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Please don't encourage Gedcoms

Please take the suggestion to share GEDCOMS with familysearch off the home page. People are not taking the time to compare for duplicates and are causing a merging mess. It took me 2 weeks to clean up a gedcom share on one family. It was very evident that this person skipped the " compare" part of the instructions. From what several other people have told me I am not the only one finding this problematic. Thank you.
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  • OK, let me ask you this question, how is a person to up load from a 3rd party app? (2) how are you going to may it so people can take data from one site to another? their could be more questions I can ask.
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    • I am aware of the green tree on Ancestry and opened it, to see what was available, but I have never used it, since I use a certified partner family tree management program with FamilySearch FamilyTree.
    • ... and so far as I can see, the option for "movement of sources from Ancestry" is not available to non LDS patrons. Ancestry's help search locates topics on this matter, but all are blocked off with "No Public Information". In a sense, this doesn't worry me since I have no intention of doing the same work in multiple places.
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    I think that one thing that would help tremendously with this problem of huge GEDCOM file introducing large numbers of duplicates into Family Tree would be to separate the two functions of "Add GEDCOM" that currently are combined.

    GEDCOMs are presented as a way to preserve unchanged ones own, separate, unique, isolated family tree in the Pedigree Resource File. Tossed in almost as an after thought is, "oh, by the way, why don't you add all these people into Family Tree in a laborious, complex, slow, comparison procedure which you will see only after uploading your file of 10,000 names and which is presented as a blue button you apparently have to click as the next step in preserving your file."

    If instead, after adding a file to the Pedigree Resource file, you were done and nothing more happened, people could upload as large a GEDCOM as they wanted without causing problems in Family Tree. It would still be available for researchers to find information and gradually add new information to Family Tree after confirming it as correct.

    There are situations where it is appropriate to add a small GEDCOM to Family Tree in the case of researchers who truly are covering new ground. If the current functionally of "Add GEDCOM" was duplicated and moved into Family Tree itself as a tool strictly to add people to Family Tree, it would be more clear as to what people will accomplish by using it. And a file size limit could be instituted to limit the number of people imported.

    I use Reunion. From there, a GEDCOM containing 4 people is 2 KB, a GECOM containing roughly 7500 people is 4,000 KB. That looks like about 0.5 KB per person. So if a GEDCOM import file size limit of about 25 KB would allow about 50 people at a time, roughly two generations including spouses assuming an average of two parents, six children, four grandparents each set having six children and everyone being married. That size of upload would be sufficient to add new information at a reasonable rate with it being much less overwhelming to compare for duplicate and stop adding GEDCOMs when some discovered that most of their tree was already in Family Tree.
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    The third party apps have a provision on them to compare and share with family tree. Yes you have to compare one person at a time. The thing about Gedcoms is that it is a tedious job to compare each person before dumping it on family tree so the instructions are not being followed. A large percent of the names on a gedcom are already in the familysearch data base so it is just creating duplicates. And the gedcoms add information that is not sourced and not standardized in any way. It is discouraging to work on sourcing and standardizing and making everything as accurate as possible and then finding whole families with duplicate children the next time you come back to look at them because someone has added their gedcom. When you look to see who added the duplicate information - it tells you that it came from a gedcom. There must be a better way.
    • " the GEDCOMs add information that is not sourced" - I guess that depends. Some people will have source information in their GEDCOM file - the issue there is that it's not compatible with the sources in FS. If it were worth it (and I'm not convinced it is) the programmers should be able to extract source information from GEDCOMs and load that - if only as text, rather than FS FT sources. But as I said, I'm not convinced it's worth it.

      "A large percent of the names on a GEDCOM are already in the familysearch data base so it is just creating duplicates" - again, this depends. For people outside the LDS Church, I suspect the likelihood of a large percentage of their people already being in FS FT is, on average, a lot less. I can certainly find great swathes of my relatives wholly absent. And where they are already in FS FT, I do find numerous duplications - not from people loading GEDCOMs but from FS themselves running extract programs to load data from Record Collections into FS FT. If someone in this situation has 5 children, they have 5 versions of themselves as a parent, plus their marriage, plus their own baptism - 7 versions of themselves in such a case.

