Preparing Family Tree Maker GEDCOM files

For Uploading to TNG (The Next Generation of Genealogy Sitebuilding)


Author: Stephen A Conner

Edit:  22 DEC 2012

Last Edit:        06 JAN 2018 – Updated for FTM 2017


This document explains how the Microsoft Windows program “GC_FTM.exe” works.  This program is in beta testing.


1.        SCOPE


Many people use the program Family Tree Maker (FTM) to gather and organize their family history. When it is time to share with others, they publish their research online using TNG (The Next Generation of Genealogy Sitebuilding) by Darrin Lythgoe. The only way to transfer data from FTM to TNG is by a GEDCOM file.


A GEDCOM file is a way of saving family tree data so that is can be used by other genealogy programs. This sounds good in principle. However, the way programs save and load GEDCOM files varies. As a result, the data is not displayed properly on the program that is importing the data.


Instead of assigning blame and waiting for the problem to resolve itself, there is a way to modify the output of a GEDCOM file from FTM so that it will display properly in TNG.


The standalone program GC_FTM.exe will do the following:


  1. 1)TNG will now display the Description field for Facts using three fields (Date, Place and Description) on the person’s Individual page. 

  2. 2)The photo assigned as the Primary Photo will be displayed next to the individual. 

  3. 3)FTM 2012 / 2017 is exporting media links for both scrapbook items and those attached to sources. Both will now display properly. 

  4. 4)The GEDCOM is modified so that the media’s date, title and description fields will be displayed properly in TNG. FTM forgot to include a FORM tag following the media link and some versions of TNG may not display thumbnails correctly. 

  5. 5)Media files with prefixes (“p_” for photos, etc.) will be assigned to the proper storage folder in TNG. If a user has their own defined Collections, they can assign files using the new “x_” prefix. This is optional.  


This program WILL NOT modify the Family Tree Maker family files that have the extension “.ftm”. It WILL examine the GEDCOM output file from FTM and then create a separate modified version. These files have the extension “.ged”.

The user must be familiar with Family Tree Maker and TNG (The Next Generation by Darrin Lythgoe). The user has set up a WEB site for the TNG software and is familiar with uploading GEDCOMs to their public trees.


Also, the user should know how to upload photos and documents to their public trees. Usually this involves using an FTP program (File Transfer Protocol).


Section 2 tells the user how to run the program. Section 3 describes how the Gedcom file is modified.






2.1        DISCLAIMER


This program resides on and is executed from this site only. The user may get a message that “The publisher is untrusted” because we have not paid the fees that VeriSign require.


Only run this program from the link on the web site. We are not responsible, if this program is misused. If you are unsure about using it, then don't use it. Better yet, stop reading and don’t do anything.





This program runs under Microsoft Windows 10, Vista and Windows 7. It requires the presence of Microsoft .NET Framework 4.0, which may be present on newer computers. This program will automatically place this on your computer.


If you want to look ahead and see if you already have the 4.0 .NET Framework installed, open MS Internet Explorer (not Firefox or any other browser). Then, go to the following site: “”.


The yellow box labeled YOUR PERSONALIZED RESULTS will tell you, if you have it. If you don’t, you can choose to install the “4.0 .NET” from the Microsoft link that is displayed.


This program will read and modify the GEDCOM file that is created by Family Tree Maker. GEDCOM files have the extension (.ged). This is not intended to modify any other file type ( .ftm, etc.). Only use this program on GEDCOM files that are generated by Family Tree Maker.




Before proceeding, it is a good idea to clean up your FTM database as much as possible. This is especially true, if you want to enable the Google Maps feature in TNG. This means making sure that you have all the events listed that you want to display. It also means that all place names are resolved. Make sure each unique place name is not duplicated due to a typo or a change from an upper-case letter to a lower-case one, The “Places” tab in FTM and the Place Usage reports are good tools for maintaining consistency.


Review the media files that are linked and ready for uploading. Thumbnails can be generated on TNG for files that are less than 1 Megabyte.





Go into Family Tree Maker and open your family file. Select the FILE Tab from the pull-down menu and select EXPORT. .



Under Output Format select GEDCOM 5.5 (standard)



Select the items you wish to include such as facts, notes and media links and click OK.


In the next box select “Other” as Destination.



Select the “UTF-8” character set. For English sites, TNG is usually set up for ISO-8859-1 and is expecting ANSI characters. Almost everything you save in your GEDCOM is an ANSI sub-set of UTF-8.


However, if you are using special characters found in some foreign languages, they may not show up correctly. You will have to enable the UTF-8 functionality at your TNG site. That is explained at: .


Make a note of the saved GEDCOM filename and location.


The program is now ready to run. Please note that the program will not install on the user’s computer. When the user presses the Start button on the Web site, the program is then downloaded and executed. Afterwards, it is erased. Microsoft calls this a Click-Once application. When the program first runs, Microsoft may install some files it needs for the .NET framework.



2.5        Step 1 -- RUNNING THE PROGRAM  --  Method 1


USE “Internet Explorer” as your browser. This is the easiest and preferred method.


Go to and follow the links for FTM to TNG GEDCOM converter. On the page “Using GC_FTM”, click the START button.




Click on the RUN button. If this is your first use, the program will do a one-time install of any necessary files.


Skip the next 3 pages and jump ahead to 2.7 Select the Description Field Format – Step 2.

2.6        RUNNING THE PROGRAM – Chrome and other WEB browsers – Method 2


2.6.1 Install The Microsoft . NET Framework Add-On


This is a one-time install to enable Click-Once capability.


FIREFOX may have an add-on. Search the internet “Clickonce firefox”.




Google Chrome Add-On at


Other browsers may have the Microsoft .NET Framework add-on available as well.


2.6.2 Run the GC_FTM Gedcom Converter


Go to and follow the links for Load FTM Gedcom Files into TNG. On the page “Using GC_FTM”, click the START button.



You will be given two options:

2.6.3 Setup


The first time that you use this program click on the RUN button and it asks you to save SETUP.EXE. Click SAVE FILE and it will save it to your designated download area. Usually this is a folder called Downloads. From there you will have to double-click on SETUP.EXE. Setup.exe will do a one-time load of any necessary files and it will run the program.




When you run SETUP.EXE you may get a message that “this publisher cannot be verified”.  We did not pay Veri-Sign for a certificate because of the limited use for this program. Click RUN.





2.6.4 Launch


After SETUP.EXE is run, the program may be run at anytime from the Web site by clicking on the small hard-to-see “LAUNCH” link that is underlined. (Note: the Add-Ons for either Firefox or Chrome must have been installed)






The program is now running. If you are not using the Description field for Births, Marriages, Deaths, etc., then skip ahead to Step 3. If you are using the three field format, select how you wish to display the description field. Three formats are shown.