Webtrees Managers

Each Webtrees website can host several different family trees, and Webtrees Managers can administer each individual family tree. They have the same permissions of Moderators, but in addition, they also have permission to change some of the settings or configurations in their own particular tree.

webtrees Manager Login

Logged in Webtrees Managers will find an extra ‘Control panel‘ link under the top menu ‘My pages‘ link. In the case of an administrator, this link provides access to the complete control panel, but Webtrees Managers only have access to options relating to their own individual family tree.

Webtrees Managers Control Panel

Webtrees Manager Control Panel

The above image shows the control panel for a manager of the Underwood Family tree, and the only options available are the ones currently visible.  The options are grouped into four sections, Family tree, Genealogy data, Add unlinked records, and Gedcom file.

Family Tree

Home Page Link

The Webtrees Managers of a family tree may have several editing options on the home page depending upon which blocks are being displayed by the administrator. Any blocks with options are indicated by an ‘Edit’ link.

A ‘News’ block has three links, ‘Edit’, ‘Delete‘ and ‘Add a news article‘.

News Block

A news block opens with a text box with controls at the top similar to most word processors. Highlighting text and clicking on the ‘B’ makes text bold, clicking on the ‘I’ makes it italic, and so on. New news items can be created by adding whatever message you want and then clicking on the ‘Save’ button. Old news items can be deleted.


Each family tree can be displayed with various options and the Webtrees managers of the tree can change all of them. The options include the various facts that are displayed by default for each individual or family, how text is formatted, and how forms and charts are displayed.

There are so many preferences that they have been placed on their own ‘Managers Preferences Page’.


The privacy settings can be different for each family tree, and the manager of each tree can administer those settings through the ‘Privacy’ link.

The first option is whether to show the family tree to site visitors, or only show the tree to members who have registered and logged in. If you select ‘Show to visitors’ in the drop-down menu, visitors will be able to see details of anyone on the family tree who has already died. If you select ‘Show to members’ visitors will only be able to access the home page unless they are family members and log-in.

The second show dead individuals setting is similar to the first setting, but refers only to dead individuals.

There may be individuals in your family who were born 150 years ago, but for whom you haven’t been able to find a death record. Unless a date of death is entered the software would assume the person is still alive and nobody would be able to access their records. The age at which to assume an individual is dead setting tells the software to assume the person has died after a certain number of years. For example, placing the number 100 in this setting will assume anyone born over 100 years ago has now died, and those records will be made visible.

The show living individuals setting has a drop-down setting allowing visitors to view details of living individuals (not a good idea and probably illegal in most countries). Exceptions when this settings may be used would be, for example, in the case of the British Royal Family, when the births and parentage are already public knowledge.

The extend privacy to dead individuals setting is useful in countries where privacy laws extend to persons who have recently died. For example, if you wanted to assume persons over 100 years old were dead, but the privacy laws in your country prohibited information being published on persons until they had been dead for at least 10 years, the settings in these boxes would be 100 in the first box and 10 in the second box.

The details of any living person is private, but this sometimes causes problems in charts where one person is alive, but their child has died as it removes the link between the dead child and their grand-parents on the chart. The show names of private individuals allows you to overcome that difficulty by showing the name (but no other information) of the private individual. This setting allows the name to be shown to visitors, or only shown to members or managers.

The show private relationships is similar to the above setting and allows you to display a link on family charts containing a mixture of private and public information. The charts would contain a ‘private’ box where the information would otherwise be.

The final privacy restrictions section lists some things that are restricted, but the section allows you to restrict items that would otherwise no be restricted by clicking on the large ‘Add’ button near the top. To give you an example, on my own family tree I have the record of someone who has died (so their record would usually be visible to visitors) but whose parents and some of their grandparents are still alive. This section has allowed me to overwrite the defaults and make the person’s record private.

Webtrees Manager Privacy

Clicking on the ‘Add‘ button adds a top row to the table from where the first drop-down box allows you to select the ‘record‘ (of an individual, or a family, or some other record, etc.). The ‘Fact or event’ drop-down box allows you to filter down to an individual fact, (a note, their marital status, date of birth, etc.). The final drop-down box allows you to hide that information from everyone, or to only show it to visitors, members, or managers.

Data Fixes

The Data Fixes link may be available to you, but the setting itself is restricted to administrators only.

Webtrees Managers Genealogy Data

Find Duplicates

Clicking on this link displays a list of records on your family tree the software may refer to the same record. This is useful information but should be treated with caution.

