My family research right now is based on digitalized 19th century vital records. These, of course, are scans of the original, not text. There is, though, a third party project where people have transcribed some of information, the form basically is a table where you can see that such and such was born/got married/died in year X, their father's (or on some rare occasions, mother's) name was such and the record number where further details can be found.

So I copy-pasted information from parish of interest into spreadsheet, it has over 30 000 such records. Obviously I could just use this to look up information just on people I care about, however, to my dismay there are two large families with exact same surname, which so far don't appear to have any actual connection and things are further complicated by the fact that many people have same names. So I hatched this idea that since many of the records actually hold nice little piece of family tree (child-parent, husband-wife relationships, for females there could also be parent, husband, ex relationships indicated by surname change) these somehow could be stitched together by analyzing matches between people's names, relationships and lifetimes to give me probable family tree to verify, which would spare me from digging trough records on the other family, unless there is some well hidden relation.

I am at loss how to do this. So far I've tried to convert data from spreadsheet to GEDCOM and make use of family tree software that finds duplicates, but it seems none of the applications have merging options that would be capable of doing such thing automatically, plus they look at exact data matches, not probable relationship based on years person was active and their relationships with other persons. I am wondering if anybody could suggest some new idea how to do this.


2 Answers 2


This is an area of great interest. The next generation of genealogical software, that will be able to handle digital evidence (in "persona" records), will need to provide this service. I know of one company that offers software that would meet your needs. Check out:


Their software uses a complex statistical model to compare persons and can automatically combine/link/merge persons meeting various comparison criteria. I have not used this software so can't offer more. This may be a commercial system that you would have to pay for. I hope that other responders will know of other options for you.

  • I am confused - I see no software on the site, just list of their customers?
    – Risiki
    May 18, 2013 at 14:51
  • @Risiki, Here is a quote from their site: "Since founding Pleiades Software Development, Inc. (PSD), they have developed GenMerge, the Genealogy Merge Utility, for the genealogy market and GenMergeDB for larger population reconstitution projects." This is the software I was referring to. You would have to contact them for details on how to obtain it. In the past you were able to download trial copies. Their current policies might be different. May 18, 2013 at 17:23

With respect to:

since many of the records actually hold nice little piece of family tree ... these somehow could be stitched together ... to verify

Myheritage.com's 'smart match' software appears to work that way to me. At least when it presents me matches, it shows me the 'surrounding' family tree info graphically with supporting text. You might consider putting your two overlapping trees in myheritage and using it. I don't know if you could run it offline.

Another possible choice would be to use enhance Gramps (an open source project) to do as you desire. It already has the ability to database the gedcom info and graphically shows the relationships. Even without modification, you could put the overlapping trees in and get close to what you suggest.

  • Not sure about Myheritage - I am looking for functionality online sites offer i.e. looking at random people for connection, but I got ton of two people relationships, not a tree and I believe they limit how many people you can have on your site. I did try Gramps, but it crashes easily, even with small amount of data and it couldn't connect people right
    – Risiki
    May 18, 2013 at 14:43
  • Interesting you have problems with gramps. It's worked well for me. You might put a question here on 'why does gramp crash when you ...' and maybe someone here can help with that issue.
    – Duncan
    May 19, 2013 at 2:33
  • I haven't used Family Historian with that large a database yet, but it does have a robust merge/compare function.
    – Jan Murphy
    Jan 4, 2014 at 15:24

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