How to Create a Genealogy GEDCOM File

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Whether you're using a stand-alone genealogy software program or an online family tree service, there are several reasons that you might want to create, or export, your file in GEDCOM format. GEDCOM files are the standard format used for sharing family tree information between programs, so are often necessary for sharing your family tree file with friends or family members, or for moving your information to a new software or service. They can be especially useful, for example, for sharing family tree information with ancestral DNA services which allow you to upload a GEDCOM file in order to help matches determine their potential common ancestor(s).

Create a GEDCOM

These instructions will work for most family tree software programs. See your program's help file for more specific instructions.

  1. Launch your family tree program and open your genealogy file.
  2. In the top-left hand corner of your screen, click the File menu.
  3. Select either Export or Save As...
  4. Change the Save as Type or Destination drop-down box to GEDCOM or .GED.
  5. Select the location where you'd like to save your file (make sure it's one you can easily remember).
  6. Enter a filename such as 'powellfamilytree' (the program will automatically add the .ged extension).
  7. Click Save or Export.
  8. Some type of confirmation box will appear stating that your export has succeeded.
  9. Click OK.
  10. If your genealogy software program does not have the ability to protect the privacy of living individuals, then use a GEDCOM privatizing/cleaning program to filter the details of living people from your original GEDCOM file.
  11. Your file is now ready to share with others.

Export From

GEDCOM files can also be exported from online ancestry member trees that you own or have shared editor access to:

  1. Log in to your account.
  2. Click on the Trees tab at the top of the page, and select the family tree you would like to export.
  3. Click on the name of your tree in the upper-left corner and then select View Tree Settings from the drop-down menu.
  4. On the Tree Info tab (the first tab), select Export Tree button under the Manage Your Tree section (bottom right).
  5. Your GEDCOM file will then be generated which may take a few minutes. Once the process is complete, click on the Download your GEDCOM file button to download the GEDCOM file to your computer.

Export From MyHeritage

GEDCOM files of your family tree can also be exported from your MyHeritage family site:

  1. Log into your MyHeritage family site.
  2. Hover your mouse cursor over the Family Tree tab to bring up a drop-down menu, and then select Manage Trees.
  3. From your the list of family trees that appears, click on Export to GEDCOM under the Actions section of the tree you would like to export. 
  4. Choose whether or not to include photos in your GEDCOM and then click on the Begin the Export button.
  5. A GEDCOM file will be created and a link to it sent your email address.

Export From

Genealogy GEDCOM files can also be exported from, either of your entire family tree or for a specific profile or group of people:

  1. Log into
  2. Click on the Family tab and then click the Share Your Tree link.
  3. Select the GEDCOM export option.
  4. On the next page, select from the following options which export only the selected profile person plus the individuals in the group you have selected: Blood Relatives, Ancestors, Descendants, or Forest (which includes connected in-law trees and may take up to several days to complete).
  5. A GEDCOM file will be generated and sent to your email.

Don't worry! When you create a genealogy GEDCOM file, the software or program creates a brand new file from the information contained in your family tree. Your original family tree file remains intact and unaltered.

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Your Citation
Powell, Kimberly. "How to Create a Genealogy GEDCOM File." ThoughtCo, Feb. 16, 2021, Powell, Kimberly. (2021, February 16). How to Create a Genealogy GEDCOM File. Retrieved from Powell, Kimberly. "How to Create a Genealogy GEDCOM File." ThoughtCo. (accessed May 28, 2023).