Current GEDCOMpare Process

Privacy Level: Public (Green)
Date: 2019 [unknown]
Location: WikiTreemap
Surnames/tags: help gedcom
Profile manager: Mindy Silva private message [send private message]
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Help with the GEDCOMpare process

Last edit 15:37, 17 August 2020 (UTC)

Saving your GEDcom

What I did for the GEDCOM process:

  • Downloaded my GEDCOM and saved it to my computer
  • Opened in RootsMagic - Export - Select from list - Select People - Find your name, click - Under Mark Group, select Ancestors of highlighted person - change to 6 generations, Ancestors and descendants of ancestors - ok - ok (now you see Export box again) - uncheck anything you don't want, like addresses - leave 'privatize living people' unchecked - ok - save to your pc.
Note: If you privatize living people when creating the GEDCOM the WikiTree system can't match them to others, so it won't add them to WikiTree. WikiTree values the privacy of living people and will 'privatize' them automatically, so it is unnecessary to do so when creating the GEDCOM.

  • Or - Take the 2nd GEDCOM on Ancestry upload it again, renaming it 'Test Tree' and 'delete person' for everyone past your great-great-great-grandparents (this keeps your initial 'tree' at a manageable size) Note: The GEDCOM upload won't upload more than 5,000 people. If you don't have siblings and their children, you may be able to go to the next generation (leave 4th great-grandparents). If you still have over 5,000 people you will have to decide who to 'delete' at this point. You can always add them in later. Unfortunately, Ancestry doesn't have a feature to select direct lines only, or exclude people that have been unlinked from your tree.
  • Download the new 'Test Tree' (export tree)
Note: Adjust the process as necessary for sites other than Ancestry

Note: If you have already uploaded your GEDCOM and it is over two or three thousand people; I strongly recommend that you use one of the above methods to make it smaller. The compare process is quite tedious with anything bigger than that, and you can always go back later and add in the later generations. By then, you may find that those ancestors already exist and you have already attached your branches to them.

Upload your GEDCOM

  • Go to WikiTree - upper right hand corner - My WikiTree - GEDCOMs
  • Choose file, upload your GEDCOM.

  • Hurry up and wait, as they say - you will get an email when your GEDCOM is ready. Or - you can go back the 'My WikiTree' and select 'GEDCOMs' and check the progress.

  • Once you get the email, go to 'My WikiTree' and 'GEDCOMs'

Compare and Match

  • You can see that there are now 103 people that need to be looked at (for my small GEDCOM). You will need to look at each possible match

  • Go ahead and look at your first possible match. If you are sure it is the same person, click on the Match button. If it is not the same person, click Reject. If you are still a guest, continue down your list repeating that process.

  • If you have confirmed your email address, and then upgraded to Family Member, you can now take the time to edit this person if you would like. Remember, there is no hurry to get all of the people added instantly - your GEDCOM will stay available until 60 days after your last edit.
  • I prefer to edit each person as I match them. This way you don't have to worry about leaving a profile 'in a mess' until you can get back to it.

Edit Matches

  • After scrolling to the bottom once clicking on Edit, you see what i mean. To begin, delete out the useless info at the start. If all name fields are already filled in (the middle name is already there, etc) you can simply delete the name section.

  • If you are anxious to move on with the process, you can add a 'Research Notes' section to separate the information you will use later to fill out the biography

  • In your new Research section, you can use colons to keep the text on the same line. Click on preview and see that the info is all crowded together like a paragraph. Now, add in the colons, and preview again. Your information is now in rows.

  • If you prefer to spend that extra time and make each profile nicer now - go ahead and create new sections while in Edit mode. If you have a lot of census, or other, records that support residence, you will have a large section of dates and places. Use the header as shown below to create a Residence section. Use your colons to keep each year on the same line. You can backspace to pull the place up on the same line as the date.

  • I had already put the dates in Bold text in the example before - this is how I did that;

  • Another large section can be the 'Born' section. you can copy and paste, or type in, the birth location - adding it to the biography (I added in the Onomea, Hawai'i, Hawai'i, that wasn't there). Now just cut and paste everything from the first < ref > to the last one, pasting at the very end of the born sentence.

  • A GEDCOM can add many things that you don't really need on the profile. For a list of things you can safely delete see the GEDCOM Created Biographies help page.

  • As you work on your list, you can click on 'Hide Completed Rows' at the top, so that you can see what you still need to work on.

