Yes, You CAN Download Your Tree From – Here’s How

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Yes, You CAN Download Your Tree From – Here’s How

Can you download your family tree from The answer is yes.

We see this question quite a bit so we thought we’d quickly show you how you can easily download a GEDCOM from Ancestry that you can use as a backup, or to import in to virtually any family tree program or family history tree website.

It is important to note that because an Ancestry tree export produces a standard GEDCOM file, it will only contain textual data and not attached photos or records. This means that if you download your file for use in another program you will need to download and attach your media and Ancestry linked records manually.

If you plan to use Family Tree Maker, however, you can sync your tree with Ancestry directly and save all records at once. For help with backing up records from Ancestry using either method please see our recent article on the topic here.

How to Download Your Tree as a GEDCOM

Step 1 – Visit Ancestry and Look for the “Trees” Menu Item

Ancestry Tree Download



Step 2 – Click on “Trees” and Select “Create and Manage Trees”

Create and Manage Trees


Step 3 – Look for the Tree You Would Like to Download from the Available List and Click on “Manage Tree”

Manage Trees Ancestry

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Step 4 – Scroll Down Until You See “Manage Your Tree” on the Right Sidebar and Click on the “Export Tree” Button Provided

Export Ancestry Tree


Step 5 – A Green “Download Your GEDCOM” Button Will Appear, Click on it to Download the File to Your Computer



Step 6 – If the File Does Not Download Click on the Blue “Download Tips” Link for Help

Ancestry Download Tips


Step 7 – Your File Will Be Saved to Your Default Downloads Location, You May Want to Move it in to a Genealogy Folder for Ease Locating it Later

Now that you have your GEDCOM, you are ready to import your file in to another family tree program, back it up on a thumb drive or online, share it with a friend, or upload it to another service.

Please know that some information — including source citations, unusually long or hyphenated names or places, symbols and notes – may not always transfer properly from program to program via GEDCOM so always carefully check your tree after importing it in to the new tree software.

Don’t forget to read the article – Stop ‘Saving’ Records to Your Ancestry Tree Until You Read This – for help with backing up your attached records and other media files. As mentioned above, these are not included in the download.

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  • July 20, 2017 at 8:48 pm

    I have always worked in FTM until recently when I reactivated my program. I have people who want my FTM files and also people who have Ancestry and want to see my database there.

    What happens in the future if I continue to research and add to my FTM? If I convert it to Gedcom and again send it to Ancestry, can Ancestry discover the new entries without problems of do I have to enter any new information to each system. FTM & ?

    FTM has a continuous index so it is not so hard to look for DNA cousins while Ancestry’s system requires you to look at the A index, then the B index, then C, etc. taking many hours of time.

  • Paulette Miller
    July 8, 2017 at 9:29 am

    If I download my tree to GEDCOM, does it delete my tree from ancestry? I began the process but stopped when I saw a warning about the action of downloading could not be undone and then the command to “delete family tree” appeared below.

  • Pat Arnold
    February 2, 2017 at 3:52 pm

    I have FTM on another Computer. How can I transfer it to my laptop?

  • ConnieHickeyPendergraft
    January 28, 2017 at 6:31 pm

    I just received my new Family Tree from MacKiev. Will keep this post for latter after I get my tree entered. Thank u for the information Connie

  • Michael
    December 23, 2016 at 2:45 pm

    I happened onto this page by asking if I could download or extract a PORTION of a tree. Say the Smith branch is pretty complete, but I’ve entered new info to the Brown branch. I have all the Smith info in my software at home, and I only want the Brown stuff to go to the GEDcom export. How to do that?

    • Larry
      January 5, 2017 at 8:53 pm

      Short answer. No. GeDCOM the means by which you would download is an all or none. If you used a software package Family Tree Maker (FTM), you could download the entire tree and then once the complete tree is in FTM, you could extract the branch you want with a variety of options to included, exclude, etc.

