Gedcom Converter

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Gedcom Converter
Summary This mod reads a Gedcom file, modifies some tags and data, and creates a new Gedcom file. It was originally designed to modify Gedcom files produced by's Family Tree Maker 2012, but it now does many other conversions.
Mod Updated 19 Jan 2023
Download link For
TNG 14.0
TNG 13.0


See the Revision History for older versions
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Author(s) Robin Richmond
Homepage Gedcom Converter (This page)
Mod Support My Mod Support form or TNG Community Forums
Contact Developer My Mod Support form
Latest Mod
Min TNG V 9.0
Max TNG V 14
Files modified
Updates: admin_dataimport.php, admin_export.php, admin_secondmenu.php, admin_secondary.php Installs: rrgedcomconverter_form.php, rrgedcomconverter.php, rrgedcomconverter_saveoptions.php, English rrgedcomconverter_help.php, rrgedcomconverter_placeoptions.jpg, rrgedcomconverter_config-distrib.php, upload.class.php, rrgedcomconverter_tagsconfig.php
Related Mods

Purpose of the Mod

This mod implements a TNG program that makes numerous changes to Gedcom files:

  1. Fixes specific errors or incompatibilities in Gedcom files produced by Family Tree Maker (which it tied to, but no longer owned by These changes allow TNG to import media links, birth and death notes, and media records correctly. These changes are essentially the same as those made by a converter program hosted by Stephen Connor, which is described in the Desktop_gotchas TNG Wiki page, and in a help page on Stephan Connor's web site
  2. Makes several optional edits to Gedcom tags and event data to clean up a number of common inconsistencies. These changes can potentially be applied to any Gedcom file.
  3. Can run the Placename Format process (installed by the Placename Format mod) to reformat USA placenames in a consistent manner.

The Gedcom Converter Help File (on the mod author's TNG site) has much more detail than this article about the Gedcom Converter kickoff form and process.

Note that the Gedcom Converter programs installed by this mod do not touch the TNG database. As a result, this mod should be independent of TNG changes, and should even work for TNG version before 9.0, and indefinitely into the future.


This mod was developed by Robin Richmond.


  • A working TNG installation.
  • A backup of all affected files (see the list in the summary in the upper right corner of the page)
  • An installed current version of the Mod Manager.

Revision History

Mod Version TNG Version Date Contents 14 18 Jan 2023 Upgraded to TNGv14 with no functional changes 13 28 Oct 2020 Upgraded to TNGv13; Fixed the creation of Person and Family Medialinks from Citation Medialinks 12 28 May 2020 (For now, see the Revision History in the .cfg file) 12.0+ 15 May 2018 No functional changes; made compatible with TNGv12. 9.0 - 10.2.1 07 Feb 2016 No functional changed. Removed the second line of cust_text.php target location strings because of a change some distribution files for TNGv11.1.12.
Moved the language strings from a standalone file to the standard cust_text.php files. 9.0 - 10.1.3 22 Feb 2016 Changed mod name. Added several Gedcom tags to the converter logic.
Separated language strings, configuration variables, and code for Place Normalization into different files, which are installed by the new Place Normalization mod. 9.0-11.1.2 06 Feb 2016 Simply removed the second line of cust_text.php target location search strings because of a change in the full TNGv11.1.2 distribution. 9.0 - 10.12 06 Sep 2015 No real significant changes. Tweaked the Converter Setup form & the tabs. Admin >> Import/Export now takes you directly to the Converter form rather than the Input form.
The converter now handles some Gedcom tags that FTM doesn't generate. (I use it occasionally to modify other Gedcoms.) 9.0.0 - 10.1.0 24 Jun 2015 Tweaked the options form to allow it to be viewed, but not submitted, without logging in. 9.0.0 - 10.0.3 16 Dec 2014 Removed some options that addressed my personal data entry habits. Improved the place normalization. Cleaned up code and added documentation. 9.2.2 - 10.0.2 17 Aug 2014 Fixed some strings that weren't internationalized. Added a warning to the "Compress dates" option noting that compressing dates breaks date internationalization.
Modified the mod subfolder for new files so that it has the same folder structure as the TNG site. I thus added the version suffix to that subfolder. 9.2.2 - 10.0.2 25 Jul 2014 Fixed a bug in the handling of Individual TITL events. 9.2.2 - 10.0.2 30 Jun 2014 Cleanup. Improved error handling & handling of form options. The converter configuration file lists the options in (essentially) the same order as the options form.
Shows more information while the converter is running. 9.2.2 - 10.0.2 25 Jun 2014 Added an option to suppress secondary events for selected event types. Improved handling of the media object path.
Fixed a couple of bugs that caused some conversions to be performed even if their checkbox was unchecked. 9.2.2 - 10.0.2 12 May 2014 Improved handling of the media object path so that it doesn't get in the way of simple TNG installations.
Added the "locales that act as counties" concept so it could be more thorough in making sure that counties have the county designator.
Added option 5e, which was previously always done along with Date compression. Added the upload module, which was missing in the first release. 9.2.2 15 Apr 2014 Initial release.

