I have my main family tree on Ancestry.com and I've added a lot of sources within the Ancestry interface i.e. the Sources appear with a small preview and a direct link to them.

With a lot of my family in other European countries, I've ended up using other genealogy websites to build the parts of my family tree in those countries and then exported the trees as GEDCOM files too.

As Ancestry.com offers no merge feature, I have used RootsMagic to combine all the GEDCOM and I'm quite happy with the result.

However, when re-importing the GEDCOM file into Ancestry, all my sources only have a title such as "Ancestry.com, England, Pallot's Marriage Index, 1780-1837 (Ancestry.com Operations Inc)" with no further details i.e. no preview image or link to the actual source.

Looking at the combined GEDCOM that RootsMagic creates, I see no _APID tags for my sources.

Is that the reason why my sources no longer have links?

Is there any software that can preserve those tags?

Edit: It looks like this problem is covered here actually: http://forums.rootsmagic.com/index.php?/topic/13901-importing-gedcoms-from-ancestrycom/

Does anyone know how to export the image URLs (not the actual images but since a lot of these URLs are public URLs in Ancestry) from Ancestry to GEDCOM?

  • When you say "re-importing the GEDCOM file into Ancestry" does that mean you have a new tree, separate from the online tree you started with?
    – Jan Murphy
    Jan 21, 2020 at 5:49

2 Answers 2


Any tag starting with an underscore is an extension to standard gedcom and is usually specific to the software you are using.

How that non-standard tag is handled by alternative software is up to the alternative software. So with your example the _APID tag is unique to Ancestry and Rootsmagic doesn't create it. When you imported the gedcom into Rootsmagic if may have converted the unknown tag to something it understands / uses or it may have disregarded it.

Check out any error report that you got when you imported the Ancestry gedcom it may give you a clue as to what it did with the unknown tag.


RootsMagic and Family Tree Maker are the only two programs that Ancestry has granted syncing ability. It is possible that Family Tree Maker handles Ancestry's _APID tag properly.

But the real problem in this case appears to be RootsMagic. They want to be able to sync properly with Ancestry. And any data you download to RootsMagic should be able to sync back up.

I would contact RootsMagic tech support and tell them about this deficiency you encountered. I'm sure they'll want to get that working.

  • The thing I'm curious about is "re-importing the GEDCOM file into Ancestry". What does that mean? It doesn't sound like the merged GEDCOM was synced/shared back with the original linked tree on Ancestry, it sounds like an entirely new GEDCOM was uploaded. If an entirely new GEDCOM were uploaded, I wouldn't expect the citation media (to use Ancestry's term) to be attached to a new tree. I'd really like @boyrobot to clarify this for us.
    – Jan Murphy
    Jan 27, 2020 at 9:56

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