  • Sue Reed
    October 5, 2016 at 7:48 am

    I have 6 trees and use FTM 2014 and Ancestry. 4 0f my trees won’t sync. I get different messages on different trees. The messages I get are (1) “The last sync failed. An error occurred while Mappings Handling. Restart and try again later.” I’ve tried again several times getting same message. (2). An unfixable Missing FTM Data error occurred while Analyzing the online changes. Unfortunately you will need to unlink and re link your trees.” However doing that comes with such dire warnings that I’m afraid to do that. I get that message on 2 trees. (3). The last sync failed while analyzing changes from FTM. Restart FTM and try again.

    I’ve been getting these messages anytime I try to sync for at least a year now and am very discouraged. I’ve called Ancestry but no solution has been forthcoming.

    I don’t want to download a gedcom and lose all photos and records. Too many years of work involved. The solution I’m pinning my hopes on is waiting till syncing with RootsMagic starts and I can download my trees to that program and hopefully get better support if still necessary. Any thoughts would be appreciated. Thanks.

    • Ian
      January 5, 2017 at 7:21 pm

      This is a problem I had regularly with FTM but not of late. I think there have been software patches. I believe FTM 2017 (about to be released and free to you if you register) will have a new sync engine which hopefully will solve your problems.

      In the meantime, don’t worry about the dire warning messages. The unlinking-linking procedure always worked for me without any consequences. Just a nuisance procedure. I suspect they’re just covering themselves.

      But in any event what you should always do before beginning the procedure is create a backup of your FTM file (either the FTM menu option or manually). This will also create a backup of all the media files. The procedure to follow after creating the backup is then:

      1. Select Sync options then Unlink. Don’t worry about the warning. Enter your password to remove the liink. This will break the link of the ancestry file on your PC the file on the web
      2. Select File/Close to close the FTM file (which won’t be used anymore).
      3. You should then start a new tree. Select Download from Ancestry option and click Link to Ancestry option.
      4. You will see the web file listed. Click on the Download action.
      5. Clean up old files if necessary.

      Hope this helps.

    • Deb
      July 12, 2017 at 6:32 pm

      Hi Sue, I hope you can see this too

      I’ve been having the same problem and getting the same messages for over a year as well. As a results, my FTM program is just stuck. Have you ever gotten a response or find any kind of way to fix this issue??

  • cathayb
    October 4, 2016 at 12:34 pm

    I can upload the down loaded ged com from ancestry to PAF5 which I have from the old Mormon site??

  • Tracy Kondracki
    October 4, 2016 at 11:28 am

    what is the best free or least expensive family tree program to download my tree? I have a lot of work over the years in it and I would like to have a whole tree to view all the documents and photos as well, without paying for it anymore.

  • Virginia Lloyd
    June 30, 2016 at 5:28 pm

    I have gone the Gedcom path into a different program and it was s nightmare. In family tree maker you can add fact fields and when you go to put that into another family tree program it won’t pick those additional facts up So you lose that information plus it pulls in other peoples information and puts it in a different person. Many problems for me has anyone else had this problem of corrupted data?

  • Patty
    June 22, 2016 at 8:04 pm

    This article needs updating. You can no longer do a sync with Family Tree program. Such a sad thing that they quit doing this.

    • Raylene Lamb
      July 2, 2016 at 5:13 am

      You can still do a sync but you need to go to your Family Tree maker program to sync them.

    • CcStormer
      July 4, 2016 at 6:43 am

      That is not true. I have continued to sync FTM with my ancestry tree.

      • Patty
        July 5, 2016 at 10:31 pm

        I am sorry, I can’t on mine for some reason, the sync arrow and all are not on mine anymore. I thought it was because they had stopped that with the end of Family Tree. I will have to do some questioning here now. Thank you.

    • Berniece
      July 10, 2016 at 9:46 am

      I have Family Tree Maker 2012 and synced my tree just this past week with no problems. It is supposed to work until the end of this year. There seems to be lots of confusion over this.

