What happens to Living individuals in my tree when I die
I previously asked a question of FamilySearch Help about what happens to Living individuals in my tree when I die. I was told that my account would be closed and that they would disappear.
Since then, I have heard that they don't disappear but are released as deceased 110 years after their birth date.
Can someone please clarify?
Sheryl Neal Slaughter
When children obtain a FamilySearch Family Tree account, they can not merge their living account with the living self person that their parent has entered. The child has to add the names of their living parents, grand parents, etc; then add the names of their deceased relatives to open up their tree. If they add a living person, like parent, they will have a new Person ID, seperate from their living parent's Person ID on the living parents' tree.
Here is what happens to the accounts of deceased users;
When we receive proof of a user's death, we disable accounts of deceased users.
- Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints: The account is disabled after a local clerk adds the death information to the membership record.
- Public users: A living person user can submit proof of death to FamilySearch Support , and the account will be disabled.
Surviving family members cannot inherit or gain access to the disabled account.
For questions, please contact FamilySearch Support .
When a user passes away, if FamilySearch knows about the death, the system locks the account. All Memories items that the individual contributed remain in our Family Tree database.
This is also true of tags. Others can still see these tagged items but cannot edit them.
If the user has added private memories, those memories are not made public. The system is set to keep private any memories designated by a contributor as private.
What @Cindy Hecker posted is true. "Yes when you are deceased your account is disabled. That is true. But there is no set time as to when anything or anyone in your private living space will be released. They are still talking about and discussing it but no plan is in place. No one is automatically marked deceased at 110 years of age. "
How to use the Help Center:
- Click on the question mark on the upper right of the page.
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Let us know if this is helpful.
Anitra, Group Leader2
For what it is worth, for many years the whole intent of these databases were specifically for setting up and tracking names for their temple work. The initial FamilySearch FamilyTree was focused primarily on reducing all of the duplicate temple work that was happening.
As you can see the whole intention of these databases originally was 99.999% about DECEASED INDIVIDUALS!
The ability to add immediate (and now extended family) is a new idea that is just evolving. The brethren do seem very supportive of this newer concept of supporting the documenting of living families as well, so things will certainly be continuing to evolve in that direction, but it is a different concept from before.2
@Sheryl Neal Slaughter I have listed my children on FamilySearch. I was told by my Family History Consultant that as they go on to FamilySearch and make their own accounts, they will have to merge both the one they make and the one I made. My understanding is that our accounts don't disappear, but after a couple of months, they will be seen where now they are not because we are alive.1
Ron Tanner who is a project manager familysearch addresses this very question in his Q&A session he holds 2x a month on his FB page/Youtube channel Family History Ron. He asnwered this Question on April 8th during his live and you can watch that if you look for it to here his answer and he knows.
There is not a clear system in place which is why you are getting conflicting information. Yes when you are deceased your account is disabled. That is true. But there is no set time as to when anything or anyone in your private living space will be released. They are still talking about and discussing it but no plan is in place. No one is automatically marked deceased at 110 years of age. The 110 year rule is for entering profiles into FamilySearch and for temple work.
Hope this helps some,
Thanks. I will await an official response. In the meantime, I have removed all living individuals I was able to remove from my tree and stopped adding new living individuals.2
What I am most concerned about is wasting effort adding large numbers of living individuals to my tree with all the information but a death date and then losing all that effort when I die. I had many, many individuals in my tree in that condition.
I am thinking how sad it is that if I pass all my family history research to my daughter, she won't even be able to correct any of my memories or sources if a mistake is found, or continue adding death dates as my living individuals die.
It almost tempts me to cheat the system and create two accounts--1 LDS and 1 not. I could reserve all my ordinances in the LDS account and enter all my Family Tree information in the non-LDS account. Then, when I die my family will have my login for the non-LDS account and can keep it active to make corrections, continue adding death dates, or answering questions from other users who reach out on my contributions for as long as they want.
This is a very sad situation and is making me rethink putting everything I have into Family Tree.2
I know. I have a few things I thought it might be good to put in Memories. They are about living children, so I didn't tag them because they could have been found through Google Search. :(
I'm not too sure what to do with the living family memories now. as the memories will be locked when I die.
Unfortunately we are unable to have two accounts in Family Tree. It just doesn't work. Either non-member or member account will be locked when we pass. So. . . .
It is a conundrum indeed. Since you brought this up and I've looked into it, I'm thinking I will put my living information and memories into a desktop program, like Legacy, RootsMagic, or the like. Also I will put the desktop tree on a USB with the memories and family tree from the desktop program.
