Ancestral Quest partners with FamilySearch and provides one way to export a copy of your free FamilySearch Family Tree.

 

If you have a family tree at FamilySearch you can’t download a GEDCOM file of your tree directly from FamilySearch but you have three options for creating a GEDCOM file so you’ll have full control of your tree and which ancestors & descendants you want to have included.

 

This blog gives instructions for your first option, 

How to Import Your Free FamilySearch Family Tree at Ancestral Quest and How to Create a GEDCOM file at Ancestral Quest. 

 

I wanted a GEDCOM file with ancestors through my 5th great-grandparents and all their descendants. My GEDCOM file has roughly 34,000 names and took me 12 hours to import & create. I did my imports in batches because I was afraid thousands of names all in one fell swoop would crash the program. Adjust these instructions as needed for your tree and personal circumstances.

 

How to Import a Free FamilySearch Family Tree at Ancestral Quest

  1. Select Ancestral Quest Basics (version 15) – Windows or Mac – this is always FREE
  2. Download either AQ 15 Basics for Windows Setup  or  AQ 15 Basics for Mac Setup
  3. You will be downloading this file, C:\Program Files (x86)\Incline Software\Ancestral Quest 15\same installer
  4. Run the .exe file
  5. You’ll see a pop-up window, “Ancestral Quest 15 Setup” Select the default language of your choice & hit Next
  6. You’ll see a pop-up window, “Internet Research Options” Select your preferences & hit Next
  7. You’ll see a pop-up window for more “Internet Research Options” Select your preferences & hit Next
  8. You’ll see a pop-up window for more “Internet Research Options” Select your preferences & hit Next
  9. Ancestral Quest now launches* and you’ll have multiple options (listed below), Select Import from FamilySearch OR select FamilySearch from the top menu and Import Family Lines
    • New – Create a new .aq database, etc
    • Open – Open an existing file
    • Import GEDCOM
    • Import from FamilySearch
    • Search
    • Restore
    • Collaborate
  10. You’ll be prompted to create a destination path for this FamilySearch Import, Type in a file name/folder on your computer where you would like Ancestral Quest to save the imported tree, Select OK
  11. You’ll be prompted to sign in to FamilySearch and have AQ remember this id and password and automatically sign you in when needed, Enter your FamilySearch login & password and select your preferences (there is also an advanced option-you won’t need this)
  12. You’ll now be prompted to Import Ancestors/Descendants from FamilySearch with some default options. I’ll share my default options but choose your own and then hit Import
    • I opted to import Download my (Alyson Tayler) ancestors, selected 8 generations, & included families
    • Later, with the family tree (pedigree chart) open, I highlighted each 3rd great-grandparent and selected FamilySearch from the top menu bar, and Import Family Lines… 
    • This brought me back to the prompt Import Ancestors/Descendants from FamilySearch and the new default option was to Add Descendants to person and it named the 3rd great-grandparent I had highlighted. I then told it import 5 generations of descendants, as Standardized by FamilySearch (it didn’t import duplicates already in my tree)
    • Later, with with the family tree (pedigree chart) open, I highlighted each 5th great grandparent and selected FamilySearch from the top menu bar, and Import Family Lines… 
    • This brought me back to the prompt Import Ancestors/Descendants from FamilySearch and the new default option was to Add Descendants to person and it named the 5th great grandparent I had highlighted. I then told it import 4 generations of descendants, as Standardized by FamilySearch (I did this for both husbands and wives in case they had had children with another spouse-it didn’t import duplicates already in my tree

NOTE 1: Each time you import more names into a family tree, Ancestral Quest will ask if you want to backup the information currently in your tree. It’s a good idea to say yes. It will ask you if you want to replace the existing AQ file with an updated one and you should say yes. The more names you import, the larger your tree grows, and you should always allow AQ to quickly backup your work. The backup takes 1-2 seconds and doesn’t slow down your project.

NOTE 2:  A nice feature at Ancestral Quest is they give you a prompt explaining what’s happening when the import gets bogged down. It says, “Family Search is Busy…retrying.” It took about 1 hour to import 10 generations of descendants from a 9th great grandfather.

