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exporting or editing a gedcom with limited information

Discussion in 'General discussion' started by trebor, Dec 2, 2018.

  1. trebor

    trebor LostCousins Member

    I have decided to upload a new tree to Ancestry to link to my DNA results. I intend this tree to be public (my main tree is private) and therefore want to only include basic information such as Birth, Marriage & Death. I also only want to include my direct ancestors.
    I can export a GEDCOM file from Family Tree Maker with the required ancestors but no matter what boxes I tick or untick I cannot find a way to limit the data included and to miss out the sources attached to that data.
    I have looked at editing the GEDCOM file but with the amount of data in there it looks both complex and long winded. (Unless there is a program out there which will make this easy)
    I can delete the unwanted data on Ancestry but again that is very time consuming.
    There are over 100 people to include so I don't relish the task of creating the tree manually.
    I want to do the same for my wife's tree so that means twice the work!
    I also tried importing my cut down GEDCOM and then re-exporting from the Free version of Roots Magic but I still cannot find a way to remove the unwanted data.

    Any suggestions from you experts out there would be greatly appreciated.
  2. Bryman

    Bryman LostCousins Megastar

    I produced something similar manually for about 200 direct ancestors in a couple of hours, or maybe a little longer ;), although I did not remove data from within the selected records for those individuals. Perhaps I should have done.

    I created a new tree with just those direct ancestors by using copy and paste of the appropriate individuals (from my various GenoPro trees) together with their marriage details. Each couple in the new tree are shown with a single child. A GEDCOM file was then exported from that new tree and loaded at Ancestry. I do not have any DNA results yet but am preparing my public direct ancestor tree in anticipation.

    It did not seem to be worthwhile creating a program or 'automated' process just for me although it may be worth investigating if you and others wish to do something similar. Because we all use various forms of software, any process would probably have to work with the generated GEDCOM file, like FTA does, in order to achieve commonality of processing. Alexander may be able to offer suggestions/guidance as a result of his development of FTA although I would not expect a need for such a formal implementation.

    My initial thoughts would be along the lines of a user generated requirements file specifying which individuals are required, unless Alexander can show how just direct ancestors can be automatically selected. All GEDCOM records start with a single numeric digit and those records for an individual are preceded with a record type zero. The NAME, SEX, BIRTh, DEATh, etc records have a value "1" and further details are supplied by record types "2", "3", etc. Hence all required records could be copied from one selected type "0" to the next to create a reduced GEDCOM file for submission to Ancestry. Additional restrictions could be specified within the requirements file to limit the data copied to just the required level of detail, unless the minimum requirements can be fixed for simplicity.

    Are there other members who would be interested in using such a simple utility if available? Of course, if anyone has a better idea then please let us know.
  3. trebor

    trebor LostCousins Member

    I generated the GEDCOM in seconds from FTM restricted to the range of ancestors required. The time consuming bit is removing the data not required. In Notepad ++ etc very difficult to ensure you are deleting the right lines. In Ancestry very slow due to the layout. RootsMagic is quicker - 30 mins allowed me to delete the unwanted records from 3 generations - many more to go and as they go on the number of ancestors doubles but fortunately the amount of data should decrease (I hope). With all of the residence, census, occupation, electoral records I add there are a lot of lines to delete. And then there is my wife's tree to be generated. And I haven't tested the RootsMagic file yet to see if it does the required job!!!

    If an FTA type app would do the job I for one would find it useful. Problem with running 2 trees based on the same people is that any updates have to be done twice. If an app would remove the "detriment" it would be very quick to create a new reduced GEDCOM to update the old one. As a non programmer it seems simple for an app to read the different fields included and list them - the user then selects the ones that need to be kept (or removed) and the app generates a new gedcom - I hope that it is as simple as it sounds.
  4. PhilGee

    PhilGee LostCousins Member

    After you "extract" the direct ancestors, load that tree into FTM and select "Manage facts" from the drop-down of the menu "Edit" item. Then:

    1. use "New" to create two facts - individual fact aa-ind and family fact aa-fam.
    2. select a fact to remove and then select "Data Options"
    3. tick the change box and select the appropriate fact from the two you created (they will be at the top of the list!)
    4. repeat from 2 as needed
    5. select the facts you created (in turn) and delete them, making sure you include associated data for deletion.

