GEDCOMs within WeRelate
WeRelate is different from many other on-line genealogy database sites because:
Uploading a GEDCOM is the process of bringing your data into WeRelate. While uploading your GEDCOM avoids the need of re-entering all your data manually, be aware that the process is not automatic, nor is it necessarily easy. Because of the nature of WeRelate's unified tree, the upload process attempts to identify whether or not an uploaded person represents an entirely new individual or whether the information matches an individual already present in WeRelate.
For example, the person you upload may include the identity of the spouse, while the version of that person that already exists in WeRelate may only include the identities of the parents. Or, one individual in the uploaded GEDCOM may include a birth date, while the matching individual in the WeRelate database may show only the death date. In such cases, the system is only able to make suggestions about whether or not there is a match. It is still up to the contributor to make the final assessment about whether persons about to be imported truly match (or don't) with individuals already found in WeRelate. When the data in your GEDCOM differs from data already present in WeRelate, you (as the contributor) must then decide whether or not the individuals actually are a match -- and if they are, which data is correct. You must do this by comparing and analyzing the sources given for each datum.
If this sounds complicated, . . . well, it is -- at first. Experience will make this process easier, and it will move faster. We recommend that new WeRelate users first manually enter a small number of people from their family tree into WeRelate (using the Add menu at the top of the page) before carrying out a GEDCOM upload. This is a good way to gain a better understanding of all the things that are taking place when a new person is added to the database, or is merged into an existing person. Then try doing a small GEDCOM upload of one or two dozen people to see how the process works before doing a major upload of your entire tree.
But the process is not finished when you have completed a successful GEDCOM upload! You will be entered as a watcher on the Persons and Family pages that you have added to or have changed. In the collaborative environment of WeRelate, other researchers eventually will discover those new pages and possibly add to them, or will initiate discussions on the associated Talk page. (Every page at WeRelate has a Talk page.) You will have many opportunities to help other researchers, and to be helped by them in your research as well. You'll find new sources of information that may apply to other people in your family tree, and perhaps even discover long-lost cousins in the process.
In the long run, your most important contribution will be your participation with others over time in establishing the consensus view of what those people really did and what they were really like.
Before you create your GEDCOM
Before you create your GEDCOM, WeRelate recommends that all uploaded information:
1. Be sufficiently researched - If you have not sufficiently researched the people included in your GEDCOM, we ask that you do so in your desktop or online genealogy program before creating a GEDCOM and uploading it to WeRelate. Research is the cornerstone of good genealogical practice and will eliminate much of the "family tradition" (i.e., "incorrect information") that is contained in many family genealogies.
2. Include reliable sources - If your data relies primarily upon information from other genealogical sites (such as Ancestry, OneWorldTree, RootsWeb, or WorldFamilyTree), and not upon primary records or other reliable sources, it may not be accepted. Why? Because much of the information contained in these other sites is considered unreliable by experienced genealogical researchers and will most likely conflict with other person and family information found on WeRelate. You can prove for yourself just how unreliable some of these sources are by doing a search, which in many cases will show multiple birth and death dates, multiple parents, overlapping spouses, etc. Since each person on WeRelate has a single page, it is important that your GEDCOM mostly agree with other information already present on WeRelate. Small differences can be researched and resolved later, providing that you have sources for any conflicting information. Collaboration with other WeRelate submitters is the key to this process.
3. Include dates for most persons - In order for the matching process to match persons already in the WeRelate database, they must contain either exact or approximated dates (from baptismal records, family bibles, local records, etc), or (at a minimuum) estimated dates based upon other events (marriage date, land records, wills, etc.). GEDCOMs without sufficient dates would be considered as poorly researched. (NOTE: "WFT estimated dates" do not meet the criteria given here, since they usually present dates spread over many decades -- "died 1800-1950" -- and do not use specific event dates for their estimates).
In order to reduce the amount of clean-up necessary after you upload your GEDCOM file to WeRelate, the following are some steps to take before you create and upload your GEDCOM:
There are some changes that may make your GEDCOM easier to upload, and make your data merge more seamlessly with the data that is already in WeRelate. You should consider whether the following changes are needed. (NOTE: It is very difficult to change a GEDCOM file directly. If you do not want to make any of the following changes to your private or offline family tree, you may wish to generate a GEDCOM extract, then use your genealogy software to import it into an empty family tree and make the changes there. When you are done, you can create a new GEDCOM from the altered copy of the dataset, and then upload that to WeRelate. This would preserve unchanged your offline data.)
What happens to sources when you upload? "Master Sources" in your GEDCOM are converted to MySource pages during GEDCOM upload. Editing the MySource pages at WeRelate is equivalent to editing the "master source list" in your desktop genealogy program.
In order to make this process work as easily as possible when you upload a GEDCOM, you need to clean up your sources:
If you are curious about how Source (as opposed to MySource) pages are used and titled, see , . At present, there is no way to automatically merge your sources, but you can search for the correct source to use in lieu of a MySource as part of the upload process. In this case, it will be easiest if you have used the best possible author, title, and publication data in your information, but the format of your title does not affect that process. (One exception to this is census sources. Census Sources follow a standard pattern, being created by county, state (or province), and country for each year. It will be easiest to match your personal sources to Source pages if you have created one source per county per year.)
Create a GEDCOM
Uploading your GEDCOM to WeRelate
Begin the process of uploading your GEDCOM through the following steps:
The following screen will be displayed.
