Download glossy buttonThere’s no doubt that many people when starting their family history, head to Ancestry. And in doing so, start creating their family tree online.

While many are happy to have their tree there, others seem to want to change and choose to have a physical genealogy program. One they can install on their own computer. One that isn’t necessarily connected to the internet.

This is where several questions arise …

Q1. What will happen to all my data on Ancestry? This stays online (unless you choose to delete it of course), but depending on what privacy settings and subscription you have, as to who (including yourself) can view and access it.

Q2. Do I have to start again from scratch? No. Not at all.

Q3. Then how do I get my data from online to another genealogy program? Putting it simply you need to export your Ancestry file. This will save as a GEDCOM file, which can then be read into any other genealogy program.

Q4. So how do I do this GEDCOM export?¬†Well, read below …

The first thing before even attempting to export your tree, is that the tree has to be “yours”. You have to be the “owner” of the Ancestry tree to even be able to create a GEDCOM file. Others may have invited you to their trees, but as you are not the “owner” of them you can’t create a GEDCOM file from them.

So here’s the steps you need to do to create a GEDCOM …

  1. Firstly move your mouse over “Family Trees” in the “Navigation bar “at the top of the page and select the tree you would like to download, as you may have several.
  2. Click the “Tree Pages” link which is located directly below the navigation bar and to the right of the family tree name. Select “Tree Settings.”¬†Note: You can also make other changes under Tree Settings, such as changing who you’ve shared your tree with and whether it’s a public or private tree. Click here for more information on how to manage your tree.
  3. Click the Green button on the right labeled Export tree.
  4. The tree will be generated as a GEDCOM file.
  5. When the GEDCOM file has finished generating, a green button labeled Download your GEDCOM file will appear. Click on this button to save the file to your computer.

Note: You may need to right click (Control + click on a Mac) on the Download your GEDCOM file button, and select Save target as… from the menu that appears.

Once your tree has been downloaded you can either save it directly to your computer’s hard drive, or make a copy of the file by saving it to an external disc or flash drive.