Using GEDCOM in Ancestral Quest –


Lets define our terms. GEDCOM is GEnealogical Data COMmunication. It is a standard used to allow genealogical data to be moved between programs using different file formats.

Peer Gynt (or was it Henrik Ibsen) said “Frem og tilbake er like langt. Inn og ut er like trangt.” (Back and forth are just as far. In and out are just as cramped.) And that kinda describes GEDCOM. It helps you to get your data in and out, and it doesn’t have to be too painful or difficult. Since the data can move in two directions, there are two ways to look at GEDCOM: Import and Export. That’s why there are two icons for GEDCOM on the tool bar.

The icon with the green arrow pointing into the storage device is the Import icon. The yellow outward pointing arrow is for Export.

Lets start with Import. Click on the Import icon.

This opens the Import GEDCOM File screen. If you have set File and Folder preferences, and established a folder for all your GEDCOM files, then what you see should be something like this. If you have not done this, you will need to search for your GEDCOM file. Note that GEDCOM files have the .ged suffix. Highlight the name of the file you want to import, then click the Open button.

This is the GEDCOM Import screen. It tells you what file you are importing and what file will receive the imported records. This screen also tells you the ending RIN number on the receiving file. That probably isn’t an exact count of how many records (individuals) are on the file. If you have deleted any records, or merged out duplicates, the RIN numbers of those records go into a list of deleted RIN numbers. More on that in just a minute.

The center section of the screen has a list of check boxes. These change the way Ancestral Quest performs the import.

The first Check box is Add a source to all individuals and marriages. If you check this box, Ancestral Quest will ask you to create a source record which will then be attached to each individual and marriage record created from the GEDCOM. This could be useful later when you wonder where you got that particular record.

The next check box is Include listing file data in notes. For each GEDCOM import, Ancestral Quest creates a report telling you how many individual and marriage records it created.  While it is reading records from the GEDCOM file it sometimes finds non-standard items, such as bad temple codes, non-standard information in date fields, etc. When this happens, AQ adds these items to the report. Checking this box will cause AQ to also place this information in the notes for that record, making it easier for you to later identify where the error originated.

The Import Notes check box causes Ancestral Quest to import notes which it finds into the record it is creating. You should always do this.

The next check box is Import Scrapbook Items. Scrapbook items are not actually found in the Ancestral Quest records. The records contain a link to where the scrapbook items can be found. If you do not check this box, Ancestral Quest will not add links to pictures to your imported records. This is probably good, because it is unlikely that you will store pictures in the same relative path location as where they were stored for this imported file. Even if you do store them in a folder on an identical path, it is unlikely that you will have a photo with this same name.

The next check box is Import Research/To Do items. These are usually reminders that the owner of the incoming file makes to himself and are not likely to be useful to you.

The next check box is Reuse deleted records. The numbers in the deleted RIN list can be re-used by the GEDCOM import process. Whether or not that happens depends on whether you check this box. If you check the box, the numbers can be reused. If you do not check this box, all individuals imported will have a RIN number greater than the Ending RIN# listed at the top of the screen. That could become important if you need to identify this group for some reason. I check this box because I want my last RIN number to be as close as possible to the actual number of records in my file. I want Ancestral Quest to re-use those deleted RIN numbers. Personal choice.

The last check box is Custom Conversion of Place Names. By default, this box is not checked. Because it is not, the box below it (Conversion Type) is grayed out, and unusable. If you check this box, you will need to choose between converting abbreviated place names to full place names, and converting full place names to abbreviated place names. Abbreviations can be a source of confusion. Is CA Canada or California? Is LO London or Logan? I always check this box, and click the Convert abbreviated names to full names radio button. I don’t want confusing abbreviations in my file.

After making your choices you are ready to click the OK button.

Ancestral Quest asks if you want to make a backup of the file before beginning the Import. This doesn’t take much time or space, and it can be a lifesaver if you discover that the file contains things you don’t want. Note that if you have set preferences for where you want backups to be made, this preference will be ignored. By default, this backup will go to the folder where your file is opened. If you have made a preference for including the date/time as part of the backup file name, this preference will also be ignored. Make your choice, and continue.

I always choose to make the backup.

Ancestral Quest tells me how many records were created, and asks if I want to see the listing.

Note that other genealogy software uses GEDCOM tags which apply only to that product, so don’t be too concerned, but look this listing over carefully, in case there is anything useful there, like decipherable non-standard codes.

Ancestral Quest asks if you would like to see the help file on Imported Data. It is a good idea to read this at least once.

This is not the complete listing of that item in the help file. Again, this is something you should read at least once.

That completes the Import phase of GEDCOM.

Suggestions/Questions about AQ Will Do or Subjects discussed here? Leave a Comment.

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