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GED File Usage Primer

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GEDCOMpare Tips, Hints and Links

Here are some great pages for the a new member working on their first GEDCOMpare or the long time user just needing a refresher.  Fortunately, most are less than a page in size.  Reviewing these may answer any questions you may have on the GEDCOMpare Process. Remember, the G2G Forum is your best friend when you are unsure.
And most importantly new or old GEDCOMpare user: Don't Worry about making a mistake. WikiTree is a very forgiving platform and mistakes are easily corrected. The great thing about making a mistake'll never do it again. The key to using a GEDCOM File to transfer your Tree is to be patient. Don't try to finish it all in one day. No one gets a Prize for adding names the fastest.

WikiTree GEDCOM File Loading And Importing Differs
From Other Sites And Programs.

The major difference between WikiTree and other genealogy sites or stand alone programs on your computer is WikiTree does not auto-populate your tree on WikiTree from your GEDCOM file. You must add the data from your GEDCOM file on a person by person basis through GEDCOMpare to WikiTree. This insures the integrity of WikiTree to keep duplicate names and records from being added. One name, one Profile is the WikiTree way.
Since WikiTree is a collaborative site, some of the ancestors in your tree may already be included here in the WikiTree database. The idea is that your GEDCOM information is compared to existing information on WIkiTree and suggested matches are given for each person in your report where a possible match has been found. This way, any data you may have can be added to an existing profile, without creating a duplicate record.

What is a GEDCOM File?
A basic description of the GEDCOM file in relation to WIkiTree usage,

Wikipedia on GEDCOM Files
A more technical description of the GEDCOM file.

Why WikiTree is different from other sites regarding GEDCOM file uploads
WikiTree follows a different requisite for adding/importing your GEDCOM file data.

Exporting your existing tree(s) from another site or program to a GEDCOM file.
Also includes the link for Splitting Your GEDCOM file where necessary.

Windows Genealogy Software
A Family Search list of Genealogy Programs for the Windows Operating System.

GEDCOMpare Basics

GEDCOMpare Help
This is must read before using GEDCOMpare as it addresses the various functions.

A directory of various information pages on GEDCOM files and WikiTree

:A Step by Step walk through on the GEDCOMpare Process.
Excellent basic Visual Help Guide on using GEDCOMpare. Must view before using GEDCOMpare the first time.

Splitting GEDCOMs With GRAMPS Free Software

Splitting GEDCOMs With GRAMPS New 5/18/2020 Using the Free Genealogy software GRAMPS to split large GEDCOM FIles. Thanks to Dave Ebaugh.

Tips On Creating A Good Profile

WikiTree Help Page on standard WikiTree Practice
The New Member How to Page which is good to review before uploading your GEDCOM file.

What to do if you find a Duplicate Profile.

How to Edit a Profile
General Guidelines on how to edit a Biography and adding Sources.

Editing Tips
Hot to Edit or Format the Biography of a Profile.

The Biography Structure
General Guidelines on basic elements which can be included in Biographies.

Adding Sources
Very Important on adding and citing of proper sources on WikiTree.

Sourcing Primer
Excellent Primer on what makes a Source Good, Better, Best.

WikiTree Profile Standards and Styles
A directory of various information pages of WikiTree Profile Standards and Styles.

Adding Links
Proper ways to add URL links to a Biography.

GEDCOM-Created Biographies
Cleaning a GEDCOMpare created Biography. Important as most GEDCOMpare created Profiles will need some adjustment.

Communication Before Editing
Communication. A good thing to do before Editing an Existing Profile.

Privacy Levels
Descriptions and Usage of the various Pivacy Levels.

Profile Ownership and Control
WikiTree Standards on sharing data and Privacy Controls. Very Important as Privacy Levels are for privacy, not control.

Help Index
This is an Index of the many Help Pages on WikiTree to answer almost every question you may have on the various options WikiTree has when creating your Profiles. This is a page you will want to bookmark on your browser.

