Importing unique Ancestry records

Gramps 5.1.4 Win64
I know this has been asked before, but would like to ask again before doing more work than I have to. Currently I have 2000+ records more on Ancestry than in GRAMPS. I have gone through the Place table and added GPS and fixed spelling based on the FamilySearch tables. I have 363 sources registered. I don’t want to messes this up if I can help it.
Is there a was to import the unique Ancestry records?
I still have to go through them and clear the hints. When I do that I can tag them with something unique such as AA in the Suffix field. I could then download a GEDCOM and create a Ancestry DB. From there I could export a GEDCOM of the tagged records for import. However, I expect that the GRAMPS import will create ALL new Place and Source records.
Is there any way around this yet? (when I created the Source records I usually copied the name from Ancestry, FindMyPast or Family Search so most should match)
Is it better to have to merge 1000 Place and Source records, or to manually enter 10,000 events? Any brilliant ideas?

To begin, when you import a GEDCOM, there are 2 pertinent Gramps Preferences settings that are more effective than a suffix. Both the options to Add Tag & the Add a default Source would work better. They give you something that does not have to be removed later… a suffix would have to be cleaned out.

An experiment with your Place Hierarchy might be in order.

It is a risky choice to import a GEDCOM directly into your working Tree. But it seems like some of the .ged Import routines are a bit more flexible when there’s a framework of data than the .gramps format import. It seems like there is an assumption the GEDCOM data is expected to be lower quality with massive duplication is comparison to validated Gramps data. So that data seems to conform more readily when there are slight hierarchy variances.

There is NO option to archive or extract JUST the validated Place tree. But you could import a Backup of the current Gramps database, do some cleanup and export the Tagged data in Gramps format.

Then use the Import Merge to bring that cleaned data into your Tree.

The export will strip out data not attached to People. So pay attention to the statistics at each import/export stage.

The short answer is no, and the longer answer is that I think that you’re wasting a lot of time by working on two platforms without a working software interface. I think, that if you really like Ancestry, and want to continue using that with a subscription, meaning that there will always be new hints, since they keep adding sources too, you should forget Gramps, and switch to a desktop program that can communicatie with Ancestry, like Family Tree Maker or RootsMagic.

The reason is, that there is no way to merge thousands of records in an automated manner, and I don’t expect to see one in Gramps anytime soon. And even when we get one, it may (partly) depend on unique IDs, which we still don’t have in Gramps.

I have done a lot of tests with RootsMagic, and I know that the paid version has a mass merge, and a way to synchronize records with Ancestry. And I assume that records mean persons here, not sources, like I use to interpret that word.

You can use the free version to download your tree from Ancestry, but it will not download changes, so it’s quite useless if you keep clearing hints, and Ancestry keeps adding new records (I mean sources), which it is very likely to do, because it’s part of their business.

And like @emyoulation , I also strongly recommend against messing with suffixes. It is way easier to use tags, add a standard source on import, or even to create filters that select persons with sources on Ancestry. They are quite easy to recognize.

The Import Merge Tool is useless here, because any export you make from Ancestry, either direct, or via RootsMagic, will not have the IDs used by that tool.

Thanks for your comments. I would like to keep the stuff in GRAMPS as I don’t plan to keep paying Ancestry for ever. Being lazy, I’m trying to figure out a way to get the basic info loaded without the entire manual effort it is today. Yes, I don’t think I’ll ever clear all the hints. Even if I can reduce the work by 50% would be a win. My focus would be only the persons on Ancestry that are not in GRAMPS so the
person would be added but. I may have to do some merging of Places and Sources at some time.
Still thinking……

The reason I proposed using Suffix, is I need to tag the new records in Ancestry in some way.
Then I need to extract those records from the gedcom import which contains all records. I know once I get the record into GRAMPS, I can produce a new gedcom based on the Suffix and then import that back into the main tree. I could then select just those records and remove the Suffix.
I have not tested this process yet.

Nick has been doing yoeman’s work, testing & rolling a huge number of commits into the Gramps master… slogging towards a 5.2 beta. (It’s been an incredible amount of progress that the general community will never fully grasp. Thanks @Nick-Hall !)

One commit was to add Chris Horn’s “support for saving the _APID tags used by as attributes on citation and source objects during a Gedcom import and then including them in a Gedcom export”

If the APID is stored in gramps, then in theory on import of a gedcom a new record would not be created if there is a match. Do I have that right?

I believe that is the intent they are working towards.

It might be the beginning of exploring synchronization opportunities.

The problem is that finding persons that are not in Gramps is not a trivial task, and there is no tool that can give you reliable results for that. And I know that, because I did a lot of research on the subject, and asked around, as you can see here:

software recommendations - Which tools are available for GEDCOM comparison? - Genealogy & Family History Stack Exchange

There are a few aspects that make this difficult if you don’t have the right tools, and at the moment, Gramps is not the right tool.

  1. You may have persons with very few data, and similar names. These can’t be distinguished by their data only, but must be compared by their position in the tree, meaning that you have to include relatives. Gramps does that when you look for duplicates inside one tree, but can’t do that with another tree yet,
  2. You may have persons that have changed on both sides, which need to be identified, so that you can perform a proper manual merge,
  3. When you have new persons, it is not enough to tag those alone, because they are often connected to an existing person, which has to be taggen too, and merged. If you don’t do that, the new persons will not be attached tp your tree, assuming that it largely consists of people connected by some form of family relationships.
  4. There is no automated tool in Gramps that can merge the thousands of persons that haven’t changed. That tool exists in PAF, but it is useless now, even when you import both trees in that. It also exists in RootsMagic, where it may even work with your current trees, because that tool is a bit smarter than the one in PAF. There is no way to test that though, because it’s a paid feature. The cost of that is quite low, however, like 2 months on Ancestry, so I still think it’s worth a try.

When I worked with PAF, 12 years ago, a problem like this was easy to solve. And that’s because PAF, and most other programs, but not Gramps. add a unique ID to every person that you create, or import from a program that does not create such IDs, like Brother’s Keeper, which is the program that my late father used.

With these UIDs, which are very long numbers like


it is very easy to see which persons are not in the other file, because in that case the UID is not found in that other file, which means that the person was added on one side, or deleted on the other, which is something that only the user knows. Also, when UIDs are equal, you can be sure that the persons are the same, because these UIDs have a world wide unicity by design. And in that case, you may see that one has more accurate data than the other, or a source that the other one doesn’t have, and let the program add anything that’s new or more accurate automatically, so that the user only has to decide when there is a conflict, like places and dates that are both accurate, and different. This means that with PAF, I can send a GEDCOM to Ancestry, add anything that I can find there based on hints, export a GEDCOM from Ancestry back into my tree in PAF, and use the automatic merge for the 90 % of persons that haven’t changed. I did that in 2010, and it worked quite well.

These UIDs do not exist for persons that you created in Gramps, of for persons imported from programs that don’t create such IDs, like Brother’s Keeper. And the consequence is, that if you export a GEDCOM from Gramps, and then add new data on Ancestry, any tool that compares by ID is useless. This is also true for the APIDs mentioned before, because these too are only useful when they already exist before you upload a GEDCOM to Ancestry, or any other site where you can modify things.

There are a few things that you may consider:

  1. If you have almost no new records in Gramps, you can put the Gramps tree aside, as backup, and continue working on Ancestry,
  2. Even if you don’t pay, you can keep your tree on Ancestry, and edit there. You can even share it with relatives, without paying a single dime.

You may of course wait until Gramps has a merge that is as smart as the one in RootsMagic:

Merging Duplicate People - RootsMagic Wiki

I would not recommend that though.

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