Using FamilySearch Family Tree: A Reference Guide (October 18, 2013)

All registered users of FamilySearch.org can upload GEDCOM files for inclusion in the Pedigree Resource File. If you have access to Family Tree, you can also copy information from an uploaded GEDCOM file into Family Tree.

GEDCOM (GEnealogical Data COMmunications) is a computer format that lets computer users transfer genealogical data from one computer program to another. GEDCOM files have the file extension .GED.

This GEDCOM upload process has many planned enhancements. Until they are complete, please be aware of the following issues:
  • You cannot currently add the notes, sources, and multimedia links that are in your GEDCOM file to Family Tree.
  • During the upload process, you compare what is in your GEDCOM file to what is already in Family Tree. If you stop before you finish comparing, simply make a note of which filter and person you left off on.
  • You can include records of living people in your GEDCOM file. However, they are not available for searching on FamilySearch.org. Nor can you add those records to Family Tree.

The upload process has several parts:

  1. Upload your GEDCOM file, and compare it to Family Tree.
  2. View the results.
  3. Review people who are potential matches. Determine whether they are matches.
  4. Review people who can be added to Family Tree. Choose which ones to add.
  5. Review people who are already in Family Tree. Determine whether your GEDCOM file contains more accurate information than the information Family Tree already contains.

Each of these steps is discussed in more detail below.

Part 1. Upload Your GEDCOM File, and Compare It to Family Tree

The first step is to upload your GEDCOM file and compare it to Family Tree. If you have previously uploaded a GEDCOM file to Pedigree Resource File and if that file appears on your list of uploaded files, you do not have to upload it again. Simply skip to step 3.

Your GEDCOM file can be up to 100 MB.

To upload a GEDCOM file, you must be signed in to FamilySearch.org. Uploading your GEDCOM file makes it available for other FamilySearch users to search.

  1. To begin, follow these steps:
    1. In the header of FamilySearch.org, click Search.
    2. Click the Genealogies link. The GEDCOM upload feature is located beneath the fields used for searching Ancestral File and Pedigree Resource File data.
    3. Scroll down past the search fields.
    1. Click Submit Tree.
  2. If you have not already uploaded this GEDCOM file, upload it:
    1. Click Add GEDCOM.
    2. Click Choose File, and find the GEDCOM file that you want to upload.
    3. Enter a name and description for your GEDCOM file.
    4. Click Upload. The name of the GEDCOM file is added to a list of your uploaded files. In the Status column of that list, the word “Uploading...” appears until the file is uploaded. The larger your GEDCOM file, the longer this upload process takes. When it is finished, the word “Uploaded” appears, and the Compare button is now available to click.


      Your GEDCOM file uploads and is processed for inclusion in the Pedigree Resource File. When your file is finished processing, the information about the deceased individuals in your file is immediately available for searching in the Pedigree Resource File. Information about people who might still be living is not published.
  3. Compare your file to what is in Family Tree:
    1. Click Compare. In the Status column of that list, the word “Comparing...” appears until the comparison is done. Instead of a Compare button, you see a View button. You cannot click the View button until the comparison is finished.
    2. Wait while the system compares your GEDCOM file to Family Tree. The larger your GEDCOM file, the longer this compare process takes.
When the system finishes comparing your GEDCOM file, the word “Ready” appears as the Status, and the View button becomes active.

Part 2. View the Results

After the system has compared your GEDCOM file to Family Tree, you can see the results.

  1. On the list of GEDCOM files that you added, click View for the file containg the results you want to see. A summary appears. The summary identifies how many people in your GEDCOM file are already in Family Tree:


    • Potential Matches. This number tells you how many people in your GEDCOM file might already be in Family Tree. The records are close but not identical. You compare the records and decide whether they are matches.
    • Add to Family Tree. This number tells you how many people in your GEDCOM file are not in Family Tree. You can review each person and decide whether to add him or her to Family Tree.
    • Already in Family Tree. This number tells you how many people in your GEDCOM file are in Family Tree. However, your GEDCOM file may have different details about the person. You can decide which details to move from your GEDCOM file into Family Tree.
    • Invalid and Living. This number tells you how many people in your GEDCOM file the system identified as living. The record may also be corrupted or invalid in some other way. You cannot add these people to Family Tree.

    Each of these categories becomes a filter that you can use to see the people in your GEDCOM file. For example, you can see all of the potential matches in one list. You can also use an All Individuals filter to see an alphabetical list of all of the people in your GEDCOM file.

  2. To see the detailed results and begin transferring information to Family Tree, click Review Results.
The first potential match appears. If the file contains no potential matches, then you see the individual from the All Individuals list.

The rest of this process explains how to work through your GEDCOM file by using the filters. If you want to look at an alphabetical list of the people in your GEDCOM file instead, click All Individuals. In the list of individuals, look at the icon to the left of the person’s name. That tells you which process to use to move information into Family Tree.

Part 3. Review People Who Are Potential Matches

Potential matches are people in your GEDCOM file who might already have a record in Family Tree. The record in your GEDCOM file is different enough that you need to review the information and confirm the match.

