Can I use my gedcom to build my tree I have already worked on for 18 years or do I need to input 1500 people?

+5 votes
in WikiTree Help by Donne'e Robertson G2G Crew (350 points)
retagged by Ellen Smith
I recommend manual entry, 100%. I entered in excess of 13,000 profiles, no GEDCOM involved. It really isn't hard, just takes doing.  Even if you do opt for the GEDCO?M, start out manually to get a feel for how the entry process works. Chances are you'll find 3rd or 4th generation ancestors already here/.
Thank you all for the advise. Every answer is good information and appreciated. I have and will again read the gedcompare instructions. I do understand the benefits of entering without using the gedcom.  I was able to figure out most of the process already. I think I have a decent idea of what my options are now. All of the work everyone does here is fantastic. Can any of you tell me if my gedcom is public? I don't remember reading this.
The profiles you create from your gedcom are public, but your gedom is not public.
Thank you for the answer.
I'm stuck on the gedcom compare thing too. I went through and this is an image link of what I've got...

No suggestions, 94 that were rejected, and 105 confirmed. I'm assuming the other 106 weren't in the system and there was no one to compare to.

There are no "add" buttons and I'm not seeing anything to direct me to look at other matches or enter other info, so I'm feeling kind of lost, not sure what to do next.

I'm considering just clicking randomly on the rejected folks and assigning them to anyone just to see if that will pop up the "Add" button, and I can then go back to fix it later.

If it looks like I'm doing this all wrong I can delete the file and go enter by hand.  I timed how long it takes to add each individual and figured it will take a minimum of 33 hours to add my file by hand with complete dates and sources. I have 5 other in law families to add also. I could skimp on info and shave off a bit of time, but haven't decided if I want to go that route either.

Any thoughts would be appreciated!
@Ingrid: That scrreenshot shows that you marked everyone in your Gedcom as "completed." That's your problem. The checkbox that indicates "Completed" is intended to signify that you are finished using that Gedcom record -- it means that you have imported all the data you want to import. (Don't feel bad. You are not the only person who has made the mistake of thinking that this means you finished reviewing the suggested matches. The instructions on the new Gedcompare utility need to be improved.)

To fix the situation, show the "Completed Rows" and uncheck those boxes. Once you do that, you will start seeing ADD and EDIT buttons.

After you see ADD and EDIT buttons, find somebody in your Gedcom who is already in WikiTree, open the COMPARE link for that person, and work from the COMPARE screen to add profiles for their immediate family members who are not yet in WikiTree. When you finish with that family, move to the COMPARE screen for someone you just added. If you work systematically from the COMPARE screens of people who are in WikiTree, the connections within your tree should be preserved.

5 Answers

+9 votes
Best answer

Hi Donne'e, please read the help pages on GEDCOM's and GEDCompare it will explain the process for adding your family and ancestors to WikiTree.

GEDCOM Help     GEDCompare Help  All GEDCOM Help and Q&A

I personally would recommend adding a few family members manually to see how WikiTree works as J. Crook mentioned.


by David Selman G2G6 Pilot (897k points)
selected by A. Curtis
Like David says, start by adding a few family members manually to "get the lay of the land".

Then do try Gedcompare. It's faster and more efficient than manual entry, and it avoids many of the problems members used to have with Gedcoms. Just be sure to start with a small branch of your tree.
Hello Ellen.

It appears that Donne'e and I are in the same uncharted waters and struggling!

I have input immediate family members. Compared to other sites, I have to say the lay of the land is rocky.

And I have completed a Gdcompare. I do not understand and cannot ask the question properly to get a simple answer IF in fact the information in the GDcompare can be "moved" into my Family Tree.

My problem is THAT simple. If Donne'e issue is different from that, I apologize.

But as to my issue, can you explain HOW to do it as if I were a child?

Sincerely & Respectfully.
On most other genealogy websites, you import your tree to your own personal space. On WikiTree, the information you import probably will be shared with other people who have the same ancestors or relatives. This is why the first step in Gedcompare is to review "suggested matches" to see if individual people in your Gedcom are already in the tree. This can be annoying when the "suggested matches" are obviously not even close, but it's also possible to discover "new" cousins, or to find that someone else has already created a nice profile for your ancestor.

Have you finished reviewing the suggested matches? If so, you should be seeing buttons that invite you to "Edit" the profiles for the people you matched, "Add" profiles that you didn't match, and sometimes "Connect" a profile. Are you seeing those buttons? (Those buttons enable you to move your Gedcom contents into WikiTree.)
Sorry, Michael, I should have looked at your contributions history before I responded.

