How to download your family tree

Better Safe Than Sorry

It is never a good idea to leave all of your precious genealogy research in the hands of a third-party website, even if you believe the website can be trusted not to lose it. You just never know when a website will go offline, lose access to a particular database, or even be sold to another company.

Leaving you high and dry.

So, if you’ve been keeping all of your research online at, you will want to download a copy of your tree to your computer, just for safe-keeping.

Download Your Ancestry Tree in 3 Steps

Step 1: Under the Family Trees menu, select the Ancestry tree you would like to back up. Once you are in that tree, select Tree Settings from the Tree Pages drop-down menu.



Step 2: Click on the Export tree button on the bottom right side of the window. This will start the download of the GEDCOM.



Step 3: When the download is complete, click on the Download your GEDCOM file. This will open a window allowing you to select a place for the downloaded file (note: if all of your downloads automatically go to your Downloads folder, check there).


Now What?

How to download your family treeNow that you’ve downloaded your family tree to your computer, there are a few things you can do with it.

If you do not have a genealogy database on your computer yet, you may want to consider investing in some software. Several brands of genealogy software are now able to sync directly with your tree. These include Family Tree Maker 2017 and the latest version of RootsMagic 7. Be sure to download a trial copy before you buy!

You could also upload a copy of your tree to another website, such as FamilySearch or WikiTree. Both are free to use and make excellent “cousin bait.” Keep in mind that these sites are considered “one world trees,” so be prepared for others to possibly make edits or contribute information to your tree.



Elizabeth O'Neal

Elizabeth O’Neal is a genealogist, freelance writer, educator, and web developer. An avid genealogist for three decades, Elizabeth writes the blog "My Descendant’s Ancestors" (formerly "Little Bytes of Life"), where she shares family stories, technology and methodology tips, and hosts the monthly "Genealogy Blog Party." When not hunting for ancestors, she enjoys testing new software and social media platforms to find innovative ways to re-purpose them for genealogy.

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