Sync #ancestrycom #gedcom #ftm2014

Under development

This page attempts to find the best practices for working between RootsMagic and with highest completeness, fidelity and efficiency. It supersedes an earlier page, and RootsMagic 5, as a result of new understanding of the roles of certain custom GEDCOM tags and a change in what is exported by


Upload RootsMagic GEDCOM to

  • For previously downloaded Ancestry source references to be recognised by Ancestry, convert the values stored in notes to custom “_APID” tags.
  • Be aware of the RootsMagic database fields not exported or its GEDCOM tags ignored by

Download GEDCOM to RootsMagic

  • For ShareMerge to operate on persons previously uploaded, find all “1 UID” and replace with “1 _UID”
  • For Ancestry source references to be preserved, find all custom “_APID” tags and convert to notes.
  • Be aware of the Ancestry Family Tree field values that are not exported GEDCOM export/import shortcomings

The GEDCOM exported from (actually in my case) is incomplete. Nor does its import include all the values exported. Uploading the GEDCOM to a new Ancestry Member Tree and comparing it to the original tree is a quick way of finding the deficiencies in the export-import round trip. The following have been found to be missing in the imported tree; those asterisked are exported but not imported:


  • Web Links

Media Gallery

  • Media* (link to a page for each uploaded item is exported but import does nothing with it)


For a user defined source:

  • Publisher Location
  • Publisher Date


For a user defined repository:

  • Address*
  • Phone Number*
  • Email*
  • Call Number*
  • Notes*

Source Citation

For a user defined source:

Citation Information

  • Web Address moved into “Other information”*

ShareMerge Persons using RM’s UniqueID

There is a way to transport RootsMagic’s internal UniqueID for a person uploaded to an Ancestry Family Tree and have it returned to a RootsMagic database without jumping through the hoops with the custom RMID event I described in the RootsMagic Forums in this post. Ancestry imports the value of the _UID tag exported by RootsMagic, stores it invisibly, and exports it with a UID tag. RootsMagic does not recognise the UID tag but does if it is prepended with the underscore, the same as it exports. The value is imported into the UniqueID for that newly created person in a RM database. If there are two persons in a database with the same UniqueID, ShareMerge merges them.
It is a simple text editor search and replace to find all “1 UID” and replace with “1 _UID” in the GEDCOM exported from Ancestry but it is a bit of a nuisance. Persons in the AFT that did not originate from the RM export but were created within Ancestry are NOT accompanied by a UID tag.
It would be desirable that either Ancestry exported the UID value with the same tag that it saw on import OR that RootsMagic would recognise the UID tag as equivalent to its _UID tag.

Syncing Ancestry Sources via the Ancestry _APID Tag


Manually Adding _APID Tags for Ancestry Sources

The following is adapted from a post in the ReunionTalk Forum

On manually citing a source from Ancestry, add the Ancestry APID tag to the Source Details Comments, in the same format as the process that converts such tags in an Ancestry GEDCOM to a Comment.

An advantage in doing this is that you can do all your research using RootsMagic, adding a _APID tag detail against each source citation; export the GEDCOM; run a regular expression search and replace to adjust the GEDCOM file and when importing into, the source citations are all linked to the original Ancestry source records. A disadvantage is it takes alot more effort and validating that the APID details are correct.

The format is _APID 1,<ID>::<Header #> where <ID> is a unique value for each Ancestry source record type and <Header #> is the header which can be extracted from the URL.

The APID tags are found in the GEDCOM file for Ancestry sources that have been saved in your tree. In Ancestry, click on Manage Tree and there is an Export Tree button to click (it takes a few seconds to generate and then you have an option to download the file). This saves a GEDCOM file (text file) which when opened contains the APID tags for each citation (i.e. search for _APID).

Ancestry to my knowledge use these tags internally in their web site and FTM software but the GEDCOM file you export, will show these (provided you have saved Ancestry sources).

For example, a residence event would look like this (some date and some address and source# would be specific to your research entry. The APID details would be specific to the Ancestry record for this research.

2 DATE Some date
2 PLAC Some address
2 SOUR @Source#@
3 PAGE Some date
3 _APID 1,1836::21884408

The format is 1, followed by a APID database tag (sounds complicated but each record collection in Ancestry has a separate tag ID number followed by 2 colons, followed by the header tag for your record. When you look at the URL for each Ancestry record, there is a long text but it has a h=, the number that follows is the header.

This information is keyed into RootsMagic. Once you know the Ancestry tag for one type of records, e.g. UK census 1911, you can use this for all 1911 census citation details with only the header part changing for each. The example above is the tag ID for NZ electoral roll information.

In the above example, the citation Comment you would enter in RootsMagic would be “{_APID 1,1836::21884413}”, sans quotes.

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