      I am no fan of squirting GEDCOMs into FS FT for all the quoted reasons, but it does irritate me that FS seems not to recognise its own guilt in squirting multiple copies into FS FT.
    • I am a convert to the Church, but was surprised, even over fifty years ago, the amount of work that had been done (more than once) with my ancestors. Fortunately (for me), it was not all that common.

      But as the Church has grown, the number of living church member descendants of my ancestors has grown so that I am seeing more and more of the names in FS FT.

      I would love to see and have advocated not allowing GEDCOMs to be used for populating FS FT. Instead, Nancy's suggestion is one that I also make -- use a third-party application that can allow you to compare and synchronize your local database with FS FT.

      I strongly advocate uploading a GEDCOM into the Genealogies section of FamilySearch as a means to share one's work with the world.
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  • I have reservations about completely banning GEDCOMs, but at the same time I know we are all human, and humans like a quick fix. GEDCOM dumping would be a quick fix. Therefore I will have to go along with those who want to ban GEDCOMs altogether.
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  • 3
    Can we please stop talking about banning GEDCOMs if what we mean is banning their clumsy load into FS FamilyTree?

    I see no issue with loading them into Pedigree Resource File.
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  • I think Gordon Collett’s idea “to separate the two functions of ‘Add GEDCOM’” is right to the heart of what needs to be done. I am right on board with his analysis of the problem and suggested solution. See his comments above second reply from the top.
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  • Gordon (above) has proposed an excellent COMPROMISE solution which is quite consistent with FS recommendations: “it is suggested that a small GEDCOM file of 100 names or less be submitted in order to quickly View and Compare the submission against the data in Family Tree.”
    It might need a slight modification from the suggested 25kb, to allow the 100 names. Currently, GED's up to 100MB are allowed. (great for PRF, not for FSTree)
    **************
    Never having added a GED to FSTree, I decided to try it out. I found some reasonable explanations in 'help' with a simple search for “GEDCOM.” (I did not find a GED share on my Homepage, but went to Genealogies/Search/Submit Tree.) I tried a small file of 28kb, which contained 33 names. It loaded quickly, but the process seems to lead to adding it to Family Tree, rather than simply adding it to PRF.

    It would helpful, and instructive, to link these, or similar, articles to the start of the process:

    Emphasize (require?) THIS article, “Before You Submit a GEDCOM”: https://familysearch.org/ask/salesfor...

    Second, refer to this one, adding a GED to PRF: https://familysearch.org/ask/salesfor...

    On completion of the upload, a simple message “thank you for adding to the Pedigree Resource File” would then seem sufficient, as there is no need to “compare” for the PRF.
    ***************
    The “COMPARE” did work very well and found 3 “already in tree” & 10 “potential matches” (many were multiple choices) of whom 4 were actually matches. So in the end, using the same process as 'merging,' I was left with 24 new names to add to FT. Now, after comparing, I must click ADD on these 24 names. It may have been nearly as fast to just add the new people- but it did find 7 matches. I can't imagine trying to enter a GED of several hundred names.

    Perhaps at the completion of the UPLOAD (before “Compare”), this might then be added “If you would like to add this info to FSTree, please read this document first: Add to Family Tree”: https://familysearch.org/ask/salesfor...

    In my opinion EMPHASIZING the PRF and DE-emphasizing adding to the Tree could go a long way to minimize the many problems associated with GEDCOMs. This would accommodate the suggestion of NOT ENCOURAGING GEDCOMs, while still allowing them.
    • Adding GED to FSTree process continued, a day later:
      At any time after uploading to PRF, it appears the file can be compared and records of people can be added to FS Tree.

      Apparently when adding via GED the dates and some places are not 'standardized' so must be added manually. (standarization is needed for the 'search' function to work properly)Relationships are added as presented in the GED when individual are added.

      It seems far easier to add from Ancestry (or to use a certified app), than to go through this process As the explanation note, no sources, notes etc are transferred.

      Added PRF from GED's are fully searchable under "Genealogies," whether are person is added to FSTree, or not.

      PRF genealogies uploaded from GED's allow personal living person's information to be displayed. I deleted the PRF tree after adding the deceased individuals to FSTree, because of the living individuals that were shown.

