Friday, October 22, 2010

Source Citation Mangling through GEDCOMs - Post 1

I complained last week, in Why I use several software programs that :

"I recently imported my FTM 16 file into FTM 2010, RootsMagic and Legacy.  The names, dates, places, notes all imported well, but I found that some of the source  information (which I'm working really hard on) did not come across completely."

The circumstances are this:

*  I'm doing all of my database correction work (duplicate names, unconnected persons, source citations, place name cleanups, date errors, etc.) in Family Tree Maker 16 because I find it much easier and faster to navigate.  Part of that is my twelve years working in the program, but also the relative simplicity (navigation, fewer clicks, etc.) of the program.

*  I tried to create a GEDCOM file after compacting the file, and FTM 16 said that I had data errors that prevented the file creation. 

*  Smart fellow that I think I am, I figured I could read it directly into Family Tree Maker 2010, save it, create a GEDCOM file there, and read it back into FTM 16. 

*  This worked well, and I was soon adding, deleting, and editing data in my revised FTM 16 database. 

*  big mistake!  I made it so easily!  I didn't even check the Master Source details.  Because FTM 2010 does not read the FTM 16 file accurately and put the right information in the right place, at least in source citations.

I've re-created the event using one Master Source citation to demonstrate the problem.  In the instances below, each program put the citation detail or note in the correct place.  I didn't have any source notes or comments in the fields, so cannot evaluate that aspect.

1)  Here is the screen from Family Tree Maker 16 for my source citation for the birth of Peregrine White (I've cleaned it up by editing this one citation to be, well, almost perfect (I sure hope ESM doesn't read this!)):



The FTM 16 source citation elements include:

*  Title of source:  Mayflower Families Through Five Generations; Volume 13: Family of William White
*  Author/Originator: Robert S. Wakefield (editor)
*  Publication facts: Boston, Mass.: General Society of Mayflower Descendants, 1997
*  Source location: Carlsbad Public Library, Carlsbad, CA
*  Source medium:  Book
*  source quality: Derivative but authoritative
*  Citation page: page 6

The Footnote created from this source citation is:

Robert S. Wakefield (editor), Mayflower Families Through Five Generations; Volume 13: Family of William White,  (Boston, Mass.: General Society of Mayflower Descendants, 1997), page 6.

2)  I created a GEDCOM file and imported it into Family Tree Maker 2010.  Here is the screen shot for the same source citation in FTM 2010 for the same person:


The FTM 2010 source citation elements include:


* Source template: [blank]
* Title: Mayflower Families Through Five Generations; Volume 13: Family of William White
* Author: Robert S. Wakefield (editor)
* Publication name: Boston, Mass.: General Society of Mayflower Descendants, 1997
* Publisher location: Carlsbad Public Library, Carlsbad, CA
* Publish date: [blank]
* Source repository: [none]
* Comments: Source medium: Book; Derivative but authoritative
* Citation detail: page 6

The Footnote created from this source citation is:

Robert S. Wakefield (editor), Mayflower Families Through Five Generations; Volume 13: Family of William White, (Boston, Mass.: General Society of Mayflower Descendants, 1997), page 6.

3) I imported the same GEDCOM file into RootsMagic 4. Here is the screen shot for the same source citation in RootsMagic 4 for the same person:





The RootsMagic 4 source citation elements include:


* Title: Mayflower Families Through Five Generations; Volume 13: Family of William White
* Author: Robert S. Wakefield (editor)
* Publication data: Boston, Mass.: General Society of Mayflower Descendants, 1997
* Repository tab: [none listed]
* Quality tab: [none listed]
*  Source Details: Page Number: page 6

The Footnote created from this source citation is:

Robert S. Wakefield (editor), Mayflower Families Through Five Generations; Volume 13: Family of William White (Boston, Mass.: General Society of Mayflower Descendants, 1997), page 6.