Potential matches are marked with a triangle icon ().

  1. If the list of potential matches is not already shown, click Potential Matches, which is located in the Filter box. The filter box is in the upper-left part of the screen. The list of names that is beneath the Filter box contains all of the people from your GEDCOM file who are potential matches. The first potential match appears. The person from your GEDCOM file is on the left. The person from Family Tree is on the right.
  2. Compare the person from your GEDCOM file with the person in Family Tree.


  3. Decide if the person is a match.
    Option Description
    The person is a match
    1. Click Yes.

      The system adds this person to the Already in Family Tree group. If the record from your GEDCOM file contains information that is different from what is in Family Tree, that information appears in a blue box.

    2. Review each piece of information that is displayed in a blue box.
    3. If the information in your GEDCOM file is more correct than the information Family Tree already has, click Replace. The blue box moves to the Family Tree record, and Save and Cancel buttons appear in the upper-right corner. If you change your mind and decide that Family Tree contains more accurate and complete data, click Undo.
    4. Click Save. Your changes are also saved when you simply click the name of the next person on the list.
    The person is not a match.
    1. Click Not a Match.
    2. If you want to add this person to the Family Tree, click Add, or simply move to the next record.
      Note: The system does not currently have a way to prevent this record from being added to Family Tree.
  4. (Optional) If the system found more than one possible match for the person in your GEDCOM file, click Other Possible Matches to see the rest of them.
    1. Click the first name on the list.
      The person’s information appears.
    2. Indicate whether the person is or is not a match
    3. Repeat this process for every person on the list of other possible matches.
  5. To go to the next person in this filter, click the name of a specific person on the list. The list displays ten people at a time. If a filter contains more than ten people, use the Next and Prev (Previous) buttons to move through the list 10 people at a time.

Part 4. Review People Who Can Be Added to Family Tree

If your GEDCOM file contains people who are not in Family Tree, you can easily add them to Family Tree.

Records that can be added to Family Tree are marked with a plus icon ().

CAUTION:
When you use the Add to Family Tree filter, each person that you display is automatically added to Family Tree. The system does not yet have an option that lets you prevent information from being added to Family Tree. Therefore, if your GEDCOM file contains a person that you do not want to add to Family Tree, do not click that person’s name.
  1. In the Filter box, click Add to Family Tree. The filter box is in the upper-left part of the screen. The list changes to display only the people who are not in Family Tree. The record of the first person on the list is displayed.
  2. Review the person’s information.
  3. To add this person to Family Tree, click Add. The person is also added to Family Tree when you display the next person The Add button is located in the upper-right corner of the screen.
    Note: The system does not currently have a way to prevent this record from being added to Family Tree. If you do not want to add any more people from your GEDCOM file to Family Tree, click a different filter.
  4. To go to the next person in this filter, click the name of a specific person on the list. The list displays ten people at a time. If a filter contains more than ten people, use the Next and Prev (Previous) buttons to move through the list ten people at a time.

Part 5. Review People Who Are Already in Family Tree

Some people in your GEDCOM file may already be in Family Tree. However, your GEDCOM file and Family Tree may have different details about them. You can review the differences and decide whether to replace what is in Family Tree with what is in your GEDCOM file.

Records that are already in Family Tree are marked with a check mark icon ().

  1. In the Filter box, click Already in Family Tree. The filter box is in the upper-left part of the screen. The list changes to display only the people who are already in Family Tree. The record of the first person on the list is displayed. The person on the left is from your GEDCOM file. The person in the right is from Family Tree.
  2. Compare each detail of the person from your GEDCOM file with the details of the person in Family Tree. If your GEDCOM file contains information that is different from the information about this same person in Family Tree, that information appears in a blue box.


  3. Review each piece of information that is displayed in a blue box. If the information in your GEDCOM file is more correct than the information that Family Tree already has, follow these steps:
    1. Click Replace. The box moves over to the right side, and the Save and Cancel buttons appear in the upper-right corner. A field in which you can enter the reason for your change also appears.


    2. In the reason field, enter a statement that explains how you know that the information from your GEDCOM file is more accurate than the information that Family Tree already has. You can enter only one reason for all of the information that you replace. If you need to add a different reason for different pieces of information, make a note of the ID number of the Family Tree record. When you are finished with your GEDCOM file, you can go into Family Tree and update your reason statements there. If you change your mind and decide that Family Tree contains more accurate and complete data, click Undo.
    3. To save the Family Tree record with the changes from your GEDCOM file, click Save. The changes are also saved if you simply move to the next person in the list.
  4. To go to the next person in this filter, click the name of a specific person on the list. The list displays ten people at a time. If a filter contains more than ten people, use the Next and Prev (Previous) buttons to move through the list ten people at a time.

When you copy information from your GEDCOM file to Family Tree, your entire GEDCOM file is still available for searching on FamilySearch.org.

If you delete the GEDCOM file from FamilySearch.org, the information is no longer searchable on FamilySearch.org. However, any information that you copied into Family Tree remains in Family Tree.

© 2011, 2013 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc.