Help:Review GEDCOM

Use this Review GEDCOM application to prepare your GEDCOM for import. is different from most family tree websites. It encourages collaboration by creating links between trees. By contributing to WeRelate you are helping to create a free, unified family tree with one page for each person that combines the best information from all contributors.

Tip: Drag the dividing bar separating this pane from the one above up to make this pane larger.

Help: Anytime you want to see this help page, click on the Help button in the upper right corner.

More Help: If you have questions about the review process or would like an administrator to help review your GEDCOM, click here to leave a message.


Overview Tab

Next Steps

  • Click on the tabs in the order shown above: Click on each tab and check the data there to prepare your GEDCOM for import. Just because there are no errors reported it does not mean you can skip checking the other tabs. When you click on a tab, the section of this help page for that tab is displayed in the bottom pane.
  • Return to WeRelate: You don't have to complete all of the steps at once. You can return to this screen anytime in the next 3 months to finish reviewing your GEDCOM. (GEDCOM's still waiting for review after 3 months will be removed.) Your work is saved as you go so you can start where you left off.
  • Remove your GEDCOM: In case you change your mind about uploading your GEDCOM, you can remove it. If you have too many matches for example, you can start with a smaller GEDCOM.


If a GEDCOM has too many mistakes it can't be imported. The warning level measures the percent of people in the file with warnings or errors (errors count as two warnings). If the warning level is 2% or above, your GEDCOM will most-likely be rejected. If the warning level is 4% or above, it will definitely be rejected. To see the warnings and errors for your GEDCOM, click on the Warnings tab. To clean up the warnings, print the warnings list, remove this GEDCOM, use your desktop genealogy program to correct or remove the incorrect information, and upload a revised GEDCOM.

Duplicates counts the number of families that are duplicated in your GEDCOM. If a GEDCOM has duplicate families it cannot be uploaded. You'll need to use your desktop genealogy program to merge the families, then re-upload.

Sources counts the number of sources in the GEDCOM. We love GEDCOM's with sources. If your GEDCOM has no sources then it should have notes which may be sources in disguise.


The Root is the person who appears at the base of your tree. It is set in your desktop genealogy program.


Counts the number of items in your GEDCOM in various states. Warnings must be reviewed and matching families decided upon to prepare your GEDCOM for import.

Warnings Tab

The purpose of the warnings tab is to show you potential problems in your tree so you can correct them before importing your GEDCOM to WeRelate. Warnings appear when dates are suspect, when the GEDCOM appears to contain duplicate entries, or when it appears that genealogical conventions have not been followed. If a GEDCOM's warning level is too high, it cannot be imported.

If you see a lot of warnings, you will need to correct or remove the incorrect information. This can be done in WeRelate by selecting each warning in turn and then editing the page that shows up in the bottom of the screen. If the error is on a related page (e.g., a Family page shows up, but it is a child's birth date that needs to be corrected), use the page to navigate to the related page. Alternately, you can correct all your problems in your desktop genealogy program, remove this GEDCOM, and upload a revised GEDCOM. You can print the warnings using the Print Warnings button.

As you review the warnings:

  1. If the information is incorrect and you know how to fix it, correct the information.
  2. If the information is incorrect but you don't know right now how to fix it, remove the incorrect information and make a note about it.
  3. Some warnings are due to unusual but factual situations, such as a child being born before a marriage date. If the information is correct, you can ignore the warning.

If you have a lot of warnings for people in a line that you did not research personally, you may want to exclude the people in this line. Excluded people don't appear in the Warnings list. To exclude someone, go to the People tab and check the Exclude check box.

Help:GEDCOM Warnings lists the possible conditions that can result in a warning being generated.

People Tab

Click on a person in the list to see what the 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.

(You might notice that the person and family links in the wiki pages include a "(nn GEDCOM)" index number. This GEDCOM index number will be replaced by a different index number to make the page titles unique when the pages are imported.)

The Exclude check box is checked for people who will not be imported. If you don't want to import someone, just click the Exclude check box.

The Distance column shows how far away each person in the tree is from the root. People who are not connected to the root person show as Not connected to root.

The Living column is checked for people who the system thinks are living. The system will try to identify living people based on a set of rules, but cannot do so if you have not provided dates. People marked living are automatically excluded from import.

The Early column is checked for people born 1750 or earlier. Early people are excluded from GEDCOM import. Instead, you'll need to create wiki pages for them by hand. (WeRelate already has wiki pages for many early ancestors; we're providing GEDCOM import to help people create pages for their closer ancestors.)

