If you want to get a free copy of your FamilySearch family tree to upload to another program or website (Ancestry, MyHeritage, etc) you’ll need to use one of FamilySearch’s partner programs to get this data. Each of these partners, Ancestral Quest, Legacy Family Tree, and RootsMagic has a free version you can use to export a FamilySearch family tree and create a GEDCOM file, a format universally used for sharing family tree files.


Here’s FamilySearch’s statement:

“Currently we are not able to export data from Family Tree to a GEDCOM file. Use one of the Family Tree certified programs, i.e. Ancestral Quest, Legacy Family Tree, or RootsMagic to import data from Family Tree into one of the programs and then create a GEDCOM.”


First, you’ll need to download a free version of RootsMagic.

At rootsmagic.com and in the header menu, select Downloads, then select Trial Versions. Next to RootsMagic 7, select Try Now; you’ll be taken to a Try RootsMagic page where you’ll need to type in your First Name, Last Name, email address, and verify your email address, then select Download. You’ll be prompted to either download the RootsMagic Essentials Installer for Windows or the RootsMagic 7 for Mac Installer. Select the appropriate download for your Windows or Mac computer. Go to your Downloads folder on your computer and open and install RootsMagic to your computer.


How to Export a FamilySearch GEDCOM with RootsMagic.

  1. When you open RootsMagic there’s a pop-up menu in the middle of the page with RootsMagic News and Updates, select Close
  2. Select File, select New
  3. You see a pop-up window, Create a new RootsMagic file, type a name in the field, New file name (this is what you’re naming the imported FamilySearch tree – usually the name would be the primary person/root person in the tree; you may want to include “FamilySearch family tree” in the name so it’s obvious where this data came from and that it wasn’t your original research)
  4. Select any options you want including What do you want to do after creating the new file? select Import information from another program, then select OK
  5. A pedigree chart will appear with a pop-up Import File from Another Program and options-none of these options is FamilySearch so hit Cancel
  6. On the header menu, select File, then FamilySearch Central
  7. A pop-up menu appears, select Import from the Header menu
  8. A pop-up menu appears, Import a Tree from FamilySearch, select the Start person for this tree, either yourself (Me) or if it’s another person, select The FamilySearch person with this ID and type in their FamilySearch ID number, also select the number of generations of Ancestors and Descendants you want imported from the FamilySearch tree (a 9 generation ancestor tree may take 1-3 hours to import, depending on how complete your tree is; a 9 generation tree with multiple generations of descendants can take a day or more and may cause the program to crash-this is a problem at FamilySearch, not the partners’ downloading the tree)
  9. A pop-up menu appears, FamilySearch Sign In, type the User Name and Password needed to get to the account, select Sign In
  10. A pop-up menu appears and will warn you that *this import can take a while if you have a large tree on FamilySearch
  11. You may get warnings like “FamilySearch is not responding to your request, Read timed out.” You can hit OK to get rid of the warning The import is working if you continue to see the People and Families count increasing. Just let the system keep running.
  12. When the tree is finished importing, you’ll hit Close.
  13. Now a Pedigree chart will appear with the information you imported from FamilySearch
  14. Select File, select Export
  15. A pop-up window will appear, GEDCOM Export, select any options you want and then hit OK
  16. A pop-up window will appear, type the name you want for this GEDCOM file, usually the root person in the tree and you may want to add “FamilySearch Tree” after the name so you remember where this information came from, that it wasn’t you’re original research and needs verification. Also, select Where on your computer you want this GEDCOM file saved, and make sure the Save as Type says GEDCOM files, select Save
  17. As you close the RootsMagic program, with the red x close icon in the corner of the window, you’ll be prompted to either Backup this Database or Skip backup. It’s good practice to always backup the database and it only takes a few seconds. Hit Backup this database, begin backup. If you’ve backed up this database once already, it will ask you if you want to Overwrite Existing Backup, select Overwrite backup
  18. RootsMagic will automatically close when the backup is complete.
  19. Now you have a GEDCOM file with your FamilySearch family tree in your computer files. The GEDCOM file ends with .ged, the RootsMagic tree file ends with .rmgc.

You can upload this GEDCOM file to any other family tree program or genealogy site that allows GEDCOM files, which is most of them. It’s the standard file type for family trees.

Best in your research!


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