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Growing and Sharing Your Family Tree shows how rewarding and informative building a family history can be. Genealogy instructor Jeff Sengstack teaches how to find lost ancestors, connect with living relatives, and collaborate with others to grow a family tree. He explains how to use the Family Tree Maker application along with Ancestry.com and other internet sites to track down census data, immigration records, and other important documents, and then organize family tree data. Jeff also presents tips on how to scan old photos, create video slideshows, and build family web sites. Exercise files accompany this course.
Download Jeff's free genealogy tips from the Exercise Files tab.
One of the exciting things you can do these days with family trees is merge other person's family trees into yours, especially of course where you have common ancestors. But before you do that merge process, you really want to look at any family tree that you've downloaded or that's been emailed to you, to make sure that you're doing the right thing, that the facts are correct and that the person's you want to merge are in fact related to you in some way. You just don't want sort of randomly merge things together and hope that they're going to connect. And after you've made that determination, after you thought yeah, this will be merging correctly, then you can merge them, but you can actually select individuals in the file that you're merging in and be that precise if you choose to be.
Now what I've done for this exercise is I've created two files that are subsets of the sample that I created for this tutorial series. So of course, I'm willing to accept both sets of individuals and put them into one merged file. I don't really need to check them in too much detail. Here is the Merge1. I just loaded that up here, imported it because it was a GedCOM file. Now I've got this tree of Merge1 and I want to merge this with Merge2, the other one that I made for this exercise. Now whenever you're doing something involving files then you'll find the command under the File menu. So File > Merge.
Now it says, before you perform this operation, it is a good idea to create a backup. Well, you know what? That is a good idea. The last thing you want to do is merge something into your tree and not have backed up your tree in the first place. So make sure you back up your tree in the first place because things can really go wrong when you merge things. You may discover that you've merged people in your tree that you wish you hadn't because they really don't belong there. So do back up your file. We're not going to do it because we know these folks are okay, so I'm going to click on No. Now it says which tree do you want to merge with? We are Merge1 already, so we're merging with Merge2, so I'm going to double click on that.
And now it's going to just open up this little itty-bitty menu with only a couple of commands. But don't be fooled by this. This is just the beginning. It's saying, do you want to include all individuals or just some selected individuals? In this case, we're going to include all of them, but you certainly can select specific individuals you want to merge from a file that you're bringing in. And it then says, do you want to merge or append matching individuals? Yes, we do. We want to try to find matching individuals and then merge them. We could do a non-merge where we actually are not putting people who are identical in the same tree and later you can merge them together if you care to.
But we're not going to it automatically because we know these people really are related because they are the same people in this case. So I'm going to click on Next and don't worry. It's not done yet. Now it opens up this very detailed dialog box where it shows the two persons that actually are being merged, that are the joint persons between the two trees. This is the connection right here: Hermina and Jacob. We can then now go through the shared facts. Since I made this from the same tree, their facts are the same, so we can certainly accept them. And below this are all the new folks that are being added from the Merge2 file.
So I'm willing to accept that these people are being merged. If I click on these, it shows their facts. You don't need to merge them because they are new as far as joining the facts together. So I'm going to go down here and click Merge and this is going to merge those two trees together starting originally from 33 individuals in the first tree. And now that we have put them together, we're going to have 44 because it added some number where there was some overlap. We now have from 31 to 44 individuals and be connected them here with Jacob and connected them with Hermina down here.
So we've shown you how to merge two files and this is a common thing in family tree making. You can go online, download files or get them emailed to you and then merge them in this fashion.
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