Monday, September 28, 2015

Monday Mailbox: FamilySearch Family Tree Questions

The Ancestry Insider's Monday MailboxDear Ancestry Insider,

Can one delete their submission [to FamilySearch] and resubmit a Gedcom file to start all over? I went through the processes for over 3500 individuals only to see a very small and difficult-to-edit/maintain tree. After numerous go-rounds with various levels of support I finally gave up on FT as a 'free' source and replacement for the expensive Thus my opening question.


Dear Ancestry Insider,

[“My Family is All Messed Up on Family Tree.”] I found that out right away.  All my 20 yrs. of research went right down the drain the min. I uploaded to Family Search.  Is there a way to take that tree off of there?  It sure doesn't benefit Family Search, now that it's all catywompus with the wrong information!!  Arggggggggggh!

Brownie MacKie

Dear Zeke and Brownie,

Can you provide me some more information? Perhaps you can send me a URL of a person in your tree. I can then figure out which type of tree you are talking about. The approach to FamilySearch Family Tree is 180 degrees different than for Pedigree Resource File.

---The Ancestry Insider

Dear Ancestry Insider,

I wish there was a tutorial I could read before I begin. I don't see one. I do see that they give directions 'as you work' but I want to know the procedure before hand to determine if I even want to start. I'm concerned that I read somewhere that notes and sources in your GEDCOM won't be added to the tree. So now wondering how one decides between conflicting data if there are no sources to determine validity. If this is spelled out somewhere on the site, pls point me to it.

Can one upload a GEDCOM to FamilyTree and then merge any potential matches? I love the idea of a collaborative tree, but sure wouldn't bother to upload my whole database one person at a time.


Dear Janiejac,

There are no problems with notes and sources if you import your GEDCOM file into a certified software program like RootsMagic or Ancestral Quest and then upload individual persons—one at a time—into FamilySearch Family Tree. For a list of certified programs, search the FamilySearch App Gallery.

The problem of notes and sources lies with using Pedigree Resource File (PRF) as an intermediate step in uploading information to Family Tree. You can upload your entire GEDCOM to PRF and notes and sources are preserved. If you wish to subsequently push your information into Family Tree, you must do that one at a time and sources and notes are not preserved. A FamilySearch Help article titled “Uploading GEDCOM files and copying the information to Family Tree” states that “you cannot currently add the notes, sources, and multimedia links that are in your GEDCOM file to Family Tree.”

Family Tree is in desperate need of an overall manual for Family Tree, but FamilySearch finds themselves in the same boat as its users. FamilySearch is changing things so fast, it is impractical to try and write a manual, only to change it every couple of weeks. There is a third party that has attempted the feat and has apparent endorsement from FamilySearch. His name is Leland Moon. To read the information he has provided, click here or do the following:

  1. In the upper-right corner of, select Get Help.
  2. Near the  top of the page, select “Learning Center” or go to
  3. Search for [“Family Tree Training Lessons and Videos”]. Include the quotes " "; don’t include the square brackets [ ].

Leland has the same problem FamilySearch does; after a couple of weeks, the information is out of date. However, it looks like there is some attempt to keep the information current.

You can upload your

Good luck,
---The Ancestry Insider


  1. I will be back later to see if you have an answer for Zeke and Brownie. I would be interested to know if I can upload a Gedcom to FS Family Tree because no way am going to try to add one person at a time from my very large 25 year accumulation of individuals and data in Legacy and in Ancestry. I won't live that long and I have things I'd rather do than try to laborious enter them into an unnecessarily complex and constantly changing database. I will still use FS for research. I don't need to delete the ones I have already added to FT . Ann L

  2. I'm looking for a solution same as Zeke and Brownie. I've tried twice in the past 6 months to get a whole complete tree with the right relationships uploaded but it never works. Now I have 2 wrong trees there. I want them both off of there. How some of those relationships got mixed is beyond me. When I checked my ancestry tree on line and on the program on my computer everything is right. I want them off ASAP!

  3. The way to avoid all this is Just don't put your information online I get frustrated every time I look at family search and There are so many mistakes on trees that contains my family . I did not put it there and I cannot get them to change the information or make corrections. When somebody asks me about my family and has information from one of the trees that wrong I get upset. I have decided I will not put my information on family search for ancestery I know I'm right I have my sources and I hate being frustrated.

  4. FYI - I recently purchased the book, "Unofficial Guide to" by Dana McCoullough and am finding it quite useful.

  5. It seems to me that the answer to OnePony2002's question depends on what their intent is: do they just want a place to store their family tree in the cloud, or do they want to be part of a collaborative family tree? If they want the former, then they can upload a GEDCOM at, and it will become a Pedigree Resource File (PRF). This file will NOT be merged with what I call the Borg Tree, although it may still be searchable by others, and matches from the Borg Tree will be shown.

    However, if they do want to be part of the Borg Tree, then they can either add information one piece at a time, or use a certified app like Roots Magic to import information one person at a time, as the Insider said. I've tried this approach, and like Zeke, Brownie, and many other readers, I've been frustrated by other Family Search users messing up the information I've so carefully searched and documented, through their own careless merging of profiles, importing information willy-nilly without bothering to look at the existing sources, reasons, discussions or notes, etc. I spend more time fixing other people's mistakes than I do contributing to the tree, so aside from a few profiles that I watch, I'm giving up on Family Search Family Tree.

    But I do like to upload my tree online to serve as cousin bait and as an example of a properly documented tree. I like to make it searchable but private so that other people can find it but must contact me if they want to see anything useful. That's what I do at I have yet to upload my GEDCOM to Family Search as a PRF, so I don't know what the privacy options are yet, but I intend to try it.

  6. I think you are right, Keith. I needed to think about what my goals are. I have done a lot of research and I have a lot of information and I want to share it so that my ancestors are known to a wider audience, including distant relatives. I do not want to keep all this info to myself, or act as a "gatekeeper", so I have several Public trees on Ancestry, and even more complete trees on Legacy where I keep notes and stories that I do not put on the Ancestry trees. I thought that putting my data and relationships on Family Tree would help people who can't afford a paid site, or are just beginning. However, FT is just too complex and time-consuming, so it does not meet my goals. It is better not to struggle with it.

  7. On FamilySearch, Under the tab "SEARCH" then click Genealogies. Then scroll all the way down to the bottom of the page and you will see a button "Submit gedcom" You may then upload a gedcom that will include sources and some notes (not sure about Repositories). This gedcom is deletable if you want to replace or remove it.

    THEN you will have a chance to "compare" your gedcom (exactly as you uploaded it) with Family Tree by Clicking "VIEW" next to the title of your gedcom, but it resides in "GENEALOGIES" in the Pedigree Resource File and is linked exactly as you uploaded it and cannot be changed or removed by anyone. A great storage place, as it is stored in the Granite Mountain.

    IF YOU WANT ANY OF IT TO GO TO FAMILY TREE, in the compare screen, you will then see nonliving individuals compared to "matches" in Family Tree where you can add what you want from your master record in the Pedigree Resource File (PRF) or merge with matches. If Famly Tree does not find a match, you can add individuals from your master gedcom to Family Tree, but do not see that sources or notes are migrated over. But you can do that using a deskware software program such as RootsMagic or Ancestral Quest.

    I would compare FamilyTree to a sandbox, but Genealogies PRF as a pre-built house of stone--will last forever, but to change it you have to remove it (delete gedcom) and upload a brand new one and redo any matching with FamilyTree. At least sources and some notes will show that you entered in your Desktop program.


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