People List, how are numbers asigned?

New to RM and starting with v. 8.
I’ve imported my tree from Ancestry.
The people list is alphabetical, and each person has a number (in my tree I’m 451 of around a 1000)
How are these numbers generated? I intend to sort my paper records by these numbers, seems as logical as any other way. I have 10 large 4 ring folders with 100 numbered dividers for each folder.

Will these numbers remain constant if I re-download my file from Ancestry again. I tend to research in Ancestry, and then update the RM file (can this be done automatically?)

My main reason for using RM is the far better printing options over Ancestry.

Thanks in advance…


I would strongly encourage you not to use the RM person numbers for filing paper records or for any other permanent purpose. You can’t control the numbers, and they will not necessarily be the same if you download from Ancestry again.

This issue comes up a lot, even if you are typing your data directly into RM rather typing your data into Ancestry and then downloading from Ancestry into RM. The numbers are more stable if you are typing them directly into RM, but there are still lots of ways in which the numbers can change and over which you have no control. So just think of these numbers as internal RM numbers that are intended for internal RM use and not really for your use at all.

It is my opinion that if you want constant, unchanging reference numbers, do NOT rely on the RIN number. Instead, use the built in Reference No fact. Your file setting can be changed to show the Refn number instead of the RIN number. Using that Refn may be a lot of work to start, but it will remain consistent and you will not risk downloading or transferring something that disrupts the RIN ordering.

I use the REF# as my main number for people. I usually have it the same as the RIN number until that is different. All my REF#'s are unique.

The RM person number or RIN as it is known is generated by the database when a new entry is added to the person table. It stays with that database always and is not re-useable or editable. If you move people to a new database they will get a new RIN in the new database.
The REF fact is set by you and stays with the person. It is editable by you. It uploads to Ancestry and transfers to a new database without changing.
I use the best of both worlds by putting the RIN from my master database into the REF fact (I do use SQLite to do this) and ensuring that I only use the one database for that. I then have the REF on Ancestry and FindMyPast trees where family members can see it and use it to refer to someone so we know which John Smith they mean.