In my Ancestry.com.au family tree there are an unknown number of Unknown relationships that should be Biological relationships.

I often spot them when I am on a profile page like below:

enter image description here

These are errors and I do not know how they were introduced into my tree. They are easily fixed using the Edit > Edit Relationships button to turn them to Biological but they mess up other Ancestry functionality like ThruLines.

Is there any way to search for Unknown relationships in an Ancestry tree?

I am hoping for an Ancestry.com solution, but I also have Family Tree Maker 2017.


2 Answers 2


I had the same question today, and figured out an answer. It involves the raw GEDCOM file, but it is possible.

  • Step 1: Export your raw GEDCOM file from Ancestry.
    • Tree Settings
    • Tree Info Page
    • Manage your Tree section
    • Export Tree
    • (When ready) download
  • Step 2: Open the GEDCOM in a text editor like Notepad++
  • Step 3: Search for "REL UNKNOWN". Here is an example from my GEDCOM:
    • The text below stands for Family 15 with with husband 56 and wife 75 has a Child 77 who has a natural relationship with the Father and an unknown Relationship with the mother
0 @F15@ FAM 
1 HUSB @P56@
1 WIFE @P75@
1 CHIL @P77@
2 _FREL Natural
2 _MREL Unknown
  • Step 4: Search for the child: @P77@
    • You will find multiple places where @P77@ exists, but you are looking for the individual record.
0 @P77@ INDI 
  • Step 5: Scroll down from the individual record until you find their name
1 NAME John John Johnson
  • Step 6: Go back to this person in Ancestry.com and fix the relationship

just get family tree maker, sync your tree from ancestry, relationship report, go through the unknowns and sync back to ancestry - really easy

  • 3
    Hi, welcome to G&FH.SE! Please look at the help center to learn more about the site. One-line answers with minimal information aren't a good fit for our site. Your answer could be improved by recognizing that the OP has Family Tree Maker 2017, which no longer syncs with Ancestry.
    – Jan Murphy
    Mar 2, 2022 at 6:04

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.