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Import Tips for Trouble-Free Records Transfer

When you add a big GEDCOM file created by another person to your family file, several undesirable things can happen:

  • You end up with a large of number of unrelated individuals in your family file, who you probably don't want.
  • You may end up with a large number of duplicate records, which leads to a long and tedious merge session.
  • You inherit a large number of records that have a lot of potential problems.
  • You end up with a lot of locations, surnames, sources, etc. that are not properly formatted, accurate or as complete as you would like them to be.
  • When the import is finished, you may have trouble seeing exactly who was imported into your family file.

The following steps will avoid these problems and make sure the records you import are accurate as possible and in the correct format. In addition, you will be able to see at a glance exactly who has been added.

Create a New, Temporary Family File:

1. Import the GEDCOM into a new, temporary family file where it can be examined.
2. In the new, temporary family file check the formatting, completeness and accuracy of information. Make formatting changes to fit your tastes, upper or lower case surnames as you prefer, make corrections as needed and double check the sources..
3. Use the Geo Location Database and the US County Verifier to make certain that locations are complete, spelled correctly and reflect jurisdictions as they were at the time your ancestors lived and died there.
4. Run the Advanced Set Living utility to mark as deceased persons without death or burial dates who were born over 120 years ago.
5. Run a Potential Problems report and make corrections where needed.
6. When you finish, the records should be satisfactory and ready to import.

Other things to consider when at the GEDCOM Import screen include re-wrapping notes lines, how you want to handle RIN numbers, and additional important options reached by clicking the Customize button for how lines are broken in Notes. If the import did not work right, immediately click Edit on the menu bar and select Undo Import of (Date) from the edit menu. (Undo must be done before you make any changes or merges.)

Open the Family File to Receive the Imported Records:

1. Tag all individuals in the new, temporary family file. This will mark your mark the imported records so they will stand out in contrast. (The tag level should be different from any used in your permanent file.)
2. Split the Family View and open your permanent family file.
3. Find the key individual in the new, temporary family file who will be the beginning point for your import.
4. Drag and drop the key individual from the new, temporary family into the receiving family file.
5. When the Copy Between Family Files window opens, click the button to copy only the family, ancestors or descendants you want to add. 
6. Be sure to assign a master source to all incoming records when prompted.  This will make sure you will know the source (GEDCOM file name, author/creator, date of creation) of the imported records.

Other things to consider when copying the records include how you want to handle RIN numbers. Click here to learn more about splitting your Family View.

When the transfer of records is complete, there should be a minimal number of people to merge, problems in records will already have been cleaned up, and you can see at a glance what individuals are new (they will be tagged) and who you started with (they will be untagged). For example, by opening the Name List, clicking the Options button, and then selecting Show All Tagged you can see exactly who has been imported into your family file.

If the import did not work right, immediately click Edit on the menu bar and select Undo Import of (Date) from the edit menu. (Undo must be done before you make any changes or merges.)

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