I have created a page I call the Cheat Sheet. Whereas this page deal mainly with GEDCOM files, the Cheat Sheet goes over more of what is available to the WikTree User. It covers more details on Profile creation and form, Categories, Stickers, Projects, etc. Take a look at The Cheat Sheet.

Some Profiles Require Certification Or Specific Permission Before You Can Add And Or Edit Them

Knowing about these is important!

Project Protected Profiles or PPP files.
Project Protected Profiles require permission of the Project before Editing. Project Protection is designated after a Profile has been added and meets Project Qualifications.

  • As of 4 Oct. 2018 you can no longer edit Project-Protected Profiles via GEDCOMpare unless you are the Profile Manager, or a Project Coordinator or Project Leader.

Certification For Pre-1700 Profiles 
WikiTree Certification for Adding or Editing for someone born before 1700 is required.

Certification For Pre-1500 Profiles  
WikiTree Certification for Adding or Editing for someone born before 1500 is required.

  • You can no longer edit existing Pre-1500_Profiles via GEDCOMpare unless you are the Profile Manager.

What Is A Profile And Examples Of Good Profiles.

What is a Person Profile?
An explanation of differences between Profiles that are found on WikiTree.

Examples of good Profiles.
A directory of many different Profiles to look through. Please remember, there is no de jure standard for formatting WikiTree Profiles. These examples are more of a de facto standard. Your style may differ from these but still be in good form as long as certain Guidelines are followed most importantly, proper Sourcing.

The Search Engine on WikiTree only uses the data fields of Profiles. The information in the Biography area is not used. Make sure you fill out these fields as well and as much as possible, I add this note as many Profiles, as you will see in the Compare Suggested Matches in GEDCOMpare, have exact dates of birth or death or both and no Location. I believe many folks leave this out because they do not know the exact place of birth or death. However, they have a general idea. So even if you don't know they were born in North Beaver Township, Butler County, Pennsylvania, United States, you probably have a good idea they were born in Butler County or just Pennsylvania. Put this in the Location field, it is better than nothing. Also, there is no harm in marking the Location as Uncertain. You or someone else may find a record that permits a more fuller description in the future.

And please, no abbreviations. This is an international site. Someone from South Africa may not know PA is Pennsylvania and conversely, someone from Pennsylvania may not know SA is South Africa.

Something to Remember

I add this as I believe it best sums up what WikiTree is about when you begin to add a GEDCOM file.
This was written by WikiTree member Kitty Smith and kudos to her.

WikiTree is a one world wide family tree.  You add your family twigs to the WikiTree and try to connect your twigs to surname branches.  Eventually the branches connect to the WikiTree trunk.  The goal is to have one leaf, called a profile, on the WikiTree for everyone that ever lived.  So it is not a collection of a bunch of duplicative profiles for the same person.  If there are two profiles for the same individual, they must be merged into the lowest ID number (with the surname spelling the individual used and accumulating the data from both profiles) so there is only one profile/leaf on the WikiTree for each person. 
Your contributions of your family twigs are gifts to the WikiTree community.  They are donated with the knowledge that others will contribute to your profiles with biographies, sources, pictures, documents and other information to improve each donated profile.  Through collaboration, each of us donating our time and expertise in our areas of interest, we are improving the the 19 million+ profiles on the WikiTree.

Some Common Questions When Using GEDCOMpare

Please remember, any questions you may have of a more specific nature are better answered by posting a question on the G2G Help Forum. Make sure you use the Category WikiTree Help and add the tags GEDCOM and GEDCOMpare to insure you get the quickest reply.

Sometimes problems are encountered on your first GEDCOMpare. Most are quite simple to explain. Here are example of the most common problems encountered using GEDCOMpare on your first time.

My GEDCOM File has 1,000+ names, can I load it?

