I'd like to clean up my Ancestry.com trees by identifying which facts in a tree came from other users - facts that may not be reliable.

  1. Can I identify the source of individual pieces of information as either based on my research or other-user-sourced data?
  2. Is there a way I can gather all the user-sourced data for review (either on-line or in a downloadable or exported file)?
  3. Is there a mechanism for deleting all, or selected parts of, the user-sourced data?
  • I have split the overarching question into distinct parts. I hope it has not altered your intentions.
    – Fortiter
    Commented Nov 3, 2012 at 13:14

3 Answers 3


To the best of my knowledge, there is no way to do what you want on the Ancestry site. You might be able to play with a downloaded GEDCOM file but that would mainly depends n exactly who sources were recorded in your online tree.

  • It would also depend on what Ancestry exports onto its GEDCOM and whether it recognises the same stuff when reloaded. And when I looked I wasn't confident it could round trip everything.
    – AdrianB38
    Commented Nov 3, 2012 at 18:06

I am not sure that Ancestry.com allows you to aggregate across people in a tree; for a particular person, look at the sources for a given event or fact. If the source is missing, or if it points to someone else's tree, then you can delete that fact.

Another possibility would be to export the tree via a GEDCOM file to another program, manipulate it there, and then re-import. To re-import, you'll either need Ancestry's FamilyTreeMaker desktop software, or you'll need to create a new online tree. Currently, there is no way that I know of to upload bits and pieces of a tree directly.


If you are asking for a quick way, I am not aware of one. I use other members' trees as hints. I never link my Tree or have my Tree linked to another's tree. The only way I have found of protecting my Tree is keep it Private. [I do allow some people in my Tree for bona fide reasons, or give specific directions of where to find information or give the support I have in detail] To add individuals found in another tree, I do it the slow way. If I agree or even sometimes temporary will use, I manually enter that person in my Tree and use the primary (and sometimes secondary) sources the other Tree used if I have determined it is a proper source. (As you may know many trees use an incorrect source to put an individual in their tree.) You can delete a person from anywhere, however if is a double linked individual, you will be creating what I call floating branches. Unless it is your intention, I do not recommend it. If the issue is a wrong name or incorrect event or date. I change the names and dates and delete the event. If I want to reference some person or event that I found in another's tree, I will either link to the same source in Ancestry found in the other tree. If the information is not in Ancestry but in an outside source, I first confirm the accuracy of the source, make a pdf ot jpg for my files, and list as a reference the supporting document(s). Again my way is slow. When I use a temporary person I try not to go far with adding individuals until I confirm or deny the temporary one. However, I have made some major mistakes, by going down 3 generations only to find my temporary person is incorrect. I have had the same thing happen by relying on a "primary" source only to find that source was incorrect. I think I have answered how to get the results you want, but my way is slow. There may be quicker ways to accomplish your goals, but I doubt there is a quicker more accurate way. I would love for anyone to find a quicker way with the same accuracy.

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