Duplicate Record

The above display indicates Jane Craske has been listed twice, once in record X104 and once in record X47, but in this case Webtrees is mistaken and they are different people. Clicking on each link and opening them in new tabs indicates that X104 refers to a Jane Craske born in 1861 who died when she was four, but X47 is a Jane Craske born1842 who died when she was 23. Not only that, but they also have different parents.

If the display had been correct then I could have used the ‘Merge’ link and this would have displayed the two records side by side. In many cases, some of the information on one of the records will be wrong or incomplete. Click in the box beside each record to indicate the correct information, and then click on the ‘Merge records’ button.

Merge Records

This link is similar to the above, but it takes you straight to the final section where you can select whichever two individuals, or two records, you wish to merge.

Check for Errors

With a bit of luck, clicking on this link will display a No errors have been found message. If not, then you would need to read the error and follow any advice in order to correct it.

Find Unrelated Individuals

You are managing your own family tree, so it seems reasonable to assume everyone listed will be related to you, however distantly, but that is not always the case. If you do acquire some ‘strays’ the find unrelated individuals will list them, and this will give you the opportunity of checking their details, deleting them, or adding a note to them explaining how they got there!

(see also ‘Add unlinked records‘ below


In every family tree, each record has an internal reference number called an XREF number. For example a family may have an XREF number of F2, and a record may have an XREF number of R2.

These are best left alone unless you know what you are doing, but there may be rare occasions when you want to renumber everything. This link allows you to do so, but it can take a long time and uses a lot of resources on the website.

Changes Log

The changes log provides a table displaying every change made on your family tree, so it is a great resource for troubleshooting, or for discovering who has done what, and when.

The filters at the top of the table allow you to filter entries to between certain dates, or to certain types of record, or to changes made by a certain user. Once filtered, the record can be downloaded.

Add Unlinked Records

You don’t want anyone adding a load of unconnected persons to your family tree, so the usual way of adding a record would be to add it to an already existing record. For example, a new individual would usually be added to existing parents, or as the parent of an existing child. That is the only way editors and moderators can add records.

Webtrees Managers may occasionally have different needs necessitating them to add an unlinked record. This is best explained with an example. In the 1700’s I have a family in my family tree living in a very small village where they are the only family with that name. Three miles away there is another very small village where almost all the residents have the same last name as the person in the first village. It seems reasonable to assume the family from the first village is related to the families in the second village, but I have been unable to find documentary evidence to definitively link them. On my family tree I have connections to the single family from the first village, but have been unable to make any connections or link the many families from the second village.

The add unlinked records link allowed me to add all the people from the second village, and to list the sources, repositories, and images of church records, etc. I can’t link them to my tree yet, but I’m pretty sure I will be able to in the future, and adding them now makes sure I know where to find their records when I need them.

Gedcom File

Many people research their family trees, and there are numerous different family tree software resources. Left to their own devices, everyone would list information differently, and family tree software would be able to display their own trees, but not trees created with different software.

All those difficulties have been overcome by using an internationally accepted format called the GEDCOM format, and Webtrees uses that format.

What this means (in theory) is that you should be able to download the information from a Webtrees site and use it in any other family tree software, and you should be able to upload information from other family tree software and add it to Webtrees.

The (in theory) tag above is due to the fact that the theory is not always reflected in practice. Almost GEDCOM compliant, but not completely.  Most family tree software creators decide there is at least one change they need to make to improve the GEDCOM format. Whilst the additional tag may be only small, the changes can sometimes ensure merges do not happen in the way you would expect.

The ‘Export‘ link in this section is great for creating a backup. You can ‘Export‘ a GEDCOM file from your Webtrees family tree to your computer (or to a zip drive, etc) on a regular basis. If anything goes completely wrong with your Webtrees site (the server company goes broke for example), all you need to do is to create a brand new Webtrees site and ‘Import‘ the GEDCOM file.

What these links are NOT meant to be used for is to ‘Import’ a file from different family tree software. There are no bulk ‘merge‘ facilities on Webtrees. Importing a new GEDCOM replaces what is already there and destroys the existing file, it doesn’t merge new information into the existing GEDCOM. This is deliberate. Merging GEDCOM files is allowed on some family tree software, but it is rarely takes place without a hitch, and sometimes goes horribly wrong, destroying years of hard word.

Export‘ the GEDCOM as a backup, but only ‘Import’ that backup when you are creating a new site or re-creating an old one.


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