I see that you uploaded a Gedcom on September 26, and you edited some existing profiles from it. I don't see that you've created any new profiles from Gedcompare. That might mean that you didn't finish reviewing the suggested matches, so you never saw an Add button.
First and most importantly, THANK YOU ELLEN! I am aggravated about this whole process and on the verge of saying screw it. BUT I truly appreciate your effort to help me at the very least understand this.

Here is where ( I think) I am. I have completed MOST of GEDCOMpare (GD)  which came from my Familysearch (FS) files via Rootsmagic. I have NO idea if that's the best way to do it, it's just what I researched.

At WikiTree (WT)'s suggestion, I kept my records to a "small" batch of 322 names. The majority are NOT in WT's tree. Of the ones that are there, there is some question ie. surname Lawrence or Laurence. At this point, I am NOT concerned about that, even if I'm 99% sure my information is correct. I can get there later.

Let's take 2 examples.

1. From FS, Jane Blackstock (1794-18700 is in my family tree and I matched her to WT -  Blackstock-14 . To know her exact relationship to me, I'd have to just remember or go back to FS & look.

Regardless, in opening her "compare" in the GD, my only options are "Help" or "Close" . Help reminds me of my dog chasing his tail with a flea biting his butt.  Is there a way to add Blackstock-14 that is on my GD to my family tree?

 2. Reuben Newman (1757 - 1849) is my Maternal 3rdGreatGrandfather. He was NOT previously in WT. So I have completed the GD on him & my information is unchallenged. (I DO understand that unchallenged is NOT the same as accurate.) How do I add him from GD to my family tree?

If there is a way to move, migrate, merge or whatever term someone chooses that information to my family tree, I will be a blissful soul and sing your praises!

Any luck?
Note that this Gedcompare is a brand-new feature, so none of us has much experience with it yet. And I can't see your Gedcom,

In Gedcompare, if you COMPARE Jane Blackstock, you should see a screen with two columns that list Jane and her family group. The left column is Jane in your Gedcom, with parents, siblings, spouse, and children. The right column is Jane on WikiTree, with the relations that are mapped for her in WikiTree. You can't see Jane's whole family tree in that screen (I've also found that it's helpful to refer back to my other family tree when I'm using Gedcompare), but it suffices for the purpose of ensuring that I'm editing the right people. If there are people on that screen who are in your Gedcom and not on WikiTree, you should see an ADD button that invites you to add their profiles.  I like to work to work from the Compare screen. My experience indicates that the family relationships in your Gedcom will be preserved if you add the profile of one of Jane's parents, her spouse, or one of her children. You can also add her siblings from that screen, but don't do that until at least one of her parents is in WikiTree. (And check the completed profile before you go on to the next one, to make sure everything looks right and the family members are getting connected.) You really can build out a tree pretty quickly by adding one person at a time, with connections to their immediate family members.

As for those maternal ancestors, probably the best way to add them will be to start with your grandparents who are already in the tree and add the previous generations who are in your Gedcom. As with Jane, start in a Compare screen that includes people in WikiTree, and work from there.
Hi Ellen,
Thank you again for putting up with me. I'm trying to transition from a crazed madman to a confused (insert whatever you want here).

I don't know what you did, but I can add ancestors now! Even if you didn't do it, I'm giving you ALL the credit just for fooling with me.

I wish I knew exactly what happened because there are others in the same boat as I. What thing I don't think I knew was that I clicked on the "Compare" button by My Name. Looking down the left hand side, for the first time, I had the opportunity to individually review and add to the Tree. Maybe I am a dumbass, but the structure was not how I expected.

Thank you again!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

One more thing: When you check the box that says a person is "complete," that indicates that you don't want to add that person or do any additional editing. A number of people have been messed up when they misinterpreted the purpose of that checkbox.
+7 votes

This page describes the process used to add your family members to Wikitree:

You might also find it useful to add a few members of your immediate family manually, just to get a feel for how Wikitree works.  

I'm sure others will add more information to my answer.  Be sure to ask more questions at any point of the process.  Someone is always here to help.

by J. Crook G2G6 Pilot (199k points)

After going through all the trouble previously described, the link you provided includes this:

GEDCOMs are not imported

If I had known that before, I wouldn't have gone to all the trouble to do one. 

"You might also find it useful to add a few members of your immediate family manually"  Due respect, I don't find Retyping thousands of keystrokes "useful" or helpful in any way. I paid very close attention the FIRST time I keyed this information in to make sure there weren't simple typographical errors.

