Transfer tree to new Ancestry account

Over several years, I built a tree under a relative’s Ancestry account. She let me use her userid and password, so everything is under her name. She’s getting older and not doing well, and it’s time for me to get my own Ancestry account and take over the ownership of the tree. I don’t believe Ancestry has a way to transfer the tree to my new Ancestry account. I know I can download a gedcom file but it doesn’t include the media and stuff.

It looks like RootsMagic can accomplish this for me. Ideally, I want to download my entire tree with all documents and media from her Ancestry account, log out of her account and log into my account, and then upload the tree to my own Ancestry account. Will this work? Is there a better way? Thank you.

After downloading the shared tree you will need to disconnect it from Ancestry before uploading to a new Ancestry tree. Go to Setting, WebHints and click on “Disconnect from Ancestry tree”.

Thank you, Renee, for your quick reply. It sounds like RootsMagic will work to transfer my tree in Ancestry. Follow up question. What version of RootsMagic will I need to do this transfer and where is the best place to download it from?

Only version 9 will work with Ancestry. The latest download is 9.1.3.
Here’s the link to the Holiday Special that is 50% off with code HOLIDAY2023

If you want the free version RootsMagic Essential 9 click on the link at the bottom that says “Free Software”. With Ancestry TreeShare you can upload or download an Ancestry Tree. Only the full version will share data back and forth after that.

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Renee, I have to comment that it is so refreshing to hear your response – an opportunity to sell a product but you’ve gone out of your way to inform a potential customer of the (limited) free version that could also be an option. Other companies (in my experience) would not be so forthcoming. A great demonstration of RM’s good company ethics! :blush:


JillV, I agree. That’s why as the potential customer, I decided to buy the full version. :slightly_smiling_face:

RootsMagic is a great program. I’m really glad I found it. As stated above, I’m using it to transfer/copy/move a tree from one Ancestry account to another. Here’s the process I used.

Logged into my relative’s Ancestry account using her userid and password.

Linked her account to RootsMagic.

Downloaded her tree with all supporting media to RootsMagic on my PC.

Unlinked her account from RootsMagic and logged out of her account.

Logged into my new Ancestry account and linked it to my RootsMagic program.

Uploaded the tree with all supporting media to my new Ancestry account.

All went well, except…

When I looked at the stats for each tree (her original and my copy) using the Ancestry Tree Overview Summary, the numbers weren’t the same.

Original tree viewed in relative’s Ancestry account
Tree Overview - summary
2238 people
482 photos
71 stories
2190 records

Transferred tree viewed in my new Ancestry account
Tree Overview - summary
2238 people
984 photos
14 stories
2104 records

My first question is why are they different and my second question is how do I fix it? I still have full access to both trees. Thanks.

RM doesn’t have separate categories for photos, stories and records. That means when you are uploading they could become labeled differently on the Ancestry tree. Ancestry Stories are not all the same and some of those may not have imported into RM. Ancestry also won’t let us upload HTML files so you may have them in RM but not be able to upload them. The only way to check is to compare, the original Ancestry to the RM import.

The standard suggestion if you find an issue when moving lots of data to or from ancestry is to try again during a period when there is low traffic on ancestry’s servers (ie late at night) and see if the results are the same. Assuming you get the same results, the answer to “why are they different” most likely is due to some of the fundamental differences between Ancestry and Rootsmagic’s data model and, more specifically, the details of what happens when data moves between the two platforms.

Both platforms have their own unique database models. The ancestry API allows data to be passed data between the 2 platforms but in those areas where the data models are different, certain assumptions or rules govern how the data gets mapped into fields in the other db.

There’s a couple of things that jump out:

  • Photos - since you downloaded from ancestry via treeshare and then uploaded with media, it’s understandable that the photo count would increase significantly. That’s because most ancestry sources have an image attached. When you imported your ancestry tree into RM via Treeshare every ancestry source that had an associated citation image would have included the image as a downloaded file. RM treats this file as a new media image and attaches it to the citation. When you treeshared the RM file back up to ancestry all of those citation images would have been uploaded to ancestry’s media gallery in addition to any images from the original ancestry gallery that was not attached to a citation. So after doing a round trip download to RM and upload to ancestry, you end up with new ancestry media = original media + ancestry citations with images. The only way to avoid this incremental media would be to not included images during the initial upload. However, that would also not upload the 482 images that were in the existing media gallery to start with. So it’s not a good alternative

  • Stories - As @rzamor1 mentioned RM doesn’t break media down into separate categories, so there is no RM equivalent to Stories. RM considers it all media. If you click on stories in your ancestry summary it should filter your media to show only stories and you should be able to figure out what is going on with the discrepancy between old and new ancestry trees (14 non-image files vs 71). The discrepancy might HTML files as Renee noted. If so, they would have to be manually upload to ancestry.

  • Records - I haven’t found any details on how Ancestry defines a “record”. I assume it’s similar to a fact or event in RM. However, when I look at my RM db statistics on the RM Home page, I don’t see anything that lines up with the ‘record’ count in my ancestry tree. I was initially thinking this discrepancy could be due to the RM’s family record type (for example, marriage records) but in my limited testing a ‘round trip’ of marriage records seemed to maintain the proper record count in ancestry. RM also has things like name facts and alternate name facts which may be counted a little differently in ancestry. Perhaps others will have additional insights into this area.

When it comes to “how do I fix it”, the answer may depend on what is going to be your master db going forward. If it’s RM and you’ll use ancestry for research, then things like duplicate photos may not be of any concern. If ancestry is going to be your master db, then you might want to spend more time cleaning up these data transfer differences.