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These two people cannot be merged.

Please provide reason why so I know better and don’t waste my time next time.

Better yet, if they cannot be merged let me know ahead so I don’t waste my time trying to merge.

If they cannot be merged why are they possible duplicates?

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  • There is work-in-progress to make this more user friendly:
    Don't let you start a merge that is not possible, better error messaging as to why the merge is not possible. Thanks for calling this out.
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    What do we do if we get this message and they are definitely duplicates?
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    p.s.

    When I merged them the opposite way, everything worked fine
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  • I have found very often that even when the error message appears after I click to merge, the merge completes. Just follow the waypoint at upper left to return to the first person and do a "refresh" (ctrl + r or F5 on keyboard in widows), then look at parents or spouse detail page after refreshing to see if the duplicate-merge was saved.
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    • the IDs are in the screen shot - see above
    • I looked at both IDs and they are still both in the system, and have not been merged, and their changehistory's show minimal changes. Is there data missing that needs to be there for these two people? Have you encountered a different set of persons that were Merged where info disappeared? THanks
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  • Once nFS is turned off some time next year, most of the restrictions on merging will be eliminated. So if you can be patient until then, it will get much better next year.

    Also, we are working on improving the error messages and warning before you start a merge if it will fail. There are some problems in those calculations we are fixing.
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  • I’m let's try to be positive
    I have had so many problems with merge. I read all the user guides, watched all the videos, etc etc... I understand how to use it, but like it is said here, things just are not really ready to work right. It can be discouraging when we are trying to avoid duplication and progress in the work.
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  • I would be interested in specific examples of problems experienced by patrons with merging. We've done a lot to reduce the number of problems encountered when trying to merge in the two months since this post was written, but there are still some problems we are trying to fix. I will try to contact some of you individually to see if I can help you out. If I don't contact you and you want to be contacted, just add a reply on this thread.

    For everyone, I will attempt to try to clear up a few things:


    1. When you see people in the possible duplicates list that indicate they cannot be merged, there is a system constraint preventing the merge. The most likely causes are:


      1. An nFS constraint is preventing the merge. The most common one is too many inner persons (currently set at 250 for performance and other reasons). As Logan said above, this will be eliminated this year when the synchronization between Family Tree and nFS is removed.

      2. The gender of one of the persons is unknown. The workaround for this is to change the unknown gender person to match the known gender person and you could merge assuming no other constraints prevent it. There is a plan to add a way to allow users to do this automatically sometime in the future.

      3. One or both of the persons have LDS church membership records attached to them. Because of restrictions with how the system works, the church member should be the person you are merging into. You can switch the order and be able to merge, but there is also a fix to allow users to switch the order automatically that should be out pretty soon. If both persons have LDS church membership records attached, you should call support to merge them.

      4. There are other reasons, but they are pretty uncommon so I won't list them here.


    2. When you get an error message after going through the process to select what you want to remain in the merged person, it means there was an error performing the merge. I can make a couple of statements about this.


      1. The biggest known reason for seeing an error is an issue with the operation timing out we're currently working hard to get fixed. In most cases the merge actually works despite the error message, but you may have to wait a few minutes to see it go through.

      2. If after waiting a few minutes and refreshing the person, you still can't see evidence of the merge working, please call support to report the problem so we can get it fixed.

      3. An FYI to everyone, the operation is more likely to succeed if not very many items are brought over from the person on the right of the merge screen. This is simply because less operations are being performed, meaning less opportunities for failure. This means that you should try to have the person with more correct information being the one merged into (i.e. on the left). Merging into the more correct person also makes the change logs cleaner.


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    • You are correct that those two persons would result in more than 250 inner persons. Your specific instance also has a different more rare problem that caused it to be unmergeable before looking at the number of inner persons. This is why no message appears. This merge constraint occurs for about 0.7% of all unmergeable persons and will also go away when nFS synchronization is no longer in place which is why we haven't devoted resources to trying to message this case better in all 10 languages.

      Anyhow, the problem in this case is that merging would result in a person being their own father in nFS. This hasn't been allowed in nFS or Family Tree for a while so I'm not sure how your ancestor got in this state. The specific relationship in question is between LZ29-25D as a father with MH8J-SRJ as the spouse and KPH4-RHM as one of the children. I believe your best course of action is to call support to request that the bad realtionship be cleaned up properly.

      However, even after doing that you still won't be able to merge until nFS synchronization is turned off because it would create an IOUS, so if I were you I'd just wait until then. You would see the message if this relationship were cleaned up, though. Regardless, I hope I've explained why these persons are not mergeable. I wish I had a better answer for you.
    • Ben I have had a similar issue with a name that has lots of Inner things, I don't know what to say or how to get them to merge and I also have complained. Their is some people with many duplicates that thy won't merge, I am not sure why it is a issue, yes I have done many of the things you have said. It kind of makes me a little mad, but I am waiting for the church to get off of NFS and then if not fixed then I will be super mad!
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  • It is so refreshing to hear you actively seeking feedback. I already sent you two emails outlining my main merging problems and problems one of my friends had.