To do so again just creates another opportunity for errors. As I've said repeatedly, whether hand typed or electronically merged, the information is the same. To have to type it again does NOT increase the VALIDITY of the information. Please explain. If I enter that Fred Flintstone is my Grandfather & Dora The Explorer is my aunt, does manual entry make it true? 

I don't mean to sound like an ass, and I'm very very tired of this exercise. I don't like to waste your time either. For the record the ONLY benefit of the HOURS I spent on the gedcompare was that I offered 149 contributions to OTHER people & received 25 Thank Yous. And no inputs into MY Family Tree. 

I agree that typing things manually generates errors, so I avoid it like the plague.  I never type in new entries--I create them from sources, using Wikitree X, an app for Chrome. Beyond that, you're saying that you did GEDCompare and you weren't able to upload your family members that weren't already here?  That doesn't make sense, but I know nothing about GEDCompare.  If the answers that others have given aren't helping, maybe that's the question you should ask next.  Because the point of GEDCompare was to make things easier, not more difficult, so if it isn't making things work better, they'll have to change it.
+8 votes
I see that you have the Gedcom equipped badge, so you should be OK to enter a Gedcom. However, you'll have to break it down into smaller chunks to be uploaded.

If you read through the help file, you'll note that the process will only accept up to 5,000 at one time. So my guess is you'll have to split it into at least 4 pieces and that should allow you to get through the process. If your family tree is fairly evenly spaced, perhaps a split from each grandparent back would be a good start? Only you'll know how effective such an approach would be and how to best slice the Gedcom up to get it down to less than 5000 for each upload.

Keep in mind that in most Gedcom uploads, it seems like sources and such don't always translate well, so it will take some time to review these profiles and make sure they translate well. I'd recommend a small group to start with as a test, verify how they come over, and then a larger group from there. That way you know what you're getting into with the big loads.

Good luck.
by Scott Fulkerson G2G6 Pilot (915k points)
D'OH! - I read an extra Zero in there - thought it was 15,000...

The limit is 5,000 - 1500 won't require any breakdown at all. Ignore that part, but you might still try a small sample to see how the process works before dropping the whole group in.
Thank you for your answer. I love the help. I don't see much connection in my gedcom or how to use my gedcom to build my tree to contribute to wikitree.  The only option I see is to begin from me and input my parents,grandparents and so on from scratch while looking for matches during the process. Am I missing something?  Thank you again.  I had a family member mention wikitree to me and thought I would look into participating. I like the concept here and trying to determine how much time I need to plan on.  This is much different than what I am accustomed to.
+12 votes
I am only new here but I am so glad I opted for manual entry even though my offline tree has over 5000 people

It has forced me to check my sources and find new ones.
by Adam Whitaker G2G1 (1.1k points)
I manually entered both my tree and my husbands tree. My husband has over 2000 names. However a lot of his older ancestors are already on wikitree so I didnt need to add those,

Not so good for my family tree. I was able to connect a first cousin of my fathers on my first day here. That first cousin was already connected by her marriage - so I got Lucky in that respect. But I still chose to manually enter every other name on my family tree. Like Adam, this also forced me to find good and/or better sources.

Now if I add any new relatives, they have a good solid branch and tree to add their twig to.
I too manually entered my tree of over 4,000 people of which very few were already in Wikitree. I am so glad I did. I discovered duplications attributed to different parents, became more consistent and accurate about place names, found better sources or better cited them, discovered Find a Grave (my tree is mostly passed down records from various ancestors), and so much more I would not have discovered if I had gone the gedcom import route.
+1 vote
I truly feel for you!

This is a subject I've been trying to get a STRAIGHT answer to for several months. What little response I've gotten is to put it kindly, let's call it "PR rhetoric"

Unless someone wishes to contradict & CORRECT me - and I would be very grateful - the answer is a simple NO! You CANNOT use Gedcom to input the information you have worked so diligently on.

You can go to the trouble to create a GEDCOM and go through the tedious task of GEDCOMpare. Once that is done, you are then required to manually input ALL the data. Just as if you are reading it out of Dear Aunt Martha's Family Bible. (Yes I'm a little bitter.)

If you want to play here, you might as well print out your info - or at least pull it up on a separate computer, and start typing.

And isn't it so much better that way. No chance you'll make a mis stroke after HOURS of rekeying your info.

APPARENTLY this is all in a state of flux since September. I am holding off to see if someone might come to their senses and realistically address this issue.

