Monday, July 25, 2011

Dear Ancestry: Please Fix Family Tree Maker Source Issues

I know that Family Tree Maker 2012 is being developed as we type, and I want, and the FTM 2012 developers, to fix the source citation problems that are currently in FTM 2011 that make it less than useful for me.

In my series The Seaver Source Citation Saga Compendium, I worked with Source Citations in Family Tree Maker 2011, and found these issues:

1) In Peeking at Family Tree Maker 2011 Source Citations in the GEDCOM File - Post 1, I showed that Family Tree Maker 2011 adds extraneous words and punctuation to source citations such that a GEDCOM file export badly mangles the source citations. 

2)  In FTM 2011 Citations Uploaded Directly to and FTM 2011 Citations Uploaded via GEDCOM to, I showed that more mangling of source citations occurs when an FTM file or a GEDCOM file is uploaded to an Ancestry Member Tree..

3)  In Creating Source Citations in Family Tree Maker 2011 - Post 5: Some Issues, I noted that I had trouble finding specific Source Groups and specific Source citations because I have quite a few of them.  The Source lists require me to search for an author by the first word in the master source (e.g., I need to search for "Elizabeth" to find works by "Elizabeth French Bartlett," and I cannot search for a keyword in a source, such as "Bartlett").  I had several other suggestions too, and all are still a problem for me.

4)  Some software programs (e.g., RootsMagic 4) permit use of italics characters in their source citations - in both free-form and template formats.  When these are imported to FTM 2011 via GEDCOM, the codes for these features appear in brackets (like <i> for italics).  The brackets don't work, and now the sources have extraneous terms in them.  In addition, there is no way to create items in FTM 2011 source citation templates using italics as described in the book Evidence! Explained.

5)  One of the biggest problems with exporting Family Tree Maker 2011 files in GEDCOM format is that FTM 2011 apparently uses the CONCatenate tag instead of the CONTinuation tag for text that extends to several lines in the GEDCOM file.  This results in two words "stuck together" when they should be separated by a space.  I've noticed this in Notes and Sources.  I've been told that FTM does not use the GEDCOM 5.5 standard for CONTinuation of text.  They should.

These are my complaints about Family Tree Maker 2011 source citations.  I don't use FTM 2011 as my main program any longer because of these perceived deficiencies.  I sincerely hope that they are fixed in Family Tree Maker 2012. 

What complaints do you have about Family Tree Maker 2011 that should be corrected in Family Tree Maker 2012?


Elizabeth said...

I moved my Family Tree Maker to a Mac last November when they finally came out with FTM Mac. You would not believe all the citations that didn't transfer over to the Mac properly. I'm hoping that any fixes they make to the Windows version they correct in the FTM Mac, as well.

Eileen said...

I agree with the citation issues you listed. In addition, I would like them to correct their GEDCOM export so that it preserves the links to all media attached to individuals, sources, etc. Right now when I export to GEDCOM, I get mangled citations and lose all my media links.

They could speed up the startup and the web search.

These are my 2012 wishes.