How to Make Ancestry Create A good Gedcom Import

+9 votes

Here is what learned  AFTER importing most of my Gedcom while doing my experiments.   File under things I wish I when I work on my Ancestry Tree, I pay more attention : )

When you are adding things to your Ancestry tree, make sure you have the EDIT field open, and the little "cite source" box is checked.   This is usually checked by default, but you need to keep an eye on it.  If it is NOT a source you want cited, uncheck the box.  I never add things without checking and possibly editing anyway.

All the fields in an Ancestry Source can be edited.  Read that again.   When you open an Ancestry Source listed on person on your tree, there is a menu on the left that includes Citation Details, Associated Facts, and Media.   

You can change all of the fields in these tabs.  Read that again.   If you have a Find a Grave Source, you can Add the web link to the Citation.  You can even put a Family Search link in there, for a census.  You can put a corrected Ancestry link in there!    You can cut down the size.  You can change the Repository.   You can add notes and comments!

If you change the Associated Facts, you change how the import looks when it comes over to wiki.  Don't want 100 little sources with your names?  Then remove Name fact from all the census items.   Sources with No associated Facts Wont be Imported, so remove facts from Trees and Directories, and make sure the things you want brought over have Facts.    Items will be referenced only to the facts they are associated with.   So make sure you have at least one item per fact, but not a lot of redundant items per fact.

If you have an item listed under sources with NO citation, you aren't going to get one when you bring it over.

If you add your own source, make sure you can connect it to a fact, or it won't come over.

And here is Ellen Smith's wonderful post about how to fix Ancestry URLs.

You can use these fixed URL's when you edit your Source Citations!!!


We all seem to have different styles, but here's my approach.

1. Here's the ugly search result URL:,%20New%20York,%20USA&msbpn=128&msbpn_PInfo=7-%7C0%7C1652393%7C0%7C2%7C0%7C35%7C0%7C128%7C0%7C0%7C0%7C&cp=0&MSAV=1&uidh=qz7&pcat=35&h=1366055237&db=NYStateCen1875&indiv=1&ml_rpos=6

That points to the index page for a New York state census record, complete with an erroneous transcription of the family name.

2. Here's the complete URL for the image of the census sheet:,%2520New%2520York,%2520USA%26msbpn%3D128%26msbpn_PInfo%3D7-%257C0%257C1652393%257C0%257C2%257C0%257C35%257C0%257C128%257C0%257C0%257C0%257C%26cp%3D0%26MSAV%3D1%26uidh%3Dqz7%26pcat%3D35%26h%3D1366055237%26db%3DNYStateCen1875%26indiv%3D1%26ml_rpos%3D6&treeid=&personid=&hintid=&usePUB=true&_phsrc=TqS160&_phstart=successSource&usePUBJs=true

3. I trim that URL by eliminating the part that starts &backurl=

The result is

That's all that's needed to get back to that same census sheet.

4. Next, I package that shorter URL in a descriptive citation, using source details I can find on Ancestry:

* New York State Census, 1875. [ Enumeration sheet for New Scotland, District E·D· 03, Albany County]. Microfilm. New York State Archives, Albany, New York. Accessed at

That will display as:

* New York State Census, 1875.  Enumeration sheet for New Scotland, District E·D· 03, Albany County. Microfilm. New York State Archives, Albany, New York. Accessed at

in WikiTree Help by Wendy Fromme G2G6 Mach 2 (24.6k points)
retagged by Dorothy Barry
Thanks for these tips - just starting to look at an import from Ancestry and this will definitely help in creating a profile that doesn't make me cringe :)

2 Answers

+7 votes
Wendy, excellent suggestion and work! The only problem is so many at WikiTree do not have an Ancestry account and they only see a login or sign up page when the link is clicked on. All the information contained in the Ancestry source link should be added to the profile as well as the citation back to the source at Ancestry.
by David Selman G2G Astronaut (1.2m points)
+1 vote

Here is a neat little trick to permit those who do not belong to Ancestry to see the data on Ancestry.  Please note, this is only really good for sources that have images. A transcription only source really conveys nothing to the viewer. Follow David's advice on those.  A little time consuming, but it has been tested by non Ancestry members.

I do this after i have added the sources through the GEDCOMpare import phase.  I open the original tree on Ancestry and open the Edit Text Box on the associated Profile.  I choose the Source I wish to convey on Ancestry  and click on View.  On the page that opens I click on View Record.  In the upper right section of that page, choose the Share Button and then choose Email.  A box will open and enter an email address, I use as it really doesn't send the email.  Click on send, do not hit return or enter, Highlight and copy and paste the url that appears to the appropriate source record on your Profile.

ex  John Duman   Look at Source 5 for PA Draft Board.  Also Sources 6 & 8 as well. Anyone can click on that link and see the image and a quick description of the record.

I don't do this for Census records as they are so readily available on free sites.  Just the Ancestry centric sources with images.

by LJ Russell G2G6 Pilot (196k points)
Thanks for sharing this tip and example profile - will be incorporating in my bios !

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