Announcing my Ahnentafel to GEDCOM converter

Thanks to the crowd funding and testing support of the DNAadoption community I was able to write a new tool. Now it’s ready, it’s free, and it’s online, which means it works for Mac users too. You upload a text file in ahnentafel format and it creates a GEDcom file for you to download (or cut and paste). It was written to convert the DNArboretum output but with some massaging can take any ahnentafel text file, I hope.

Here is the URL (or click the image below) for my Ahnentafel to GEDCOM converter:


In my previous blog post about the return of DNArboretum, I suggested that if ten people gave me $5 then I would write this tool. It was funded within 36 hours. Thank you all for the quick response.

I also want to particularly thank Thomas MacEntee of geneabloggers whose book Genealogy Opportunities 2015: How to Make Money in the Genealogy Business got me thinking about how to make a little money from my passion for genetic genealogy. “A living not a killing” is his mantra and personally I only need to supplement my social security income 🙂

It came to me after reading this that what I really love doing is writing tools for genealogy and DNA. So I thought I would try a simple crowd funding approach via my blog. It worked beautifully!

Many of you like my mapping tools. Let me know if there are other tools you want created.

This does not mean that I will stop writing these blog posts or taking genetic genealogy clients or speaking at conferences. I like those things too. Particularly the blogging. Sharing my passion makes me very happy.

So come and hear my talk on Triangulation at Rootstech! Friday at 4:30.

UPDATE 28may 2018: Documentation for this tool is at


35 thoughts on “Announcing my Ahnentafel to GEDCOM converter

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  1. All the best to you for your endeavours and I look forward to seeing more of them. A modest contribution for these via PayPal I wouldn’t think was asking too much from your many fans. Or make it pay-what-you-think-it-is-worth.

  2. Well thanks Rosemary for the thumbs up,
    I crowdfunded it in advance because I knew it would take several days out of my paid work schedule (I get obsessive about something like this) so I wanted to see if people really wanted to have if first by asking for donations up front.

  3. Imported into Legacy genealogy program, got message below. Have not looked at the imported file yet.

    Error report for: D:\Temp\Gregory_Vaughn_BEAL1623.ged.

    Main Record: 0 @F1016@ FAM
    Sub Section: Child Record not found: @I508@ (The program that produced this GEDCOM file is at fault.)
    * Unrecog. Line for a Family Record: 1 CHIL @I508@
    Placed in Marriage Note – Barbara MILCH : 1 CHIL @I508@. (In the GEDCOM file [D:\Temp\Gregory_Vaughn_BEAL1623.ged] there was a CHILD record referenced for this family but the child record could not be found in the file.)
    _FREL Natural
    _MREL Natural

    • Jay, Usually when there is an error with the GEDCOM produced by my tool there was something in the input ahnentafel that it misinterpreted. So please send the text file you used to kitty at this website without the blog. in the front so I can figure out the issue

      • Kitty, Did not get an e-mail notice of your reply. Old memory, and temp file cleanout, so do not have the file. Will try another one. Tried, and no records imported. Sent you an e-mail with attachments, hope they help fix the problem.

    • Kitty, Did not get an e-mail notice of your reply. Old memory, and temp file cleanout, so do not have the file. Will try another one.

      • The converter can deal with missing (private) parents but not missing (private) grandparents yet. I will add that ability later this week. Meanwhile insert the line:
        4. private PERKINS
        before line 5 and it will work fine

  4. There is a bug that will be fixed soon if the grandparents are missing in the ahnetafel (because they are private)

    So please check that the names for 4,5,6,7 are there whenever names for double those numbers is there. If needed ones are missing, use a text editor to insert a line for that number with the word private or living and optionally the surname

  5. Is there anyway that all of my research using Genealogy On Display, which is in the Basic programming language can be converted into a GED file? I have the information in both the compiled and noncompiled versions. I have about 800 people in the program so years ago I started to input the information into a more current program, but finally gave up, so nothing has been done since. I have not found any program to do the conversion so after I found your information using Google I thought I would see if you have the ability or any suggestion
    Thanks in advance for any reply you can give.

  6. Thank you very much. I hope I can dope out how to use that, but be assured I really really appreciate your quick response as well as your taking the time to answer
    Thanks again.

  7. Kitty,

    Thanks much for providing this very useful utility! I have encountered a problem that you might want to look at. When I import converted files into Gramps, the surname goes into the ‘Given’ name field. It appears that Gramps expects the surname to have both leading and trailing slashes. When I use your checkbox option, I get output with a leading slash only. If I manually go into the file and add a trailing slash to each surname, it imports correctly.
    Perhaps you might consider adding an option to provide both the leading and trailing slash.

  8. I have been working on my own code to convert Ahnentafel to gedcom – nearly there when I decided to google and see if anyone else has done it.

    Can you please provide assurance that all ahnentafel files parsed by your script are immediately deleted and not saved or shared elsewhere.

    • Liz –
      All files generated by my program are saved to a temporary folder which is automatically cleaned out every night. They can’t be deleted right away because then you could not download them.
      Thank you for the reminder, i just made sure the contents of that folder could not be viewed from the internet.
      It had not occurred to me to share them elsewhere. I think I would need permission to do that so no, not doing that or planning to. Google me if you do not trust me. What more can I say?

