySearch' is NOT a "Commercial" Website ...
[ Like, "Ancestry"[.com]; and/or, "MyHeritage"; and/or, the likes ... ]
'FamilySearch' has very limited resources.
Yet, 'FamilySearch', is now, FREE and available to Everyone.
Most IMPORTANTLY, "Family Tree" of 'FamilySearch', is NO substitute, for have one's OWN, "Personal"; and, "Private", Database(s).
The (sperate and distinct) individual "Private" 'Trees', in OTHER 'On-Line' Websites; and/or, in the many 'Standalone' Databases, are NOT / NOTHING like the MODEL of "Family Tree" of 'FamilySearch'.
The "Open Edit" PLATFORM; or, MODEL of, the SINGLE "One" World 'Tree', that is "Family Tree" of 'FamilySearch', has inherent issues, we are all very well aware of that; but, such is NECESSARY, for what, the Members of the Church, are trying to achieve; so, we just have to work with that.
But, despite that, many Members of the Church, also have a PRIVATE "Copy" (or, "Copies"), of their "Ancestral" Lines, in the various OTHER 'On-Line' Websites; and/or, in the many 'Standalone' Databases.
You might say that, "Family Tree" of 'FamilySearch', is a "Communal" Working Database, that connects/links all of us together; as opposed to, the Other PRIVATE Working Databases, that are NOT connected/linked.
No matter how well we try, someone will ALWAYS a MESS ... that is a 'given' ...
As I say ...
We ALL make MISTAKES ...
NONE of us are PERFECT ...
The REAL problem/issue is that MANY Users/Patrons DO NOT do their 'due diligence', that being, thoroughly, 'checking'; and, 'researching', individuals/persons (and, their associated Family members); BEFORE, taking action.
That is a problem/issue that CANNOT really be fixed/addressed.
As, a "Programmer" once said to me ...
You CANNOT make a "System" FOOLPROOF; because, 'Fools' are so ingenious ...
That all said ...
As to GEDCOM Files ...
That is another matter entirely ...
The "Uploading" of GEDCOM Files, into "Genealogies" Part of 'FamilySearch' is fine.
I would humbly suggest that the "Uploading" of GEDCOM Files, into "Family Tree" of 'FamilySearch', should be STOPPED "Immediately"; and, should NOT be allowed.
I know that all of this this does not help; but, I hope that this gives you some perspective.
GEDCOM Files ...
One can; but ...
I would much prefer that, Users/Patrons would NOT, "Upload" GEDCOM Files, into "Family Tree" of 'FamilySearch'.
The "Upload", of GEDCOM Files, into the "Genealogies" Part of 'FamilySearch', is fine; but, NOT into "Family Tree" of 'FamilySearch'.
Just some of the reasons that Users/Patrons (like myself) DO NOT want the ability to "Upload" a GEDCOM File into "Family Tree" of 'FamilySearch' are:
(1) It is most likely that individuals/persons in a GEDCOM File are ALREADY in "Family Tree" of 'FamilySearch'; and, most Users/Patrons DO NOT even take the time to look to 'see' if any one in their GEDCOM File is already in "Family Tree", in some instances, negating the need to even "Upload" the GEDCOM File.
(2) There has been (many) cases where Users/Patrons, using the "Compare" process (of the "Upload") have "Dismissed" a "Possible" Match with an individual/person already in "Family Tree"; so that, their "Record", from their GEDCOM File, is loaded into "Family Tree", regardless; just so that, their "Record" appears in "Family Tree" (and, in some instances, for Members of the Church, so they can do the "Temple" Work, despite the fact that the "Temple" Work is ALREADY done, with the "Possible" Match, with the individual/person already in "Family Tree").
(3) Even with the "Compare" process (of the "Upload"), there has been (many) cases, where Users/Patrons have "Uploaded", THEIR version of an individual/person, in their GEDCOM File, on top of (ie. Over), an individual/person ALREADY in "Family Tree" of 'FamilySearch' that has been there for MANY years and is well documented and "Sources" - in many instances obliterating all of the documentation and "Sources".