Citation Medialinks

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In TNG, a Citation Medialink is a link from a Media item to a Citation, and is defined in the Medialinks table. In Gedcom files, a Citation is a Source reference in an Event record inside a Person or Family Record. And a Citation Medialink is a Media item reference within a Source Citation. Thus, though TNG and Gedcom medialinks both define many-to-many relationships between Media items and Citations, those relations are defined in opposite direction in TNG and in Gedcom files.

When Family Tree Maker (FTM) Gedcom files contain media information, they define Citation Medialinks, and do not automatically link the related Media items to to the People and Families in which the Citation Medialinks occur. But until version 12, TNG didn't support Citation Medialinks at all. That is, it did not import them, had no way to enter them through TNG data entry, and ignored them in Gedcom imports. Consequently - in the absence of a Gedcom converter - many Media items would not be represented in TNG Person Profiles or Family Charts. Thus, TNG Gedcom converters (all of which were initially created to handle invalid aspects) took note of Citation Medialinks, and created Person and Family medialinks to the Media items referenced by all of their Citation Medialinks.

Starting at some point within TNGv12 (not TNGv12.0, but an incremental version or two later), TNG's Gedcom Import did (and does) read Citation Medialinks from Gedcom file, and created its own Citation Medialinks. (In addition, TNG administrators can now define Citation Medialinks through the Media Links section of the Media Edit page, but that's not really relevant to this discussion.) Aside from the Media Edit page, Citation Medialinks are presented to users in two places:

  1. In the Person Profile, as hyperlinked thumbnail images in Source Citations,
  2. In the "Linked to" column of the end-user Media item search/results page, browsemedia.php, and
  3. In the "Linked to" column of the administrative Media item search/results page, admin_media.php.

In both Media item search/results pages, Citation Medialinks and Person linked to Marriage appear in media bloack in the Family the basically assuming (I presume) that the Gedcom medialinks were repeated in the relevant lower-level source and person or family records. In fact, because TNG did not handle citation medialinks, there is a Gedcom Converter that "Modify Gedcom files for TNG" option in the Gedcom Converter mod specifically creates those lower-level medialinks when it encounters citation medialinks.

For a period of time between incremental versions of TNGv12, the Gedcom Import would invalidate all existing Citation Medialinks and leave them in place, and the invalid Medialinks would sometimes show up TNG pages such as Person Profiles. To respond to this problem, the Gedcom Import Purge mod added a "Suppress the creation of citation medialinks" button on the Gedcom Import kickoff form, and changed the Gedcom Import process to act on that button. However, this problem has been resolved, so, really, there is virtually no reason to have the "Suppress the creation of citation medialinks" checkbox any more. About the only thing it accomplishes is to suppress linked media item thumbnails on source citations in the Person Profile.

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Related Mods

There should be no conflicts. The only changes this mod makes to existing programs are to add the "Convert Gedcom File" tab to programs already in the Import/Export tab menu

  1. The optional Inner Mod Menus mod flags the new "Gedcom Converter" tab in all Admin>>Import/Export program to indicate that the tab was installed by the Gedcom Converter mod.
  2. Gedcom Import Purge, like the Gedcom Converter, optionally suppresses Citation Medialinks. However, As described in the Citation Medialinks section above, I have discovered that Citation Medialinks are not the problem I thought they were, so, really, there is almost no point in suppressing them.
  3. Placename Format installs the Placename Formatting functions that are called by the Gedcom Converter to reformat USA placenames in a consistent manner.