4) I imported the same GEDCOM file into Legacy Family Tree 7.4. Here is the screen shot for the same source citation in Legacy Family Tree 7.4 for the same person:



The Legacy Family Tree 7.4 source citation elements include:

*  Source List Name:  Mayflower Families Through Five Generations; Volume 13: Family of William White
*  Author: Robert S. Wakefield (editor)
*  Title:  Mayflower Families Through Five Generations; Volume 13: Family of William White
*  Publication facts: Boston, Mass.: General Society of Mayflower Descendants, 1997
*  Repository tab:  Location: Not given (see Notes).  Notes: Carlsbad Public Library, Carlsbad CA
*  Comments tab:  Derivative but authoritative
*  Source Detail: page 6

The Footnote/End Note created from this source citation is:

Robert S. Wakefield (editor), Mayflower Families Through Five Generations; Volume 13: Family of William White (Boston, Mass.: General Society of Mayflower Descendants, 1997), page 6.

You can readily see that the GEDCOM created by Family Tree Maker 16 results in an identical source citations in the other three programs.  However, the details within the Master Source detail fields are mangled.  RootsMagic 4 would probably be the easiest one to fix - I would need to add the Repository and quality data. 

This probably occurs because of the intricacies in the GEDCOM code - I've read that Family Tree Maker 16 (and earlier) used non-standard fields for some database entries, and the other programs are not set up to read them and put them in the similar field. 

Because of my error in judgment described at the top of this post, I'm stuck with somewhat faulty entries in my Family Tree Maker 16 database.  I have over 600 Master Sources to fix after reading back the GEDCOM from FTM 2010.  If I correct the files in FTM 16, and then export the corrected database to FTM 2010, RootsMagic 4, or Legacy Family Tree 7, then the Master Source details will get mangled again. 

If I edit the Master Sources in, say, RootsMagic 4, and then GEDCOM the file back into one of the other programs, will the Master Source details be mangled?  I don't know, but I'll check that out and report on it in the next post.

One solution might be to have only the Author, Title and Publication details in the Master Sources.  The other detail fields won't come across in a GEDCOM file.

Now I'm wondering what these sources will look like when I GEDCOM them into the Ancestry Member Tree.  Or some other family tree system. 

Oh, what a tangled web I've woven...

Any bright ideas from my readers? 

5 comments:

JMK said...

Oh dear Randy, sorry to hear about your trials. Why didnt you use the Professors GEDCOM Drops?! They are designed to prevent this type of problem...

http://www.zazzle.com/jmkgifts/gifts?cg=196576750384531341

Connie said...

Interesting that you should post about this problem, as I was corresponding this week with a software developer about the issue of sources being "scrambled" when moving between programs.

It is, as far as I'm concerned, the primary problem with software today, and keeps me "trapped" in one program. I would likely be a customer of several programs if sources could be moved between programs without having to edit each and every one.

Eileen said...

I don't have any bright ideas to completely resolve oyur problems. I have found that the GEDCOM produced by FTM 2010 and 2011 does not seem to import well into other software programs. In addtion to source problems none of my media links transfer. What I am currently trying using TMG. TMG will import FTM 16 or 2010/11 datafile in FTM native format. Then I create a GEDCOM export from TMG to import into RM and Legacy. This seems to work better as this GEDCOM does transfer my media links. I am still working on cleaning up my sources so I haven't analyzed their transfer yet. I do sometimes have to do a few place names clean up in TMG.

Connie said...

Just to be clear, the problem is not specific to FTM. It happens when going from Legacy to RootsMagic; from RootsMagic to Legacy, etc. My guess is that it is an issue with most software.

Russ said...

Randy -- It might be an interesting task / test, to take your Citations in 2010 and convert them to the appropriate template, then export to a GEDCOM file and see what the other programs do. I don't have Legacy or Roots Magic to do that test.

GEDCOMs, as you point out, treat a number of elements of a GEDCOM file differently between programs.

It is the hope of a number of us, that this GEDCOM topic is on the agenda for RootsTech in April 2011.

Thank you,

Russ