Start person in "count trees"

I have done a count trees operation on my database (there are a lot of them) and I can’t figure out what the what “start person” means. Does anyone know what the definition of the “start person” that appears in the “Count Trees” list is? Sometimes, it seems to be the root of the tree, the person that would appear at the far left in the Pedigree list for the tree. Other times, it seems to be the highest leaf in the tree, one that has a descendant list, but no ancestors in the tree. Other times it is just a random looking person on the tree. Is is perhaps the first person that I created on the tree? That seems to be the case sometimes.

Within each tree, it’s the person with the smallest record number. That normally means it’s the person within the tree first entered into your database.

There are complaints about this procedure from time to time, but it’s very difficult to think of any other way that RM might pick the person to represent each tree.

Thanks for the prompt reply. Perhaps it might be better to call this something else (tree label?). At least it would be worth having your reply be in the Help text for “Count Trees.” I did look there when I found this puzzling effect.


is there an easy way to make a group of all people belonging to a particular “Count Tree group”?

Make note of person shown for that “Count Tree group”
Groups->then Plus sign icon (Add new group)
Groups-> then Pencil icon (Edit groups), then New button
-followed by-
Enter name for the group
-followed by-
Selecting (highlighting) the group name selected->then Edit button->then Search (Surname, Given) of person shown for that “Count Tree group” and checkmark left of their name.
-followed by-
Choose Mark button->Everyone in highlighted person’s tree (additional checkmarks will appear for other tree members)
-followed by-
Choose Select button (lower right). Named group is populated. Color coding can also use the same Mark button procedure.

I have wished (and requested) for improvements in the Count Trees area. I have over 100 ‘broken branches’ laying all over the forest and I sometimes find myself in one far from the lead person (Lowest RIN #). A ‘find the lead person’ tool would be a nice addition to the Count Trees function (or show it in the resulting display or make it a column that could be added to the results or …


The person you see as the lead in the broken branch is the person with the lowest RIN.

I only have two trees in my database. My main tree and another one for all my unconnected trees. I have a person called ZZ, Unconnected Trees that I add all my unconnected trees to as children. That gives the flexibility of adding the person that I want to see as a child from that unconnected tree. I highlight everyone in that tree tan so I can identify them as a person not connected to my main tree. As I find where they fit in the main tree I unlink them from the unconnected tree.

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Well I guess I was not too clear. I find myself at some random person and do not know which tree this person is in. Now is when I would like to know who is the lead person in this tree.

Good idea Renee but as I said I have over 100 broken branches at least 6 of them have well over 100 people in them. I grow them hoping to walk into the ‘ah ha’ moment where I know they belong in the main tree. So unless I am missing something I think the same issue would exist with your scheme. I find… as above?


I also have hundreds of broken branches in my database. Most of them are not errors, but rather are where I have collected all Bryans from cemeteries for a particular county or all Bryan marriages for a particular county etc., and the same for numerous other surnames. Eventually but not always, I’m able to make connections. For example, I have just spent two days chasing down an unknown Mrs. Minnie Bryan from several years worth of city directory data from the 1920’s. There was no Mr. Bryan in the city directory. I finally figured it out from a 1926 obituary for Minnie’s father where Mrs. Minnie Bryan was listed as his daughter.

You can make a group out of any particular little broken set of people, but it’s not as easy as it should be. Make the group by starting with the person shown in Count Trees and define the group by doing Mark => Everybody In Highlighted Person’s Tree. Having made the group, you can use the group to filter the sidebar Index tab or to filter the People List View tab in the main People tab. It might be nice to be able to make the group just by right clicking on the person’s name in the Count Trees screen.

In your case, lowest RIN does nothing then. If you are on a random person then you should be able to quickly figure out where you are by looking at the pedigree chart. The lowest RIN in the broken branch will be an ancestor or descendant of either the person or their spouse.

The lowest RIN in a broken branch is the first person in that branch entered into the RM database. It does not depend on ancestral or descendant or spousal relationships.

Yep, and there is about a 99% chance that the lowest number entered will be the one that everyone else is hanging off of in the broken branch. Think about it!

Not necessarily - in all cases.

When I start a new broken branch I record in the general note of the lead person a unique text string (making it searchable) and a description of who, what, where, when and why I have started this broken branch. So in this case the lowest RIN does do something. Sometimes it is a gut feel, sometimes it is a common surname or near common surname, sometimes it is a geographical area where I have lots of main tree finds, … When I start a broken branch I generally research far and wide on that lead person to see if I can uncover the connection I am hoping is there, which in turn will allow merger. I may be weeks into this research and well off the lead person. There have been cases where I had been out of that broken branch line for years and a new addition to another tree popped up in the ‘is this person already in your file’ test. I can be well off the direct line of the lead person and not ‘quickly figure out’.

When I do connect two broken branches I know that the Lead Person for a portion of these two groups of people will change lowest RIN person. I will modify the note in the person that gets ‘demoted’ to help sort this out some time in the future but retain all the reasons I wrote for starting this branch.

So for me at least being able to click on a person and then use a ‘find lowest RIN’ tool would be most helpful. I looked at the GEDCOMs hoping I could easily find a means for ferreting out the lowest RIN but it was not easy. If there is a way that exists which will help me out of this situation I would love to learn of it.


The only way I know of to find the “lowest RIN” person for the branch in which a person is located is something like the following.

Create a group containing the person and everyone in that person’s tree. “Everyone in the highlighted person’s tree” is supported in the marking protocol in RootsMagic Explorer.

Make RIN be a column in People List View and filter People List View by that group.

Sort People List View by the RIN column. In People List View, the RIN column is selected as “Record number” and is displayed as “Rec#”.

I find that the person with the lowest RIN in a broken branch can seem quite “random”, even though of course it isn’t really random. For example, I may start a branch with a person and add ancestors or start a branch with a person and add descendants or start a branch with a person and add a spouse. And then I may find a common person in two branches which I merge to form a single larger branch. When that happens, one of the lowest RIN people in the two branches is no longer a lowest RIN person. So the lowest RIN person in somebody’s branch can actually change because of merges.


Re: showing the lowest RIN.

How do I 'filter the People List by that group"? Maybe I should mention here that I am still on RM7.


Click on the “Show Everyone” drop down and select your group.

Then click on the Rec# column header label to sort the column.

Thanks to all, especially Jerry and Bob C.

Well apparently I had punted the ‘select a group’ (twice), as I had everyone or maybe the largest tree in my test group. I rebuilt the group based on the lead person of a small branch (less that 100 individuals, and now he shows up as the lowest Rec# in that group.

This is rather a sledge hammer approach. I can see myself adding a new person and the question ‘is this person already in your file’ comes up. Still feels like a great leap to get from that person to the lead person. …


Clever solution. Thanks for sharing. Real easy to “detach / unlink” (‘child’) from parent ZZ and then link to correct parent(s) / spouse(s)