How to change the Start Person in the database


Is there a way to change the “Start Person” that show’s up in the count tree’s feature?

I’ve read that this person is most likely the first person added in my tree. In my case, this is deffinately not true. The start person is one of my paternal grandfather’s siblings. I didn’t even know of her until I had well over 200 people in my tree (now over 5,100). So it wasn’t until several months after I initially created my tree that she was added.

The main issue I have with this is that when I export my GEDCOM to import elsewhere, that start person winds up being the “root” of the tree I’m trying to create on other sites (ex. Family Tree DNA).

The information:

  1. Tree was created about 5 years ago using MyHeritage.
  2. I was the first person I added to my tree.
  3. I’m now using Roots Magic 8, version
  4. I imported my GED from MyHeritage, into Roots Magic, using the previous ver. of RM8.
  5. There is only 1 tree that shows up in the Count Tree’s tool, as expected.
  6. I have set myself to the root person by right clicking myself in the tree, then choosing Position > “Set root person.”

I’d like to change the start person to me, the first person I entered into my tree.

Is this possible?

If Roots Magic itself can not make this change, can the change be made in the database file using something like a SQLite tool such as


This would be profoundly difficult using SQLite. I’m not sure it’s even possible because it would be messing around with the primary key column of the PersonTable.

The following probably would do what you want.

  1. Create a new and empty database.
  2. Enter yourself into the new database. It’s most important that you only enter your name at this point - no birth information, no sources, no nothing but your name. This will make you person #1 in your new database.
  3. Drag and drop everyone from your existing database to the new database that only contains yourself. If you are more comfortable with GEDCOM than with a drag and drop, you could instead export everyone from your existing database and then import that GEDCOM into the new database that only contains yourself.
  4. The new database will now contain everybody in the existing database and you will be in the new database twice - once as person #1 and a second time as some other number. Merge the person #1 who is you with only a name with the you who was imported from your existing database. When you do the merge, make very sure that person #1 is on the left side of the merge.

That’s about it. You will now be person #1. Most everybody else will have a new number in the new database. The only I thing I would worry about is that GEDCOM Export and then Import can have some data loss, even between RM and itself. And Drag and Drop is really a GEDCOM Export and then Import in disguise.

I have a suspicion that in your use case the risk of data loss from GEDCOM Export and then Import would be minimal. You can check out the possible data loss concerns at Drag and Drop Data Losses This is not official information from RM. Rather, it is information that has been developed by RM users.


Thank you very much for the reply, information and suggestions. I really appreciate it!

Your suggestion worked perfectly!

  1. Backed up the existing tree and exported the existing data into a GEDCOM (did not privatize living people).
  2. Created a new db file with just my name (and no other information).
  3. Imported my GEDCOM from my previous tree into the newly created tree (with just my name in it).
  4. Did a manual merge, making sure my new name (only) was on the left side, and the other me (with all my information from the previous tree) was on the right.
  5. Merged, and several seconds later my new tree included everything from my previous tree…only this time, with me as the Start Person (as confirmed by Count Trees).

Love the fact that it was a very simple, straight forward solution. Whole process took about 5 minutes or less.

Thanks again!