  • Now your list is more manageable

Awaiting New Matches

  • You may get a message, once you've looked at all suggested matches, that says the import is awaiting a new set of matches. At this point, just give it time. Once again, there is no rush - you want your ancestors taken care of properly. You can now go back to some of the profiles that you edited, and work on those research sections. Or - you can click on Help in the upper right corner, and go to the Forum. Read through the questions - you may find out information that will help you learn WikiTree better. You may even find someone else that you can help.

  • Going back to your GEDCOM, more matches may have appeared. Click through them and see if they match.

Add Button

  • You've done all that and no 'Add' button? Gasp! This simply means that not all suggestions were compared. If you have hidden your completed rows, as shown - click on 'Show Completed Rows' and look for Compare buttons. If they say 'matched' you have already taken care of that person. If they say 'suggested' then you need to click on Compare for each suggestion. Even if you clicked the box to the left that says you are done with this person (maybe you had no plan on adding a living person), you need to look at every one. Remember - you GEDCOM is available for several months now, so the process does not want to leave possible matches in your list without them being examined. In the case mentioned before, where you know that you are not adding a person, as they are living, simply click on 'Reject.' Please don't just click on Reject to hurry the process - there is only supposed to be one profile for each person. This part of the process is to prevent duplicates.

  • Aha! That worked! Now the 'magical' Add button has appeared.

  • Now you can 'Hide Completed Rows' again to keep your working list manageable. Pick a person, and click on that wonderful Add button.

Adding New People

  • The GEDCOMpare process will fill in the fields for you (name, birth, etc). Take a moment and make sure that they are correct. If you had several variations of spelling for a first or last name, move the extra versions to 'Nickname' or 'Other Last Names.' You can now use the same process as you did while editing your matches - move birth information, create Residence and Research sections, and take the time to write a biography if you are ready.

  • My example was using a GEDCOM from Ancestry. Remember that these profiles are available for everyone to see. Once you have your profiles all added, take the time to go back to each one and try to provide sources that everyone can see. FamilySearch.org is a great (free) site to do this with. If you have a 1930 census, for example, find it on FamilySearch. Then simply highlight and copy the source at the bottom on FamilySearch, and paste it over the Ancestry source on the profile. If you don't see the Source section, look on the bottom right for a little arrow and click that. The source should now appear.

Possible Errors

  • Occasionally when editing you may make a change that the system doesn't like. If you get an error after editing, and your Add button disappears; the best thing to do is step away. Once again, you can go back to some of the profiles that you edited, and work on those research sections. Or - you can click on Help in the upper right corner, and go to the Forum. Read through the questions - you may find out information that will help you learn WikiTree better. You may even find someone else that you can help. If the error hasn't cleaned itself up by the next day, post to the G2G Forum, or email info@wikitree.com.

The Next Step

  • Now that you've seen how involved the process is, you can see why you want to work in small sections. If you have two thousand people in your GEDCOM the process will seem daunting. By breaking it up into smaller sections, it is more manageable. After you have properly taken care of all of these profiles, and they all have sources on them (Family Trees are not considered an actual source) you can go back to your tree and go through this same process. Pick an older ancestor and use them as a starting person. Create a new (small) GEDCOM with this person and keep several generations after them. Take your time adding them (or merging their information with existing profiles) so that each one has been given the respect they deserve.
  • Remember: WikiTree has requirements for working on pre-1700 profiles:
Help:Pre-1700 Profiles
  • Because of the difficulties in properly researching and editing pre-1500 profiles, as well as the large amount of people that will be related to them (they are 'our' ancestors, not 'my' on WikiTree), there are stricter requirements for them.
Help:Pre-1500 Profiles


  • Wonderful! You have now completed the GEDCOMpare process! Remember that the G2G (Genealogist to Genealogist) Forum is there for everyone to use. Don't be afraid to ask questions (we were all new once, there are no 'stupid' questions) or ask for help finding records for your ancestors. You can also go back to your profile, and click on one of the people that greeted you when you were new, and send Private Messages asking for help. The more time you spend on WikiTree, the easier everything will seem. Have fun - and Congratulations on contributing to this wonderful tree!

For visual help on other topics, check out this page.

Page last edited: (15:36, 17 August 2020 (UTC))

Comments: 23

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I joined Wikitree last March and received an email on March 11 2021 with my GEDcompare results. Since then I have been working through matches and completed 270 so far but the only way I knew how to find my GEDcompare results was by clicking on that old email. This is no longer possible as I have to log in and don't know where to then go. My last entry was in DEcember and I don't want to reach the 60 day expiry. Today I found that it said that "to find GEDCOMpare results click on My WikiTree Menu. Then select GEDCOMs menu item, then scroll to bottom. You will see a table. Under the Status column click on GEDCOMpare result." I attempted this but in GEDCOMs menu there was no table to scroll down to! I wonder if this is because at the bottom it said "You have not uploaded a GEDCOM yet" which is rubbish as I did this last March and subsequently completed 270 matches! Can you please help me !! Kind Regards David Pugh
posted by David Pugh
Thank you very much for this detailed tutorial!

