How To Upload A GEDCOM Tree To MyHeritage And Avoid Common Problems

If you’ve exported your family tree to a GEDCOM file, you can upload it to MyHeritage. You will need at least a free MyHeritage account.

You can watch the video walkthrough or follow our illustrated steps. The rest of this article covers membership requirements, tree limits, and some common issues you may encounter after you’ve imported your GEDCOM tree.

A Video Walkthrough Of Uploading A GEDCOM to MyHeritage

YouTube player

Step-By-Step Guide to Importing a GEDCOM File to MyHeritage

1. Choose “Import GEDCOM” from the Family Tree drop-down menu

2. Use the browse window to find the GEDCOM file on your local machine

3. Wait for an email from MyHeritage to say your tree is ready

A small tree takes seconds to complete. A larger tree will take longer. MyHeritage sends an email to the address registered to your account.

If you are waiting over 24 hours, check your spam or promotions folder. I suggest that you repeat the import process once more if the tree has not been created on your MyHeritage site.

If you continue to have problems, contact MyHeritage Support.

Overwrite The Tree Name

This step is optional as you may be satisfied with the name of your imported tree. The MyHeritage website assigns the same name as the GEDCOM file.

However, if the name is something like “tree_june_2021” then you should probably rename it as something more description. This will help you if you have multiple trees.

Check out our guide on how to rename your family tree on MyHeritage. It has a step-by-step walkthrough, and also some tips on choosing a good name for your tree.

How To Manage Your DNA With A New GEDCOM Tree

If you don’t already have a tree on MyHeritage that is linked to your DNA results, then you can take steps to associate your DNA with the tree that you just imported.

We ahve a step by step guide on how to link your DNA to your MyHeritage tree.

Deleting A DNA-Associated Tree And Uploading A New GEDCOM File To MyHeritage

I first imported a GEDCOM tree to MyHeritage when I also transferred my raw DNA results from Ancestry. Several years later, I had grown my tree significantly – but only on the website. I wanted to replace the version on MyHeritage with a new GEDCOM exported from Ancestry.

So I deleted the “old” tree on MyHeritage and imported the larger GEDCOM file. I also upgraded my MyHeritage account from free to the paid tier, as I wanted to use some premium features.

But I noticed that I wasn’t getting the benefits of DNA-driven features on MyHeritage. When I tried to examine shared surnames with my DNA matches, the display told me I hadn’t associated my DNA results with my tree. I had missed an important step after deleting my tree and uploading a new one.

It’s important to remember that if your DNA is associated with a tree that you delete, it does not automatically get linked to any new tree that you create in MyHeritage.

You must go through the steps in the previous section to re-associate your DNA results with the new tree. This video will also show you how to do link your DNA to your tree.

Disadvantages Of Replacing Your DNA-Linked Tree With A GEDCOM Import

There are some adverse consequences from deleting your DNA-associated tree and replacing it with a new GEDCOM import. In my opinion, this is due to poor design on the part of MyHeritage. Be that as it may, this is what happens:

  • All the photos in your “old” tree are deleted, so you’ll need to upload these again
  • Any Theories of Family Relativity will disappear. They’ll come back when MyHeritage re-runs the processing. But this happens infrequently.
  • Smart Matches that you already reviewed in your “old” tree will reappear as new information.
  • Elements from your “new” tree will be offered as “new” Smart Matches to other MyHeritage users. They’ll be wondering why they’re seeing the same stuff again!

I think that the MyHeritage website software could be a bit cleverer than this! But these are reasons to reduce the number of times that you replace your MyHeritage tree completely with a new GEDCOM import.

MyHeritage Free Accounts and Tree Limits

You can upload a family tree to MyHeritage with a free account. However, there are restrictions depending on the number of persons in your tree. If you upload multiple trees, then these restrictions apply to the total number of persons across your trees.

As long as you keep your tree (or trees) under 250 persons, then you can continue to edit and add more persons to your tree.

Remember that if you upload several trees, then each count towards that total of 250.

What Happens If I Upload A Large Tree With a Free MyHeritage Account?

If you have a free MyHeritage account, you can upload GEDCOM files that have more than the limit of 250 people. However, your tree will be in restricted mode.

You will not be able to add any more people to the tree unless you upgrade your account. However, you can edit the details of the existing people in the tree.

MyHeritage will display a message saying that you have exceeded the limit on the free tier. They will advise you to upgrade your subscription to a paid tier.

Don’t worry! You won’t be billed or automatically upgraded – this is an advisory message.

I ignored the message for a couple of years and happily kept a large tree on a free MyHeritage account (my “main” tree was elsewhere). I simply wanted to give my DNA matches a way to investigate our connections.

Are There Tree Limits with MyHeritage Paid Subscriptions?

As far as I’m aware, MyHeritage is the only major genealogy website that puts tree limits on paid tiers.

The Premium tier limits your tree to 2,500 people. The higher-paid tiers are unlimited.

On reflection, it may not be a bad idea. Presumably, it deters the “name collectors” who hoover up entire (and erroneous) lines into their tree without verification.

What Happens If You Downgrade Your Subscription?

Suppose you’re on a higher package and you imported a GEDCOM file with three thousand people. What happens to your tree if you drop down to the lower Premium tier? Or even to a free account?

You will still have access to your family tree. But you won’t be able to add more people to the tree unless you upgrade your account again.

Will A New GEDCOM Merge With My Existing Tree In MyHeritage?

When I started to use MyHeritage, I made the mistake of thinking I could overwrite my tree by uploading a GEDCOM file with the same name. It doesn’t work that way!

When you import a GEDCOM file to MyHeritage, a new family tree is always created. You cannot merge or synchronize trees through a GEDCOM import.

How Do I Import A GEDCOM With Photos Into MyHeritage?

A GEDCOM file is a text file. Therefore it can’t contain photos, documents, and other media.

After you import the GEDCOM file, you can upload photographs and other media to the new tree.

Using Family Tree Builder

You may find it easier and quicker to import the GEDCOM file into the free family tree software from MyHeritage.

You can use Family Tree Builder to attach photographs and documents to a local copy of your family tree.

Once you’ve finished working offline, you can sync the family tree up to MyHeritage. Photographs will be uploaded this way.

Is There A File Size Limit When Uploading GEDCOM Files to MyHeritage?

Very large GEDCOM files will take longer to upload, but there is no known file size limit.

You may wish to reduce or split a large GEDCOM file before trying to upload it. Check out our article on using free desktop software to split a tree in GEDCOM format.

Can I Transfer My Family Tree From Ancestry To MyHeritage?

You can transfer your family tree from Ancestry by exporting it as a GEDCOM file, and importing the file into MyHeritage.

Here is a complete guide to downloading your Ancestry tree to GEDCOM.

Having Problems With Your GEDCOM File?

If your GEDCOM file won’t load properly into MyHeritage, there may be issues with the content.

We have a review of two GEDCOM validation tools, which examine the files for known issues. The article has a lot of tips on how to fix validation errors.

GEDCOM To Spreadsheet Conversion!

Would you like to convert your GEDCOM to a spreadsheet with every person in your family tree?

Check out our conversion service for the full range of features at a low price.

Working With MyHeritage Tree Features

A major MyHeritage tree feature is called Smart Matches. The feature seeks to identify other trees that have the same people as in your own. This brings you the benefits of other MyHeritage users’ research.

We have an article full of tips and stategies for using MyHeritage Smart Matches.

Margaret created a family tree on a genealogy website in 2012. She purchased her first DNA kit in 2017. She created this website to share insights and how-to guides on DNA, genealogy, and family research.

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