Count Trees and Associations

I’d like to make the following software enhancement suggestion but am wondering if others have alternate ideas.

I’ve implemented the Associations feature in RM9 and when using the “Count Trees” function find that all the associations, contrary to what I expected, are listed as separate trees.

I thought that now that everyone in the database had been “linked” or “connected” (either by way of being an ancestor in the main tree, or being an association of a person in the main tree) that I would have one single tree. Instead, I have many (but they are all linked via the Associations function).

Could the “Count Trees” function be enhanced please.

There are many ways that this could be achieved. One solution would be to add an extra column to the “Count Trees” result. A tick mark could be placed beside any of those “satellite” trees that are attached by way of Association to the main tree. This will then enable us to make a quick determination if we have any “true” unconnected trees (as they would not have the tick mark).

Perhaps others have alternate solutions that might present better / be more informative?

If I am reading correctly, you expected that the Asssociations feature would link people in the same manner as when you add spouses, children and so on, is this correct? If so, I think you may have seriously misunderstood Associations. Associations are meant to link people without the standard ‘by blood/by marriage’ type relations (which would add them to the tree).

However, keep in mind that Associations are a new feature, and I am not certain the devs have figured out exactly what they can do with it. It wouldn’t be the first time a feature was started but never developed to its full possibilities. It actually has the feel of being a rush feature in order to justify upgrade costs to the user.


I would not expect, or want “Associations” to be part of the same tree, as they are not kin - blood relatives /or by marriage relatives. The fact that they are not in the same tree, does not mean they are not in the same database and the fact will be linked to both or all of them. Personally, the only “trees” in my database other than the main one, are “Association trees”. I don’t see an issue with having an option somewhere to differentiate between different sorts of trees, but for me personally it is not an issue. Associations is a new feature and so MAY be developed more. I agree with what kfunk says.

I created a person called ZZ Trees, Unconnected that I connect all these separate trees to as children. That way I only have two trees in my database. The main tree and then others that I don’t know how they fit into my main tree yet. Everyone in the unconnected tree is colored tan so I can tell them apart.


Hi Kenneth @kfunk , Yes, I’d thought that the Associations function, by linking people (albeit not necessarily by blood/ marriage), would add to the number count of the main tree (rather than presenting as individual satellite trees). I thought that by linking we were implying we wanted these (associated) people in our main tree.

The suggested enhancement was to help delineate and identify the three possible groupings within a database:

  1. the main tree,

  2. the associations linked to the main tree, and

  3. “satellite” trees that have no connection to the main tree.

The reason for the suggestion was to ensure I didn’t have any “satellite” trees. I colour code Associations but this doesn’t seem to highlight the issue (or not that I’ve found).

But Renee @rzamor1 suggests a great alternative (thank you!) and I think I’ll adopt a variation of that approach.

I do have one question though Renee: I’ve had a bit of a play around with creating “people” to collect all the Associations, however it seems that the start person for the trees will be the person with the lowest RIN. Is there a way of changing the start person for each tree (so the “people” newly created and labelled “Associations of XX” will be the start person of each tree)?

And yes, I do agree with you Kenneth that the Associations feature has so much potential and could do with more development. I understand issues / suggestions have been previously flagged and really hope they are implemented with time.

Thanks to all for your responses and thoughts. I love to hear how people use the software and gain so much by reading this forum – it’s really helped with progressing research.

not Renee BUT I have used something similar while trying to find the 4th g-grandfather’s Jacob Kess’s parents-- there are a ton of Kess families in that county in MD – a lot that belonged to the German Reformed Church and lot that belonged to the Evangelical Lutheran Church–so I used Kess Germany Reformed Church etc-- either Germany Reformed Church as the Given name or after Kess in the surname-- whatever you want then attached all the different lines as sons or daughters–also included a note Kess Germany Reformed Church explaining why all these people are group together–this was before Association and still not sure Associations would work for this…

Guess it MIGHT confuse Ancestry BUT the file is NOT on Ancestry…

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On Count Trees it will always show the lowest record number for a person in the tree. That is why I added ZZ to the surname, so it would sort to the bottom of my index lists. That’s how I open that tree. I only use Count Trees to make sure I don’t have stragglers.

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Thanks so much for the confirmation Renee re sorting of start person on the Count Trees function. And thank you and @nkess for providing your thoughts and a workable solution! I’ve put it in place and its working a charm :smile:

Good Evening

I suppose there should be an option to include or exclude “associations” from count trees/
I suspect the design would make this more complicated than it seems – if one has many associates the report could be quite long. I think most use would want “Associated” people excluded from count trees but there should be an option for either case.

I would think and hope so too.