Wednesday, August 12, 2020

Dear Randy: "Can You Combine Three Ancestry Trees Into One Using RootsMagic?"

Reader Mary asked that question, noting she had just obtained RootsMagic and needs to combine three Ancestry trees into one tree.

Here is my response to Mary:

Yes, it is possible to merge three Ancestry trees into RootsMagic and make one tree.  

A)  There are two processes that can be used - here's the GEDCOM way:

1)  Go online to Ancestry in the "Trees" tab.  At the bottom of the dropdown menu is "Create & manage trees."  Click on that to see your list of trees.  Pick a tree, and click on "Manage tree" for that tree.  That opens the "Tree Settings" for that tree.  There is an "Export tree" button that will create a GEDCOM file for your Tree #1.

2)  Do the same for your Tree #2 and your Tree #3.  Know where those files are on your computer - find the file folders and file names for all three trees.

3)  Open RootsMagic, and on the "File" tab you can click "Import" and then select GEDCOM file.  You can import Tree #1 to RootsMagic by telling RM where to find the file on your computer.  Once you click on your Tree #1 GEDCOM file name, you want to create a new RootsMagic file, so select "Create a New Database."

4)  Once you have Tree #1 imported from the GEDCOM file, do the same thing to import Tree #2.  But select "Combine into the database" to add Tree #2 to Tree #1.  

5)  Then do the same thing for Tree #3 to get all three trees into one larger tree.

6)  If you have identical persons in the three Ancestry trees, then you should merge those identical persons into one person using the "Tools" and "Merge" feature in RootsMagic.

RootsMagic has a great "Help" button on the top menu bar.  click on that and select the "Search" tab and search for "Importing a GEDCOM file" to give you better step-by-step instructions.  For merging individuals, search for the "Manual merges" help.  

Note that by using a GEDCOM file, you will not download images from your Ancestry trees, but you will get your Notes and sources along with the names, dates, places, events, etc.  

B)  There is another option, and this one will download the Ancestry images using the TreeShare way:

1)  RootsMagic has a TreeShare feature that enables you to synchronize your RootsMagic and Ancestry trees one tree at a time.  Using TreeShare, the images attached to your Ancestry tree will be downloaded to RootsMagic.  You will have to TreeShare your three Ancestry trees one at a time in order to get everything.  When you have all three trees TreeShared, pick Tree #1 to be the Master database - and copy it (don't rename it!) to a new tree - call it Tree "M" - so that your Master tree is no longer named Tree #1.  You can save and rename Tree "M" anything you want.

2)  Open Tree #2 in RootsMagic, with "File" "Open" and pick Tree #2.  You should see Tree #2 in a 2nd window.  Then "Drag and drop" a person in Tree #2 over to Tree M.  You will be given a choice of who to drag and drop.  You can choose to drag and drop everyone in the Tree #2 database into Tree M. See "Dragging and dropping people" in "Help" for more detailed instructions.  

3)  When Tree #2 is done, you now have a bigger Tree M.  Close Tree #2 and open tree #3 and drag and drop everyone in Tree #3 into Tree M.  Now you have everybody in all three trees in Tree M.  Trees #1, #2, and #3 still exist as separate trees in your files and on Ancestry.  

4)  You will have to merge duplicate profiles.  I am not sure if the "Media" files will be in one file folder (for File "M" or in three separate file folders (for File #1, #2 and #3).  If they are in three file folders, then copy them all into the File "M" Media folder and see if that works. 

5)  You can then use Tree M to TreeShare back into Ancestry as a new tree if you wish so that your RM tree M is synced with your Ancestry Tree M.  See the "TreeShare for Ancestry" article in "Help" for more detailed instructions. 

C)  One thing that may be critical is to keep Tree #1 #2 and #3 separate on your computer so you can do the whole process again if you mess up.  Rename Tree #1 as Tree "M" (your choice of names) before you do the drag and drop work.

  I hope this helps.  It's complicated, but it can be done.  


The URL for this post is:

Copyright (c) 2020, Randall J. Seaver

Please comment on this post on the website by clicking the URL above and then the "Comments" link at the bottom of each post. Share it on Twitter, Facebook, or Pinterest using the icons below. Or contact me by email at


family tree maker 2017 said...

Thanks for the Knowladge full information. guys are you facing any problem so you can call us and visit our website family tree maker 2019.

Family History Hat said...

I didn't know that I could receive guidance for RootsMagic from you, Randy! Thanks so much for explaining the Tree Share and the other method for combining separate trees into one. Like you said, it isn't easy (uncomplicated), but it is possible and I will definitely consider the great advantage of having the RM tree connected to the Ancestry tree(s); currently I do use the option of matching Ancestry tree people (individually) to my FamilySearch Tree.

Lise Kreps said...

Dear Randy, Thank you for this amazing workaround! I've been trying to find a way to combine my two large Ancestry trees - which I created as separate trees when I found my father's biological mother, last year (she died at 98 in 2011). Now that bio-grandma's cousins and I have been in touch, the cat's out of the bag, so I'd like to connect the trees. My Ancestry DNA is only linked to bio-grandma's tree (that's how I found many of her cousins - and through them, her). But I'd like to link it to my other relatives as well.
I bought RootsMagic on your recommendation. I managed to merge the two trees into a new Rootmagic Master tree. But I'm still trying to figure out Rootsmagic's interface. In the tree views, it looks like it loses ancestor info (even though I set it to "display 6 generations"). But when I search for the missing names, they are in there. I just can't see them. Most mysterious. I'll have to spend more time teaching myself Rootsmagic, and see what happens when I try "publishing" the whole master tree back to Ancestry. Anyway, thanks again!