Yes, WikiTree permits loading a GEDCOM File with up to 5,000 names. Do you want to load a GEDCOM File with more than 1,000 names? Realistically, No.
While GEDCOMpare was created to facilitate the loading and importing of your Family Tree from another site or program, it's main goal is to insure duplicate Profiles and improper Profiles are not created on WikiTree. Since WikiTree is attempting to create a One Family Global Tree, duplicate Profiles are a big problem. One Name, One Profile is really the only hard and fast WikiTree Rule. This is why the GEDCOMpare Utility Compares the names in your file against those already in the WikiTree database. This is why you will see Suggested Matches when you view the GEDCOMpare Report of your file. You must verify each Suggested Match on a one by one basis so duplicates are not created. The GEDCOMpare Report will list up to 5 Suggested Matches per name in your file. If you are loading a GEDCOM File 1,000 name file with common names, Jones, Williams, Smith, etc in the English speaking countries, you could end up with 5,000 names you would have to verify: This can be quite frustrating as it seems you never stop verifying. You should start out with a file that has less than 100 names to get used to how you use GEDCOMpare to process your file into WikiTree. See Splitting Your GEDCOM file.
Improper file records are those where the only data you have may be a name only with a possible birth or death date and no recognized Source attached to that data. While you can add this to WikiTree with a Source such as “From Personal Recollection' or 'From Oral Family History', you really should not add them until a real Source is identified such as a Census, Birth, Death, Marriage Record. Remember this is a shared tree and adding John Doe born about 1850 does not help other WikiTree members when they are researching their Family Tree. How do they know your John Doe is or isn't their John Doe if all there is just a name and possible date.
See Splitting GEDCOMs With GRAMPS New 5/18/2020 Using the Free Genealogy software GRAMPS to split large GEDCOM FIles. Thanks to Dave Ebaugh.

Search Results or Where Did All Of These Names Come From?

When a GEDCOM file is uploaded to WikiTree into the GEDCOMpare Utility it will perform a Search of the Existing Profiles of the active database of the WikiTree Global Family Tree, GEDCOMpare creates a static snapshot of the Profiles the Search Parameters found and presents them in the GEDCOMpare Table. This Table will show up to 5 Suggested Matches per name or row. To allow for differences in data, both in the loaded GEDCOM File and the active WikiTree Global Family Tree data base, you may have numerous Suggested Matches. The more common the name, the more Possible Matches, ex Smith, Williams, et al. The less common the name, less Possible Matches, ex: Zumwalt, Molinar, et al.
This is one of the reasons smaller GEDCOM files are easier to manage and navigate in GEDCOMpare. If you load a GEDCOM file with 2,000 names and your Family Tree Consists of mostly Smiths, Jones, Williams, and so on. Theoretically you could end up with a GEDCOMpare Table comprising 10,000 names in the Suggested Match Column. That's why smaller is better.

Search Results or Why Are there So Many Suggested Matches???

The Search, or matching algorithm, in GEDCOMpare looks at all name fields, birth dates, and death dates and it only returns results that are possible matches in all available data fields.

  • For last names, it looks at possible variant spellings using phonetic based algorithm. This can create some odd looking matches.
  • All last-name fields in the GEDCOM are compared with all last-name fields in WikiTree profiles. This means that one woman's married name can be matched to a different woman's maiden name. (Matching the different name fields is not unreasonable, considering that it's fairly common for last names to end up in the wrong data fields, in both GEDCOM files and WikiTree.) See Update below.
  • If the LNAB is Unknown, that often greatly increases the number of matches that are returned.
  • For first names, all first-name and middle-name fields in the GEDCOM are compared with all first- and middle-name fields in WikiTree, so a woman named Elizabeth could be matched to a woman named Barbara Elizabeth.
  • Dates are treated as possible matches if they are within +/-2 years.
  • If one date field is filled in and the other one is empty, the empty date field will be treated as a possible match to all date values.
  • Locations Birth Place and Death Place are not used as a Search Parameter due to the extreme variations in how these Fields can be filled.
  • Data in the Biography and Sources are not used in the Search Process.

Note that hitting the Refresh button at the bottom of the GEDCOMpare screen can increase the number of suggested matches needing to be reviewed. It is not necessary to hit that button unless you have not worked on your file for more than a month. Even then, when you click on ADD to import the name into a new Profile, WikiTree will perform a quick search of the present database for Suggested Matches and you may catch a possible Duplicate there.