I can download a GEDCOM from Ancestry.com and import it into the desktop program. And begin from there.
It is indeed a unfortunate situation. One I hope FamilySearch will be able to find a cure for.
Thank you for your input.
Did I mention that you can go to the bottom of the page, click on Feedback, and express your feelings about locking the memories when we die. Use the Report A Problem reply.
Anitra, Group Leader0
Sadly, I learned about this problem in FS last year after having entered hundreds of living relatives (2nd, 3rd, and 4th cousins).
I then decided to use Ancestry as the repository of my living relatives in a private tree. The tree is easily shared with other family members so everyone can see the tree and memories (photos and documents - Ancestry doesn't support audio).
Further, I can pass on my Ancestry log-in credentials to my children when I die; there is no issue with the Ancestry account being locked. They can relatively easily move the tree to one of their accounts if they want (memories must be moved one by one). As living people pass away, it will be fairly easy for my heirs to add death dates in the Ancestry tree and then copy the person to FS using the link.
I included a few generations of deceased folks in the Ancestry tree to tie all of the living folks together. I focus on FS for deceased people and Ancestry for living people. I often find records in Ancestry for deceased people that are not on FS and can easily move the source to FS using the link.
It was fairly easy to create the Ancestry tree. I went back a few generations in FS and downloaded the descendants for each ancestor, then merged the trees, and uploaded to Ancestry. This included all of the living folks I had entered into FS (no memories).
It is very easy to find the deceased parents in FS of a living person in Ancestry by using the link in Ancestry.
At this point, this method is working well. If FS develops some better method for living relatives, I may switch back.
Thank you for posting this question here in Community for all of us to learn and help each other.
Your questions about living persons showing in your Family Tree and what happens after you die have been asked by a lot of us. While FamilySearch does disable accounts of deceased persons, and we do not provide information about living persons on your tree, you may still want to capture first-hand details about your living relatives. This is one reason we recommend that each FamilySearch account holder keeps his/her tree in a third-party software program. That will allow you to privately include any details you choose, have strict control over what goes in or gets changed, and you can share it with any you choose at any time.
The following link may be helpful in finding our "Solutions Gallery".
We hope this has been helpful. Best of success in your family history efforts.2
I'm so glad I found this thread. I've been working on cleaning up some of my living records (about 1,000) and started wondering about this very issue. I'm heartbroken to find out that all that data could be lost.
Another 3rd party program I'm going to try to see if it will bridge this problem is Ancestral Quest. I recently discovered this program when working on an old Personal Ancestral File, trying to verify/add information into FamilySearch. Apparently, AQ is the platform that FS was built from so it integrates with FS exceptionally well (literally you can see FS records and your records side by side). If you haven't worked with AQ before, they offer a free version so folks can see what they think.
I will be watching this topic very closely in the future. I was hoping to get access to my husband's grandpa's FS account, but after reading these responses, it sounds like it will be forever lost, which is sad. :(1
I've never had an interest in documenting the living, and now that I understand how things work here in FamilySearch, I plan to try and put all images I have of living people (which are precious few), into an album. Albums can be shared. I am not concerned about losing them because 100% of them are on Facebook too. I have put 99% of my efforts into the deceased, and that is probably a good rule to stick with in FamilySearch. I collaborate with a couple of other family members in FS, but I do not even have them as living persons in my private space. No need. My Ancestry trees are the same. The only living people I have on my various trees are there because those people have let me manage their DNA tests and I am doing research for them.1
This has been a very interesting discussion and I appreciate everyone's comments. I want to add that I use FamilySearch, Ancestry.com, MyHeritage and my own personal genealogical software (RootsMagic) to keep track of my ancestors and to record their memories. I add living individuals as necessary to complement my research, and specifically, my efforts to prove out the relationships with my DNA matches. I have one particular branch of my family that was discovered via DNA testing and while we are 100% positive on the female, our documentation for the spouse is sparse because of the lack of descendants. I have tried to create family trees for the DNA matches on that side and so having the living names of the matches in these databases helps me connect our relationships. I also have to say that being to make these discoveries is nothing short of miraculous in my opinion. I'm so grateful for the advances in technology that have made all of this possible.1
This was a very informative topic answering many questions on what happens to your tree when you pass on. Thank you all.1
This is all about what happens not to your tree but to whatever stuff (treasures, junk?) you have stuck into profiles in your private tree space.
