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Gedcom import inconsistency

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Helen Report 7 Feb 2014 21:18

I am trying to import a GEDCOM file created from Ancestry, to Genes Reunited. It imports most of it, but does not import all of it. There is no error message. I just happened to find this when I went to look at something on GR on one of my people, and his family did not come through with him. When I check the number of people on Ancestry, I have 2975. On GR, I now have 3049. This is not good. I now do not know who is duplicated, who is missing, or what to do next. Thoughts and suggestions all welcome. Need your help. Thanks


+++DetEcTive+++ Report 7 Feb 2014 22:48

A suggestion on what might have happened (and only that)

Perhaps an existing relation has married an existing relation? The system might have duplicated them to show their respective families.

Other than exporting and re-importing the gedcom, the only other suggestion is to contact support


Helen Report 7 Feb 2014 23:18

While that would make sense, it did not occur in this case. I have also re-exported/imported, and added some additional data to the head of the missing family, thinking that might help (no idea why). Nothing.

I have decided to run a bunch of external analyses on the file, to clean up anything I can find, and try again. I originally imported the file from GR to Ancestry, then made a herd of changes, and the problem surfaced when I reversed the process. So, clean up first. :)


Inky1 Report 7 Feb 2014 23:38

If you are prepared to spend a bit of time?
Open your GR tree and click List. You will then get a full name listing. Mine always opens in firstname order within surname order. This is like the Ancestry list. Though the latter is presented in pages. You could then work your way down all 3000+ names. This would show any duplicates - but of course not any missing names.


Helen Report 8 Feb 2014 00:06

Thanks, Inky1. I did not know to do this. Sounds like it will take time, but be worth it. No point to it, if it's not right. Thanks for the suggestion.


InspectorGreenPen Report 8 Feb 2014 06:57

Gedcom file transfers are not a precise as many think and transfer failures happen all the time.

I did some test a few years back moving the same data between GR, FTM and Ancestry and in almost every case there were some differences.

The best results were moving from FTM to FTM. Next best was moving from FTM to other websites.

The worst result were when moving between websites. GR to Ancestry back to GR produced the most errors.

For that reason I keep my definitive tree on my PC using FTM. I then tfr 'throwaway' copies to whichever web site I choose, but never back the other way. If something doesn't tfr quite right then I don't loose any sleep.

A big problem seems to be that not all tree offerings support all possible gedcom tags, nor are the field lengths necessarily the full size. This can and will result in truncated data and loss of information when moving from one to another. GR's tree is not as fully featured as many commercial programs are in this respect.

Fields, especially dates containing non alpha numeric or separator characters can also cause strange effect. Dates are especially problematical so stick with dd/mm/yyyy or 1 Jan 1940 and avoid using characters such as ' and " in text fields. Worst case your data gets irretrievably corrupted if fields end up in the wrong tag.

I wouldn't worry too much about the number count either as it could well be due to your tree having multiple relationships - such as cousins marrying - which the GR import can't deal with as well as other programs and appears to record the affected branch twice, as already suggested.


InspectorGreenPen Report 8 Feb 2014 07:36

Out of interest have just imported a new gedcom from FTM to GR in order to compare the number count.

FTM - 14,234
GR - 14,701


Helen Report 8 Feb 2014 17:01

As a followup, I've found a few interesting things. I have not settled on a program for home use, and currently am test-driving My Heritage Family Tree Builder. The export of gedcom from Ancestry to this program works fine. I still end up with the different in numbers between export from Ancestry to GR, but I'm less worried about it now. I will continue to investigate, just so I know, but I don't think it's too bad.

Regarding my ancestor whose detail did not seem to import, I found a very strange thing. Clicking on him, in GR, still showed that there were no descendants, nor a spouse. However, searching produced his descendants. I went to his spouses record, clicked on that, and got the whole family tree. I then went back, clicked on the original person, and miraculously, his family tree appeared. Hmmm.

I do take the point not to go back and forth between programs/systems, and this makes perfect sense. I'm a programmer by trade, so I understand this. Since I've just paid for full Ancestry for a year, I'm thinking I'll keep that as my 'definitive' source, and pick a program to manipulate/analyse the data on my home computer, while keeping GR for pictoral reference, potential connections, searches for existing tree matches, etc.

Thanks again for your help. I shall close this discussion - I think I have an understanding now. Much appreciated.


DazedConfused Report 9 Feb 2014 12:02

The GEDCOM file was created by the Mormon church for their use in transferring data.

It is used by many genealogists, but as it is now being used by systems it was not developed for there will be some inconsistencies when transferring data.

Just be thankful we have it at all!

Imagine the hassle of transferring you tree from scratch..... :-S


Helen Report 9 Feb 2014 16:01

Lol, DazedConfused, I totally agree. I actually have my tree, including nearly 3000 people, with birth/death dates, manually entered in Visio because I find it very useful as a visual reference tool. It has gotten woefully out of date, however, which is the reason for trying AGAIN to find a way to keep multiple resources updated through automation. I also have my written 50-page Ahnentafel doc written in Word, again manually, based on my Visio diagrams. I am extremely good at making work for myself. I now have an automated tool for that, too. We'll see how this all works this time.


+++DetEcTive+++ Report 9 Feb 2014 18:44

Unless you've already decided that My Heritage Family Tree Builder will cover your needs, have a look at Family Historian and it associated users group FHUG. It's far more 'techie' than many of the other commercial programmes

You could probably find that someone on the users group could tell you if the programme will do what you require of it, or help you write a sub-programme if necessary.


Helen Report 10 Feb 2014 02:00

Thanks for the suggestion. I opted for Ancestry's Family Tree Maker to start with. So far, it seems to be doing what I need. As I learn more, I may need more, but right now, it seems pretty good :)


InspectorGreenPen Report 10 Feb 2014 06:08

Incidentally, I forgot to mention, FTM, being an Ancestry supported product, is very compatible with their web offering letting you synchronize the information from a local tree with a tree on the web, without the need to tfr gedcom files.

However, as I mentioned earlier, certain tags are not supported on the web tree and therefore that data will not tfr from your pc program.

These tags include

•Research notes
•Fact notes
•Relationship notes
•Media notes
•Relationship media
•Source media
•Saved charts and reports