See Can I Reload the Same File Twice or an Updated Version of a Previously Loaded File below.

Update As of 4 Oct. 2018 there are new Search parameters for the name matching algorithm.

  • GEDCOMpare matching improvements. We're now only comparing Last Names at Birth with Last Names at Birth and Current Last Names with Current Last Names, and we are dismissing some matches based on the names of parents (but only those where the person in the GEDCOM has two parents and the potential match has two parents, and neither of them appear to match). We had hoped to dismiss some matches based on birth or death location, but the likelihood of dismissing good matches is too high with this.

I've done all of the Suggested Matches, Where Is The Add Button?

The most common reason the Add Button does not appear is due to the improper use of the Completed Checkbox in the first column of the GEDCOMpare Table.

Marking rows as completed is entirely for your convenience to hide rows for ease of readability on the GEDCOMpare Table. It does not mean the person is ready to import nor does it mean you, or more importantly GEDCOMpare, can ignore the Suggested Matches for that row. This checkbox is completed automatically by GEDCOMpare when you Edit or Add new Profiles. Though you can normally mark this box when you have a name you don't want to add for various reasons, it is strongly suggested you do not manually check this box on your first use of GEDCOMpare until the Add Button appears. After it appears and as you go through the Adds and Edits and come across those you don't wish to Add or Edit, mark the checkbox then. Also, completion of a GEDCOMpare Table does not require the un-imported rows to be marked as Completed, again it is more for the visual display of the GEDCOMpare Table. See more detail in the following section on the Completed Check Box. Any problem other than this is usually better handled through the G2G Help Forum..

Do I Have to Merge my File Name With an Existing Profile? - Not Always

It all depends on the data that is already in the existing Profile, if you are the Manager of the target Profile and the data you have in your GEDCOM file for that name. More importantly, how much clean up will be needed after the Merge. While there is no steadfast rule for all instances where this occurs, there are some General Rules of Thumb.
  • If you are not the Profile Manger of that Profile it almost always best to add manually:
    • If the Profile is well maintained and has a written Biography, it is best to contact the Profile Manager let them know of your intentions to add or change data on the Profile, be courteous. Collaborate with the Manager.
    • If the Profile has scant or possibly incorrect data, this may be a time to be Bold and merge your data. Still wise to attempt to contact the Manager first. A good thing to do here is to check to see the Activity Level of the Manager by going to their Profile Page and checking their recent Contributions. If they have not been active for more than a year, it is probably safe to go ahead and merge your data,
  • If you are the Manager of the Profile or it is an Orphan Profile, the question is, how much clean up will I have to do after the merge?
    • Will it be easier to just manually add a few new data points to the Profile?
    • Sometimes it is easier to go to the Profile Page you Manage you wish to merge with and delete the data you already entered (Bio and Sources) and start anew. Do not do this with Orphaned or manged Profiles!
Each instance will be different. Only experience on WikiTree is the real key to this issue. If you have any questions, contact the Profile Manager in those cases and if they are unresponsive or it is your Profile, post a Question on the G2G Forum. Better safe than sorry.

What Does The Completed Check Box In the First Column Do?