(4) If an individual/person is ALREADY in "Family Tree" of 'FamilySearch', there is NO need to up "Uploaded" one's version of that individual/person from one's own GEDCOM File - just take note of the the 'FamilySearch Person Identifier' (PID) of the individual/person that is ALREADY in "Family Tree"; and, one can go back later to ensure what information/detail is recorded and attached for that individual/person. Just DO NOT, "Uploaded", one's version, of an individual/person, in their GEDCOM File, on top of (ie. Over) an individual/person ALREADY in "Family Tree" - obliterating all of the documentation and "Sources" ALREADY in place/on record.
(5) The "Hours" (sometimes "Days") of work, by other Users/Patrons, that can be needed to CORRECT the DAMAGE done by the "Upload" of a GEDCOM File can be disheartening.
I am sorry ... 'off my soap box' ...
Enter (ie. 'Create) the individuals/persons in "Family Tree" of 'FamilySearch' one at a time - on a one by one basis.
Many of the individuals/persons, in one's GEDCOM File, most probably ALREADY exist in "Family Tree" of 'FamilySearch'.
Use the "Find" facility/function/feature to Search "Family Tree" of 'FamilySearch'. Users/Patrons may (or, I should say, will) be very surprised to find some (if not, many) of those in their GEDCOM File ALREADY exist in "Family Tree" of 'FamilySearch'.
Only one or two generations of the "Living" individuals/persons; and, may be one or two of the "Deceased" individuals/person, may be required to be entered/input in "Family Tree" of 'FamilySearch'; before, some of the "Deceased" individuals/persons from one's "Ancestral" Lines ALREADY existing in "Family Tree" of 'FamilySearch', are discovered.
Many NEW Users/Patrons DO NOT even take the time to look to see if any one in their GEDCOM File ALREADY exist in "Family Tree", in some instances, negating the need to even "Upload" the GEDCOM Files.
IF, individuals/persons ALREADY exist in "Family Tree" of 'FamilySearch'; THEN, there is NO need to "Uploaded" one's GEDCOM File.
Just another perspective.
Just my thoughts.
Many many thanks Brett for a most comprehensive and well written update.
I do understand but what I cannot understand is the fact that I created a family tree
which I know intimately and I understand all the records pertaining to my most recent
What I cannot understand is how another may amend a record that I have fully researched
and agreed with many relatives.
The record on MyHeritage, Ancestry, Findmypast and WikiTree are correct.
The record on FamilySearch are incorrect.
Brett, I appreciate all your comments but I cannot accept something that is clearly incorrect.
I have now commenced the slow and tedious process of deleting "members" of "my" "family tree".
I do not wish to have any inaccuracies associated with me!!!
It's as simple as that.
Best wishes and thanks again.
'Thank You' for so graciously accepting my comments/thoughts ...
[ You never know how such will be taken ... ]
Just quickly ...
And, I know that I an repeating myself ...
Exactly like me, you may have been the User/Patron who "Created" your (particular) CLOSE "Branches" (ie. Ancestral" Lines) in "Family Tree" of 'FamilySearch'; BUT, that said, exactly like me, you (still) DO NOT, own; or, manage; and, are NOT even responsible for, the those Direct/Immediate "Deceased" Ancestors/Relations in "Family Tree" of 'FamilySearch'.
I have been doing "Genealogy" for well over x50 Years since I was a Child; and, I have been associated with and using 'FamilySearch' (and, forerunners) for well over x30 Years.
I, also. intimately know many of my "Ancestral" Lines going back MANY Generations; whereas, I do not claim to know all; but, I believe that I am very aware of much (many) of the available records pertaining to my "Ancestral" Lines going back MANY Generations; but, I am not a "Genealogist", far from it, just an enthusiast.
Despite all that, I am also vey well aware that, in "Family Tree" of 'FamilySearch' that, I can ONLY "Watch"/"Follow" my "Ancestral" Lines; and, pick-up the pieces, when another 'wayward' User/Patron makes a MESS.
That is the price I (should say, WE) pay for, using; and, being part of, this "Open Edit" PLATFORM; or, MODEL of, the SINGLE "One" World 'Tree', that is "Family Tree" of 'FamilySearch' - there is 'no getting around that' - such is life.