My private tree space is sadly cluttered with a random collection of profiles of living persons that someone made in the public tree space by marking them deceased, and I flagged as still living, but the original contributor is not around to take care of them. So FamilySearch keeps sticking me with them.0
This discussion confirmed my thoughts on this whole topic. Thank you.
It would be wonderful if FS could do as Google does and allow you to appoint someone who CAN still access your account. An heir so to speak. I think it would be a wonderful improvement.1
you can do that yourself simply by sharing your user id and password with a trusted family member
as well as avoiding marking things as private - and using albums for all your memories uploads and sharing the album url's again with trusted family.1
I would love if FS had the option for FS to automatically make your profile public when FS finds out you are deceased. I have put a lot of effort into my own profile so that my kids and grandkids can learn about me once I'm dead. I feel very frustrated when I think about the idea that all of that work is wasted.0
BrianMickelson Ugh, while it sounds fantastic to have FS automatically decease people when FS "finds out" they are deceased, exactly how would that work for the general public, and around the world? Being born a certain number of years ago? If I am adding a new person to the tree and make a 100 year typo in the birth date, say, making that person 120 years old instead of 20, that would be a problem. And for the MANY individuals who have no birth date at all because there is simply no record, you have to retain the right for someone to mark them deceased (particularly if they really ARE over 120 years old!). Automatic interpretation of obits? How many people of the same names exist? Would the AI logic then dive into the obit and pull out the family and look for matches in the database? We do have ongoing projects doing that right now with census records, and I'm not quite sure all is going to plan. Do you really trust that the correct living person will be marked deceased?
No, the only way to decease people who are not in the LDS church is to let researchers and family members do it. It needs to stay as is.1
@BrianMickelson for your intended purpose of leaving behind a profile of yourself, you should create a separate profile of "you" in your private tree space. You should also arrange for your executor or some other reliable person to access your FamilySearch account to change the status of that separate profile from Living to Deceased, then inform FamilySearch you are deceased so the account can be disabled. You wouldn't want anyone to be able to hack into the account later and cause mischief.
Another option is to build your personal profile in some offline software, and leave it for someone to upload a GEDCOM of you to Family Tree and perhaps other sites too.
The "root" profile to which a FamilySearch contributor account is fixed at the time of account creation cannot be made public.
Many contributors here use their private tree space, even their root profile, as research tools. There is no presumption that anything in a contributor's private tree space is intended to be made public.0
work wasted?? simply use the account of a spouse/sibling/or child and have them create a record of YOU in their private space - and have them upload all the records you have compiled (items that would be uploaded as FS Memories??). THEN - when you pass on - all they have to do is mark their record of you in their account as deceased and mark any items as public - and all your information lives on.0
I have put a lot of effort into my own profile
A foundational principle of all wiki-style collaborations is no personal ownership, especially no personal aggrandizement. So, on Wikipedia, where biographies of notable living persons are allowed, the subject of a biography is not to contribute to it.
On the basis of that principle, FamilySearch Family Tree is not the proper venue for an autobiography.0
There are plenty of autobiographies posted on FamilySearch. Most though only become public after the person is deceased. They are often posted by children, descendants siblings etc. once the person is deceased.0
there are so many autobiographies uploaded to FamilySearch that the FIND options maxes out at 10,000
there are probably hundreds of times that amount.
FamilySearch and LDS very much support things like journal writings / diaries and autobiogaphies.
what better thing to leave behind to descendants than the autobiogrophy of a a direct ancestor.
one of my favorite autobiographies of an ancestor is one of ROGER Clapp
also of interest is this, among many FamilySearch activities - that allows users to record information about themselves0
I’ve really enjoyed reading this thread. This question has been on my mind for a while since I have been gathering data and adding living family members to my family tree for years. I’ll probably continue to do this and pass on my login credentials before I pass so others would have access to their information.0
If YOU find value in adding records for living persons in FamilyTree that’s great. But many of us don’t for the reason that once you are deceased there really is no way to easily share those records with others. Because though YOU may be dead these people will still be living. And the records for living people are kept private. Yes. You can share your credentials so that after your death they may be accessed using that account. But outside of that account the records for living people are as if they don’t exist. FamilySearch memories on the other hand can be shared depending how they are entered. But even there memories for living persons can be a tricky thing. So as you spend so much time adding items for the living make sure you are clear really how useable /accessible such info will be when you are dead0
having a flash drive and sharing your data and material and documents with close family that way will be so much less of a headache in my opinion0