Import from Family Tree Maker (FTM)


Different versions of Family Tree Maker (FTM) have different database formats. You can use the export to GEDCOM option, and from FTM 2012 image data is also exported, but prior to FTM 2012 scrapbook images are not exported. Additionally you should note any "source" images from Ancestry are not exported, so you are advised to save to your PC all source images attached in FTM while your Ancestry subscription is active.

ƒh V6.2 has significantly enhanced features for FTM migrants, so be sure to upgrade to version 6.2 if you aren't already using it. V6.2 is a free upgrade for V6 users. Click Check for Updates on the Help menu of ƒh if you want to confirm that you have the latest version. Note that users of the ƒh 30 Day Free Trial should be aware that it supports all features of ƒh except Family Historian Plugins.

Export GEDCOM from Family Tree Maker

File Export Dialogue


  1. In FTM open the file you wish to export to GEDCOM.
  2. Choose File > Export to open the Export dialogue.
  3. In the Output Format dropdown list select GEDCOM 5.5.
  4. Select items to include such as private facts, private notes, or media files.
  5. Press OK.

Versions prior to FTM 2012/2014 may have other options,
so ensure Indent records is NOT ticked,
and that Abbreviate tags is ticked.

Export to GEDCOM Dialogue

Export to GEDCOM

  1. The Export to GEDCOM dialogue should now be open.
  2. Select Destination as Other.
  3. Select Character set as ANSI.
  4. Press OK.
  5. Decide on a location to store your GEDCOM file so that you can easily retrieve it later. A reasonable place to store your file might be your Desktop or My Documents. You can access these by clicking on the box next to Save in and scrolling all the way to the top. You will find both the Desktop and My Documents in that list.
  6. Next to where it says File name type a file name such as MyData.ged.
  7. Press Save.

Export Status Dialogue

Export Status

  1. The Export Status window should indicate the file exported successfully.
  2. Press OK.
  3. Your file has now been exported and is ready to be used to create a Project or opened directly in Family Historian (ƒh).

See Understanding Projects for more information on creating Projects from GEDCOM files using the File > Project Window.

Media Images

With ƒh V6.1 or later, any Media attached to Citations is easily found via the View Media dialogue as described in What’s New in Version 6.1.

For ƒh V6.0 or earlier, any Media attached to Citations may appear to vanish, but they are just being coy. They can be discovered on the All tab of the Individual's Property Box, but can also be revealed by using the toolbar camera icon View Media for selected Individual, and choose just the Source and Citation Media option. If you cannot find them ask for help in the Forums.

If you are using ƒh V5.0.8 or earlier, and need to migrate your Media files, then the GEDCOM file must be edited to replace every occurrence of 1 FILE with 1 _FILE , whereas later ƒh versions do not require this edit.

General Advice

In the latest ƒh V6.2 many of the problems below have been resolved as described in What’s New in Version 6.1 without the need for Quick Fix Plugins. A special custom Fact Set named Extended Set has been added to support the extended FTM facts.

The Cause of Death is appended to the DEAT event tag, and when imported to ƒh is automatically moved to the Death event local Note, but any existing Note becomes hidden; only visible on the All tab. Thereafter, the Note can be manually moved to the Death event Cause field, and deleted. A similar problem may affect other facts with an FTM Description. Alternatively, use Quick Fix Plugins method below.

If a Source Citation has both an Entry Date and Text From Source then an extra 3 DATA tag is produced. ƒh automatically converts these to 3 _DATA Uncategorised Data Fields. To correct the problem, use a plain text editor on the exported Gedcom file to find and delete the redundant 3 DATA tag lines, or use Quick Fix Plugins below.

Source and Repository record 1 RFN tags are treated as Uncategorised Data Fields and fixed with Quick Fix Plugins below.

Many fact tags are treated as Uncategorised Data Fields and may include:

  • 1 ADDR Address
  • 1 EMAIL Email
  • 1 PHON Phone
  • 1 _ELEC Elected
  • 1 _FUN Funeral
  • 1 _MDCL Medical
  • 1 _MILT Military

The fix for these is to use Quick Fix Plugins below, or wait for ƒh V6.1 due soon. Then use the Change Any Fact Tag Plugin if you wish to alter the facts chosen by default.

Quick Fix Plugins

The problems identified above, and several others, can be fixed as explained below:

  • Before importing the GEDCOM file, use File > Project Window to open say the Family Historian Sample Project and use the ƒh command Tools > Preferences > File Load/Save and untick Move invalid data into note fields where possible to allow Death Cause to be easily detected and multiple Notes merged.
  • Import the GEDCOM file via the ƒh command File > Project Window > New Project > Import a GEDCOM file. Ensure Copy any linked multimedia files into the new project folder is ticked. The dialogue is uncomplicated, but in the Check for word-wrapping errors window, select Each row contains 2 words separated by a hyphen, although there have been reports that Each row contains 1 word with a hyphen in the middle works better.

Check for word-wrapping errors

  • Use the ƒh command Window > Log Files to view a log of the problems mentioned above, but do NOT Delete the log file.
  • Run this Plugin to produce a Result Set of changed Fields. Click any Field Value and choose Locate in Property Box or Locate in All Tab to open its Property Box for review. To cancel the Plugin changes, use Edit > Undo Plugin Updates before closing ƒh.
  • When satisfied with the results, use the ƒh command Tools > Preferences > File Load/Save and tick Move invalid data into note fields where possible to restore default setting.

Import Discussions