That said ...
We can "Watch", (oops, 'old school') sorry, "Follow," up to a MAXIMUM of x4000 individuals/persons, in "Family Tree" of 'FamilySearch', at any given time.
I 'check' the, "List" of "Changes" to those that I follow, once or twice (often more) a 'Day'.
When you do that, you can keep on top of any "Changes"; and, 'Jump' on them; and, fix/address them, almost immediately; before, they get 'out of hand'.
I know that it is a pain ... but, at least, it becomes more manageable.
In regard to ...
You do not understand is how another User/Patrons can amend an "Deceased" individual/person that you have fully researched ...
That is easy ... all-be-it, 'disappointing' ...
The "Open Edit" PLATFORM; or, MODEL of, the SINGLE "One" World 'Tree', that is "Family Tree" of 'FamilySearch', which has inherent issues, we are very well know; and, (dare I say it) must be accepted.
I have NEVER known, ALL the MANY 'Trees', on the various 'On-Line' Websites, to ever correlate EXACTLY, there is ALWAYS "Differences", all-be-it, in many cases, they may be Minor, in nature.
You DO NOT have to accept, something in your "Ancestral" Lines, in "Family Tree" in 'FamilySearch', that is clearly incorrect.
You just need to fix/address it; and, ensure that there is or you provide supporting evidence [eg. "Sources"; 'Copies' of "Documents" (if available); 'Official' References; etc] for your "Changes" to fix/address the inaccuracies. Mind you, much of that supporting evidence may ALREADY be there, just not looked at or considered by the User(s)/Patron(s) that have made the MESS.
'Yes', it can be a "... slow and tedious process ..." of fixing/address the MESS.
Many of us, have there, done that ... STILL DO.
I once spent a solid Two (x2) weeks, SEPARATING, two Families that had been incorrectly "Merged"/"Combined".
The "Merging"/"Combining" of those two Families was, an honest; and, in fact, an easy MISTAKE to make; as, the various members of each family had VERY similar NAMES and details; and, both, Families ONLY lived a few Miles apart.
The "Merging"/"Combining", was done a few Years, prior to me finding it, when access to 'Records' (especially, 'On-Line') was not so readily available, as they are now.
You DO NOT need to, "Delete"; or, in your case, "Disconnect" (unless they are inaccurate/wrong), your "Ancestral" Lines in "Family Tree" of 'FamilySearch', rather just fix/address the inaccuracies; and, "Follow" those that you want (up to that MAXIMUM of x4000).
Once you have fixed/addressed the worst of the MESS ...
It is highly unlikely, that ALL those, that you decide to "Follow", will ALL be "Changed" at the same time.
IF, you 'Check' you "List" of "Changes" to those that you "Follow", on a regular basis (it does not have to be "Daily"; but, I assure you that does help); THEN, you can usually keep on top of any significant MESS.
I know ... I said ... just quickly ... but, for me, this is 'quick' ... as many will attest ...
I am very 'verbose' ... that is my 'style' ...
DO NOT go ...
Just ... FIX / ADDRESS; and, FOLLOW ...
Better YOU, that KNOWS Your "Ancestral" Lines, rather than leaving it someone else that is much less experienced.
Just my thoughts.
All the best.
This is all so sad. I know that at some point in time FamilySearch went from a personal tree to a world tree. It was a sad day. The tree that I created many, many years ago is now fraught with errors. I used to spend the time to correct them, but no longer. I have abandoned it to the masses. It's very unfortunate that even if we correct an error multiple times, it still can be changed. This was happening with my immediate family and a total stranger. Also unfortunate is that FamilySearch has gained a reputation of not being a reliable source for family trees, but fortunately, it is still the best source for records! For that I am very grateful.
The one tree concept is a great strength but also a source of many problems as has been witnessed. In my view it is highly dangerous to rely on Family Tree as the depository of your tree. It is better to maintain it elsewhere (family tree programs and/or other web sites) where you can protect its integrity. Family Tree remains a great research tool both for historical records and for clues about your ancestors but remember to treat the latter with scepticism.