This mod includes a typical mod subfolder, with the same base name as the mod's .cfg file. The subfolder is atypical in that no files in it are installed to working TNG folders. However, it does contain critical files that contain the mod's language strings, which the mod does not add to standard cust_text.php files. Instead, the PHP code modified by this mod loads the language strings from files in the mod's languages/ subfolder. Read more about this technique.

[Show Standard Installation Process]


  • A working TNG installation.
  • An installed current version of the Mod Manager.
  • You should backup files listed in the panel on the right.


  1. Remove and delete previous version of this mod.
  2. Backup the files updated by this mod. They are listed in the panel at the upper right.
  3. Download the .zip file, Extract its .cfg file to the mods folder.
  4. Follow the normal automated installation for Mod Manager, as shown in the example Mod Manager - Installing Config Files.


  1. Try using the Mod Manager Remove capability
  2. Contact me through My Mod Support form.
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In the event of a problem

Uninstalling the mod

If you want to completely Remove (uninstall) this mod and all its tables, you should

  1. click the Uninstall button to uninstall the mod
  2. click the Delete button to delete the config file from the mods folder.


  • Uninstall and eventually Delete the current Mod.
  • Proceed as for an installation with the new Mod.


Step 1 - From the TNG Admin home page, select Import/Export
Gedcom converter-step1.png
Step 2 - Part 1 - Gedcom Converter options
When you get to Admin>>Import/Export, you'll see the Gedcom Import kickoff form. Select the "Gedcom Converter" tab, and you'll see the Gedcom Converter "kickoff form".
To start the process, select a Gedcom file from your PC or the server, just as as you would in the Gedcom Import kickoff form. As soon as you click on the output filename field, a default value will be displayed for you, but you can change that value. The options are described in more detail in The Gedcom Converter help file. (Depending on the version of the converter that you are using, there may be options not shown here.)

Gedcom converter-step2.png

Step 2 - Part 2 - Options to Format USA Places - That is, to re-format the components of a full placename into a standard format defined by these options, which will appear when the "Normalize USA Places" or "Format USA Placenames" option is checked. These options are added by the optional Placename Format mod.

The placename formatting process will take various representations of a single placename, such as "Houston, Harris, Texas", "Houston, Harris County, TX", "Houston, Harris Co, Texas, USA", and put them all in the format specified by the options.
Gedcom converter-step3.png
The Place Normalization options are described in more detail in the Placename Format mod article, and The Gedcom Converter help file.

Step 3. Save Options

When you click the "Save Gedcom Options" button, the Gedcom Converter options will be saved to a configuration file, and, if the placename formatting options are present, the "Save Place Options" will be saved to a second configuration file.

Step 4, Run the Converter

When you click on either of two "Convert Gedcom File" buttons, the converter program runs, using the specified options. It generates a list of option values (behind a button), displays record counts as it processes records, and then, depending on the options you have selected, it may display buttons you can use to see information about the process results, and it may make a second pass through the file.

Gedcom converter-step4.png

For Additional Help

The help file for the Gedcom Converter form has very detailed explanations of all of the Converter options.

Sites using this mod

If you download and install this mod, please add your TNG site to the table below:

URL User Note Mod-Version TNG-Version User-language
Robin's Genealogy Database Robin Richmond Mod developer 13 EN
Total Family History Scott Bennett Private Site (For right now) 10.0.1 EN
Wilcox, Eskelson, and Related families Alan Wilcox Private Site (Password required - relatives only) 0.0.2 EN
Our Immigrant Ancestors Jim Larson Private site 14.0.4 EN, NO
LookingBackwards - All Our Relations Ashleigh Mitchell Public 13.0.4 EN
Huygens - Van de Moortel Tom Huygens Public/Private on WordPress 13.1.2 NL