How should I prepare my GEDCOM file?

Before you submit your family history information to FamilySearch as a GEDCOM file, we recommend that you do a few preparation tasks first. 

Run any tools in your record manager that do the following:

  • Make sure that the names, dates, and places are entered in a standard way.
  • Make sure that your notes are ready to share publicly.
  • Check for possible problems.
  • Check for duplicate individuals.
  • Check for duplicate sources.
  • Check for duplicate place-names.
  • Check for unattached individuals.

The following guidelines can help you with names, dates, places, notes, and sources.


  • Enter a name the way that it is spoken.
  • Do not enter anything in a name field except the name; do not enter descriptions such as "Child," "Son," "Stillborn," "Twin," and so on. Such information can be recorded in the notes.
  • If a name is not known, leave the field blank.
  • Put titles, such as King, Jr, and so on, in the notes.
  • If, after thorough searching, you cannot determine a wife's name, you can enter "Mrs." followed by the husband's name, as in Mrs. John Smith.


  • Use the day–month–year format, as in 12 Sep 1897 or 12 September 1897.
  • Do not enter anything in a date field except a date.
  • For estimated dates, use "abt" or "about." For example, abt Sep 1897 or about 1897 Put information about calculations or estimations in the notes.​


  • Enter place-names starting with the smallest geographical division and ending with the largest, as in city, county, state, country. Be sure to divide place-names with commas.
  • Enter the place-name as it was known at the time of the event.
  • When part of the place-name is unknown, leave a blank followed by a comma, such as city, , state, country or as in , , country.
  • For estimated place-names, use the word "of", as in of city, county, state, country or as in of , , country.


Family Tree allows you to enter notes. However, at present, you cannot upload these notes to Family Tree with a GEDCOM. 

You can enter notes manually:

  • Enter information that supports, explains, or elaborates on the information given for an individual.
  • Be sure that your notes are clear and understandable to someone who knows nothing about your family.
  • Be sure that notes about living people are marked as confidential. 

Photos, Stories and Documents

Family Tree allows you to enter photos, stories and documents as memories. However, at present, you cannot upload them to Family Tree with a GEDCOM. 


Family Tree allows you to attach sources. However, at present, you cannot upload sources to Family Tree with a GEDCOM.

How do I upload my GEDCOM file?
How do I copy information from my GEDCOM file into Family Tree?
How do I create a GEDCOM file?

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