To be honest, I find all this "one tree is terrible; I wish people would stay out of my tree; who gave permission to change my tree; you can't trust the FamilySearch tree" to be such rubbish and in fact quite depressing in itself! There is even a similar view in Ancestry forums regarding "other people's trees are wrong and causing such damage to us all, will everyone be more careful!" Wow. The mantra today seems to be "if you all would just be perfect my life would be better!"
If you have the strength to do so, please drop that attitude and work collaboratively with your fellow man. Accept your fellow man where they are at whatever level of expertise they are at, and remember, a tree with mistakes is not going to doom mankind. (I am also amazed at the number of people who seem to not even want to fix mistakes. Sigh)
I find FamilySearch invaluable and I am working on the tree almost daily. These days, my own greater family is not getting my attention most of the time. I now do lineage research for a genealogy society I belong to, and I use FamilySearch to document my findings, get the lineages lined up with the sources I find, and attach all the sources I find. (Yes, I have to click refresh up to 5 times for source linking and source searching to work. Grr) In FamilySearch I have my greater family well documented in FamilySearch, including my ancestors, my in-laws, in-laws of my in-laws, birth families of adopted relatives, in-laws of adopted relatives' birth relatives and - happily as this can only be done in community environments like FamilySearch- the family friends and business clients of my family's ancestors. Ok, there are a couple of spots with big errors. I even have one ancestor who straddles 1600-1700s and seems to be a focal point of everyone's crazy theories. You know what? I find it entertaining and don't have a single urge to rant and rage over someone's stupidity (like attaching a civil war pension). He is a popular guy and I love it! He is even messed up in my tree in Ancestry (I haven't worked on him in 5 years or so...)
Where is kindness these days and thinking of the other person? Tread lightly! Yesterday I ferreted out 2 individuals with the same name, born same place and year, but died decades apart. I finally found 2 death certificates and names of parents for each. For the one who didn't belong I added the correct parents as a second set and marked them preferred. I rearranged some of the sources. I did not remove that person from the wrong parents, instead put a message in his life story of why I believe one set is right and one is wrong. That way if people want to compare, they can, instead of waking up and the old parents are gone without a trace and we have another "who messed up my tree" post to read.3
I give out a huge sigh of relief each day that I find nobody has made any adjustments to any of the individuals on my "Following" list. Unlike many other users, I do happen to have a fair amount of spare time, but would still rather use that time more productively than having to spend two or three days undoing merges and making other adjustments to get these profiles back to their original state.
If only I had your patience! Especially with a couple of users who choose to regularly make the same, incorrect changes. One seems particularly pleasant - offering his sincere apologies each time he makes the exact same error! Another was quite happy to admit he never checks out "Collaborate" comments, and chooses to ignore reason statements, too - in spite of him being far from inexperienced, having contributed to Family Tree for several years.
To me, the worst aspect to careless work in Family Tree is the merging of totally different individuals. I am not emotional in my work, but imagine the grief of a person who had lovingly created a profile of their ancestor - adding sources, life sketch, memories and the rest - only to have the ID merged with someone of similar name, but who lived on the other side of the Atlantic, and in another century.
What appears to be a "game" for some careless users has possibly involved a life's work for someone else, so please show some empathy here. True, many who complain should have checked out the nature of Family Tree before they got to work on "their / my tree". But, for example, it must be difficult for members of the LDS Church not to use Family Tree, when it connects so much to their Temple work.
So, I think we need to treat each "messed up my tree" complaint according to its content - and the likely circumstances of the person making the complaint. Yes, I find it difficult to feel too sorry when I read some posts, but with others I can really feel the exasperation relating to the serious effort it will take to reattach the original, well researched facts (and true identities) to the IDs where they belong.1
Paul W I recommend you stop using the collaborate area because that is too invisible. I myself hardly ever check it unless I note an insane number of posts there. Then I usually retain the attitude of reading a comic book. I have started using the life sketch area to document my new changes and my new information that may be considered radical. That will always be read by people accessing the person sources. If there is already something there, I add at the top "Edit by gsw: blah blah". That has worked for me so far, but I don't go back and check very many people, I have to admit. I get some messages, but so far the messages have all been "thanks you"s for the additional information. I recommend trying out the life sketch area.0
@Gail Swihart Watson, regarding hijacking the life sketch for collaboration notes: I have that section closed by default, and I almost never check it. (My hobby is genealogy, not biography.) Unlike the numbers on the Collaborate tab, a closed Life Sketch looks identical whether it's empty or contains a book-length biography.