For the functionality of GEDCOMpare importing your data into WikiTree, absolutely nothing! GEDCOMpare does not use this as a condition when you import your data. It is there for your benefit for GEDCOMpare Table Display purposes ONLY. As you Add or Edit Profiles GEDCOMpare will automatically check this box so you can see what rows needs no further action by you. You can set the Display to Hide or Show Completed Rows so you will only view those rows you still need to finish. And it is nice to see the GEDCOMpare Table grow smaller as you work through it, a sense of accomplishment if you will.
There are times when you may want to mark this checkbox manually. It is strongly suggested that you do not check thus box until you have cleared all of your Suggested Matches. Some reasons to mark it manually are
  • The name is someone you do not wish to add to WikiTree at this time using GEDCOMpare.
  • The name is Matched to one of your Existing Profiles and you do not need to import the data.
  • The name is Matched to another Members Existing Profile. If that Profile's data has data that matches yours or has one or two data points you have and it doesn't, it is better to add that data manually through the Edit Tab on that Profile. Try not to over write other Members work.
  • The Name has no data to support them or they are someone your are still unsure of as an Ancestor in your Tree. Such as a name with Unknown in it or no birth or death dates or sources. Do more research and add manually at a later time.
  • The name is within the limits for Pre-1700, Pre-1500 and you do not have the Certifications or Matches an existing Project Protected Profile.
    • For Pre-1700 and Pre-1500 names, you add them manually later after certification. If an existing Profile, it is best you contact the Profile Manager before making any changes.
    • For Project Protected Profiles. Can Not add data through GEDCOMpare. You must contact the Project Leader or Group that is on that Profile's Page to make any changes to that Profile.
  • Again, do not mark this box manually if you plan on importing that name into WikiTree. You might accidentally hide a name you want to add. Also, this is not an ignore marker, even if you do not want to import that name for any of the reasons above, you must still clear any Suggested Matches that appear on that row or the Add Button will not appear when finished with those you want to add.

Can I Reload the Same File Twice or an Updated Version of a Previously Loaded File

Yes you can upload an updated version of a previously uploaded file. And if for instance, you let the 60 days expire whereby WikiTree removes the data from your previous upload and you want to continue to work on that file's data, you can do this as well. When I am creating a Tree from previous research so I can create a smaller GEDCOM file to ease transferring the data, I may load the new file 4 or 5 times to see the Suggested Matches so I can possibly tweak the file to better reflect the Profiles I may find that Match on WikiTree. Easier to fix there than possibly on WikiTree.
WikiTree doesn't care about the name of the file as it gives each upload its own unique GEDCOM File # as an identifier to the system. This way if you upload Smith Family.ged two times and someone else uploads a Smith Family.ged they don't get mixed up.
A few caveats about loading the same or an updated version of a file again:
  • When you load a GEDCOM file to WikiTree the system produces the GEDCOMpare Report.  This is a static 'snapshot' of the active WikiTree database at that time and all Suggested Matches are from that time.  The Report is not linked to the active database nor is a GEDCOMpare Report linked to any other GEDCOMpare Report.  All reports are separate.  What it shows in an old Report basically has nothing to do with a new Report except for any changes to the active database made from the older Report.  Just make sure you work from the latest report or it can be troublesome.  The newest file has the latest 'snapshot'. If you load a new GEDCOM file and create a new GEDCOMpare Report(new) and then Merge or Add a Name from a previous GEDCOMpare Report(old), the GEDCOMpare Report(new) will not reflect this change as it was made to the active database after the Report was created.
  • Any work you did on the first upload regarding Suggested Matches will not be noted in the newer GEDCOMpare Report. You will have to perform the routine of Rejecting or Matching any Suggested Matches all over again. Also,any Addition you may have made for new Profiles from an older GEDOMpare Report are now Existing Profiles and will show up as a Suggested match.
  • Once you upload a file again, DO NOT return to the older GEDCOMpare Report to do activity in there if it is available. Since each Report is a file unto its own, neither knows the other and any changes made in the old file now will not be reflected in the newer Report and this can cause you many problems. A good idea is to delete the older version before you start work on the newer file. It is just a snapshot of the WikiTree database at the time you loaded it and deleting it will cause no harm to your work on WikiTree or WikiTree as a whole.

When Do I Use The Refresh Button?

Generally you only use the Refresh Button when you have not worked on your GEDCOMpare for a month or so to see if anyone else may have added a possible Match since the file was first uploaded. Hitting the Refresh Button causes GEDCOMpare to perform the same Search that was performed when the file was originally uploaded to GEDCOMpare, as above, with the same basic results, but new Suggested Matches if any.
Do not use after each time you finish all the Compares or you just keep adding more work that is usually unneeded. When you can Add a name to a new Profile from your GEDCOM File, the Add a Name page will perform a search for possible Suggested Matches again just like when you Add a Name manually. The only real difference between the Manual Add a Name Page and that in the GEDCOMpare is that in GEDCOMpare, the data fields are filled out from your GEDCOM File where available. And all of Text, Sources and Notes, etc, are there as well.

