WikiTree AGC (Automatic GEDCOM Cleanup) is a Browser Extension developed by Rob Pavey that allows the user to reformat a profile that was created from a GEDCOM (by GEDCOMpare or the earlier GEDCOM import process).
NOTE: There are user options to configure the reformatting which are not immediately obvious, see the User Options section below.
How to install
The extension is free to install and use (except on the Apple App Store). It works in many different browsers.
- For Chrome, Opera, Brave, Edge, Vivaldi and other Chromium based browsers , install it from the Chrome Web Store.
- For Firefox install it from the Firefox Add-ons page.
- For Safari on Mac or iOS go to the App Store and search for "WikiTree AGC"
How to use
In WikiTree go to a profile that was created from a GEDCOM. Click the edit tab and scroll down to the the Edit Text section.
If WikiTree AGC can recognize this as a GEDCOM created profile then there will be an AGC button to the left of the line of buttons above the big text box:
Press this button and the text in the big text box will be reformatted. Scroll down and press the "Preview" button so see what it will look like if saved.
There is a video demonstation on this Feature Friday Episode.
If you want to try again with different options or want to make some manual changes before reformatting you can undo the changes and try again. If you look at the AGC button again you will see it now looks like this (sorry still temporary art!):
Pressing it again will undo the changes (in both the text box and any other fields that the extension has changed). You can then edit the user options (see below) and press the button again to redo the reformatting with the new options.
What problem does this extension address?
The current GEDCOMpare tool creates profiles which many users are not happy with. The primary problem is that the biography section is so unlike what a typical WikiTree user would create that some users feel that it is faster to delete the whole biography and start over. While this may be an exaggeration, if we can automatically create a biography that provides a nice starting point that the users can then gradually improve, that would make the GEDCOM pathway more attractive.
So this extension adds a button that, when pressed, reads the GEDCOMpare created biography and replaces it with a new biography in a chronological narrative format. The user can then preview it and make edits before saving the changes.
Some of the most obvious issues with the latest GEDCOMpare created biographies are:
- There are no line breaks. So the entire biography section is one paragraph. This makes it hard to read and edit. Also known as "the blob".
- The facts are grouped by fact type. So all the Residence facts are in one section and all the Marriage facts are in another etc. Thus it is not in chronological order.
- Even within one fact section (such as Residence) the facts are not sorted chronologically. They are in an order that appears random (probably the order in the GEDCOM).
- For each fact, the biography contains first the description, then the date and then the location. The description is usually some extra info or notes added by the user or automatically by Ancestry etc. It would be more readable if the date and location came first.
- Nearly all of the citations (<ref>) are named and are referenced in multiple places. For example there is usually a "Name" fact that references all of the citations (since most citations include the person's name). This is mimicking how Ancestry works but is not how most WikiTree profiles work. (see advanced sourcing for more information).
- The citations and sources are separated. i.e. none of the <ref>s include the source details directly. Instead they reference a separate source like this: Source: #S-214974479. There can be some benefits to this in reducing the text size of the profile if the same source is used by multiple citations and some users may like this. But it does make the profile harder to read and edit in my opinion. Also it is officially not recommended.
The extension will also clean up profiles created by older WikiTree GEDCOM import tools. However, if they have been edited too much it will not be able to recognize the events.
What does the extension do?
There is a more detailed list of what it does below. But these screenshots give you a quick taste.
Here is a biography created by GEDCOMpare from an Ancestry GEDCOM:
|A typical Ancestry GEDCOM created profile.|
If the user goes into edit mode they will see a new button on left hand end of the toolbar above the biography. This button only shows up if the biography looks like it was created by GEDCOMpare:
|The AGC button is on the left of the toolbar.|
Pressing the button will modify the text box below by rewriting the text:
|The biography that WikiTree AGC creates.|
More details of what the extension does
- It creates a biography in a narrative form. I.e. it says "Leonard was born on 12 September 1920 in Camden, London, England." rather than "Born: 12 Sep 1920, Camden, London, England.".
- All facts in the biography are sorted chronologically.
- It embeds the source text within the <ref>
- It optionally switches to have only one <ref> for each citation. This is typically with the latest fact using that citation. There are actually five options for when to use named references:
- Never: Refs are never named. There is one ref for each citation, typically on the latest fact that referenced it. All the sources will be in chronological order.
- Minimal: Only adds more than one ref for a citation if there would otherwise by no ref for a narrative event.
- Selective: Only adds more than one ref for a ciitation if adding a ref to a narrative event will likely be adding a ref that has a more accurate date or location for that narrative event.
- Multiple Use: Preserves all refs from the GEDCOMpare biography but only names refs that need to be named.
- All : Always names references and keeps all refs the GEDCOMpare created.
- If there is an exact baptism date in the same year as a year-only birth date it switches the "Birth date" field of the profile to be before the baptism date. Same for an exact burial date with a year-only death date in the same year. If this is done then a note of this is added in the research notes. (There is an option to turn this off).
