How to Convert Your Ancestry tree into a Gedcom

The term gedcom stands for genealogical communication. It is a way to convert your records from one format, such as FamilyTreeMaker, to another, like RootsMagic, sort of like a translator who speaks both languages.

If your goal is to have a genealogical data base program on your hard drive, instead of being limited to one on a tree, such as Ancestry or familysearch, here is how to do it.

On Ancestry, go to your tree from the Ancestry Main Page.

Click on the tree name in the upper left corner of the tree name (the little down arrow) and select View Tree Settings from the drop-down menu.

On the next page, in the right-hand column is a button that says "Manage Your Tree," click on "export tree." That will initiate the process to download a GEDCOM file for that tree. Then click on "Download Your Gedcom file." Click "Save as" and designate where you want it to be on your hard drive. Or if you just press save it ends up in your Downloads folder.

Give it a name. It can be the same as the one on Ancestry, or you can make up a new one.

Then open your database program on your hard drive. This varies with programs, but with Rootsmagic, open the program, click on "Import a File." You can have it search for a .ged file on your hard drive or you can tell it where that file is stored. (I find storing it temporarily on a flash drive helps me to find it faster.) This takes a few minutes, but will find every gedcom on your hard drive.

Click on the file name. You may give it a new name at this point. Check the relevant boxes for your preferences.

You are then asked to provide information where you got this file. (Optional)

The file then appears in your RootsMagic database.

Be sure to keep your information on both trees up-to-date.