There are lots of programs that can import new persons from the shared tree on FamilySearch. I know most of the FamilySearch features of Ancestral Quest, Legacy, and RootsMagic, but they all lack one thing: They don't import the attached sources automatically, so after import, I still have to check the imported persons, one by one.

Is there any program out there that has an option to import sources (and notes) right away? I'm aware that some add the FamilySearch URL of the person as a source, but that's not what I mean.

  • I think the only three websites that support FamilySearch tree imports are the ones you mentioned. If those programs are not able to do this then I suspect this is not possible at present. It may be to do with the way FS exports the data rather than the way it is imported. It might be helpful to contact FamilySearch directly about this. As an aside, this may be an (unintentional?) deterrent for individuals who want to download and import large tracts of data without checking its validity.
    – Harry V.
    Jan 10 '16 at 18:29
  • This is not about sites, but about desktop program features. I know that FS has the citations, but for some odd reason, above programs don't download them automatically. Jan 11 '16 at 19:45
  • I mistyped when I said websites instead of programs. As I said, I don't think it is possible to download a FS tree into a program other than the three approved by FS. All I was saying is that since none of the programs are downloading the citations correctly it may be an issue at FamilySearch's end.
    – Harry V.
    Jan 11 '16 at 22:00
  • It's not that they aren't downloading citations correctly, they aren't downloading any at all. That's the problem. When I synchronize data for a single person, I can download individual citations by selecting them, and then they are properly processed, and can then be exported to GEDCOM too. In other words, it's not a FamilySearch issue, because the data is available, and can be downloaded. It's the big 3 that don't download them. They all do allow mass downloading of dozens, even hundreds of persons at a time, but always without sources. That's the odd thing here. Jan 12 '16 at 22:35

Today, Randy Seaver wrote a blog post about how RootsMagic Can Import Sources From FamilySearch Family Tree.

He gives an example and shows a screen where he compares RootsMagic Sources on the left with FamilySearch Sources on the right and then shows how he added a source from FamilySearch to his RootsMagic database.

In conclusion, he says source citations from FamilySearch can be added through a relatively simple multi-step process, but not "automatically".

Now if, as was posed in the question, Ancestral Quest and Legacy both download sources in a similar manner, i.e. not automatically, then those 3 programs will not do the trick.

However, the fact that sources can be downloaded in entirety as shown by Randy, says that the API (Application Programming Interface) provided by FamilySearch does allow the retrieval of all the source information.

There are other full family tree programs among the FamilySearch approved "Apps" in their App Gallery that likely also download sources. It is possible one of them have been programmed to download them automatically. You can check: Familienbuch, Family Tree Builder, Family.me, MacFamilyTree and WikiTree. (MagiTree would have been another one, but it is no longer available.) I believe all those programs can export GEDCOM, so if you find one of them can download your sources automatically, then you can use it to efficiently retrieve all your sources from FamilySearch.

If not, then it is likely a matter of time. I'm sure users will request this of the programs they use. I know of at least one program that is planning one day to include automatic downloads from FamilySearch of all data including sources.

  • Louis, I use RootsMagic in the way described by Randy, but most of the other programs that you mention don't seem to be up to the job. I found that Familienbuch can not send data to FamilySearch like the programs that I mentioned can, Family Tree Builder can't communicate with FamilySearch directly, although My Heritage can, and Family.me and WikiTree aren't very good for my purpose either, because neither site can handle sources in a proper way. Family.me can't handle any, and WikiTree puts all sources in notes with wiki mark-up, so none of these is a serious option for me. Nov 3 '17 at 20:30
  • And of course, I am quite interested in that one program that you mentioned here ... Nov 3 '17 at 21:20
  • When you search for apps on FamilySearch, you can filter them by type, platform, and FamilyTree capabilities, and when I choose type Family Tree Management, platform Windows, and check the capabilities to read from and write to the FamilySearch Family Tree, only 4 programs are listed, which are the 3 that I already listed, and MagiTree, which I think should be removed, because it's not available anymore. In other words, the answer is still no indeed. Nov 3 '17 at 21:27
  • Enno: Your question was about importing sources and didn't require that the program have to export them back to FamilySearch. You'll find more programs in the FS apps list if in the search you don't check the write to capability.
    – lkessler
    Nov 4 '17 at 13:53
  • Louis, that's true. I didn't mention that, but it's sort of in the context. The programs that I mentioned are all full function desktop programs for Windows, and that is what I like to restrict myself to, to avoid having to run a dozen programs and syncing between them. Syncing is a problem between Gramps and RootsMagic already, so I don't want to make things more complex than they already are. Nov 5 '17 at 16:07

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