GEDCOM – an introduction will give you the background on GEDCOM, its origins and evolution, and how it still plays an important function for digital family researchers.
The companion article, Anatomy of a GEDCOM, gets into the inner workings of a GEDCOM file and illustrates the way a GEDCOM can capture and transport all of your family trees from one computer program to another.
Why would you care?
If you are using this TNG genealogy application on the website to preserve and to archive your family research, you need some way to make a copy of the original research and to place it into your TNG site. And a GEDCOM file is just the ticket for the family tree information.
Importing your GEDCOM
TNG offers you two methods of getting your family tree data brought into TNG using a GEDCOM file. See the next article on TNG: how to import a GEDCOM (coming soon).
Either you can import the GEDCOM from your computer, or import the GEDCOM from a folder in your TNG website. There are advantages to each way.
Log into your TNG application, go to the Administration panel and select Import/Export.
If you are doing your primary family tree research on your personal computer, using say, Family Tree Maker, Legacy or other applications, then the easiest choice is the first one. You just need to generate the GEDCOM file on your computer hard drive. TNG then looks after all of the backend work of finding that file on your computer, transferring it into a GEDCOM folder on your TNG website, and then importing it inside the TNG data tables.
If you are not using a home computer application, and instead are using, say, another TNG site as your primary research, then you might want the second method. This usually involves a file transfer utility tool called FTP, short for “File Transfer Protocol”. A discussion on FTP would take another article to properly cover. FTP is used to move large files between computers and to and from websites.
Sometimes, when you are using the first method of importing, TNG ‘chokes’ on large GEDCOM files and you will find the application just hangs and never finishes the import task. You believe that nothing was accomplished and you have to shut down TNG and start over.
The cause of this is that TNG is doing two tasks simultaneously: it is bringing in GEDCOM data across the internet from your home computer while stuffing the data into the TNG data tables at the same time. This dual-tasking can result in a timing-out situation and it looks like the process has failed. But perhaps not. In most cases, the GEDCOM file was successfully uploaded to your TNG website and is sitting complete and intact in your GEDCOM folder. It was only the stuffing into TNG that failed.
The solution is to go back into the GEDCOM Import screen and try the second method, the “Import GEDCOM from web site” option. Just click on the Select… button to see if indeed your GEDCOM file is in the website folder, select it and proceed with the Import Data button at the bottom of the screen.
Uploading your GEDCOM
So you may want to break the process into two separate tasks, to avoid the dreaded process hanging issue. The two steps are: to upload the file to the website; and then to import the data from the website folder into TNG.
The first step, to upload the file, requires a tool like FTP.
If you believe that you will be working with large files, then using an FTP file transfer tool may be a good method. For this, you will need to acquire an FTP application and there are several free utilities available on the internet now. Your TNG administrator will set you up with an FTP admin access so that you can move files into the proper GEDCOM folder in TNG. Then you can use the second method to import data into TNG.
So, in summary, you have two ways to get your family tree into TNG (not counting manual keyboarding entry).
If you have a small or reasonably-sized family tree, say 10,000 individuals or less, you can do the one-step “import from your computer” and have the data appear in your TNG application. Or, for large studies, you might be better off with the two-step process: upload with FTP, and then import data from the website folder.
In the next few articles, we will get deeper into the steps to move your GEDCOM files around.