How to separate one record into two records


I mistakenly merged the two Jonathan Bosworths in my tree. So now I have a single record for him (attached). How can I split the record back into two people (Jonathan + Mary and Jonathan + Hannah). I so wish there were an undo feature in RootsMagic. Thank you.

You can sort of undo if you have a really recent backup you can restore. Of course, doing the restore can have side effects of losing everything else you have done since the last backup.

Other than that, about all you can do is to enter your Jonathan Bosworth into your database a second time. Then unlink one of the spouses from the first Jonathan Bosworth and link her to the new Jonathan Bosworth. There may be a lot of work to do to get all the facts and sources set up correctly for both Jonathan Bosworths.

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Restore the backup into a different folder so it doesn’t overwrite the existing one. Clean the remaining person in RM so they have one identity, then drag n drop the other person into RM. You will have to unlink one spouse and link them where they belong.


Thanks, Jerry - Best approach will be to recreate that part of my tree - RM learning curve (sigh)… But how precisely does one unlink a spouse? I really appreciate your willingness to share your expertise :slight_smile:

Thank you, rzamor1. How do you “clean” a person so that they have one identity? That’s the crux of the issue: I can’t determine how to begin the process, i.e., by eliminating one of the wives. The software resists all attempts. Perhaps I’m overlooking the obvious. I very much appreciate your input :slight_smile:

I would open the backup and current database at the same time and compare them. Check the record numbers to decide which is which. If you don’t have them turned on go to Settings, General Settings and select RIN under Number to display. Remove any incorrect data from the person remaining so they are cleaned up.

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Follow up question: How does one “unlink” a spouse?

How does one “unlink” a spouse?

Right mouse on a person and you will get the Menu, select Unlink

Having a backup is probably the best way to get out of this jam. OR create a New Jonathan Bosworth (maybe capitalize his name) and link him to the correct wife. You can then UNlink the other guy. Of course you will need to add the correct facts for the new guy.

If these 2 Jonathan Bosworths are actually 2 different guys, you might consider putting one as Sr and one as Jr – even IF NOT related-- this was the way county officials would handle the problem when recording deeds etc, if they knew there was more than one and the same with the early census where there was 2 Isaac Greens --one was abt 1 year older ( so he was Isaac Sr) than the other Isaac ( so he was Jr)…

Other thing you MIGHT like better is to leave one with the name Jonathan and list the 2nd as John then add the aka fact and use Jonathan to avoid this problem in the future if you can NOT find middle names for them…
Other things I have done to distinguish two guy with the exact same names born the same year in the same county was in the given name put Jonathan ( wife Hannah)-- or you could list his father or even a child

Thanks, MadDog. Clicked on the person in the tree and activated the unlink option. It displays only one of the two wives listed. The one I want to ditch does not appear. I think I’m just going to need to delete a portion of my tree and rebuild from scratch. But life will go on! Hope your tree is being more cooperative :wink:

In other words, not RootsMagic, RootsMadness!

In Family View with the Jonathan that has 2 spouses highlighted look in the left pane, see if he has Spouses 2. If so clìck on that and choose the one you want to unlink. Should work for you.

I made a video on how to get two different Jonathan Bosworth’s lined up correctly with their correct wives. So it shows the Unlinking and the Relinking. Be aware that there are a lot of different but very similar ways to do the same thing. So don’t think that the exact way I did it is the only way to do it.

The video is a little longer than I would prefer at 7:45. It may be found at Two Jonathan Bosworth’s

There was a little glitch at the end of the video where it was looking as if I had clicked on the wrong Jonathan Bosworth or something like that. After I completed the video, I realized that the little glitch was caused by the fact that the highlighted person in RM9 sometimes is not also the selected person. I had one Jonathan Bosworth highlighted and the other Jonathan Bosworth selected without realizing it.

then go to the wife you don’t want and unlink her from husband

Wow, Jerry - what a great gift you have provided! Thank you so very much. Both Bosworths are associated with my Mayflower (ship) ancestors, so getting that part of the tree in tip top shape is vital. Will apply your advice this afternoon (I have a volunteer gig this morning, or I’d try sooner). Will let you know how it goes. God bless you :slight_smile:


If you just heard a HUGE sigh of relief from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, it’s because your coaching worked! One of the Jonathans, however, proved to be an especially rascally entry. It took some time, but by applying the concepts you shared, I was able to finally wrangle him into place. Thank you again – and also to MYoung and MadDog, who also were pointing me in the proper direction. The Mayflower’s storm has passed…


Maybe in the USA but not in England. Perhaps the Jonathon’s are in the USA but I don’t make assumptions or jump to conclusions!

Hi there, nkess. The two Jonathans are indeed different men. So during the wrangling process, I resorted to inserting unique information for one of the men to help maintain distinction between them. It most certainly helped me place each in his proper place in my tree. You anticipated this opportunity; thank you for commenting! Funny to know that officials back in the day confronted similar issues.