How to Export Your Family Tree GEDCOM from RootsMagic

By Rick Crume Premium

Sharing your RootsMagic family tree with another researcher is easy: Just select Export from the File menu to create a GEDCOM file that will work with most genealogy software. But remember: A GEDCOM file can include links to photos and document images, but it doesn’t include the actual multimedia files. You have to send them separately along with the GEDCOM file.

If you create a GEDCOM file with just one branch of your family tree, you probably want to include only the associated pictures and document images, not all the multimedia files for your whole family tree. One way to do that in RootsMagic is to create a Shareable CD for the same branch of your family. That will put copies of only the image files you need in a separate folder. Then you can share that folder along with the GEDCOM file. Here’s how:

1. Open your family file and select Export from the File menu. 

If you don’t want to share your whole file, look under People to Export and click Select from List. Then find the person whose family, ancestors or descendants you want to share. To jump to the person’s name, type it with the surname first, like this: Morgan, Thomas. Or click the Find button to search on the surname, given names, date of birth and more. The Family Members pane on the right shows the highlighted person’s parents and siblings. To navigate to one of those relatives, highlight a name and click on Go to Selected Person. Once you find the right one, select the name by clicking the box beside it.

2. Click the Mark Group button to select relatives of the starting person.

You can select just that person’s family or specify how many generations of ancestors or descendants to include. If you select ancestors, you can also include their other descendants for a certain number of generations. Selecting collateral lines includes everyone linked by blood or marriage for a specified number of generations. You can mark multiple groups, such as ancestors and descendants in different branches of your family. Once you’ve marked everyone you want to include in the GEDCOM file, click OK.

3. Select the data, such as notes and sources, you want to include.

You also can specify information to include on living people, such as full names, facts, private notes and private facts. Click OK to create the GEDCOM file, give it a name and select the folder on your computer where you want to save it. Select Close from the File menu to close the family file.

4. Now you’ll create a new RootsMagic file from the GEDCOM file.

Select Import from the File menu and then GEDCOM. Click “I know where the file is” and navigate to it on your computer. Select the file and click Open. Give the new RootsMagic file a name (such as “Smith Tree 2”) and specify the folder where you’ll save it.

5. Now, make a Shareable CD from the new RootsMagic file.

Open the family file you just created. Select Create a Shareable CD from the Tools menu and click Next. You can skip the title, introduction and photo options and click Next. Skip the contact information, too, and click Next again. A window will pop up that says, “Shareable CD is ready to burn. The files for your shareable CD have been created in the following folder … ” Your CD files will be saved in a folder called RMShareableCD in the same folder that holds your RootsMagic family file. Click on “I will burn it later.”

6. The Shareable CD files include your family file and pictures, along with a read-only version of RootsMagic.

This lets you share the files with someone who doesn’t have genealogy software. For now, since you’re sharing your family file for use with a genealogy program, the only files you need are the ones in the Pictures folder. Send that folder and the GEDCOM file to the other researcher attached to an email or on a CD or DVD.

7. The files’ recipient should import the GEDCOM file into a new family file in his genealogy software.

For example, using RootsMagic, select Import from the File menu. Copy the Pictures folder to his hard drive. To remap the paths in his family file to the pictures, he should select Media Gallery from the Lists Menu and then Fix Broken Links from the Tools menu. When it’s done, the links to photos and document images in the family file should work.

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A version of this article appeared in the September 2016 issue of Family Tree Magazine.

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