Import from Ancestry website


Importing from Ancestry can be awkward, especially if Media images are required, so if you have a synchronised FTM database, then an Import from Family Tree Maker (FTM) is usually a better option. Also check the Media Images section below for further advice.

fh V6.2 offers significantly enhanced features for FTM migrants, many of which also benefit Ancestry migrants, so be sure to upgrade to V6.2 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 fh if you want to confirm that you have the latest version, but beware that the Upgrade Now auto-installation process may fail, and the Family Historian Version 6.2.7 Upgrade process is more reliable. Users of the fh 30 Day Free Trial should be aware that it supports all features of fh except Family Historian Plugins.

Exporting Your GEDCOM

There are alternative Ancestry commands to reach the export a GEDCOM option.

  • From most screens click TREES > Create & Manage Trees and then click Manage tree against the tree to be exported.
  • Otherwise, if the tree is already open, click the tree name top left and click View Tree Settings.

Either way, the Tree Settings ~ Tree Info page should be displayed for the chosen tree.

  • On the right side of the page there is a button to click labelled *↓ Export tree*.

  • Ancestry will now go ahead and process the tree, eventually presenting a button to click labelled *↓ Download your GEDCOM file*.
  • Choose Save File to download the GEDCOM file to your computer.
  • See Understanding Projects for more information on creating Projects from GEDCOM files using the File > Project Window.

Media Images

Downloading the GEDCOM file does NOT download any linked Media images, but does include Media records.

Family Tree Maker

If you have a synchronised FTM database with Media files, then an Import from Family Tree Maker (FTM) is usually a better option, and it includes Media images.

Roots Magic

RootsMagic offers a TreeShare for Ancestry capability that downloads most Media images. Those image files can be linked into the Ancestry project Media records after importing to fh, or the Import from RootsMagic (RM) process can migrate the entire project including Media. Note that the RootsMagic Essentials version is free.

General Advice

In the latest fh 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 Ancestry facts.

The Comments tab is for communicating with other users when you make your tree public and cannot be exported. Use the Notes tab in each person's record for details you wish to appear in the GEDCOM file and in the local Note of each Individual within fh.

The Cause of Death is appended to the DEAT event tag, and when imported to fh 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 Ancestry 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. fh 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 and 1 CALN tags are treated as Uncategorised Data Fields and fixed with Quick Fix Plugins below.

Some fact tags might be 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

A fix for these in fh V6.2 is to use the Extended Set. Alternatively, use Quick Fix Plugins below, then the Change Any Fact Tag Plugin if you wish to alter the facts chosen by default.

Census Source Citations are typically recorded against Residence facts rather than Census Events, making all the fh Census support tools useless. See the Import Discussions below for a method of converting such facts.

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 fh command Tools > Preferences > File Load/Save and untick Move invalid data into note fields where possible to allow Death Cause and other event descriptions to be easily detected and adjusted.
  • Import the GEDCOM file via the fh command File > Project Window > New Project > Import a GEDCOM file. The dialogue is uncomplicated, but in the Check for word-wrapping errors window, select Each row contains 1 word with a hyphen in the middle.

Check for word-wrapping errors

  • Use the fh command Window > Log Files to view a log of the problems mentioned above, but do NOT Delete the log file.
  • If running an fh version earlier than V6.2, install the import_from_ancestry_or_ftm.fh_lua Import From Ancestry or FTM Plugin into the Tools > Plugins window.

    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 fh.

    If this Plugin hits problems, they may need resolving in Ancestry or by Handling Uncategorised Data Fields (UDF) for just the problem fields.
  • When satisfied with the results, use the fh command Tools > Preferences > File Load/Save and tick Move invalid data into note fields where possible to restore default setting.
  • Often Note Records are used instead of local Notes on Facts, and can be fixed using the Clean Up Notes Plugin.

Import Discussions