Ancestry, BLOG, Find My Past

Keeping your Genealogy Safe – Genealogy Problem Solver

Keeping your Genealogy Safe

Keeping your genealogy data safe is so important, can you imagine how you would feel if everything just disappeared ? It simply is too awful to even contemplate.  It was the 1st of the month yesterday and I always try to remember to take a few minutes and download GEDCOM files of my online trees onto my computer hard-drive.  That means that should something happen to Ancestry, where I keep my online family trees, then I have all my data safe and would only have lost at the most a month’s worth of research.

I don’t stop there because certain files on my computer and my GEDCOM files are then backed up to Dropbox. Dropbox is a cloud storage facility where you can have 2GB of storage free of charge and if you want more space then you can rent it. 1TB which is 1024GB is £6.58 a month. I find that 2GB is more than enough as I don’t store photos on Dropbox, just my GEDCOM files and essential personal files.  Plus I also own an external hard-drive which I back up my GEDCOM files, personal files and photos on about every 3 months. When I travel I take my laptop and my external hard-drive and they never leave my side whilst in transit. That way I can take everything I have on my main computer which is a desk top computer with me wherever I go.

This might seem extreme, but I vividly remember talking to a client many years ago in pre-internet days who had had a fire in her house and had lost everything. The items she mourned the most were her photographs and her genealogy. She employed me to undertake some research so that she could reconstruct her family tree, but her photos were lost for ever.

This post contains affiliate links – see disclosure for further details

How to Back Up Your Ancestry Trees

If you keep your family trees on Ancestry here is a step by step guide to backing up to a GEDCOM file.

  1. On the Home page click on the TREES tab at the top of the screen.
  2. A drop down box will appear with a list of all your trees you have created and at the bottom List of Treesit will have CREATE & MANAGE TREES – click on that.
  3. A new page will appear with your tree/trees listed. It will have the name you gave to your tree when you first created it and then underneath it will have View tree overview and Manage tree. Click on MANAGE TREE.
  4. This will take you to a page just about that tree. On the right hand side is a box and towards the bottom of the box will be a green tab with EXPORT TREE. Click on that box. Make sure you DO NOT click the Delete Your Tree button just below the Export tree button!!
  5. Clicking on the green box will generate a GEDCOM file. Another smaller box may appear that says “This could take some time, but your export will continue to process even if you leave this page. Once it’s finished, a button will appear here allowing you to download your GEDCOM file.” Unless you have an enormous tree and a very slow internet speed it will only take a couple of minutes at the very most.
  6. Once the GEDCOM file has been created a large GREEN BOX will appear with DOWNLOAD YOUR GEDCOM FILE written on it. Right click on this and it will bring up a box which amongst a few options offers Save Link as … Click on this.
  7. You will then be able to choose where on your computer you wish to save the GEDCOM file. I suggest you make a special Ancestry back up file and then within that file make another file with the date of your back-up. That way you can keep track of when you last did a back-up and also means you can delete old back-ups. I generally save the last 3 back-ups and delete any earlier ones.
  8. Your back-up file will have the name you gave your tree on Ancestry so it is easy to see what you have backed up if you have more than 1 tree.
  9. Well done you have backed up your Ancestry tree as a GEDCOM file which can be installed in any genealogy computer programme such as Family Tree Maker or Legacy.

How to Back Up Your FindMyPast Trees

If you keep your family trees on FindMyPast here is a step by step guide to backing up to a GEDCOM file.

  1. On the Home page click on the FAMILY TREE tab at the top of the screen.
  2. A drop down box will appear. Select VIEW ALL TREES.
  3. A new page will appear and all the trees you have created on FindMyPast will appear.
  4. There are 3 small buttons on the right hand side next to each tree. When you hover the cursor over the middle button it will show that it is the export tree button.
  5. Click on that middle button.
  6. DO NOT click on the next button which is the Delete Tree button !! 
  7. It will come up with a message saying it is analysing your tree. Then say it is preparing the GEDCOM.
  8. This may take a few minutes. Longer than Ancestry takes. Just be patient !
  9. When the GEDCOM file is ready to be exported a DOWNLOAD TREE button will appear.
  10. Click on that and download the GEDCOM file to your new folder on your computer.


As the saying goes you simply “rinse and repeat” on the 1st day of each month or whichever date suits. Do keep your genealogy files safe, it only takes 5 minutes on the 1st of each month.

If you would like to access my Free Genealogy Resource Library simple fill in your details in the form below and you will get immediate free access. How good is that?!

If Pinterest is of interest to you then you can Follow MadAboutGenealogy by CLICKING HERE

You can now follow MadAboutGenealogy on Google Plus by CLICKING HERE

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *