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

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Moving Sources from Other Online Genealogy Programs to FamilySearch Family Tree

With the announcement of the partnership between and the other three very large, online family history websites,, and, there is substantial interest in moving information gleaned from these programs to the FamilySearch Family Tree. As part of the announcements concerning these agreements, FamilySearch has discussed the possibility of automating the process of moving the compiled source citations from these programs to FamilySearch Family Tree. All of these programs now have the ability to search their databases for sources for each individual in a family tree on each of the websites and then attach the pertinent sources to individuals in the family tree programs.

Note almost all of these different programs refer to a "family tree." This leads to a certain degree of confusion since each of the programs, including many desktop programs, all have an ability to create a family tree for the programs members or users. For this reason, it is important to specify the program that created the family tree when you refer to a "family tree" in any format.

If you are using each of the four partner programs, you will end up with four separate family trees. One of the most common questions that arises in the context doing research for sources in each of the four programs and then attaching those sources to the individuals in their respective family trees is the issue of moving those sources from the three other programs to If you view the existence of separate family trees as implying the necessity to synchronize all of these resources, the prospect seems overwhelming.

Presently, as of the date of this post, there are several programs listed as FamilySearch Products that have the ability, at different levels of complexity, of moving sources from a desktop-based program into and out of Family Tree. Rather than resolve the issues of moving unique information from one program to another, these desktop programs would seem to add even another level of complexity by creating an additional family tree. For example, if you were maintaining a family tree using one of the desktop programs such as RootsMagic, Ancestral Quest or Legacy Family Tree, you could conceivably have five separate family trees.

A glimpse at the possible future, came about this last week or so with the announcement by RootsMagic of its agreement with involving the ability of RootsMagic to directly search for sources in RootsMagic has a rather extensively developed ability to transfer sources from the desktop-based RootsMagic program to and from the Family Tree. However, the ability of the program to work with is limited to discovering the sources. Presently, there is no direct way to copy the sources into RootsMagic short of copying the information from MyHeritage and pasting it into source citations on RootsMagic.

Since none of the independently maintained desktop programs generate automatic links with sources from the online programs other than those programs directly sponsored by the databases such as's Family Tree Maker and's Family Tree Builder, we are forced to resort to simple "copy and paste" functions.

There is one utility program that can partially assist in moving this data from sources obtained from the other online databases to FamilySearch Family Tree. This program is's  TreeConnect. TreeConnect acts as a browser utility and can measurably assist in the process of converting sources found from online databases into source citations in's Family Tree program.

If you have already accumulated a large number of sources and any one of the online programs, you could move those sources to's Family Tree by exporting a GEDCOM file from the online program, if that is possible, and then importing that GEDCOM file into one of the desktop programs that can synchronize sources with the Family Tree. This process was discussed in my earlier post entitled, "The RootsMagic - MyHeritage - Ancestry - FamilySearch Family Tree Connection."

I would look forward to some rapid developments in this regard. has already implemented a partial synchronization feature between individuals in the family trees and's Family Tree. It is inevitable that these transfer functions will continue to become more sophisticated and even perhaps easier to use.

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