I have been working on my family tree on ancestry.com for almost two years. Recently I've expanded the tree to include the ancestors of my brother's wife. However, this new part of my tree has now become very large, and since I am not directly related to my brother's wife's family, is there some way that I can remove her section from my family tree? I'd like to create an entirely new tree just for her ancestors, but not recreate it from start.

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    Hi, welcome to G&FH.SE! I've edited your message a bit for clarity.
    – Jan Murphy
    Commented Jan 7, 2017 at 18:00

1 Answer 1


Ancestry's article Splitting a Family Tree, posted on Nov 9, 2016, says that you can't do it in Ancestry's online tree system:

While it is currently not possible to split family trees on Ancestry, there are two alternatives that can be used to produce similar results: duplicating your tree, and saving people from one tree to another.

Their workarounds (using only the online tree system) are:

  1. Download a copy (or copies) of the GEDCOM file, uploading it (or them) to duplicate trees, and then delete all the people in the new trees that you don't want to keep, or
  2. Start a new tree, and then copy all the people that you want to split off into a new tree one-by-one, and delete them from your old tree as you go.

The disadvantage of copying people to one new tree from your current one, and then deleting them from your current tree as you go, is that the new tree will have a referral link back to your deleted tree. So if you want to use the one-by-one method, it may be cleaner to copy everyone into two new trees, leaving your original tree in place.

Using Other Tools

If you have desktop software, it may be easier to download copies of your GEDCOM, import it into your desktop software, and use a tree-splitting function there, such as Family Historian's Split Tree Helper. Then once you have the two trees split the way you like, you can upload both of them to Ancestry, and work on the two copies after that.

Whether you use an online solution, or download a GEDCDOM, the safest way to go about this is to leave your original tree in place on Ancestry, and work on copies of the tree or GEDCOM. That way, if you make a mistake, you can start over again with another copy of your current tree.

  • Another possibility (which I have not tried) is to download your Tree to Roots Magic, copy and rename the file, then delete the sections of the the file you don't want. Just an idea, have no idea if it work. Commented Apr 13, 2020 at 23:40

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