Help:Splitting a GEDCOM

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A large file may need to be split up before you can use GEDCOMpare.


Why GEDCOMs Need to be Split

GEDCOMs with more than 5,000 people cannot be uploaded for GEDCOMpare. More than this would overload our system as it tries to search for matches, and the resulting GEDCOMpare table would overwhelm you. It would be completely unusable.

How to Export a Partial GEDCOM

There are multiple possibilities for this. The options depend on the system you're exporting from.

The most common method is to export a tree for someone other than yourself. For example, instead of exporting a GEDCOM for a tree that starts with you, export two trees: one for your mother and one for your father. Or export four trees: one for each grandparent.

Another possibility is to export a limited number of generations. However, exporting separate trees for family members is generally better because it makes it easier to export other branches later.

For example, you might start by adding the tree for one grandparent now. Then in a few weeks you could upload a file for another grandparent.

Here are some more details for various programs, collected from How do you export a partial GEDCOM from your family tree software?

Family Historian

Go to File > Export > GEDCOM file.

Choose the people you want to include in the export and make choices about what is included.

Click OK and choose where to file it.

Click Save.

Legacy Family Tree

In Legacy there are multiple choices when exporting a gedcom. Follow this link to see instructions.

In the STANDARD LEGACY which can be downloaded free:

  2. A dialogue box opens up titled GEDCOM EXPORT
    • Select PRODUCE FILE FOR in dropdown menu: GEDCOM 5.5.1
    • Set character set as UTF-8.
  3. Do not check anything else in this box EXCEPT "RECORD SELECTION"
  4. New dialogue box opens up titled "GEDCOM Record Selection"
    • Check radio button (2nd selection) SELECTED RECORDS CONTAINED IN THE FOCUS GROUP.
    • Click the red lettered option VIEW /SELECT FOCUS GROUP
  5. New dialogue box opens up titled "Focus Group". It has 5 options.
    • For WikiTree purposes, one can click ADD A FAMILY. Note you can also add an individual with ancestors or descendants or entire family line.
  6. When you click ADD A FAMILY, a new dialogue box opens up titled "NAME LIST CONTAINS (with a count of individual)".
    By the way, all blue lettered are males; red lettered are women.
  7. When you select in the NAME LIST, the families you want exported, (it will highlight the row in the name field blue or red), then click SELECT, click OK.
  8. Repeat STEP 7 until you have a list of families for export.
  9. When your FOCUS GROUP dialogue box shows all the families you want, click OK.
  10. Back to dialogue window titled GEDCOM EXPORT.
    • In right hand corner is a box called SELECT FILE NAME AND START EXPORT.
    • Click it and EXPORT GEDCOM FILE window opens up whereas you name it and save to your computer.

Family Tree Maker

See Export your tree from Family Tree Maker or this YouTube video by Christa Cowen. Member Trees

See Splitting your Ancestry Member Tree.


This is true for at least version 5:

Open the tree you want to export from.

Go to File -> Export.

Under "People to export" change "Everyone" to "Select from list".

Another dialogue will open, in which you can select anyone you want to include from a list of everyone in the tree. If you click the Mark Group button, you can select ancestors of the highlighted person, descendants of the highlighted person, family of the highlighted person, and a few other options.

Click OK on this dialogue, and on the one under it.

Save the file where you want on your computer.

You can also watch this video for a step-by-step guide on importing an tree into RootsMagic.


In Gramps go the menu and choose [Family Trees] > [Export] and the export assistant will open to an introduction screen. Press [Forward] and on the next screen select GEDCOM as the output format. Press [Forward].

The next screen that follows allows filtering of records for export based on a number of preset and user definable criteria. Once you have set the desired filters, pressing the [Calculate Previews] button will indicate how many records will be included in the exported gedcom. Once you are happy with filter settings press [Forward], enter a file name and location. Press [Forward] and a final confirmation appears indicating the format, file name, and path. Press [Apply] to create the filtered Gedcom.

On the issue of filters, a user defined Person Filter can be created to limit export to only people with "at least one direct source."