      • Larry
        August 7, 2016 at 12:43 am

        CLARIFICATION – Since TreeSync came in FTM, you could always sync and still can. BUT the sync is always and only initiated from the FTM side (PC or Mac). And it still working and will continue to work if MacKiev is true to their word (the new owners of FTM).

    • Peter Fee
      October 3, 2016 at 12:18 am

      Yes, that’s right. I thought I was doing something wrong. I’ve made a lot of additions to my tree recently and it wouldn’t sync. I feel deeply let down by Ancestry.

  • Nancy Frey
    June 4, 2016 at 11:57 am

    Is there any way I can delete my Family Tree from Ancestry. It is very old and out of date. I’d like to upload a current GEDCOM but don’t want to have two trees active.

    • Patty
      June 22, 2016 at 8:02 pm

      Yes there is a way. Go to the page as though you were going to do a GEDCOM and it says uyou can delete but it cannot be undone. Just click the button and viola, it is no longer there. That is a really good idea by the way.

      • Elaine
        July 3, 2016 at 2:28 pm

        I had to (sadly) delete a tree I was doing for a friend, now deceased, because a family member, her cousin, made such a fuss that she wasn’t consulted before I put information on family members on the tree. She threatened to sue me!! That was it and I “cut down the tree.” Don’t need negativity like this in my life when others are so appreciative. I hit DELETE and went on with better things. And a pro-genealogist said I did the right thing!!

        • Genbug
          July 3, 2016 at 9:36 pm

          I understand and sadly, she is right in a way, we do need to have permission from people when doing that. However, this was a gift to a friend and I say, BRAVO to you. I , too, have deleted trees because of the same reason for a couple and another because the family was just not appreciative and didn’t care about the information. I have learned that if you are doing something nice doesn’t always mean that it will be received as something nice. You know your heart, that is all that matters. Good luck and God bless your efforts. As my mother in law used to say, “To each his own as the lady kissed her cow.”

        • Ian
          January 5, 2017 at 7:26 pm

          You could have downloaded the tree beforehand and keep it to yourself. I’m sensitive to this issue to so always keep my tree on the private setting.

  • cassie
    May 21, 2016 at 5:46 pm

    Now that it has been exported, how can I convert it an excel file so i can sort different data and even create a report?

    • Shar
      July 8, 2016 at 9:09 am

      Right click on your mouse. Choose ‘save as’ and name the photo. Make sure it defaults to jpeg for photos and documents. It will be saved in the Photo section of your computer. I have several named folders in my photo section to easily departmentalize my photos.

  • Leighsa
    May 16, 2016 at 8:09 am

    How do I save all my photos, documents etc to my PC from my file I did save my GED file, but as you mentioned it does not save the photos or Date. I would like to save the Data to my PC/Hard drive. Any info on how to save this would be appreciated.

    • uxordepp
      May 27, 2016 at 4:38 pm

      I’ve started saving photos etc. from my Ancestry file to my computer this way: (I have a PC) When viewing the document, click “print”. When it goes to where you select your printer, choose “save as PDF”. Then hit save button (which is where the “print” button should have been if you’d actually selected a printer). The document window will come up and you can label the file as you wish.

      I have encountered a few files for which I don’t get the “save as pdf” option. I haven’t figured those ones out, unfortunately.

      • Pat Larimer
        June 21, 2016 at 3:05 pm

        I downloaded to my iMac, but cannot open it! Tried text/edit; iPhoto, but nothing works!

    • Shar
      July 8, 2016 at 9:10 am

      Right click on your mouse. Choose ‘save as’ and name the photo. Make sure it defaults to jpeg for photos and documents. It will be saved in the Photo section of your computer. I have several named folders in my photo section to easily departmentalize my photos.

    • Ian
      January 5, 2017 at 7:31 pm

      There’s a once-off modest fee to pay, but I just use Ancestry’s FamilyTreeMaker for PCs and Macs. You can keep it synced with the web version (I always do this manually to avoid possible issues with a tree being mucked up by me) and can even create backups. A big advantage is you can create printed charts and reports. Other benefits include the ability to merge whole trees, prune trees and export prunnings to others.

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