My two cents...
by Michael Jordan G2G4 (4.5k points)
Howdy Michael, it sounds like someone has misled you, and I'm truly sorry for that.  With a GEDCOM and GEDcompare, you do not have to re-enter almost anything, as new profiles will be created with their vitals, and a biography will be created with your sources.  You will probably want to edit it, with your own styling preferences, and you will want to mark your data fields as certain or uncertain, but it should all be there, just as you previously entered it.  If you have photos, you will need to add and integrate them manually, GEDCOM's don't include them.

I think GEDcompare is stable enough to use right now, even though I am sure there are more improvements being made.  It's not perfect, and certain special cases could use more improvement, so you will want to check everything produced, but it sure beats re-keying.
Thank you for your answer. While it does reek with a bit of bitterness, and I do appreciate ALL the answers, I was looking for the straight yes or no or if there was a better way answer to determine quickly what kind of time I would need to invest and/or what this has to offer. While yes I  do like this site and can see the abundant amount of good things to come from it, I am not a beginner at researching.  With library research, records research in various counties and states, websites, ordering records, transcribing old documents, learning old english / anglo-saxon for transcribing and connecting all over the country/countries, I do a vast amount of detail work on my meager tree and learn new things all the time.  I will still participate with the basic information I have gathered of the years and as I learn more of how this operates at which point I will contribute more as my confidence grows.  While other may not care for it, this to me is the best answer because it is direct answer to what I wanted to know foremost.  Your answer does not mislead me in anyway and would have saved me the hunt searching the site for a answer difficult to find for someone new here. I wish you the best in your own research and sharing of you line.

You are correct in all of your response to Michael. I have learned exactly how to use the gedcom to build my/wikitree tree now and what the benifits and limitations are. Michael I think did understand what the questions was. I didn't write my question well enough. I was wanting to know if / how to use it to auto generating my tree as most are use to doing on other sites and how to use the gedcom here if that type of auto generating wasn't a option.  I am glad now to have not been able to mass auto generate it from my gedcom.  I used it for several additions to my tree and notice I have much information I would not want exposed to the public and notes private to only me for profiles that I would not have the option to make private. And it would take a considerable amount of time to find what I wouldn't want exposed and edit each. So for me building from scratch with a side by side is less work in the long run to protect sensitive information, at least until I learn more.


Thank you for your PROMPT and friendly reply. Yes I am extremely bitter & frustrated about the considerable work I did in following Wikitree's directions about creating a GEDCOM and going through the instructions on completing the Gedcompare. All of that done and completed, I have no idea how to (pick a word), "import", "merge", that completed data into my Family Tree. I have spent MANY hours looking for help guidance with the software.

I've even added messages, "Pretend I'm stupid and don't know anything!

How do I move those "People" into My Family Tree? Even if it is only those that are NOT already in WikiTree!

That's all I want to know. 

Thank you.

Michael, the current GEDcompare has one rule that has often stymied others, and I don't know what the technical reason for its existence is, must be one.  That rule is that the *Add* buttons will not appear until you have resolved ALL potential matches.  Until you clear that one last match possibility for every name on your list, the *Add* buttons stay hidden.  The moment you click away that last possible match, *Add* buttons pop up everywhere, for every unmatched person.  Each *Add* button is for adding that one person, so you still have quite a bit of work left, but it let's you verify the results on the new profile just created for that person.  Once you're satisfied with that profile, you go back to your GEDcompare page and click the next *Add* button.

I do recommend always adding parents before their children, because when you add the children they will then be correctly attached to both parents.  Otherwise, sometimes you have to manually connect children to one or both parents.  This means however that it's best to skip around in the GEDcompare list, and not just go down the list in order.  Preferably, you will start with a person already in WikiTree, then add close relatives.  Each time they are added, their line in the list will be grayed out, making it easier to select from the remaining.  Try sorting the column (click their column header) at times, to get related people closer together.  Also try sorting by birth date ...
Thank you Rob & especially thanks to Ellen!

I was INDEED frustrated and bitter. But I am a big boy, big enough to apologize if I came off as showing my butt.  And yo keep it short, I wasn't doing something right! To be completely candid, I did check off as completed entries that I still have questions about. Then I clicked on MY PROFILE in gedcompare and saw the Add Buttons appear. (at least that's what I think happened!) And unlike my perception of what would happen, it did/does allow me to "migrate" those files from the Gedcome to my Tree one at at time.

So yes, it can be done and for all I know, fairly simply.

Thanks to everyone for putting up with me.
Thank you for pursuing your question. It's the exact one I had. Fortunately, I ran across your communication before I posted the same question! Best of luck, and thanks again.

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