Delete Data for Living People


It is usually necessary to delete the data for living people from your database, before publishing it to a wider audience such as on a website. This article explains how to do this.

Individual Living and Private Flags

The first step is to set the Living Flag on all Individual Records for people that are alive. You can similarly set the Private Flag on Individual Records you want to exclude entirely.

Search this Knowledge Base for ‘Living people’ and you will find Queries and Utilities for managing living people data. In particular the Flag Living Query helps with setting the Living Flag on appropriate Individual Records.

In the Individuals Records Window, it is useful to add a Living Flag column that displays ‘Y’ for each flagged person:

  • Open the Individuals Records Window and use Lists > Configure Record Window Columns.
  • Scroll towards the bottom of the Item list, select Living Flag, and click the > button in the middle to add it to the right-hand Column.
  • Use the up/down arrows to position the Living column, and finally click OK

To set the flag manually, right-click on an Individual Record name and use the menu option Set Flag > Living.

Then when creating a website or Exporting a Gedcom file you can use Living/Private options and Add/Remove using Query selections to restrict living and private data.

If flags alone don’t achieve the result you want, the Clean Living Persons plugin provides more options to cleanse your data in ƒh version 5 and above.  Important note: The plugin deletes data from a project so you should create a ‘Publication Project’ and run the plugin on that.

Create Publication Project

Important: Regardless of which data will eventually be deleted, it is recommended that a Publication Project is created to hold the resulting database. This way, you don’t run the risk of inadvertently deleting data from your master project.

In particular, if any Multimedia Files or Individuals are to be deleted, then a Public Project database is essential, because you will not want to delete those from the master database.

  1. Open the original master project database.
  2. Use File > Project Window…, select the project you want to copy, then More Tasks and Copy Project… and click OK to close the current project.
  3. Set the Name of Copy to ‘Publication’ (or ‘Publication X’ where X is the name of the original project, if you have more than one project) and, if desired, alter the Location for Copy.
  4. Set Items to Copy (click Help for advice), click Copy, and finally OK.

If none of the Multimedia Files are to be retained, then delete the Media folder from within the \Public\Public.fh_data folder within the Publication project.


Last update: 22 Feb 2024