      I would agree with the suggestion that FamilySearch should institute policies and practices to NOT encourage GEDCOM additions to FSTree, BUT encourage them to be added to the Pedigree Resource File. The ability to use a certified app, seems to be a better alternative to add to FSTree.
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  • OK! I understand everbody points worries, but I have a few concerns:
    1. how are they going to be compatiable with net and 3rd party software?
    I prefer to use both for many reasons.
    I prefer to back things up, in many places.
    • I seldom use any automation tools and prefer to make manual entries, capturing and attaching images to my local family tree management software.

      About the only tool that I do use is the synchronization capability of the certified family tree management software with FamilySearch.

      I may use a GEDCOM to build a new database locally, but beyond that, I do not use it to add any information to FamilySearch FamilyTree (FS FT). I prefer to validate the information in the GEDCOM and source the information in my local database. I will also source the equivalent record in FS FT.
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  • Just to make the point that, while I acknowledge the superiority of synching a local tree with FS FT compared to, well, just about any alternative! - there's a strictly limited number of programs that will sync. I chose my genealogy software on criteria that had nothing to do with syncing to an on-line database, and synching to FS FT (or Ancestry) is way, way down the list of any criteria that would make me shift software platforms.

    That's not being derogatory about any platform, online or sync-capable, that's just a statement of fact that getting any of my stuff into FS FT on a regular basis would need to be a marginal effort to be worthwhile and currently it isn't. (Currently I tend to put stuff into FS FT only when I've resolved a knotty problem and harbour the hope that my work might be of interest elsewhere).

    Just to be clear, I really do not like the idea of hosing GEDCOMs into FS FT for all the reasons quoted, so I'm not asking for that as an alternative - absolutely not. I just want to make a point that not everyone can use synching software right now, an issue I can't see a way around.
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  • This reply was removed on 2018-05-16.
    see the change log
  • I’m sad, confused, frustratwed, ANGRY
    I have over 20 generations of records on Family Search and since the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will no longer allow me to download MY ANCESTORAL RECORDS to gedcom I am unable to compare that information with what I am learning from Ancestry DNA. Why is it right to punish me in what I choose to do because some bureaucrat in Salt Lake doesn't like it that other patrons don't follow the rules. Punish the innocent along with the guilty is a VERY POOR CHOICE
    • Welcome to the community support forum for FamilySearch. FamilySearch personnel read every discussion thread and may or may not respond as their time permits. We all share an active interest in using the resources of this site and as users, we have various levels of knowledge and experience and do our best to help each other with concerns, issues, and/or questions.

      You can download your lineages from Family Tree into a database by using one of the fully certified family tree management programs. Certification requires this functionality, even for the free versions.

      The three programs are Ancestral Quest, Legacy, and Roots Magic. I use Ancestral Quest because it is the successor to the old PAF program and has a very similar "look and feel" to that earlier program.

      The download allows you to download your ancestral lines to a clean file. You set the number of generations you want to download. (up to 100 is supported, but that can take days if one of your lines ties into some of the unproven lines that go all the way back to Adam (those lines need to be broken where the early records disappear and no, the Bible is not a reliable source, and there is a big gaping hole during the first millennium (AD)).

      Anyway, once you have download the ancestors, you can start with any ancestor and download all of their descendants (up to 100 maximum generations). This can also take a long time, depending upon the number of descendants.

      I have noted that loops can create problems with the descendant downloads and are noted by the program. Those need to be identified and fixed, but that takes a lot of troubleshooting to find where the loop occurs.

      Anyway, you can load your GEDCOM into another clean database with Ancestral File and then start to compare the two databases off line.

      The paid version of the program offers some additional features including the ability to look for hints in other databases, as well as being able to sync between your program and the person's in the massive tree in FamilySearch. The sync is bidirectional and works very much as if you are entering the information manually, allowing you to see existing reason statements, notes, sources, including memories.

      There is a checklist of features on the Ancestral Quest site, which can be reached by looking in the Solutions Gallery (the link to that Gallery is at the bottom of this page as well as most pages on the FamilySearch site.
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