You might notice that some people born before 1750 are not excluded. The reason is that we don't break up GEDCOM families. If anyone in a family is born 1750 or later, then everyone in the family is imported.

The Matched Page column shows which WeRelate page (if any) this page has been matched with (see the Matching Families tab below).


  1. Exclude unknown persons at the end of line who have no information.
  2. Make sure the majority of the individuals have at least one date and place to identify them or the file will be returned to you for review. Such individuals cannot be matched with people already in our system and cannot be identified.
  3. Please 'don't put surnames in ALL CAPS. They should be in mixed case.

Families Tab

In addition to wiki pages for people, WeRelate also creates wiki pages for families to link parents to children. Family pages can also hold family events, biographies, sources, pictures, etc. Click on a family in the list to see what the wiki page will look like for that family.

Where a person has multiple spouses, a separate page should be created for each marriage or relationship.


  1. Always exclude families with living spouses.
  1. The majority of the families in the file must have names for both husband and wife. Sometimes a file is uploaded with most families having only one spouse and a marriage date. Generally speaking, if you have the marriage dates for most of the families, you likely have the spouse's name. It is likely there is a problem with the your gedcom generator. In these cases, the file will be returned for your Review and you will receive the Template:Spouse's names message. If you don't have the name, the file can still be imported as long as most of the families contain marriage dates and at least one child.
  1. Exclude spouseless families that have only child. Everyone knows there were parents and there is no information so we don't need to create an empty family page.

Note: The family page is excluded automatically if you exclude a family member and leave fewer than two non-excluded family members left. Family pages containing only one person are created by some programs and these should also be excluded as they are unnecessary.

Places Tab

This step is optional, but recommended. is developing a comprehensive database of current and historical places. The database includes descriptions and research tips for many places, and everyone is welcome to contribute. Places referenced in your GEDCOM are automatically linked to the places in this database. Please note: locations such as addresses, hospitals, and churches are not permitted. Please match these directly to the town in which they reside. We do, however, allow pages for cemeteries.

The Matched Page column shows the place in WeRelate that your GEDCOM place will be matched with (linked to). Place texts in your GEDCOM are preserved exactly as you entered them; Matched Page just shows the wiki Place pages to which the places in your GEDCOM will be linked.

If Matched Page is empty, is means the system was unable to find a match for the place in your GEDCOM. This will result in that place being displayed as a red link in the wiki pages because it links to a place that doesn't exist in the database. If you want, you can change this by finding the matching place yourself or adding a new place to the database. To match unmatched places:

  1. Click on a place that does not have a matched page.
  2. Make sure that the name of the place is correct in the form that appears in the bottom pane, and click on the Next button.
  3. Click on the Select button to select the matching place from the list of places shown, or click on the Add button to add a new place.

If you want to see which people and families in your GEDCOM refer to a listed place, right-click on the place and select What references this place. (Mac users press the control button while you click.)

In case a place in your GEDCOM has been matched to an incorrect place, unlink it by right-clicking and selecting Unlink Matched Place.

Sources Tab

This step is optional, but recommended. The importer tries to match any sources in you file to Community Sources, it will sometimes miss some and other times make an incorrect match, mainly due to differences in the naming conventions. Checking they are correct now will save you work later.

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 handful of individuals, like an individual birth certificate or a family bible, or sources that are not publicly accessible.

In addition to MySources, WeRelate also has Sources (community sources). Community Source pages are like cards in a library card catalog. They provide bibliographic and usage tips for sources that apply to many individuals and are publicly accessible. Examples of Source pages are the US 1880 Census and Hancock County Illinois Marriages. is developing a comprehensive catalog of all genealogical sources that qualify as community Sources. For sources in your GEDCOM that qualify as community Sources, you may want to link them to one of the existing Source pages or create new Source pages for them.

To match GEDCOM sources to community Source pages:

  1. Click on a source from your GEDCOM in the upper window, then click on the Find a matching Source button in the bottom window. Alternatively, right-click on the source in the upper window and select Find/Add matching Source. (Mac users press the control button while you click.)
  2. Fill in any missing information about the source, then click on the Find/Add button.
  3. Click on the Select button to select the matching source from the list of source shown, or click on the Add button to add a new source.

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.

If you make a mistake, you can unlink a source from the matching source by right-clicking and selecting Unlink Matched Source.

