To export a GEDCOM file from FamilySearch Family Tree you must use one of their partners. Below you can follow links to each partner site or to instructions for how to download from that site.



What is a GEDCOM file?

GEDCOM is an acronym for GEnealogical Data COMmunications and is a standard file structure for genealogical information. It’s the most popular file type used to exchange & share family tree information. If you want a copy of someone’s family tree, you ask for a GEDCOM file.

FamilySearch Family Tree is a “one tree” site where they own the family tree and everyone adds to it and grows the tree. Because it’s a communal tree, others can make changes to your family lines and you may want to have your own copy of the entire tree on a separate site where no one else can make changes.

But FamilySearch doesn’t allow you to create GEDCOM files from their tree. “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.”


Three partnering sites which allow you to control the information you want to import are:

Each of these programs has a free version and you can compare the free vs. fee versions at their sites. I own & used a paid version of RootsMagic for Mac OS. These programs were all initially written for Windows operating systems.  Ancestral Quest & RootsMagic have Mac OS versions which work but aren’t as functional as most products written specifically for Macs.

Best in your research! Here’s a pinnable image to save for future reference.


How to export a GEDCOM file from FamilySearch Family Tree #Pinterest #OnGenealogy

13 responses to “How to Export a GEDCOM File from FamilySearch Family Tree”

  1. Thanks so much for this valuable information! I plan on completing this in the near future. As I understand it, GEDCOM format does not transfer photos. Thankfully, that’s not a big deal as I dont have many in FamilySearch. However, can you tell me if the GEDCOM format transfer Sources? My tree does have a lot of Sources that I would prefer to preserve in the transfer from FamilySearch to Any info you can share would be helpful!

    1. Unfortunately, when you import a FamilySearch tree to RootsMagic, Ancestral Quest, or Legacy Family Tree you can’t automatically import all the source citations. Once you have your FamilySearch tree imported you need to go to each individual person on the tree and manually tell the program to import sources for that person. I’ve only tried this with RootsMagic and I’ve had to add each source one at a time (but I may have overlooked a faster method).

      You can import your FamilySearch tree into Ancestry, MyHeritage, etc and that import WILL include sources & photos but it won’t allow you to import as many generations & all the descendancy info you may want from FamilySearch.

      If your final goal is to get a good descendancy tree into Ancestry, with source citations, I can think of two options.

      FIRST, it may be simplest to import two trees to Ancestry. One directly from FamilySearch with sources & the SECOND from RootsMagic (or AQ or LFT) with descendancy but no sources. THEN, check out any Ancestry options for merging trees or just manually accept hints from your Descendancy tree to your Well-sourced tree.

      SECOND, import two trees to RootsMagic (or AQ or LegacyFT), ONE from FamilySearch with descendancy but no sources, the SECOND from Ancestry (via FamilySearch) with some ancestry and all sources. Then use the RootsMagic option to merge the trees. RM suggests you don’t just merge trees, instead you use Drag and Drop to compare each person (merging trees eventually requires you to compare each person). Drag and Drop video from RM

      I’m sorry there’s not a simpler answer or method. I’ll be doing the same thing!!! Best with your research!

  2. Hi, thanks for the post. I’ve used RootsMagic in the past to do this exact thing. The one big thing missing for me was latitude/longitude data in the Gedcom. When I asked RootsMagic they said the FamilyTree API didn’t provide it, but when I checked the API documentation I think it is an option (in beta at least). Just wondering if any of the other softwares are pulling the lat/long for places on the FamilySearch import?

    1. I’m sorry I don’t know that answer. If you try the free versions (of RootsMagic, Ancestral Quest, and LegacyFamilyTree) and find you can’t get the latitude/longitude data you want, you may want to check with Family Tree Maker (fee site) and see if their GEDCOM download includes lat/long data. They have a support line that can answer your questions before you purchase. Again, this is subscription software, but it also has the ability to download a tree from FamilySearch and the user experience is very nice. Best with your research!

    1. I don’t believe Ancestral Quest, RootsMagic, or Legacy are compiled for Linux. You could use virtualization software on your Linux OS, such as VirtualBox, which allows you to install a guest operating system, such as Windows 7, 8, or 10, etc, under which you could then install RootsMagic, Ancestral Quest, etc.

      My husband uses virtualization software that allows him to run Windows and/or Linux on his Mac. Hope this helps. Best with your research!

    2. There are a couple of Linux Genealogy Softwares. I have only tried GRAMPS. I don’t think it’s able to sink with FamilySearch, but it does handle GEDCOMS well. It is a tuff one to learn as well. I had a hard time figuring out how to add children to individuals. Especially those people with multiple spouses. Perhaps it was because I started with a tree of over 4,000 people. Another potential option is to use a program like WINE that is suppose to allow Windows programs on Linux devices. I have not tried this option. At the moment I have 3 operating systems on my computer so I can use Windows if need be.

  3. I wonder whether this method still works? Or, is there a problem with UK users? Tried following the steps but I get nothing like the responses you have illustrated in your step by step. Downloaded RootsMagic selected 32 bit, didn’t get the pop-up in the middle of the page, selected new file , didn’t get “What do you want to do after creating the new file” or import information from another program.
    So, in a nutshell, it didn’t work for me.

    1. Heather,

      Thanks for visiting the OnGenealogy blog. I’ll check it out this weekend and update the instructions if they’ve changed. I’m sorry it didn’t work for you!


      1. The RootsMagic GEDCOM Export instructions have been updated for RM9 and should work. They were tested using the RootsMagic 9 for Mac. Best with your research!


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