Gedcom Options (RM7 & 8)

As part of my backup / safeguard routines I make a Gedcom each evening of my database. My thinking is that a Gedcom is the only universal way the database could be moved somewhere else in the event of a catastrophic RM failure.

Could someone please advise what are the best data options to select when creating a Gedcom so it is useable to as many other programs / installations as possible.

I’ve noticed that the data options in both RM7 and 8 are always “pre-selected”. This “pre-selected” set excludes the tasks (and research and correspondence logs in RM7), but does include the “extra details (RM specific)”.

Should I just go along with these pre-selections, or should I also tick the “tasks”, and / or untick the “extra details (RM specific)” to ensure this Gedcom is in the best state possible to upload to another (unspecified) destination and avoid as much data loss as possible?

Much appreciate your thoughts and comments :slightly_smiling_face:


  1. Gedcom is not well supported across different software programs so it is a wobbly crutch but better than nothing.
  2. suggest include RM specific details and tasks if you use that feature. RM specific would probably be ignored by other programs but would be needed by RM.
  3. Current best alternatives on a mac are RM7 (will die soon) and FTM 2019. Avoid Reunion since transfer is awful due to unusual source citation approach.
  4. Develop a simple semi-automatic backup routine for your computer since local disaster is the most likely event. Two time machine; 1 cloud service; 2 flash drive manual if small enough amount of data. Not clone backup.
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Thanks so much for your thoughts and advice @Rooty – much appreciated!

At the moment my nightly backup routine consists of running the database integrity (other tools on start up), backup and gedcom to both my computer and my husband’s, thumb drive (rotated between 2), and the cloud. I also transfer my RM7 file to RM8 (data file is being maintained in RM7 and will transfer over when more functionality is available in RM8).

The Gedcom file is saved without the tasks (but with RM specifics) as that was what was automatically prepopulated, but I do use the tasks functionality so I might include that from hereon.

My computer is on its last legs and acting strangely and long story, but another new computer seems to be someway off. Hence the need to make sure I have lots of backups etc.

I really do appreciate all the help and advice you’ve provided Rooty as it has given me a lot of reassurance. My tree is very small, but I still don’t want to lose it! Thank you! :slightly_smiling_face:

Make sure you are backing up all the stuff on your computer not just genealogy. Even Windows pcs have a basic if unfriendly backup program. Google how to find and use it and let it back you up each day.

Next computer consider a mac. You can get an M1 macbook air for just over 1K and the software is so much better and easier to use. For example, automatic backup on a mac is as simple as buying a decent external hard drive and turning on one included program. IBM has found that macs outlast pcs 3 fold and require 10% of the tech support time.

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Thanks so much @Rooty !! I had no idea that Windows have a backup program – I just do it all myself so I’ll look into this and see how I can streamline it a bit (I do backup all my computer but definitely not as often as I probably should!!).

And I’ll definitely consider a Mac too, and particularly now that RM has provided the native version of the software.

Thanks once again for all your help and support Richard – very much appreciated!! :grinning:

This answer may not be exactly what you’re looking for but what I do is I make a gedcom for backup every so often with the entire file. I’ll email it to myself but not open it until the day I may really need it.

A windows pc backup can be used to recover from a disasterous terrible Tuesday update through the system restore function. It seems to back up only once a day on a schedule but should suffice for most needs. Avoid Seagate external drives due to their often high failure rates.
The mac time machine OS app backs up every hour or so to an external drive. All you have to do is buy a decent drive, plug it in and turn on time machine. I have one continuous TM backup and another drive connected every 10 days plus a cloud service. When I do something important like finish my taxes I tell it to back up now and the same for Backblaze cloud service.
Using a gedcom as a backup is a bad idea since data and media are lost when your pc dies. A RM7/8 gedcom has links to media and not the actual media. Heredis and macfamilytree do store media in the data file but this makes it huge.
The mantra for true backup is multiple copies in multiple places and test recovery. I have had TM backup drives fail, clone backups that failed, etc. Humbling experiences that I survived more by luck than prudence (old backup drive I was about to erase).