    You may need to repeat for manage sources/repositories

  5. trebor

    trebor LostCousins Member

    Many thanks Phil - That is so much easier.
    However a question - if you know the answer.
    The sources are slightly different - no Data Options
    If I just delete the sources will this affect other trees or does the deletion only apply to the specific tree?
  6. PhilGee

    PhilGee LostCousins Member

    Sorry, I have not edited sources/repositories before. However, I have a "test-bed" file with both a source and repository entry which do not appear in any other tree's "new" list so "exported" the tree as a backup and restored the backup file as a new tree and, having deleted the source and repository entries in the new tree, can confirm that the data is specific to the tree and not global. That means you can delete the data from your tree without affecting any other tree.

  7. Helen7

    Helen7 LostCousins Superstar

    Thanks to Phil for the clear instructions on removing facts, which I have done for the information I don't want to show on my public DNA tree. I have also deleted the relevant sources and can confirm my other trees are not affected by any deletions in this tree.
  8. PhilGee

    PhilGee LostCousins Member

    Helen7 - don't tell Bob the instructions were clear, it will ruin my reputation :eek:

    I usually update my trees in FTM by merging the new data, but if I include modified census references in the "new" data set I get double entries instead of replacements. I eventually found this mechanism to overcome that problem.

  9. trebor

    trebor LostCousins Member

    Thanks Phil & Helen7

    Your instructions were very clear and easy to follow.
    Everything worked a treat - much quicker than any of the alternative measures I was contemplating.
    Only issue was that in one tree all of my FTM notes were converted to unsourced citations (or something like that) which I ended up deleting manually - must have been how I created the new tree - different method to the first.
    But now the job is done - just sitting here waiting for the DNA match queries to come flooding in - I hope :rolleyes:
  10. Tim

    Tim Megastar and Moderator Staff Member

    On my first foray into loading a tree for DNA, I also produced a Direct Ancestors version which I loaded. But then I got to thinking, what if the other people who have taken a DNA test stopped one or 2 generations before my direct ancestors? Yes the DNA results would say we're related but there would be nothing in my tree to give them any clues how we might be related? And as Peter often says, it's the families of our direct ancestors siblings where our Lost Cousins are to be found? And where our DNA matches are lurking?

    So my new tree has all the descendants of my direct ancestors as well.

    But, in answer to your question, Yes, if there was a utility that was able to strip out facts and sources and leave the "bare bones" of the family tree then that would be useful.
  11. Bryman

    Bryman LostCousins Megastar

    If neither of the trees goes back far enough then the common ancestor will not be identified. If only one includes the common ancestor then that should be sufficient, provided that both parties can view/confirm. I do not believe that adding descendants of direct ancestors is necessary because one of the parties would know of them anyway. Communication between parties should then make everything clear.

    As I thought more about this, it appeared that there could be much background processing common with FTA. I therefore raised an improvement issue for FTA at GitHub to add an extra tab with processing to create a reduced GEDCOM file from the original input supplied. FTA already does something 'similar' for creating a list of census references to send to a prospective new member. At least the request is now on file and we can but wait to see if the development may be as simple as I hope and the author has enough time to devote to that. Fingers crossed but don't hold your breath.
  12. peter

    peter Administrator Staff Member

    I suspect Family Historian either does, or could do, what you want. But if FTA can handle it, so much the better.
  13. PhilGee

    PhilGee LostCousins Member

    I am, broadly, in agreement here though I have a "Direct Ancestors and siblings" tree, which I believe should be "necessary and sufficient" for both finding "cousins" directly and generating "Shared Ancestor Hints"* - though the 7 hints I had with my previous "as many as possible" tree have not re-appeared since I changed my tree. Anyone who stops at the limit of "living memory", which seems a reasonably high proportion of Ancestry members with trees, is nowhere near serious in their research.