What if my Suggested Match is an Unlisted Profile or Private Profile

If the WikiTree Profile in a Suggested Match is an Unlisted or Private Profile you need to contact the Profile Manager and or request Trusted List access.
Just click on the Name of the Matched Private Profile and you can find the name of the Profile Manager and send them a Message to compare your information with theirs. If Unlisted, clicking on Unlisted will give you a box with the Profile Manager's ID and you can do the same as above with them.
Do not add your GEDCOM File Name until you have done so to reduce the possibility of a Duplicate Profile.

Why Aren't My Images Or Photos Uploaded In GEDCOMpare?

GEDCOM files are text files only and do not have the ability to embed images from the program or site you created your GEDCOM file from. Just the name of the image. All you will see in your new Profile is this.
File: {{Ancestry Tree Media|154529316|d7f15e5f-738f-41a8-8ff6-64a212179210}}
Format: jpg.
To upload images, you need to add them individually using the Images Tab on each Profile you wish to add an image to and then choose Click here to upload it. Then follow the instructions on the next page. See Help:Photos_FAQ
If it is an image you want to have on multiple Profiles, say a family photo, there is an area to add the Profile IDs of the others. This can be done at anytime and reduces the need to upload the same image again and again.
Note: And while on images or photos, this is one of the most contentious areas on WikiTree due to possible Copyright infringement. Images of records in the United States are fine to add as they are considered in the Public Domain. In the United Kingdom, you may need permission as many are considered Property of the Crown. You need to check the copyright laws for your country. Photos from other Websites can be problematic as some are actually in the Public Domain and some are Copyrighted. Always check with that Website before adding a photo. If there is a link you can use for that photo, you are better off using that in your Biography. Examples of such sites are Find A Grave, On-line Museums, a Photographers Archive, Historical Websites, etc.

Why isn't GEDCOMpare Automatically Linking Some of My Family Members?

Problem A

The links in a GEDCOM file are based on lineage with the immediate 'nuclear family' of the individual as the link control and not the entire family tree.
Notice in the first column of your list you will see P1 in the first row, P2 in the 2nd, P3 in the 3rd and so on. This is part of an internal linking system in a GEDCOM file to insure links of family are maintained during transfer from one system to another, to an extent.
Say I add Jane Doe as the first person from my GEDCOMpare. She is now the set point in the linking. If I next add her mother or father or her husband, the system will see a link and Edit Family of Jane Doe will show up. But if I add her paternal grandfather next before adding her father or add a Sibling before adding the Parents, you will get the Add an Unrelated Person Page. Siblings are only linked through a parent.
So Parents are linked to their Parents and Siblings and their Children and Spouses. Children are linked to the Parents and Siblings and then to their Spouse and Children. Parents are not linked to Grandchildren and Children are not linked to Grandparents in a GEDCOM file. It's progressive. The best thing is to try to follow a linear generational timeline progression and you shouldn't see that anymore problems where you have to manually link up Profiles.
Since GEDCOMpare only permits the importation of one name at a time and not a total file dump that creates a new separate tree, sometimes we have to maintain these links across the file manually. This problem almost doesn't occur when you upload a GEDCOM file to a system that automatically creates a new tree as it loads all of the names in the order in which they were added and this process usually recognizes these links. GEDOMpare permits us to jump aroun the list and add names out of that original order and thus the problem can occur.

