Problem with RM8 adding a random name for unknown fathers

Whenever I have a person in my tree with an unknown father, RM calls him William Bailey. This shows up on the Edit Person screen. It isn’t on the Pedigree chart but it does feature on the individual person window (top left) on that screen. On the mother’s corresponding screen under Spouses, the father is shown as “unknown spouse” but clicking on “children” under that spouse moves to the child but with a header of “Children of William Bailey & ‘mother’”. Family view does not show William Bailey.

There are 4 separate William Baileys in the tree but the “ghost” one is none of those. The one that RM seems to use as a “John Doe” has no dates, parents or any other information. I have tried unlinking him from each family, unlinking the child etc but with no effect.

Presumably I have somehow created this phenomenon but I have no idea how I did it or how to get rid of it. Is there some way of reverting to [unknown] [unknown]?


Sounds like corruption in the file. Go to Settings, Tools and run all the Database Tools. If that doesn’t help they try a drag n drop into a new blank database.

Thanks Renee. I ran all the database tools but they had no effect so I have dragged and dropped into a new database and that seems to have solved the problem. Can I unlink the old database from my Ancestry tree and then link the Ancestry tree to the new database or do I have to import the new database into Ancestry and create a new tree, which will presumably lose all the links with DNA matches?

Thanks again


Before you embrace your new database, make sure you have not lost anything of critical importance to you. There is a fix for the problem database using sqlite.

I would turn on the RIN too. Settings>Number To Display

It’s one that others have encountered. I hypothesised the probable cause and demonstrated how to correct it last December. See the thread starting at

Thanks for the suggestions/fixes. I’m away for a few days now but I’ll check them out next week when I get back. Cheers

When you did the drag n drop the connection to the existing Ancestry Tree would remain. You can have multiple databases connected to the same Ancestry tree.

Thanks Tom. It would be good if I could just get rid of the phantoms from my original database. The new one, created by drag ‘n’ drop as per Renee’s suggestion works fine and , when synced to my Ancestry tree (again working fine, thanks Renee) it uncovered several duplicates in my Ancestry tree that had not come to light before, so that was useful. However, comparing the two databases shows quite a few disparities in the File Properties: Same numbers of People, Families & Alt Names in both but 4 Events have been added, 21 Places lost, Sources have gone from 697 to 409, Citations from 4,192 to 30,656, Repositories from 932 to 935, Media Items from 13,457 to 7,582, & Media Links from 8,130 to 610,216! Getting to grips with that lot looks like a lot of work so a sqlite fix for the original database sounds like a great idea.

However I don’t know how databases (or any other programmes/applications come to that) are put together and I have absolutely no idea how to use sqlite. DeletePhantoms3.sql sounds ideal but what do I do with it? Is there a tutorial somewhere? And does it work with RM8, I see it was created back in the days of RM7.

Cheers, Graham

There is some learning material under the Learn menu at but, if you have not used a spreadsheet program before, it’s a big leap.

I think I started updating the script in question for RM8 but lost interest in the app.

I don’t have any unknown parents. I do have plenty I don’t know the names of, so they get named _____ (five underscores) for forename, surname or both. Using Scottish records isn’t too bad, but English ones usually don’t give maiden surnames for married women who have children or die, so I will often have John Smith m Mary _____ or the illegitimate Joe Bloggs has mother Fanny Bloggs and father _____ _____. Works nicely for me.
I also invented a ‘Relationship’ fact (copying the Marriage one) so that Joe’s mother had a ‘relationship’ with his father about nine months before the birth date. That occasionally gives a clue to who the father was.