    For awhile, I just tried my best to sit and wait, knowing that FamilySearch is doing their best to fix bugs in the tree. I'm really happy that we are communicating about the problems. It will be great if we can save other people from having some of these early frustrations before too many get discouraged. You guys are the best.
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  • Whenever I encounter any data issue like this I always open a Case in the feedback system. If I get resolution that does not result in merged records I would add the text of the case as either a discussion or as a Source attached to the individuals involved.

    I would suggest adding any case information to any individual where Ive had to get FS data admins involved. The more information the better. You can almost bet someone else will come along 5 minutes behind you trying the same thing.

    To open a case go to https://familysearch.org/help/feedback and report a problem
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  • We receive the message, "These two people cannot be merged," when trying to merge inferior profile 9HJ5-815 into superior profile 9HJ5-DJC. Both are Wallace W. Preston. Contacted live chat support, but they too were unable to merge these two.

    We receive the same message when trying to merge the inferior spouse, 9HJ5-81T into superior spouse, 9HJ5-DJL (Arsenath Woodworth).
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  • This is due to a known defect introduced by some recent changes. We hope to have a fix out soon to address the problem.
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    • You are correct that Daniel Pierce 9HZN-HXQ is not an IOUS. The reason you could not merge him with anyone is that there was a relationship which got corrupt somehow that had a read-only person in it. I've cleaned up this data and now I see 17 possible duplicates all of which are mergeable.
    • You are too good to us, Ben Baker! Thank you.
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  • I don't know if this is a good place to post problems, but I'm trying to merge KWJK-P2X and K2H3-6B3, both of which appear to be small profiles, but without success.
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  • Has there been some progress on improved error messages? I've been trying to clean up a really nasty mess of duplicates, and I keep running into the "cannot be merged" wall. To provide some context, the mess is centered around 97S2-JKW. There are probably hundreds of duplicates in that part of the tree, and their relationships are horribly tangled, which might be part of what's tripping up the merge tool. If I had even a rough idea of what is preventing the merges, I'd be able to make a lot more headway.
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  • Any progress update on this "cannot be merged" wall? It appears this is still a major problem discouraging users.

    I would like to re-affirm the comments from L. Wayne Andrews over 3 years ago that a reason please be provided

    If the persons are really IOUS, then PLEASE put up a yellow banner so we will know not to waste our time trying to help clean the tree before the technology supports our efforts.
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  • Ron Tanner (Family Tree Guy) June 04, 2015 14:40
    Yes we are making progress. But it is a big job. All systems have to be moved to work with Family Tree that are working with nFS before we can shut off the synchronization. We track progress and all Family Tree teams are working on it.
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  • Thanks for your comments. The system is stronger every day. I will continue to be patient. Such a great effort takes time.
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  • I have come across this problem several times - each time - and this may be unique to the circumstances I encountered - the problem was identified as the same, namely - that the person on the right (the record that will be deleted after the merge) had some data sourced from Church Membership Records. It appears that - probably correctly - that the system stops you deleting a record created from Church Membership Records.

    On two occasions, swapping the merge around solved the problem. On one occasion both records were sourced from Church Membership Records - a member who was actually baptised twice (a common practice in earlier years) - fixed/merged by a request and explanation to the the support staff.
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    • Is Family Search manually merging people? I was always told by them that they don't do that anymore and I needed to wait until NFS was taken down. Have they changed their policy?
    • For the unique situation where duplicate membership records are preventing the merge it is possible to manually resolve the issue. However, many non-merge situations are restrictions related to nFS constraints and we will have to wait for nFS to go away. No manual merge is possible in those situations. There are some other situations where something can be done but they are very limited.
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  • I am aware of at least two situations where merges cannot be done by a user.

    1. There are still IOUS records (nFS records that have hit the 250 limit for inner persons) that will not be able to be merged until all systems are separated from nFS. Currently temple records synchronize with nFS instead of Family Tree, and then nFS and Family Tree must be synchronized so that temple information shows up in Family Tree. I don't understand the details, but uncoupling all systems from nFS and then coupling them to Family Tree is apparently a huge time consuming process. Once this process is complete, users will be able to merge these IOUS records.

    2. As mentioned, if there are two duplicate Family Tree records that were both created from LDS church membership records, you can create a support case and have FamilySearch merge them manually. I'm not sure whether LDS membership is completely uncoupled from nFS yet or not. I also don't know if merging duplicate Family Tree records that were created from LDS membership records will be available for users once nFS is completely uncoupled from all systems, or whether a support case will still have to be created. You can merge a Family Tree record created from an LDS membership record with another record that is not a membership record if the membership record is retained as the primary record.
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