Problem B

This problem occurs when you make a change to the real time WikiTree database before you complete your GEDCOMpare Report and GEDCOMpare quits linking certain family members.
By a change this means you have changed a Matched Target Profile that you would like to merge a with a name from your GEDCOM File. The GEDCOMpare report is based on a snapshot of the WikiTree Database at the time you uploaded your file. If changes are made to the real time WikiTree Database, GEDCOMpare does not recognize that change as it is using the snapshot it took, not the real time database.
There are two usual variables in this scenario:
  1. You changed the LNAB of the target Profile before you merged your name with it. Since this creates a new WikiTree ID for that Profile, GEDCOMpare doesn't recognize it as a viable Profile. A simple fix is to Reject the Match you have already made to the old Profile ID. Then click on Compare With on the line where your name is on the Report List and in the Box that appears, insert the new Profile ID and Accept the Match. GEDCOMpare now recognizes that new ID as the target ID. This is usually not much of problem for that specific name you wish to Merge but manifests itself to subsequent family linked to your name you add afterwards. The fix above will take care of this.
  2. During the Suggested Match Procedures you discover you have not one but two or more Existing Profiles which match the name you want to import. So you Merge those Profiles in the Merge Utility outside of GEDCOMpare before you Import you name. Not a good move for as with the LNAB change above, this creates redirects from the old now non existent Profiles which GEDCOMpare does not use. The best course here is to not make any merges using the Merge Utility until after you have Imported your name into one of the duplicates and completed the entire GEDCOMpare Report. These merges outside of GEDCOMpare can cause GEDCOMpare to seem to hang up and not permit you to import your name to the final Profile. Using the solution from the LNAB example of Matching your name to the final Profile ID may work, but it is safer to wait till the end. there is no Badge Awarded for the importing your GEDCOM file faster than others. LOL

Why isn't GEDCOMpare Automatically Linking Some of My Marriages?

This is where the linkage progression can get tricky. An example of a Marriage Link failure is where a couple who are related in the Extended Family get married, say two 2nd cousins.
Since the Links are based on the nuclear family, these links take precedence over all other links outside that family group. GEDCOM files do not take what is considered 'real time links' into consideration. So male 2nd cousin is linked to his immediate family and female 2nd cousin is linked to hers and this secondary link is not used as it falls outside the immediate family purview.
A caveat here is if you add the male 2nd cousin and his family and then add the female 2nd cousin before adding her immediate family, the marriage link will be used as these two create a new nuclear family of husband, wife, children in the system. Now the fun part is when you add female 2nd cousin who is linked by marriage to male 2nd cousin, the system will still recognize her link to her original nuclear family of parents and siblings as this is her primary family link.
GEDCOM files are not smart, they must use the data in manner proscribed by the original internal link structure to transfer data from one system to another. Someday a new version of GEDCOM or an alternative may take care of this, but right now, we have to live with it. Both the good and the bad.


The Smaller the GEDCOM File, the Better

Large GEDCOM FIles, over 500 names, can be cumbersome to work with. I create smaller trees based on my main tree and create my GEDCOM Files from those. A little bit more work, yes. However, some of the names on you tree may not have been researched lately and new data may be available to add to someone in your tree. I have actually found it advantageous to do this so my records added to WikiTree are the most up to date at that time. There is no trophy for how fast you add your tree to WikiTree. You have spent years researching, what is a little more time to make sure what you add is the best.
One of the biggest problems with large GEDCOM Files is psychological. After working on a large file for a few or more weeks, it may seem to you that you will never get done as the Report List never appears to get smaller. This leads to a few tendencies:
  1. You may try to hurry up and in doing so, make mistakes. You'll just have to come back later and fix those which usually takes more time and effort than doing it right in the first place. Trust me on that one. ;)
  2. You may just want to give up and quit. As this is probably the best site on the net, it's free and open to everyone and will be here for a long time, to archive all of your hard work for posterity, why stop now. Take a breather, when you start having dreams about adding names to WikiTree, it is definitely time for a break.

Adding Names Manually First to WikiTree

This is especially useful to the first time GEDCOMpare user. You can get a feel for how the Suggested Match works and what a Profile looks like after you have Merged your GEDCOM file data with that you have already entered.

