What Are Family Tree Data Problems, and How Do I Fix Them? – FamilySearch August 12, 2020

I saw this on FamilySearch today – What Are Family Tree Data Problems, and How Do I Fix Them?: https://www.familysearch.org/blog/en/familysearch-data-problems-family-tree/.

August 12, 2020  – by  Jan Mayer

A red exclamation point icon (!) on your family tree may be surprising, but there’s no reason to worry. The bright symbol is simply an indication that ancestor data has been added incorrectly and needs to be fixed. Most of the time, those fixes are quick and easy!

The top four reasons for data problems are the following:

  1. A location or date has been entered in the wrong format.
  2. Dates indicate that an ancestor as has lived more than 120 years.
  3. An event appears to be a mistake, such as a marriage that took place before the person was born.
  4. Someone has added new information that doesn’t agree with what is already there.

Mistakes such as these are generally easy to correct.

Locating Data Problems

The data problems icon is displayed on the FamilySearch Family Tree when the system detects data that seem incorrect. To find alerts in ancestor profiles on Family Tree, please sign into FamilySearch.org (or create an account and fill your family tree), and follow these instructions for the most common ways to find errors.


By clicking the red icons that appear next to ancestors’ names, you will find out what type of data problem needs to be fixed. To fix the data problem, click the person’s name. Then, in the summary box, click the person’s name again, or click Person.

Fan Chart View


Before You Change Anything


How to Fix Data Problems

  • Once you have found a data problem, go directly to the ancestor’s profile page.
  • Select the Details tab under the portrait on the far left. Scroll down to locate the specific data problems.
  • Near the Data Problem icon, click Edit. A pop-up box describes the problem and allows a correction to be made. If the problem is a standardization problem, be sure to select the standardized date, event, or place. If the Family Tree system doesn’t have a standardized option that agrees with the information you have, retype what you want to include. You will be prompted to update the reason the information is correct. This is a good place to add or refer to a source.
  • Click Save, and refresh the web page.

Data Problem icons are great tools to ensure that your records are accurate. Although correcting these problems can require a bit more research, most often they are a simple change. Search your tree for data problems, and see what you can fix!



About Wichita Genealogist

Originally from Gulfport, Mississippi. Live in Wichita, Kansas now. I suffer Bipolar I, ultra-ultra rapid cycling, mixed episodes. Blog on a variety of topics - genealogy, DNA, mental health, among others. Let's collaborateDealspotr.com
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