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Migrate your genealogy to Ancestris (LEM)

The migration consists simply on opening a Gedcom file created by another software with Ancestris.

The expressions « Migate to Ancestris » or « Import a genealogy file to Ancestris » mean exactly the same. The migration assumes that this import is done only once for a user. Importing is an operation that a user would repeat several times.

A migration implies two types of difficulties:

  1. Abandone the original software and discover Ancestris
  2. Open the Gedcom file created by the old software with Ancestris from now on, without loosing data during the transition

The first one is not a big issue, it's just a matter of getting used to Ancestris and its interface : 'What is the name of that command ?', 'Where is that thing again ?', 'How do we do that ?', etc. Basically, it is a little bit like when we change cars : a small period of adjustment is needed, and that is it!

However, the second point may be much more difficult to manage. But Ancestris is there to ease the job for you.


General information on importing

You have a genealogy already created with another software and you have just chosen to use Ancestris? Good news: Ancestris is able to read any file in text format whose architecture is defined by the Gedcom standard (international standard for information exchange between genealogy software).

However, many programs do not scrupulously comply with this standard: they use various settings and parameters that are specific to them, resulting in the loss of part of the information during data exchanges between genealogists.

That is why Ancestris chose to be 100 % Gedcom !

To import a genealogy to Ancestris, two situations:

  • Either your original software is able to export your data in Gedcom format and Ancestris will read them without any problem;
  • Or your original software is not able to export your data in Gedcom format. This is quite rare, but in this case, Ancestris will not be able to read them, since the data format of genealogy software are proprietary and only known to their publishers. You will then have to re-enter all your data in Ancestris. But this time, you will not lose them again.

In the first situation, since almost all software is only partially compliant with the Gedcom standard, your original file is probably imperfect with respect to the standard, and data that you entered in your previous software may not end up in the Gedcom file produced by that same software. But once in this Gedcom, Ancestris will recover everything.

That is when you start to appreciate  Ancestris:

  • Ancestris reads any Gedcom file, even if it does not comply with the standard
  • Ancestris's specific tools were created to allow the correction of certain errors from other software. We can't correct everything, but will most certainly eliminate most of the issues

Since the format of the file to import must be Gedcom, the migration is made in two steps.

  1. The export. From your previous software, export your data in Gedcom format, meaning the software has to convert the original data format to a Gedcom file format, with the extension .ged. Any good genealogy software will do this
  2. The import. Just open the Gedcom file with Ancestris. Ancestris will automatically detect what software created the file and apply the necessary corrections

Import process

You have seen, during the guided tour, the Bourbon genealogy, bourbon.ged file. It is an example supplied with Ancestris. Let's close it and create a new one. This is just to save space, we could as well leave it open. To close bourbon.ged, click on the red cross on the tools bar.

So, let's migrate, or import, your genealogy.

From the Welcome page, click on 'Migate your genealogy to Ancestris"" or, from the menu bar, click  "Open a genealogy".

Ancestris then asks you for the name of the Gedcom file to import. Choose it and click Open.

A first message tells you that Ancestris has detected a Gedcom file from another software. In the message below, Ancestris didn't recognise the software, because I don't know yours, but Ancestris knows how to recognise the following software, listed in alphabetical order.

  • Ancestrologie
  • Family Tree Maker (FTM)
  • Genbox
  • Geneanet
  • Généatique
  • Gramps
  • Hérédis
  • Legacy Family Tree
  • Mac Family Tree
  • MyHeritage
  • RootsTrust
  • Other ("unknown, minimal conversion")

Ancestris will then explain to you what is going to happen. Click Convert.



Now, the exported file is processed following the steps below. Ancestris tells you that your file has been transformed and renamed to preserve the original. The transformed file will then be opened in Ancestris.


It's done. Ancestris gives you another message with the result of the conversion. It also allows you to see the changes made. Click on Yes to see them, click on No to close this message.

If you want to see the list of these modifications afterwards, you just have to open the Output window, via menu Windows/Output.

At the bottom of the page we listed a few anomalies found with the migration from certain software. Check your software's paragraph for more details.


How to control the migration

Once Ancestris opens the converted file, we will now perform some checks, including those reported at the bottom of the previous message, namely:

  1. Has all my original data been transferred to the new file?
  2. Were the multimedia files stored correctly?
  3. Are there any data or format anomalies detected by Ancestris that I need to correct?

Verification of the imported data

There are two ways of losing data during the import:

  1. Either the data wasn't transferred to the Gedcom file exported by your old software,
  2. Either the data has been transferred, but it is not in the same place in the Ancestris file.

Only you can perform these two checks visually.

The first is to open your exported Gedcom file before conversion by Ancestris, with a text editor. Explore some entities and see if everything is there by visually checking with your original software.

The second is to look at your new Ancestris file using the Gedcom editor. Take a look at entities likely to have very well known information, and see how it is arranged. Since the same types of information were placed in the same places, this will give you an idea of the conversions made. Use the Output window to do this as well (menu Windows/Output).

Checking multimedia files

The names of the multimedia files used by your genealogy are referenced in lines of the Gedcom file.

If this is the case, or even for an exhaustive check, Ancestris will be able to tell you if all the media is present. To do this, go to the File/Properties menu and launch the wizard.

See the use of this tool in the corresponding section.

Checking for anomalies

Even after converting, it can happen that data still doesn't respect the Gedcom standard. It can be the case when data is wrong or missing.

Since Ancestris does not delete anything from the original file, but does not complete missing data either, compliance with the Gedcom standard may remain imperfect.

More, the genealogical data itself may contain inconsistencies.

This check can be performed from the Menu / Tools / Validate Gedcom compliance and data consistency.

Each anomaly is listed and can be corrected. It is best to do it with the Gedcom editor, because it is the most transparent on the information contained in the Gedcom file.

See the use of this tool in the corresponding section.

Modifying or adding information

Once imported and the checks carried out, your genealogy is ready to be enriched. You can add other individuals or modify or add information.

To do this, choose an individual without parents from your family tree by clicking on it, and see how to create parents and siblings for him by referring to the previous page "Create your genealogy".


Issues identified by other users after importing

Many software does not respect the Gedcom standard, it is very likely that you will notice some problems with the migration of your file.

For all software recognised by Ancestris, we already performed the appropriate conversions, and you should not encounter any difficulties, unless there have been changes since our work.

For others unknown, we welcome your opinion. We will write them down below for the benefit of other users, while waiting to be able to make the corresponding conversion developments if possible.

We can only fix problems report by the users. Participate enhancing Ancestris reporting issues to us on the discussion list.


Migrating from

The files generated by the site don't have information relative to the submitter/researcher. Such indication is mandatory to comply with the standard.

Ancestris's solution: create the information from the menu File/Properties and update the author.


Migrating from LifeLines

With the default settings, LifeLines doesn't export information relative to the submitter/researcher. Such indication is mandatory to comply with the standard.

Ancestris's solution: create the information from the menu File/Properties and update the author.


Migrating from Family Tree Builder

Family Tree Builder (FTB) generates several proprietary tags that clogg the file, rendering it less clear.

Ancestris's solution: remove the useless tags from the Menu Gedcom / Remove tags".tags.