Using a Preliminary File Upload

After using the GEDCOMpare Utility many times, I have discovered it quite useful to upload my GEDCOM file and run through the Suggested Matches and those I may want to Add. Then I go back to the program or site where my tree is located on and make changes to it to reflect what I have discovered. Then I upload an updated GEDCOM file from that tree to proceed with any Additions or Merges. Many times it is easier to work on your original tree than make changes on WikiTree. It may be cliche, but an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. I have loaded the same GEDCOM file, with tweaks, up to five times before I felt good enough to continue.
Just because you loaded a GEDCOM file does not mean you have to use all of it. You may find some new new names on WikiTree associated with that file, but their data is not that great. You can update your original file those names with proper data and add them. Or you may find a group of names already on WikiTree where you find you can't add any new data to the Existing Profile. I add DNI to the suffix o the original tree so when I create an undated file, I can immediately see those names I do not want to include.

For Ancestry, Find My Past, My Heritage, et al. Users

  1. The Source Citations from these subscription based websites are not the best for those members who do not have a subscription. You can click on the link and see the Source data, but they can't. I use Ancestry as the basis for most of my research and I realize this can be a problem. So when I load a new name from a GEDCOM file, I use it as basis to search for those Sources on Family Search which is free and open to all. I replace the Ancestry Source with the one from Family Search. Now not all Records on Ancestry, or which ever site you use, are on Family Search. I add the Transcription of the data to my Source Citation so the viewer can at least have an idea why I included this Source.
  2. Adding a name with only another Ancestry, Find My Past, My Heritage, et al Member's Tree as a Source......DON'T. Yes, the rules do permit you to sometime add a name with just this as a Source. It really isn't a Source in the true sense of the term. What if that other Member made a mistake and added the wrong person to their tree? Now you have expanded that error. Research that name and get at least one viable Source that proves that person: first, actually existed and second, it is who it is purported to be. If another member questions the veracity of your data, you really have nothing to stand. Be sure before you add,

Deleting A GEDCOM File

There is really no reason to Delete a GEDCOM File from your list. GEDCOMpare will remove them 60 days after the last time you worked on that file. Well, actually not delete the record of the file, just the data in the file. The File Name and GECOMpare ID Number will stay in your list for your future reference, but they will void of data.
Also do not worry about two GEDCOM File uploads being mixed up by the system. GEDCOMpare uses the individual ID created for each upload and not the name of the file for reference. You can load Jones.ged 5 times and each one is a different file for Comparison to existing names. You can start working on Jones.ged 2nd upload, stop and then start working on Jones.ged 5th upload without too much problem as long as you hit the Refresh Button on the bottom of the list so GEDCOMpare can see what you Added/Merged to WikiTree, about the only time I advocate using the Refresh Button. One thing, if you finished all of your Suggested Matches on the 2nd load and move to a later loading of the file, you will have to perform the Suggested Matches Comparison again, as the later loads can't see what you did on the 2nd load for these Matches, only the Additions/Merges you may have made to the WikiTree Database itself.

See Using A Preliminary File Upload and Can I Reload the Same File Twice or an Updated Version of a Previously Loaded File

Existing Pre-1700 and Pre-1500 Profiles

You may find in your tree that someone in these time ranges has already been added to WikiTree. These Profiles have more stringent policies on them than more recent Profiles. My recommendation is to not Merge your data from your GEDCOM file. Contact the Profile Manger of that Profile and explain to them any new data you may have or any discrepancy in the existing data you may see. If both in agreement, Add your data Manually. If you have the Pre-1700 and Pre-1500 Certifications you may of course add them to WikiTree. However, if there is already a linkable relation on WikiTree, I suggest you again contact the Profile Manger of that possible link and inform them of your new person. Remember, WikiTree is based on Collaboration and this means working in a positive manner with other WikiTree Users.

About This Page

I created this page as compendium for those learning to use GEDCOMpare and is not a sanctioned WikiTree Help Page. As I am my own proofreader, if you see any mistakes in grammar or possibly just not clear enough, please let me know. LJ

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Looks great LJ! Thank you for putting this collection of helpful links together.
posted by Mindy Silva