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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13 responses to “How To Export a FamilySearch GEDCOM with RootsMagic”

  1. THANK YOU!!! This worked wonderfully! I actually downloaded a FamilySearch tree with over 11,000 people — it took 24 hours, but was worth it! I would have spent months typing in all those people!

    1. Terrific! I’m so glad this helped you. Best with your research!

  2. I’m not sure what I’m doing wrong, I have RMv7 Free version, followed everything up to Importing, and each time it only imports 1 record, Me.
    I tested starting with “Me” or starting with my Family Search record ID number, same result.
    I tested with only 5 Ancestors, 0 Descendants, no change.
    Anyone else run into this? Any known solutions?

    1. Jesus,

      I would suggest you join the RootsMagic Users Group on Facebook. They offer support and suggestions for RootsMagic users and address issues that RootsMagic developers create software patches for. They’re working on an RM7 issue right now for some Mac users. Hopefully they’ll have the expertise to help troubleshoot your RM problem.

      Best with your project,


    2. I am new to the software. Don’t start with Me. Pick an relative and copy the ID number and pick like just 3 generations on either side to test that first export.

  3. This saved me SO much time — thank you! I had to send a GEDCOM file for a family tree wall art and only had a Family Search file. I am doing this for both my mom and mother-in-law, so I saved the time twice. Thank you!

    1. Lisa,

      I’m so glad it worked for you. Thanks for letting me know and I hope they LOVE their gifts!


  4. Been importing for well over an hour now. Up to near 19k people and over 10k families.
    so far so good

  5. I selected Start Person: Me, Generations to Import : 6; Descendants:2. This method only imported my wife and I.

    1. Dan,

      I’m sorry it didn’t work for you. You’re trying to do this during a big, worldwide virtual event (RootsTech 2021) and that may be taxing the systems at FamilySearch, where RootsMagic pulls the data from. I would suggest you either wait for RootsTech to end OR contact RootsMagic at 1-800-766-8762 and ask for their assistance (in case it’s a problem on their end).

      You might also try importing two generations to see if that works. If it’s able to import two generations, the only reason I know of for it not importing 6 is the FamilySearch servers are overloaded right now. The conference ends on Saturday, February 27th, but the demand on their servers will be high on Sunday the 28th and possibly for an entire week. Again, you can also call RootsMagic and ask if they have any reported bugs in their system or any recommendations.

      Sorry I can’t be more helpful. Best with your research!


  6. After downloading the trial, I get a message

    RootsMagic cannot be opened because Apple cannot check it for malicious software.
    This software needs to be updated.Contact the developer for more information.

    Can you help with this please.


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