 

How to Import a FamilySearch Family Tree for a Different Individual

  1. Open the AncestralQuest program, now downloaded onto your computer
  2. You’ll be prompted to select a version, select the free version Use Ancestral Quest Basics
  3. You may get a popup box with Tip of the Day lessons, you can read through these, selecting Next Tip to progress through each window, or select Close to be done
  4. It will pull up the family tree/pedigree already associated you’ve most recently imported; you don’t want to use this tree. From the top menu bar select File, then New
  5. It will give you a popup box and you will need to create a file name and storage place for the new tree you are going to import. Type in the file name of your choosing then select Create
  6. You’ll see a blank pedigree chart. On the top menu bar, select Family Search, then Import Family Lines
  7. You’ll see a pop up box requesting you sign in to FamilySearch.org; Type in your FamilySearch User Name and Password, and check any boxes you want, then select Sign In
  8. You’ll see a pop up box Import Ancestors/Descendants from FamilySearch, select the import actions you want to perform (if you don’t want this family tree to start with the person whose FamilySearch Login and Password you used, you’ll need to go to a FamilySearch tree, find the name of the person you want the tree to start with, write down their FamilySearch Person ID number (FS PID) and then find the go back to Ancestral Quest and on this Import Ancestors/Descendants from FamilySearch, find the FS PID box and type in the number of the person who will be the home person on your new tree
  9. When you’ve made all your selections on the Import Ancestors/Descendants from FamilySearch, select Import
  10. If you want to import more information for this tree, such as Descendants of ancestors (distant cousins, etc., who fall outside of your imported line of direct ancestors), you’ll have a few more steps to take.
    • On a PC or Mac, you can highlight an ancestor in your newly imported pedigree chart, then select FamilySearch from the top menu bar, and Import Family Lines… this will make the ancestor you highlighted the new default person used as a basis for you next import
  11. This brings you back to the prompt Import Ancestors/Descendants from FamilySearch
    • On a PC or Mac, select Add Descendants to person and it names the ancestor you highlighted. In the Additional Options part of this pop up box, type in the number of descendant generations you wish to import (I’ve discovered Ancestral Quest is able to handle large amounts of data so I typed in 10 generations of descendants – depending on how many generations back your ancestor is, you may request greater or fewer generations of descendants for this person
  12. Follow this process for each ancestor for whom you wish to import extra descendancy lines

 

NOTE 1: Each time you import more names into a family tree, Ancestral Quest will ask if you want to backup the information currently in your tree. It’s a good idea to say yes. It will ask you if you want to replace the existing AQ file with an updated one and you should say yes. The more names you import, the larger your tree grows, and you should always allow AQ to quickly backup your work. The backup takes 1-2 seconds and doesn’t slow down your project.

NOTE 2: A nice feature at Ancestral Quest is they give you a prompt explaining what’s happening when the import gets bogged down. It says, “Family Search is Busy…retrying.” It took about 1 hour to import 10 generations of descendants from a 9th great grandfather.

 

How to Create a GEDCOM of your FamilySearch Family Tree at Ancestral Quest

  1. On the top menu bar Select File, then Export
  2. A window will open entitled Export GEDCOM File
    • Select Export for import info “Ancestral Quest 12 or later” or another option and then select everything you want to be included in the export and hit the Export button
  3.  A window will open entitled Export GEDCOM File As and you’ll need to do these three things:
    • Save In (select a place on your computer where you want the GEDCOM file stored)
    • File Name (type in the name you want for this GEDCOM file)
    • Files of Type (select GEDCOM Files (*.ged))
  4. Ancestral Quest will create a GEDCOM file and save it to your computer. Now you can upload this FamilySearch Family Tree GEDCOM file to any other family tree site that accepts GEDCOM files.

 

*Every time you open/launch Ancestral Quest you will be asked which version you want to use. Select Ancestral Quest Basics.
 
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2 responses to “How to Import Your Free FamilySearch Family Tree at Ancestral Quest & Create a GEDCOM File”

  1. I tried using Ancestral Quest and was successful. Thank you. RootsMagic was so very different and I was unable to complete.

    Reply

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