  9. Hi Kitty and thanks for a great tool!

    I have problems to convert files created with DNArboretum to gedcom when the textfile have the Swedish letters Å, Ä and Ö.
    I have tried to save the textfiles both with ANSI, Unicode and UTF-8 format, but the resulting Gedcom is either missing persons or are not created att all, not until I replace all Å to A, Ä to A and Ö to O the gedcom is comple, but then when i use tools to match the created gedcom with my own gedcom (that is having names and places with swedish letters) the tools will not match those names.
    Is there any chanse that you can fix that in the future?

    • Anders,
      Sorry for your problems but it is not my program but probably your genealogy software.
      When I look at the GEDcom for my many Norwegian ahnentafel conversions in the text editor I use for HTML editing (HTML-kit) I can see that the GEDcom has the foreign characters just fine. But when I import them they get lost.
      I think you need to set your genealogy program to expect these characters. Or perhaps to change CHAR at the beginning. I will run a few experiments and get back to you

      • OK it is the CHAR field in the resulting GEDCOM – about 6 lines down change
        1 CHAR UFT-8
        1 CHAR UNICODE

        it may be a day or two before I fix the program

  10. Hi Kitty,

    I think you missunderstand me..
    I’m trying to convert textfiles created with DNArboretum from trees on FTDNA to gedcom with your tool Ahnentafel to GEDCOM, how can it be problem with my genealogy software when I in these steps don’t use my Genalogy software?

    [… stuff deleted …]

      • The problem is that the file is named for the first person in the Ahnentafel list and when that person starts with a swedish character the file system on the server is unhappy. When I changed the initial Å to A all worked fine.

        • I have now fixed the filename issue – all foreign characters in the filename are replaced with English equivalents and apostrphe with an underline

  11. Thanks Kitty!
    When I test I have to remove all swedish characters to get it to work, but I can live with that.

    Best Regards

  12. Hi Kitty,

    I was wondering if you have ever considered modifying your program so that it would accept a CSV file input in a format that is compatible with the DNAGedcom client for

    • Russell this is not needed. To get someone’s ancestry tree as a GEDcom first use the pedigree thief chrome add on which gies you the ahnentafel for a pedigree. Then run that ahenetafel list through my program.

  13. I’ve tried converting with Pedigree Thief files from Ancestry, and the Gedcom produced does not hold as many persons as the tool says processed.
    I’m not sure what’s going on, if it is on my end or the tool.

  14. When converting with Pedigree Thief from Ancestry the gedcom was very slow to add to Ancestry. It loaded to 100% then appeared to hang in a loop. Upon testing it had loaded. but was slow.

    Trying to add the same gedcom to Gamps, I got the following error message:

    This file incorrectly identifies its character set, so it cannot be accurately imported. Please fix the encoding, and import again

    UTF-16 stream does not start with BOM

    I looked at an other gedcom that was downloaded directly from Ancestry and compare the two in a


    0 HEAD
    1 SOUR Ahnen2GED
    2 VERS 1.0
    2 NAME Ahnentafel to GEDcom converter for DNArboretum
    2 CORP
    3 ADDR 11070 Valle Vista Rd
    4 CONT Lakeside, CA 92040
    1 DEST GED55
    1 DATE 12/21/2015
    1 SUBM @SUBM@
    1 GEDC
    2 VERS 5.5


    0 HEAD
    1 CHAR UTF-8
    1 SOUR Family Trees
    2 VERS (2010.3)
    2 NAME Family Trees
    2 CORP
    1 GEDC
    2 VERS 5.5


    LINE 10 1 CHAR UNICODE your program

    LINE 2 1 CHAR UTF-8 Ancestry download

    UTF-8 allowed the gedcom to load and process rapidly in both Gramps and on line in Ancestry. I did not test the location, nor did I remove your line 10.

    Hope this helps you improve your program and allows others who have already created some gedcoms. Just adding 1 CHAR UTF-8 as the 2nd line just below 0 HEAD makes everything work.


    • Thanks, Swedish and Norwegian characters do not come through using UFT-8 so I need to make the character encoding an option

      • Kitty, I had this same problem just now importing gedcoms produced by Pedigree Thief / Ahnen2GEDcom with pedigrees downloaded from Ancestry. As far as I can tell there are no Swedish or Norwegian characters in my data. I got the import to Gramps to work ok by changing “UNICODE” to “UTF-8” in the .ged file then actually saving the file as UTF-8.

        I am using the latest release of Gramps, 5.0.1-1. Apparently this may have to do with Gramps as much as your converter, see this discussion at the Gramps dev Sourceforge page which hopefully you will understand better than me:

        • Don,
          I will try to get a new version out this weekend which lets you select the Unicode. So far only you Gramps people have this issue

  15. I was having trouble, hung, loading an ant with ancient ancestors. I read your blog over again and see that it now recognizes only 4 digit dates. I stripped off the entries below that last four digit date, and reran the converter. I works fine when the 1, 2, and 3 digit dates are removed. I was later able to go to FamilySearch from Ancestry and find the deleted people.

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