Genealogy from the perspective of a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon, LDS)

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

What happened to the Instructions? Linking FamilySearch Family Tree to other online databases

I got the following comment to a recent post about the agreement allowing members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to obtain free account from, and
I just got my free access today (yay!) and I've got lots of questions about this same thing. I see that if you go to the "family trees" tab at the top of Ancestry, you can click on "import tree from FamilySearch" and it will automatically import your 4 generations. But is there a way to get other people from FamilySearch too without having to type them each individually? It doesn't show my husband or any of his family (he doesn't have access yet). And if new info is entered, is it automatically transferred between my Ancestry tree and FamilySearch Family Tree? Are there instructions anywhere beyond just how to sign up?
The comment highlights exactly some of the issues I have been discussing for the past few months in my blog posts. First, to answer some of the questions.

When you sign in to with an LDS account, the program gives you the option of importing four generations of your family from Family Tree if you do not already have an family tree. If you already have an account and a family tree, the current information in will transfer over to the new account.

I am getting mixed reports about this import process. Some people seem to have seamless success and others do not.

Once individuals are in a family tree on, if you are signed in with an LDS account, there is a link to connect the person to FamilySearch. See the following screenshot:

Clicking on the link will give you the option of linking the person to Family Tree after signing into Here is a screenshot of the option to select a match for the individual:

In this case, you might note that there are two selections for the individual. This may indicate that there are duplicates in I suggest that the issue of the duplicates be resolved before attaching the person from to the person in You may wish to write down the personal identifier numbers of the two or more individuals shown as duplicates as the Family Tree program may not find the duplicates. In fact, they may be people of the same name rather than actually duplicate individuals. It is also possible, that the two individuals cannot be merged because of issues with Family Tree which have yet to be resolved. See the following screenshot:

In this case, you could choose to wait until the issue is resolved by or you could simply choose the individual with the same identifier number as the one showing in your family tree.

Once you have decided on which person is the one you wish to connect, you select them in the screen from as follows:

Again you have the opportunity of comparing the two individuals to make sure you have the right person from each of the two different family trees. If you are satisfied, you can click on the link connecting the two individuals. The link on the family tree will then show that the link is "completed." This completed link gives you several options, one of which is grayed out and will be implemented in the future when it is possible to synchronize information between the individuals in the two family trees. The link from will presently allow you to view the status of the Temple ordinance work for the individual. There is also a link directly to the individual in FamilySearch Family Tree.

The next question posed above was whether or not it is possible to get additional people out of the Family Tree without typing them into Presently, the only way to do this is to have your own database in your own program and export a GEDCOM file and upload it to You could also allow to search for sources for the individuals shown in your family tree and allow the program to suggest additional people to add to your family tree on This would be a way to find sources which could be later added to Family Tree and also verify that the information in Family Tree was correct.

Another way to get information out of the Family Tree program is to use a third-party Certified program such as RootsMagic, Ancestral Quest, or Legacy Family Tree.You would then still have to export a GEDCOM file and then upload the file to

The reason why the four generation information imported from Family Tree does not show a spouse is because most people are not related to their spouse. Family Tree shows only your relatives. There are exceptions to this rule for family trees that were incorporated from information where the spouses information was previously shown. But essentially, your spouse needs to create their own Family Tree. You could certainly add in your spouse to the family tree and allow the program to assist you in finding your spouse's ancestors.

Information is not presently transferred between and Family Tree but that feature is going to be implemented in the near future.

The last question in the comment above is the most problematic. Presently there is virtually no documentation on this entire project. I would expect some documentation to be forthcoming from FamilySearch and possibly from The Mesa FamilySearch Library will be creating a series of webcasts on their website addressing the issues. So far, I have done to webcasts explaining what is going on with the agreements between FamilySearch and the other large database programs. Presently, the only webcast I have done so far is for There is another webcast on that was posted recently by Kathy Percy. Please refer to the following link for further information:

Mesa FamilySearch Library Webcasts


  1. Thank you so much! This answers all of my questions! I had been searching for the link button but didn't know exactly where to look, so the screen shot helped a ton. This needs to be posted there on the familysearch website!

    As I've been playing around with it, I also discovered a few other things that might be helpful to others struggling with this process. You can't link people who are set to "living". Also, you can't link from other ancestry trees that have been shared with you, even if you are set to "editor" status; you must be the original owner of the tree (I was trying to link people in a tree I had made earlier using my dad's account, but instead I just downloaded and uploaded the tree again). Once you get all of that figured out, linking is actually really easy! I'm excited to see what else they are working on adding in the future :)

  2. I just transferred my FamilySearch information over to
    It worked well, but I wish it did more than 4 generations!

    1. You can import unlimited generations, 4 is the maximum with a single import. Once you've imported, do the following:

      1) Select a family member at end of the 4, for whom you have additional family members in FamilySearch.
      2) On their profile page, select Request
      3) Select Add relatives from Family Search
      4) Select Add up to four generations for this person
      5) Select Continue

      I hope this helps!

    2. I am not sure what you mean by selecting Request.

  3. Do you know if there is any way to export an tree into

    1. First, check to see if the information is already in FamilySearch Family Tree. Then wait a little while and see what develops with the LDS connection between and FamilySearch. You can always copy the information by copy/paste. You can also export a GEDCOM from and import that GEDCOM, indirectly, into FamilySearch Family Tree, but you will lose a lot of valuable information that way.

  4. I attempted to import the 4 generation tree from familysearch into Eventually the import failed with the following message, "familysearch did not respond with the information from your tree. Please try again later." I tried 3 days later, and got the same error. Do you have any suggestions? forums were not clear on what to do.

    1. FamilySearch Family and Ancestry both have been making a lot of changes. You can import people one by one by linking them to the tree. I suggest this until things settle down again.

  5. I have an account and a FamilySearch account but am not given the option to link the two as shown in the first screenshot above. How do I get that option?

    1. You need an LDS Account. That may be the issue.