FamilySearch Family Tree – Adding Records Via GEDCOM

Through the early stages of FamilySearch Family Tree (FSFT) people kept asking for the ability to upload new family records using GEDCOM. GEDCOM is a standard form for sharing your genealogy data from one genealogy program to another. It was developed by the LDS many years ago but hasn’t been updated for years. Still, it is the best way to share genealogical data until something else comes along.

FSFT quietly added a method to upload a GEDCOM a couple of weeks ago and I spent some time yesterday trying out the system. After you read what is below, you probably will agree with me when I suggest not to use it.

The first thing that I did was to look for a family that I have records for that was not on FSFT. I did some searching on FSFT and found that they didn’t have many records of one family, that of my grand-uncle, George S. Stockweather and his wife Mary Vincent. They had 5 children and I also wanted to add the 4 spouses of those children. I found Mary (Vincent) Stockweather in FSFT and also Mires Miller who was the husband of a daughter. The rest of the people in the family weren’t in FSFT. By my count, I would have 2 duplicate records and add 9 new people. So ended up with a very small GEDCOM with just those 11 people.

The place to start the upload of the GEDCOM is in a strange place. If you really want to know where it is, you can find information in the FSFT Reference Guide starting on page 42.

MY GEDCOM was so small (4kb) that it took a few seconds to upload. Then I clicked on a “Compare” button. A note that was on that page said that “comparing your GEDCOM file could take several hours.” I thought that because I was only comparing 11 people that it would only take a few minutes. I was really wrong. It took 3 hrs and 10 minutes to complete the compare. For those that think they would be uploading 100 people, it probably would take over 19 hours. Here is the result of my upload and compare (click on the graphic for a larger view):

Tree Summary

My task wasn’t complete. Then I had to review each person that I uploaded. I got surprised here too. I had one spouse that failed to upload and I never did figure out why as FSFT didn’t give a detailed error report. The 2 people that the results said were matches with people already in FSFT weren’t ones that I expected. One potential match was George Stockweather in my GEDCOM and George St. Clair in FSFT.  I had to tell FSFT that they weren’t the same person. The possible match one is this below that I hadn’t found when I did a search before I did the upload:

Comparing A. G. Stockweather

My data is on the left and the data that was in FSFT is on the right. I knew this man’s full name as FSFT only had initials. In this case, you if you want to replace data already in FSFT you click “Replace” in the left the data box and it moves to the right.

Nothing ever told me that I was complete except for some check marks by each name. Then I wanted to see records for people that I thought beforehand were already in FSFT but weren’t reported as matches. I found Mary (Vincent) Stockweather and then checked for duplicates. In this case it found the previous record for Mary that had her parents and I merged both records. When I searched for Mires Miller I got 2 records to pick from. One was the record I uploaded and another was the same man but spelled Myres Miller. FSFT wouldn’t recognize those two records as being the same. I couldn’t merge those two records.

I thought I was done but when I cheeked the record of George Stockweather I found that all the vital records (birth, death & burial) were also repeated under “Other Information.” See below:

The same had happened on all 11 people I had uploaded. That is a big “bug” that the people at FamilySearch are going to have to fix. It took about an hour to delete all those duplicated facts.

I wouldn’t recommend using the GEDCOM upload as it is now. It takes forever to compare records and it adds duplicate facts for everyone in your GEDCOM. Those are errors that are going to show with your name on them. FamilySearch needs to fix all the bugs in their GEDCOM upload process before I would use it again.