Author Topic: Ancestry's GEDCOM bugs  (Read 81 times)

Online andrewalston

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Ancestry's GEDCOM bugs
« on: Friday 24 July 20 18:07 BST (UK) »
Not all of us want to use Ancestry's online trees, but I sometimes use them for things I wish to share with others, such as trees I've researched for friends.

My offline software provides much better facilities, so sometimes I'll do a download to check things like the addresses being consistent.

So today I've been editing the GEDCOM for one tree to produce a reasonable local version.

The problems I've noticed are mostly in the "Description" part of records. Here I tend to put my transcriptions of register entries, so that I don't need to keep referring to an image.

The main disasters are:
  • Loss of semicolons. Because Ancestry removes line breaks, I use semicolons. Thus a marriage might include "...John Smith, Miner; Mary Jones, 23, ...."
    That gets written out as "...John Smith, MinerMary Jones, 23, ...."
  • Inclusion of HTML entities rather than the correct characters. Thus "<illegible>" becomes "&lt;illegible&gt;".
  • A similar, but worse, translation for ampersand. Thus, "Marks & Spencer" is likely to become "Marks &ampSpencer".
Note that HTML entities are not supposed to appear in a GEDCOM unless they are to be treated as literal text.

The second and third problems can be sorted out with a text editor, but only if you know the problem exists.

The first problem can't be detected except by examining every event with more than one line of text.  >:(

The problems are not encountered consistently. There are times when only one semicolon is removed. Sometimes a church is "St. Michael & All Angels" and other times it becomes "St. Michael &ampAll Angels".

Should my friend decide to fork out for a subscription rather than working as a guest, I will need to go through ALL these records manually. If they are in the GEDCOM used for the transfer, they continue under the new ownership.  :(

Yes, I've logged a problem report. Anyone believe anything will be done?

Anyone noticed any other inconsistencies I will have to bear in mind?
Looking at ALSTON in south Ribble area, ALSTEAD and DONBAVAND/DUNBABIN etc. everywhere, HOWCROFT and MARSH in Bolton and Westhoughton, PICKERING in the Whitehaven area.

Census information is Crown Copyright. See for details.