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GEDCOM Import/Export Explained

GEDCOM files provide a means of transferring Family History information between databases. The databases involved may be managed by programs from Pedigree Software, or from other suppliers. GEDCOM files are produced by exporting them from a program. To use them, they must be imported.

Export from PediTree

To export the whole database for import to a Pedigree Software program, choose File > Save As GEDCOM > GEDCOM 4 Pedigree, type a suitable filename and/or choose a destination folder and click OK.

To export the contents of a list, display the list, then right-click on an entry and choose Save list text,GED… > GEDCOM 4. Type a suitable filename and/or choose a destination folder and click OK. You will be asked if you want to 'Export all directly linked records'. Choose Yes if you want related Source records, etc. However, if you are going to use the GedUtils Extract Tree process, then choose No.

Export from Pedigree

You can export either the whole database or the contents of a list. To export the whole database, make sure that the red highlight is in the family display, not in the list box. Then choose Alt+File, Export GEDCOM, type a suitable filename and press key F10.

To export a chosen list, make sure that the red highlight is in the list box, not in the family display. Then choose Alt+File, Export List GEDCOM, type a suitable filename and press key F10.

A list export includes only the records in the list, without any linked records. For example, from a Person list you export only Person records, no linked Marriage or Source records. An export from a Plan list contains Person and Marriage records only. To export a complete section of a database, you can use one or more List exports in conjunction with the GedUtils Extract Tree process. The GedUtils on-line help has full details, as does an article in the PUG Newsletter Vol.6 No.4 p.12.

Export to other Programs


When exporting GEDCOM files from PediTree, choose GEDCOM 5 in place of GEDCOM 4 to provide a file likely to be acceptable to other family history programs. (This option will only be available if you use an appropriate database design, such as one derived from Elton55.)


To export GEDCOM files from Pedigree to other family history systems, it is usually necessary to convert to an appropriate GEDCOM standard. In most cases, the program Ped-FHS.exe will perform the conversion.

Import to PediTree

Importing a GEDCOM file from PediTree (or Pedigree) is straightforward if the database design from which the file comes is the same as that into which it is being imported.

Unless you are importing into an empty database, make a back-up of the database first!

In PediTree, first make sure that you are in update mode (choose Edit and see a tick next to Update mode). Then choose File > Import > GEDCOM, select the file and click OK.

PediTree then displays a summary of the intended import, showing the number of records of each type and whether any fields in the chosen file are unknown. These unknown fields do not match the fields defined in your database. You cannot import the file until these discrepancies have been resolved. See PediTree's help (click the Help button) for more information.

If there are no unknown fields and you are in Update mode, then the Add button will be available. Click this to import the file. You will then be asked to confirm that you have a back-up before proceeding.

Import from other Programs

There is no foolproof method of importing GEDCOM from one Family History System to another. Each has its own special features and different (or incorrect) interpretation of the various GEDCOM standards.

PediTree provides a flexible import facility that can be tailored to the incoming file. To assist you, a number of import-action files for GEDCOM files exported from other commonly-used programs are supplied, as follows.


Use for Family Tree Maker (FTM) or FTW for Windows.

FTW has optional destination formats when exporting GEDCOM. FTM is the preferred option for export to Elton55, rather than GEDCOM 5.5 or FTW.

The main problem is that FTW/FTM transfers all notes in a NOTE record, even if they had originally come from events. The supplied GIA file stores these notes in Census records (notes field), which are linked back to Individual Person or Source records, but not if the notes were in a Family Marriage record.


Use for Personal Ancestral File

PAF has optional destination formats when exporting GEDCOM. Other GEDCOM 5.5 is the preferred option for export to Elton55.


Use for from the web.

Downloaded GEDCOM files are best imported to a new DB where the family can be reorganised to move children into a single family marriage group.


Pedigree was supplied with a Research.ped database for one-name studies. If you want to transfer to the windows features of PediTree, then you can transfer most of the data using this GIA.

Document groups are transferred to the Person.will event, so if there are no real will events it is worth changing the picture script in detailBox from “will:” to “document:”.

Letter records are converted to Source records with notes.


Use to import from GenesReunited on the web to Elton55.

Import to Pedigree from other Programs

If you use Pedigree for DOS and want to import GEDCOM files from other systems then you may need to use GedUtils to convert the GEDCOM for import to a database called FAM55.ped, which is distributed with GedUtils. GedUtils tries to make sense of dates (for example, FTW is non-standard with ranges like BET. 1881-1888), converts CONC to CONT and deals with various other differing implementations of the GEDCOM standards. There is more information in the on-line help that accompanies GedUtils. It is, however, much less user-friendly than the facilities of PediTree.

faq/gedcom.txt · Last modified: 2018/08/30 00:19 by

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