Exporting a Subset of your Data to a GEDCOM File

Sometimes it is useful to export a subset of your large file to a GEDCOM file. The most common reason is to send some data to a friend or another genealogist. They will not likely be interested in your entire file, but would rather have only selected individuals. This tutorial explains how to export the required subset GEDCOM file. The basic steps are:

  1. Create a new album to hold the subset data
  2. Fill the album with records to be exported
  3. Export the GEDCOM data from the album

If the exported data has no multimedia, the above three steps complete the task. If you want to include all multimedia in the files sent to your friend as well, add the following step:

  1. Include multimedia with the exported data

Two important comments before proceeding:

  1. A special case of a subset is your entire file and thus this tutorial also applies to exporting all your data. To export an entire file, you start with step 3, which is easy. More importantly, to include multimedia with your entire file, you will need the extra step 4 as well.
  2. GEDitCOM II, version 2.0 incude the Share GEDCOM File extension that automates the export step in this tutorial. The extension can be used when exporting an entire file with multimedia or if the subset happens to be the individuals in the current family tree or the ancestors or descendants of a particular individual. For these special cases, you can use the extension and do not need this tutorial. For other subsets of your file, use this tutorial to create and export that subset.

Create a New album

Add Album

Start by creating a new album, which can be done by using the File→New Album menu command or by clicking the "New Album" icon in the index window. Once the album is created, double click its name and pick a name. This tutorial will call it "Subset".

Fill the Album with Records

The key step in exporting a subset of your data is selecting the data for the subset by moving records to the "Subset" album created in step 1. There are many options for adding records to the album. Here are some common ones:


Note - you only need to add the main records and usually only the individual records for the data to be exported. When you do export in the next step, GEDitCOM II will automatically include all family records requires to link those individuals along with all relevant notes, sources, multimedia, and research logs.

Export the GEDCOM data from the album

To export the records in the album choose the File→Export→GEDCOM Data... command. A dialog sheet will apear with numerous options. The options in the top section are:

The bottom section has numerous options for dealing with multimedia and various custom data types allowe in GEDitCOM II. In general, you select the first column when you plan to reopen the GEDCOM file later in GEDitCOM II and select the second column when you intend to set the GEDCOM file to someone else who will open it in other software. The second column creates a standard GEDCOM 5.5 file. The last column has a special multimedia option when the GEDCOM will be uploaded to a PHPGedView web site. You can consult the GEDitCOM II help for more details on these options.

Finally click "Save" and save to a file with extension ".ged" (e.g., "Subset.ged") in a new folder on your Desktop (e.g., a folder called "Transmit").

If your data does not have any multimedia, you are done and can transmit the "Subset.ged" file to your friend. If the data has multimedia and you want to transmit the multimedia along with the file, you should use the next step best hope of transmitting multimedia objects. Note: if you intend to reopen the file in GEDitCOM II on the same computer, you can skip the next step even if you have multimedia, because GEDitCOM II will be able to read the multimedia from this first export.

Including Multimedia Files with the Transmitted Data

If your data has multimedia, use the following steps to transmit copies of the multimedia objects as well. These steps give your the best chance the other software will recognize the multimedia. If the receiving software does not find the multimedia prepared by the following process, it is likely that software is just not capable of reading multimedia objects. At least your friend will have copies of the multimedia objects.

  1. Open the "Subset.ged" file exported above in GEDitCOM II
  2. Choose the Tree→Multimedia Options command and click the "Options" tab in the window that opens.
  3. Click the "Choose..." button and select the "Transmit" folder created when the file was first exported. Select the options as show in the image and click "Consolidate". This process will copy all multimedia needed for the subset file to the "Transmit" folder and make sure the records in the file link to the new copies.
  4. Finally, choose File→Export→GEDCOM Data... and export again by the methods from above. Be sure to save the export file in the same "Transmit" folder. You can just replace the previous "Subset.ged" file because it is no longer needed.

A convenient method to transmit "Subset.ged" and all multimedia files is to control-click on the "Transmit" folder in the Finder and select the "Compress 'Transmit' " command. This step will create a ".zip" file to give to your friend. They will need to extract the files to a folder and import the GEDCOM file into their genealogy software. With luck, their software will find the multimedia.