You can export your MyHeritage family tree to a GEDCOM file. This format can be used in other genealogy websites and software. But not everything in your tree is downloaded this way.
I added lots of facts, events, and photos to a MyHeritage tree. Then I tested exactly what is exported. Read on to learn how to export your tree, and what elements are left behind.
Step-By-Step Pictorial Guide To Download Your Family Tree From MyHeritage
Follow these steps to export your MyHeritage family tree to a GEDCOM file.
1. Select “Manage Trees” from the Family Tree menu
2. Find your target tree in the list and click “Export to GEDCOM”
3. Click the “Begin the export” orange button
4. Find the file in your downloads folder
The GEDCOM file is saved in the downloads folder on your local machine.
If you’re using the Chrome browser, you’ll see an icon for the saved file down at the bottom of the browser page. I like to expand the menu beside the icon, and use the “Show in folder” menu item to open the location on my machine.
How MyHeritage Names The GEDCOM File
Take a look at these four files in my downloads folder. That is actually the same MyHeritage tree that I exported four times.
Take note that the extension is always “.ged”. This extension is recognized by other genealogical websites and software as being a GEDCOM file.
And the rest of the name? “436149741_8_DF_de6fat1655s0o9ca”?
Doesn’t exactly trip off the tongue, does it! MyHeritage is making sure that the name of the download is always unique.
I like to rename the file to something meaningful while leaving the extension unchanged. Using the name of your tree and a date is one way to organize your files. For example, like this:
What’s Inside The GEDCOM File From MyHeritage?
Although the extension of the GEDCOM file is “.ged”, it is just a text file. You can open it in any text editor. Just be careful not to make changes.
Here’s an excerpt from my small test MyHeritage tree. The format is designed to transfer information between software programs, but it is also human-readable. This section describes Peter Smyth who was born in 1971.
1 NAME Peter /Smythe/
2 GIVN Peter
2 SURN Smythe
1 SEX M
2 DATE 1971
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Are MyHeritage Facts and Events Exported In the GEDCOM File?
I added a person to my test MyHeritage tree with these additional facts and events:
- Education (Masters)
- Occupation (Farmer)
- Interests (Genealogy)
- Sports (Rugby)
- Music (ACDC)
- Languages Spoken (French, German)
- Religion (Contrarian)
- A link to a YouTube video
I don’t usually set this information, so I wanted to see if all elements would be exported. See for yourself! This is an excerpt from the downloaded GEDCOM file:
1 EDUC Masters in Eduction
2 PLAC University College Dublin
1 OCCU Farmer
2 PLAC Blarney Farm
1 RELI Contrarian
1 EVEN French, German
2 TYPE Language spoken
1 EVEN Genealogy
2 TYPE Hobbies
1 EVEN ACDC
2 TYPE Favorite music
1 EVEN Rugby
2 TYPE Sports
1 NOTE Web content link:https://youtu.be/zb5SOKy45zovideo
It’s all there! Even the music preference for ACDC. If I was to import this GEDCOM file back into MyHeritage as a new tree – these facts and events would correctly appear.
The final element in the list contains the link to the YouTube video.
My next question is – would a different genealogy website import and recognize these elements from the GEDCOM file?
Before I test this out, I want to address an element that I know cannot be included in a GEDCOM file: photos, images, and other media.
Does MyHeritage Export Photos With The GEDCOM File?
A GEDCOM file is a text file so it will not include photos from your MyHeritage tree. However, the file will contain links to your photos on the MyHeritage site.
Let’s look at an example where I added a photo as a profile picture to a person in my test tree. The exported GEDCOM information tells me that this is a JPEG file, sized at about 3 KB.
I’ve highlighted the link (or URL) in red.
2 FORM jpg
2 FILE https://www.myheritageimages.com/R/storage/site436149741/files/50/00/02/500002_9564236zj875a54s6ffe9z.jpg
2 _FILESIZE 3298
You can see that the link is website storage owned by MyHeritage: www.MyHeritageImages.com
So, the photos themselves don’t get downloaded through this export. Having the link in the file allows MyHeritage to reconstruct the profile picture if you imported this file as a new family tree.
But what about other genealogical software that accept GEDCOM files? Or other websites, like Ancestry.Com, where you can import a GEDCOM tree? How will they deal with these links? It would be nice if they reached out and pulled them into the tree.
Let’s find out.
Does MyHeritage Family Tree Builder Import Everything In A GEDCOM File?
Family Tree Builder is MyHeritage’s own free software. You can import a MyHeritage tree using the automated sync capabilities. But I want to see how it deals with the test GEDCOM file.
I have to say that I was a little curious about some of the MyHeritage tree information. “Favorite music” seems a little odd. And lo and behold, the wizard reports that I have non-standard custom events.
These are elements that are not part of the GEDCOM standard. But that doesn’t mean that Family Tree Builder and other genealogy software can’t handle them.
The Imported Tree in Family Tree Builder
Family Tree Builder imports the profile photo correctly. It also deals quite happily with the custom events.
The link to the YouTube video is added as a note on the profile.
So, that’s a test of software created by MyHeritage. What about a different piece of software? I’ll try one of the major genealogy programs: RootsMagic.
Does RootsMagic Import the MyHeritage GEDCOM File?
I imported the same GEDCOM file into a new RootsMagic database. RootsMagic sucks up the additional events with elan.
The only problem is the profile photo which does not appear.
The title of the photo is retained (it’s called “Einstein”). But RootsMagic cannot import the photo file from the GEDCOM information. I mean, it won’t reach out into the MyHeritage website storage area and download a copy of the image.
However, the location of the file is imported into RootsMagic as a note on the tree profile.
Does Ancestry.Com Import The MyHeritage GEDCOM File?
I have an account on Ancestry, so I tested the import of the same GEDCOM file.
And here is our ACDC-loving Contrarian. The YouTube link has been added under the Notes section.
But there is no sign at all of the profile photo. Although a link to the MyHeritage storage area is in the GEDCOM file, there is no place for it in the Ancestry imported tree.
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