Version specific documentation is available here.

To expand on the filtering mentioned above...

In Gramps sources and citations can be referenced by a person, an event, a family, or a place. The filter mentioned in my original post will only include people that have a source linked directly to the person; it will not include people with events (Birth, Death, Census, etc.) that have their own sources.

To catch these additional people:

  1. Under "Events Tab" create a new event filter called: WikiTreeSourceEvent
    The rule is [Citation/Source Filters] > [Events with at least one direct source] Criteria "Confidence level >= "0"."
  2. Under "People Tab" create a new person filter called: WikiTreeSourcePerson
    • Add rule 1. [Citation/Source filters] > [Persons with at least one direct source] Criteria "Confidence level >= "0""
    • Add rule 2. [General Filters] > [Persons with events matching the <event filter>.] Criteria event filter name WikiTreeSourceEvent.
    Set the filter options to "at least one rule must apply".
  3. On the export page where you filter your output click the pencil (edit) next to the person filter.
    • Add rule 1. [General Filters] > [People matching the <filter>] criteria filter name WikiTreePersonFilter.
    Add other rules as needed to "split" the family tree into branches of less than 2500 people. These additional rules are up to you, but should use rules from the relationship, descendant, or ancestral filters to reduce the number of people to be included in the export.

NOTE: This filter will EXCLUDE people with zero sources which can "break" the family tree, i.e. a person with no sources will be omitted but their parents and children will still be included if they have sources.


Otherwise known as Personal Ancestral Files. Can be downloaded from : PAF DOWNLOAD


Family Tree Builder (MyHeritage)

  1. With the family tree open, select File from top left.
  2. Select Export Gedcom and click on 'Save As'
  3. This opens another window with a line FILE NAME and the name of the present tree will be highlighted. Change this name to the preferred GEDCOM name and Click 'Save'.
  4. This returns you to the original window. Click 'Next'
  5. The new window asks you to set author information. There is a blank area titled 'Description of file' Click in the space and type your own name/identifier, you can input anything here. Click 'Next'.
  6. The new window asks you to either 'Include all people in project' or 'Include only selected people' Click the radio button 'Include only selected people'.
  7. When you click this another window opens up with a scrolling list of all individuals in the tree. Either type a name at the top or scroll through until you find the person you want. You need to select just one person. Clicking on that name highlights the person. Click 'Select'.
  8. The new window is titled 'Select People to Export'. Here you have the selected name under heading 'Person' and to the right is an option of 'Include'. The default will be shown, it may be 'Descendants' 'Spouses' or 'Ancestors' or a combination. To the right is a button marked 'Edit'. Click this.
  9. You will see tick boxes to include which you want of the three possibilities. Leaving all unticked means only the one individual is in the GEDCOM. Click 'OK' when the preferred options are set.
  10. If you wish to add another individual not currently selected, select 'Add'. This takes you back to the 'Select People to Export' page.
  11. Go through same steps until you have the people you need, then click 'OK'.
  12. You now have the option of selecting notes, omit living people, omit private data, save photo information, save gregorian calendar dates, save sources and citations. These are tick boxes. For WikiTree you need to select notes, sources and citations, you do not want to omit private data. Including living people is your choice, do not include photo information. Click 'Next'.
  13. A popup window will ask you if you want to create a subfolder to copy the GEDCOM into. This is recommended so choose 'Yes'.
  14. It will then export. This can take a few minutes. After it is done, a window will pop up telling you it has done it. Remember the file name and the folder it says it has saved it to. (Usually user/documents). Select 'Finish'.

Brothers Keeper

To split a gedcom in Brothers Keeper genealogy software , here is an instructional video by Paul : Split a Gedcom in Brothers Keeper

Thank you to Rob Ton, Maggie N., Martin Allen, Hans Jørgen Kølle, Lianne Lavoie, Rhian Geleick, Irene Dillon for providing the above information.

This page was last modified 16:07, 9 October 2021. This page has been accessed 27,130 times.