I am using a PostgreSQL server. Suppose I have 200 values in a master table that need to be deleted. There are 9 other tables referencing this master table. The other 9 tables not only reference the master table, but reference other tables also. The 200 values in the master table are spread out in other 9 tables.

I want to find out if any of the 200 values are present in all the 10 tables and delete them.

Suppose the master table has id = 1 and this record needs to be deleted. Apart from deleting the value in this table, I need to check the remaining 9 tables whether this value is present or not and delete those records also.

For example, if I need to delete the second table, the second table references 3 tables. One is the master table and other two are different tables. That is why I am in a fix.

How can I do this?

Some of the tables have been declared with on delete no action. I am not in a position to change that. Need to find another way without doing that.

Also, when I use foreign keys and delete the other tables, the other tables have been referenced by some other tables also. It is like a chain.

  • 2
    You'll need to do DELETE ... USING ... joins, starting at the "ends" of the FK chains, then working your way back up. This could be automated with some PL/PgSQL logic that queries information_schema if there are too many to do manually. Commented Jun 20, 2015 at 0:39

1 Answer 1


You can use Jailer tool, it will find all rows of child tables that reference to master table.

Example: I have 4 tables : employee, employee_detail, phone_address, relationship. I want to delete employee which name="JOHN". With Jailer, it will find rows in employee_detail & relationship which FK to "JOHN" (by id). And because of phone_address reference to employee_detail, so Jailer will find rows in phone_address.

tb_employee ----(1,n)----tb_employee_detail----(1,n)----tb_phone_address 

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