It is important that you read and understand all the instructions listed on the Import GEDCOM screen prior to uploading your file.
In the fields provided, enter:
After you upload
After you upload your GEDCOM, you will receive the following message within a few minutes on the Talk Page of your WeRelate account page:
Review your GEDCOM
Basically, this automated message reminds you that your contribution to WeRelate is helping create a Pando for genealogy, a metaphorical reference to the largest living organism in the world, a 47,000-tree clonal colony of Quaking Aspen trees located in Utah, all determined to be part of a single living organism and one massive underground root system. By combining the people from your tree with others into a single unified tree containing the best information from all contributors, and making this a free public resource, your contribution helps create a "Pando" for genealogy.
To aid in that lofty endeavor, the creators of WeRelate have designed screening tools to assist you in making your contribution the best quality resource it can be prior to adding it to the community tree. Your next step is to review what your pages will look like, review any possible warnings concerning the data, and combine (merge) persons and families in your GEDCOM with matching persons and families already on WeRelate. You will need to review your uploaded GEDCOM before the import process will be complete.
If your GEDCOM contains a substantial number of probable errors or multiple families, the screening process will ask that you resolve and correct the errors, or else delete the file and re-submit it without the errors before merging it with families already on WeRelate. If the GEDCOM is large, we suggest breaking it up into separate lines and importing them one at a time, which will make the review and correction process easier.
The tabbed review screen will present you with a 9-step process for reviewing your uploaded GEDCOM prior to importing it (merging it) into the WeRelate database. Instructions for these steps are detailed and in-depth at Help:Review GEDCOM. This page should be reviewed carefully prior to upload. The following are highlights of this process:
(1) Overview Tab
Covers the Next Steps in preparing your GEDCOM for import. It allows you to Return to WeRelate and finish the review at a later time, or to Remove your GEDCOM in case you change your mind about uploading your GEDCOM and want to remove it. This tab also allows you to change the Root person and displays your file's Statistics.
(2) People Tab
Click on a person in the list to see what the proposed wiki page will look like for that person. You can navigate around your tree by clicking on different people in the top half of the screen, or by clicking on the links in the wiki pages displayed in the bottom half of the screen. Each line (person) identifies Distance from the root person, Matched Page, methods to Exclude people you don't want imported and to Mark living people as living. (Remember: WeRelate pages created for living people include only their surname, gender, and family relationships.)
(3) Families Tab
In addition to wiki pages for individual persons, WeRelate also creates pages for families in order to link parents to children. Family pages can also include family events, biographies, sources, pictures, etc.
(4) Warnings Tab
The purpose of the warnings tab is to give you the opportunity to identify and (hopefully) to correct potential problems in your tree before the wiki pages are created. The Warnings Tab may not be skipped and GEDCOMs with too many uncorrected errors will not be accepted. Help:GEDCOM Warnings lists the possible conditions that can result in a warning being generated.
(5) Places Tab
Places referred to in your GEDCOM are automatically linked to places in the WeRelate database. The Matched Page column shows the place in WeRelate that your GEDCOM place will be matched with (linked to). If Matched Page is empty, is means the system was unable to find a match for the place in your GEDCOM. If you want to see which persons and families in your GEDCOM refer to a listed place, right-click on the place and select What references this place.
(6) Sources Tab
Sources in your GEDCOM file become MySources (personal sources) when your GEDCOM is imported. MySource pages are appropriate for sources that apply to only a few individuals or are not generally available, like an individual birth certificate or a family Bible, or to sources (like private family letters) that are not publicly accessible.
In addition to MySources, WeRelate also has Sources (community sources), which provide bibliographic and usage tips for generally available sources that apply to many individuals and are publicly accessible. These most commonly include published works and public (i.e., government) records. If you want to see which people and families in your GEDCOM refer to a listed source, right-click on the source and select What references this source.
(7) Family Matches Tab
This step is important! Take time to read the instructions below, and remember that you can always ask for help if you need it.
The goal of WeRelate.org is to have a single page for each unique individual, with multiple researchers contributing to the same page. This makes collaboration much easier. To do this, you need to identify which families already appearing on WeRelate match the families in your GEDCOM. The Matching Families tab lists families in your GEDCOM which the system has tentatively identified with one or more possibly-matching families in WeRelate.
Click on a family to compare your GEDCOM family with the possible matching family or families at WeRelate. You have three options: Match (the single family), Match Related (match the family and related families up and down the tree), and Not a match (if the GEDCOM family does not match any of the families shown). New pages will be created for your GEDCOM family.
See Help:Merging pages for more information.
(8) Updates Tab
This tab is not currently used.
(9) Import Tab
At this point, if you have questions about the review process or would like one of the administrators to help review your GEDCOM, you have the option to click and leave a message. There are experienced users on WeRelate who will be able to answer any question you may have or help you to resolve any issue with your GEDCOM import. Please ask!
Once you have finished your review and marked your GEDCOM as Ready to Import, one of our administrators will review the GEDCOM and finalize the import. This usually happens within 24 hours. You will receive a message on your personal account's Talk Page when the new pages have been created from your GEDCOM. Large GEDCOMs, or those with a many warnings or with many family matches marked "Not a match," will be carefully reviewed by an administrator before they are imported.
Matching existing pages
Other Help Pages relating to the GEDCOM Upload Process
References & Footnotes