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 is to have a single page for each unique individual, with several people contributing to the same page. This makes collaboration much easier. To do this, you need to identify which families on WeRelate match the families in your GEDCOM. The Matching Families tab lists families in your GEDCOM where the system has identified 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 two options:

  • Match: Link the people in your GEDCOM to the people in one of the families shown. Instead of creating new (duplicate) wiki pages for the people in your GEDCOM, you can collaborate with others on the existing pages.
    • Check the box above the matching family. If multiple families match, don't worry. You'll be able to merge the other families later after your GEDCOM is imported. Just pick one of the families to match. (You can ignore the greyed-out checkboxes under unchecked families.)
    • Next, check the boxes above the matching husband and wife. To match children, set the drop-down under each child in the matching family to the child number of the GEDCOM family to match with.
    • Finally, click on the Match button.
    • After you have matched the family, you can update the matched pages with information from your GEDCOM (see below).
  • Not a match: Choose this option if the GEDCOM family does not match any of the families shown. New wiki pages will be created for your GEDCOM family.

If a family is matched by mistake, you can "unmatch" them by right-clicking on the family and selecting Unlink Matched Family. (Mac users press the control button while you click.)

Note: You must review all matching families and either match them or mark them as "Not a match" before you can go on to the "Import" tab.

Adding information from your GEDCOM to matched families

Once you have matched a family, you can update that family with the information from your GEDCOM. If you do not update a matched family, the family is used as is; information from your GEDCOM is not added.

Please note: Updating the matched pages is optional. It is not necessary or desirable to update pages unless you have more accurate information or reliable sources to add.

Also note: If your GEDCOM warning level (on the Overview tab) is 2% or more, you will not be able to update matched pages. Instead, you are recommended to correct the warnings in your desktop genealogy program and upload a revised GEDCOM.

To update a matched family with information from your GEDCOM:

  • Click on the family to update. The information from your GEDCOM is shown side-by-side with the information from the matched family.
  • Check the boxes next to the information from your GEDCOM that you want to add. Unchecked boxes mean the information will not be added.
  • You don't need to check boxes next to information that is already in the matching family or if the matching family has more complete information.
  • If you have the same date and place as an existing event but your event has a (non-gedcom) source that you want to attach to the existing event, leave your event unchecked and check the box next to your source. Your source will be attached to the existing event.
  • If your data differs from existing data, please check your sources to verify that your information is correct before checking the boxes to add your information to the existing pages.
  • You don't need to worry about source & note ordering; sources & notes will be re-ordered automatically.
  • Do not keep user ID numbers, reference numbers, and other single-user identifiers of the information.
  • Do not keep MySources that reference gedcom, .ftw, etc. files. These secondary sources often aren't very helpful because they're difficult for others to find and review.
  • Once you've checked the boxes next to the information you want to add, click Update.

See Help:Merging pages for more information.

Note: The existing wiki pages will be updated immediately, even before your GEDCOM is uploaded. This means that if you decide later that this family does not match your GEDCOM family after all, in addition to unlinking your GEDCOM family (see above) you'll also need to undo any edits that were made during the update. To do this, select Contributions from the MyRelate menu, look for the family and people involved in the update (only the pages actually changed will appear in the contributions list), click on each page involved and select History from the links in the upper-right corner. Then click on the dated link just before (below) your update, select Edit, and click on the Save button to save this old version of the page. This undoes your changes.

Note: If your GEDCOM family matches a wiki family with an unknown spouse (e.g., the wiki page title is Family:John Doe and Unknown) and your GEDCOM family fills in the spouse, you can Rename the matched wiki page to include the name of the new spouse you added after you match and optionally update the family. The new spouse will be added once your GEDCOM is uploaded.

Too many matches?

Does this look overwhelming? Here are some ideas:

  • If you have a lot of matching families along a line that you did not research personally, you may want to exclude them from import. Excluded families are removed from the Family Matches list. To exclude a family, right-click and select Exclude.
  • Instead of uploading this GEDCOM, remove this GEDCOM and upload a smaller GEDCOM until you get the hang of it.
  • If most of the people in your GEDCOM already appear on WeRelate, consider not uploading your GEDCOM but instead help us by editing the existing pages for your ancestors and adding what you know.

Import Tab

Once you have reviewed the other tabs, click on the Ready to import button in this tab to import your GEDCOM. Your GEDCOM will then receive a final quality check by an administrator and be imported. This usually happens within 24 hours. We appreciate your patience.

GEDCOM's with a warning level that is too high (above 2%) will likely be rejected by the administrator unless there are extenuating circumstances. In general, instead of trying to import GEDCOM's with lots of warnings, you should correct the data in your desktop genealogy program and upload a revised GEDCOM.

Getting Help: If you have questions about the review process or would like an administrator to help review your GEDCOM,click here to leave a message. Administrators are unable to change the Living check boxes, but they can help with anything else.