- For female profiles, if the Current Last Name is the LNAB and there are marriage facts and the last husband's name is known, then the Current Last Name is changed to the last husband's last name (optional).
- If there is a File fact section, then a list of External Media Links is added at the end of the biography. (This is optional).
- If the description for a fact contains a link to FindMyPast then a new citation (ref) is created that contains this link and it is removed from the description.
- Arrival and Departure facts can get linked. For example, if there is an arrival fact and a departure fact that use the same citation it will combine them into a single narrative event.
- If the person died at an age of 12 or less the "Died Young" sticker is added.
- All dates in the narrative are transformed into a standard form: dd Month yyyy (e.g. 10 September 1842). This could be user configurable in the future.
- Duplicate marriage citations are merged.
- Any existing Biography or Research Notes sections that existed before the GEDCOM import are preserved.
- Meaningful titles are put on the source citations based on the fact section/type and source. (This is optional).
- If a source is an Ancestry or MyHeritage source (i.e. a subscription source) it will clean up the source information to remove extraneous data. Also, if it is a recognized source a link to available free sources for this data will be added (this is optional).
Things it does NOT do:
- If the GEDCOM was exported from Ancestry then the source citations still point to Ancestry records. However, if the source is a recognized source (currently limited to England sources) then it will add a link to where a free source may be found.
I am working on a new extension extension to assist with finding free sources for the subscription records.
Not every WikiTree user will have the same preference for how the biography is formatted. The browser extension has user options to allow for this. If you have ideas for new options please let me know. Details of how to use the options follow...
How to edit the user options
In the Chrome toolbar there is an icon that looks like a puzzle piece. Click that and then click the three dots to the right of WikiTree AGC. Then select options from the menu. See picture below:
In Firefox you click on the "burger menu" (top right corner of browser window) and select "Add ons and Themes". Then you click on the "..." next to WikiTree AGC and click Preferences.
The current options screen
That will bring up a new tab in the browser which looks like this (this image is a bit out of date as new options have been added):
Select the options that you want and press save.
Explanation of the options
These are the current options:
- Spelling. UK English or US English. e.g. baptised vs. baptized. A future improvement could have an option to select spelling based on the fact location.
- Whether to add the person's age to narrative events.
- Whether to add an External Media section to biography if there are files referenced.
- When to use named references.
- Whether to add a newline before the first reference on a narrative event. Doing so makes it slightly easier to edit but inserts a space before the  etc.
- Whether to add a newline between each reference on a narrative event. Doing so makes it slightly easier to edit but inserts a space between the   etc.
- Whether to add newlines within each reference on a narrative event. The newlines are after the opening <ref> and before the closing </ref>. Doing so makes it easier to edit and has no effect on the public view.
- Whether to add meaningful names to references
- Research notes
- Whether to add an "Alternate names" section to the research notes if the GEDCOM has name variations.
- Other fields
- If there is an exact baptism date in the same year as a year-only birth date then change the "Birth date" field of the profile to be before the baptism date.
- If there is an exact burial date in the same year as a year-only death date then change the "Death date" field of the profile to be before the burial date.
- For female profiles, if the Current Last Name is the LNAB but there are marriages and the last husband's name is known then change the CLN to that.
If you try this on a profile and there seems to be a bug please do not "Save Changes". Instead, leave the profile as it was created by GEDCOMpare and send a private message to Pavey-429. Include the profile name. I will then try it on that profile myself and debug the issue.
Please include what seems wrong e.g.:
- The AGC button doesn't show up at all for this profile
- The AGC button shows up but does nothing
- The resulting reformatting has an issue
Please include the version number of Ancestry AGC that you are using. This is visible on the chrome://extensions/ page or in the "More information" box towards the bottom of the Firefox add-on page.
Also, if you see any issues with these instructions please let me know.
Wish list for future enhancements
Thanks to the many WikiTree users who have beta tested the extension or provided feedback on it, including: Loralee, Hilary, Christina, Steve, Michelle, Kathleen, Jo, Leandra, Jonathan, Raewyn, Geoff, Frances
- Please cleanup GEDCOM imported profiles first... Jul 30, 2022.
- WikiTree AGC (Auto GEDCOM cleanup) now available for Safari on Mac and iOS Jan 8, 2022.
- WikiTree AGC (Automatic GEDCOM Cleanup) now works on Firefox May 9, 2021.
- Automatic GEDCOM Cleanup Aug 25, 2020.
- Beta testers wanted! WikiTree AGC reformats GEDCOMpare created profiles into a nice chronological narrative. Aug 4, 2020.
- Login to request to the join the Trusted List so that you can edit and add images.
- Private Messages: Send a private message to the Profile Manager. (Best when privacy is an issue.)
- Public Comments: Login to post. (Best for messages specifically directed to those editing this profile. Limit 20 per day.)
- Public Q&A: These will appear above and in the Genealogist-to-Genealogist (G2G) Forum. (Best for anything directed to the wider genealogy community.)