Having never dealt with an incorrect merge (knock on wood), I don't know how I'd feel about somebody doing that to a profile I'd worked on, but I think in the end I'd be glad it was on FamilySearch, where I can fix it. One of the things that especially bugs me when I do anything on one of the non-collaborative sites is that the systems practically foist other people's work onto new people, who therefore propagate and perpetuate all of the existing errors -- and there's not a darn thing I can do to correct any of it. On Ancestry and MyHeritage, as a non-subscriber, I can't even send anyone a message. So my hopefully-correct little tree sits there, badly outnumbered by the ones that contradict it, and all I can do is hope that eventually, a few of those wrong conclusions will be deleted, and fewer errors will be propagated.
But I agree wholeheartedly that the whole "FS is full of junk" mindset is depressing and misguided. All of the genealogy websites have errors, because we're all only human. The difference on FS (and to a slightly lesser degree on WikiTree) is that if you discover an error, you can fix it. I think that is a beautiful thing.1
The Life Sketch appears on the public Family Tree pages seen by web search engines, so it grieves me to see the life sketch field used for anything other than a brief biography.
I always check the Collaborate tab, and I very often contribute Notes and Discussions.0
So, to those of you who don't like me using life sketch, please note what I do there. I put new information about their life. And my sources to back it up. It ABSOLUTELY belongs and is not hijacking the purpose at all. Yesterday when I typed "Frank H.'s parents are not xxx they are yyy. Please see his death certificate in sources." That is part of Frank H's life. When I edited a long life sketch and put at the top "Please note the obituary copied below has left out one child. Daughter XXX was born and died in year XXX. Please see her birth and death information. Also note she is a twin sister to yyy. Please note his death certificate has the wrong date. See the newly released birth certificates which show XXX and YYY were twins."
That is not hijacking. And I will continue to do it. These examples are the kind of changes that annoy people, and I like the explanations to be front and center.0
Julia Szent-Györgyi Don't look at my trees in Ancestry if errors in other people's trees bother you! Some lines in my own tree are pretty lame. They are on my to do list to go back and verify / research, but to paraphrase Jacob Marley, the weight and length of my to do list is indeed ponderous! I may die first.0
Please know that millions of users us Family search to put their ancestors in. Unfortunately there are users who without sources change dates and places to please them selves in a desire to find themselves related to famous persons. FS discourages this kind of thing. We urge patrons that if they find that kind of thing happening to contact the person(s) who made the change and ask them for their sources. If they have sources check out the sources or sources very very carefully. If you find a flaw in their sources, then inform them. Should they not believe you then report these things here and FS will work to solve the issue to your satisfaction. If you do nothing the problem will not get fixed and is on you not the other part.0
Briefly, in my opinion the concept of a One World Tree, although commendable, will achieve nothing. It was always a mammoth task, but the result will be a "load of mince", as we say in my part of the world. I contributed details of my ancestors, which I researched carefully and knew to be correct. I have my own tree stored elsewhere, but thought I was "doing my bit" for genealogy by adding it to Family Tree. Sadly, it has been destroyed by other people, whose research is insufficient and inaccurate. What was is the point of producing something that is rubbish? I am not going to waste any more time on it because my attempts to make corrections will be messed up by other people again and again.0
Without in any way denying the experience of @Howtowdie, I will just say my experience has been just the opposite. The result of contributing to Family Tree has greatly enhanced the quality of all the pedigrees I've worked on.1
I too have problems with people changing items I have entered into my tree. This is mostly family members that I was raised with and have kept my own files, still people seem to think they know my family better than me.Trying to correct all the errors has proven to be useless and I just don’t have the time to constantly be changing wrong entries to right, I have decided to create my own file in book-like format and keep my family info private, fortunately all temple work for my deceased family members were completed many years ago. I am the oldest and last living member of my family, they can’t mess too much up but will be correct in my private file.0