    * From Ancestry "When a potential common ancestor is identified, we compare several aspects of the person in each match's tree: their names, birthdays, locations, parents, spouses, and children. If everything lines up, a hint is created."
  14. Bob Spiers

    Bob Spiers LostCousins Superstar

    Too late have caught you out ... are you sure you are well? In fact although not drawn to this discussion particularly (after all why would I wish to doctor my Public Trees beyond a direct ancestor truncation of my main Tree if so inclined)? But I did read the posting and then had to have a double take when I saw your name attached to it. Can this be the PhilGee of old I asked, and then came across your note not to mention to me that you were behind such clear thinking. Not your mark at all, so sorry your reputation is well and truly ruined. I shall expect no less in future.
  15. PhilGee

    PhilGee LostCousins Member

  16. Alexander Bisset

    Alexander Bisset Administrator Staff Member

    It should be possible for FTAnalyzer to filter out all bar the most basic of facts to produce a “DNA tree”. It’s on the ToDo list and I’ll have a look after I get the initial launch issues with the Mac version addressed.
    • Thanks! Thanks! x 2
  17. Alexander Bisset

    Alexander Bisset Administrator Staff Member

    New export routine from FTAnalyzer (in beta at present) exports all your directs and descendants to a single file - it doesn't include any non direct ancestors and only includes birth/death/marriage info if after 100 years ago or the people who the fact relates to are dead.

    It would be useful to test this with those who were looking for this functionality to see if it's what was expected. In particular it's handling of siblings (it excludes them) and other blood relations should they be in or out? The other key test is whether handling of adoptions and step parents works as expected. I've very few examples in my direct line so would hope to have someone test it who does.

    You can download the zip file here
    • Thanks! Thanks! x 1
  18. trebor

    trebor LostCousins Member

    Thanks Alexander - will download and give it a whirl.
    Sorry but I do not have any adoptions.
  19. PhilGee

    PhilGee LostCousins Member

    That sounds good, Alexander. I think including siblings would be useful, especially for an Ancestry DNA linked tree where the "Shared Ancestor Hints" process uses the sibling information as part of the analysis. Hopefully, you will not get a 50-50 split for/against siblings :)

    I am "on the fence" regarding baptism/christening and burial; I use them to support my "before" birth/death dates where actual dates are not known but could be considered unnecessary.

  20. trebor

    trebor LostCousins Member

    Thanks again Alexander

    I have exported from my tree and got a gedcom file which I opened in FTM.
    This appears, after a quick look through, to be correct but there are a few items that I personally would not want.
    Any deaths without a date in my original tree appear in the new cut down tree as "before 17 Dec 2018" - obviously the date the file was created. This looks very strange when viewed in FTM (and I assume will appear the same on Ancestry) e.g. 1786 - 2018 - a really good life!!! I note that this also happens in FTA.
    It has included my children and their children as "Private Person" and my wife and my children's partners as "No Name"
    For ancestors that married more than once, the non-related spouse has also appeared as "No Name".
    These latter 2 comments are not a major issue as they can be quickly deleted from the new tree - there are not many of them and are easily spotted.
    What may be an error though is that, taking my 4 x gt grandfather as an example, where there is no marriage data for his marriage to my 4 x gt grandmother the marriage entry has appeared 3 times date "unknown" on each occasion and the marriage to his 2nd wife "No Name" has appeared with full details. There were more than 3 children from the marriage so it is not related to that.

    It appears to be less work than Phil's method but still with cleaning up to do so a well accepted solution. Many thanks.
    I will examine it in more detail later and let you know if I spot anything else.
    Last edited: Dec 17, 2018

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