I have a tip for those who use computer applications (might work with online family trees too): When adding a new profile from GEDCompare, my application entered all sources and notes to the "biography" field. I move the sources to the "sources" field and leave the "biography" empty. Then I save the profile. WikiTree then automatically adds basic information to the biography section: birth year, parents (if they were already added to WikiTree before) and death year. Parents are added with links to their profiles. I then manually add additional information to the biography section.

posted by I. Caruso
Thanks I! I do that when adding new people manually (save all the info in the sources section). That way you have those parents links. =)
posted by Mindy Silva
I just finished importing a subset (~240) of a larger gedcom containing ~1750 people. I limited the import to people in my direct lineage, since the gedcom covered family branches which I wasn't familiar with and didn't want to own (yet). Generally I thought the process was good. Finding existing matches was straightforward for the most part (matched with ~120 pre-existing profiles). I have some suggestions that would have improved the process, at least for my use case. I'm not sure if this is the right place for them but here we go:
  • Displaying more than 500 people per page in gedcompare would be extremely useful. Ideally show at least a couple thousand. Switching between pages is slow and prevents using ctrl-f.
  • Checking the box next to people's names to mark them as complete works great on the main gedcompare page, but when checking them in the Compare view for an individual profile, it is inconsistent. Sometimes it doesn't apply the change, and sometimes it applies the change but it isn't reflected on the main page.
  • Formatting of the output from the Ancestry.com gedcom file was a bit rough. I made a script to improve it (separating sections, adding some bullet points). This seems like something that would be better handled by wikitree though. https://gist.github.com/Omustardo/2f62a321c8e9499e303caa93a6fe1c1d

Regardless, thank you for all of your work with wikitree - it's pretty great.

posted by Omar Mustardo
Thank you for your input, Omar! I'm always happy to hear what worked, or didn't work, for people following the process. I will say that the first option will most likely not change, as we recommend breaking down your GEDCOM into more manageable chunks then an entire (large) tree.
posted by Mindy Silva
Thanks for the input Omar! The best place to address suggested improvements is in the G2G (https://www.wikitree.com/g2g/).
posted by Mindy Silva
The method you describe would be essential if I were determined to add my whole GEDCOM of 3,300+ people. However, I'm deterred from going any farther, because I find that GEDCOMpare doesn't process data from my file which has a baptism date but no birth date, or a burial date but no death date. Quite a high proportion of my data just appears "Born (or Died) [date unknown], [location unknown]" which makes it impossible to compare with profiles in WikiTree, many of which say the same. It wouldn't be difficult for GEDCOMpare to put the baptism date with a "before" status, as the birth date. Unless something changes, it's just not a realistic ask.
posted by Andrew Lockley
Hello Andrew,

I'm sorry to hear you are having difficulties with the GEDCOM process. I suggest asking in the G2G if there is a way around this, or if they are planning one in the near future. Good luck! https://www.wikitree.com/g2g/

posted by Mindy Silva
Some of the names in my ged file have a blue check mark on the left hand side. What does this mean? And why do my daughters names show up in someone else's tree?
posted by Linda (Dunham) White
Hi Linda,

The checkmarks on the left are for profiles you don't want to work on. You can click again to remove the check mark. Remember, even if you check the box that you are done with that person, the suggestions will still need to be looked at in case you edit that profile in the future. Your daughters shouldn't be on someone else's tree, but if they are I imagine it is a family member that created them. Have you looked to see who the profile manager is? Let me know if you have further questions.


posted by Mindy Silva
Thank you to Mindy! This is great info. Very Helpful!
posted by M Craighead
I so agree with the comments about wishing I had read this before uploading my GEDCOM. I have way too many people!! Gonna keep plugging away at it!! Thank you so much for the tutorial above.
posted by Sarah Jordan
I agree, a tutor would be a huge help! There is a ton of information here and even though I am familiar with Ancestry.com it is overwhelming to me. If I can find this again, I will refer back to it as I am trying to get through my GEDCOMpare. I wish I had seen this before I downloaded my GEDCOM as I downloaded everyone I had back to the 1500's and all the extended family members that I found information on. I would have eliminated maybe 50-75% of my tree for the first download.
posted by Mary (Hughes) Clark
You put a lot into this, Mindy!! Nicely done!

Categories: GEDCOM Help