Have you ever come across an individual on FamilySearch and thought, “they don’t belong in this family” and then wondered what you should about it? I’m going to share my thoughts not only on the hows of breaking relationships but also the cautions and the encouragement.
What do you do when you think a potential relative is in the wrong family on the FamilySearch Family Tree?
First, you need to make your case. Why do you think someone doesn’t belong in the family they are currently connected to? You shouldn’t take people out of families willy-nilly. You have to have a solid reason to break relationships in the family tree.
I’ve previously written about the case study for Winfield Underwood’s family. After determining his parents, I found a new issue on his Person Page. Winfield might have a brother named General Thomas Underwood, or he might not.
While reviewing each of Winfield’s siblings. I discovered that they were born in Kentucky. More specifically, they were generally from Taylor County, Kentucky. I also noticed that most of the children of Hiram and Nancy Underwood migrated west. They went to Texas.
General Thomas Underwood doesn’t seem to go west. He may have traveled west and returned to Kentucky, but the evidence doesn’t support that conclusion.
General Thomas Underwood’s Person Page has sources attached. These sources are wonderful, but they don’t help me know for sure if General is with the wrong family.
The Person Page can’t help me out, so my next step is to see is available on the FamilySearch record side of things. I use the FamilySearch quick link to transfer the Person Page data from the tree to the search form. That way there is no extra typing involved.
On the search results page, the first possibility involves an Underwood with Bill and Mahalia. That’s not Hiram Underwood and Nancy Gaddy. I keep scrolling, and I do not find any hints for General Thomas associated with Hiram and Nancy Underwood.
The William and Mahalia appear repeatedly. Hmm…
To speed things along, I researched General Thomas. I have come to the conclusion that he was part of William (Bill) and Mahalia Underwood’s family, not Hiram and Nancy’s clan. Instead, the General that belongs to Hiram and Nancy is GeneralLogan.
Let’s remove General.
To take General Thomas out of Hyrum and Nancy’s we must break their relationship, You can’t break the relationship on the left side where he is with his wife and his children. You have to break the old link on the right where he is a son of Hyrum and Nancy Underwood.
In the form that pops up, click on the option to remove General from the family. You can replace the parents if who knew the parents were. In this case, we’re just going to remove the parents.
You’ll be asked if you are sure you want to do this by requesting that you complete a “Reason Statement” box.
DON’T SKP THE BOX!!!!
Key in why you are breaking the relationship between parents and children (or husband and wives, the process is the same). In so doing, you’ll remind yourself why you think General Thomas Underwood doesn’t belong in Hyrum and Nancy’s family.
Once you click the final blue button, you will be taken to profile that looks like this. Now General Thomas has no parents we can go add William and Mahalia and the sources that back up that claim.
It is simple to break relationships, but should you?
Yes, if you can make a case that an individual is connected to the wrong family.
If you can’t make the case and you are a little doubtful, then gather more research until you have reached a conclusion.
If your research is inconclusive, let things go, but leave a note on the Person’s Profile. Write why you don’t a family relationship is accurate and see if anyone else has the answer.
If you make a mistake in the process, you can always restore it back. It can become a little challenging, but errors can be repaired.
So use the family tree, break the relationships that are incorrect and together we can make sure the worldwide family tree is as accurate as possible.