Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Dear Randy - How Can I Get Ancestry.com Data Into a Genealogy Program?

I received this question last week from a reader:

"I have been getting info from Ancestry and now want to get that info into a Software program.  People recommend both RootsMagic and Legacy.  Which do you prefer and which is better for a non-computer person?  Secondly how can I get help getting my info onto a GED thing, and then onto the Program?" 

My response (since it wasn't clear if the correspondent had an Ancestry Member Tree already, or not):

1)  You can create an Ancestry Member Tree (AMT) for free online, and it will create a GEDCOM file for you when you want one.  You don't have to have a genealogy software program to have a family tree.  With an Ancestry Member Tree, you can create events, add sources, and attach documents, photos and other media to persons in your tree.

2)  If you have an Ancestry Member Tree, with records attached to persons in the tree, and you want to use a genealogy software program, then your choice should probably be Family Tree Maker 2014 (FTM 2014).  You can "sync" the AMT with FTM 2014 easily from within FTM 2014.  No GEDCOM required.  You would then have an FTM 2014 database that you could work with and continue to sync with the AMT, adding data in either, and then the sync makes them the same.

3)  If you don't have an Ancestry Member Tree, you could buy any genealogical program (both RootsMagic and Legacy have free versions, but with some crippled features), and add your information to the software database.  You will have to input information one person at a time, and one event (birth, marriage, death, sources, media, etc.) at a time.  There is a learning curve with every software programs, but the major software suppliers have a "how to" book and many "how to" videos and webinars available to help you learn.  The "Help" function in the software provides information for every function in the program.  Your local genealogical society may have a user group with persons who can help you work with the program.

4)  You will only need a GEDCOM file if you are going to transfer your database to another genealogy software program or to an online family tree (like Ancestry or Geni or MyHeritage, etc.).  If you want to put a family tree in an Ancestry Member Tree after creating it in genealogy software, then you might consider Family Tree Maker 2014 and sync your database with a new AMT on Ancestry.

5)  If you choose to obtain RootsMagic, Legacy or another software program, then you will have to create a GEDCOM file to export your tree from the software to an online tree.  The process is somewhat different in each software program, but it is relatively simple, and the result is the same.   Every software program provides a "Help" menu item where you can find instructions on what to do and how to do it.

6)  I really don't have a favorite software program.  I use RootsMagic, Legacy Family Tree and Family Tree Maker for different functions.  Genealogy software programs are much more capable and versatile to inputting persons, data, sources, media, and are excellent at creating reports and charts.  I input all of my data into RootsMagic (because I have to do it in one program to avoid duplication effort) by choice.  I then GEDCOM the file occasionally into the other programs and once a year upload the FTM database to a new Ancestry Member Tree.

7)  If you are really a non-computer person that struggles with installing and using a software program, then having an online family tree at Ancestry.com makes a lot of sense.  Since you are obtaining records on Ancestry already, you must have some computer skills, and starting an Ancestry Member Tree, and adding content to it, should be easy for you to do.

The URL for this post is:  http://www.geneamusings.com/2013/12/dear-randy-how-can-i-get-ancestrycom.html

Copyright (c) 2013, Randall J. Seaver

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