Thursday, August 4, 2011

Some Family Tree Maker 2012 Sync Experiences

I noted in my post Family Tree Maker 2012 is in a Public Beta Test on Monday that I had managed to download the program, upload a tree to FTM 2012, and then use the program to upload my tree to  Since then, I've been able to:

1)  In my Ancestry Member Tree

*  Link media from databases to persons in the Ancestry Member Tree, and link images from my computer files to persons in my Ancestry Member Tree.

*  Add a child to one of my Seaver families in my Ancestry Member Tree.

2) In my Family Tree Maker 2012 database

*  Open FTM 2012 and it automatically synchronized with the Ancestry Member Tree, including the media links,  media sources and uploaded images.  Good, so far.

*  Add 10 media images to FTM 2012, and attach them to another Seaver family.

*  Added a child to the same Seaver family I added to before, and changed the child order.

*  Deleted two persons from my FTM 2012 tree.

*  Merged two persons with the same name.

*  Changed the Sync Settings from "automatic" to "manual" and set it off.  It synced the revised FTM 2012 tree data in one minute, and took another minute to upload the 10 new media items.

3)  In my Ancestry Member Tree

*  Checked the Ancestry Member Tree:  the data changes were made, and the media items were uploaded to the correct persons.  However, the media items that I had attached to specific events in the FTM 2012 file were not attached to the specific events in the Ancestry Member Tree (for example, I attached a death certificate to a Death fact in FTM 2012, and it is not attached in the Ancestry tree).

Updated 4 p.m.:  It turns out that the above was my mistake - in order for the media to be uploaded to Ancestry attached to a Fact, I have to go through a specific process (see Linking Media Files to People, Sources, and Facts in the FTM Help pages).  I had not done that before in earlier versions of FTM.

That's as far as I've gotten.  I have found no other problems but the one described above. 

I downloaded a second Ancestry tree into FTM 2012 and they sync also when I change something.

There is an Ancestry/Rootsweb message board title FTM Sync Beta at  There are 461 message threads on the board today.  There are several regular contributors on the other Family Tree Maker message boards actively responding to comments and problems by FTM 2012 Beta testers.  Some of the testers are reporting significant problems.  Apparently, FTM 2012 developers are monitoring this message board.

In comments to my previous post, reader Jen asked:

"So do you have to upload a tree to start the sync or does it allow you to connect to a tree already on Ancestry?  If it does, then it should look at both your FTM tree and Ancestry tree and adjust both as needed right? Or do I just have to upload a brand new tree and remove the old one?"

Based on my experiences and what I read on the FTM Sync Beta board, the answer to Jen's question is: 

*  You select one tree to synchronize with, either in FTM 2012 or in Ancestry Member Trees.  Pick wisely - which tree did you last update? 

*  If you have a tree already in FTM 2011, be sure to make a copy of it to use in the FTM 2012 Beta program, since FTM 2012 may convert your FTM 2011 files (in your Family Tree Maker file folder) to FTM 2012 format (it did mine), so you might want to save the copy in a separate folder and then open it when FTM 2012 starts up.  Then, in FTM 2012, you go to the "Plan" Workspace and click on the "Sync Now" button.  You have to be logged into in order to upload the file.  The sync process will create a NEW Ancestry Member Tree.

*  If you have an Ancestry Member Tree that you want to download to FTM 2012, then you can do that in FTM 2012 in the "Plan" Workspace.  Use the "New Tree" tab and select to "Download a Tree from Ancestry."  Select the tree from your list.  Your Ancestry Tree will download to a NEW FTM 2012 file.

*  A safer alternative might be to go to your Ancestry Member Tree settings and download a GEDCOM file of your Ancestry tree, rename it something different, and work with that in FTM 2012.  Frankly, you should not be changing data in FTM 2012 because the Beta Sync testing will end on 31 August 2011 (e.g., the program will not work after that date), and the FTM 2012 program may not be released until long after that date.

*  You cannot sync an existing FTM tree into an existing Ancestry tree, or an existing Ancestry tree into an existing FTM tree.  You have to do one of the above processes, and then the FTM tree and the Ancestry tree are linked.  The user can unlink them in either the Ancestry Tree settings for the tree, or in the FTM 2012 "Sync Now" > "Sync Options" > "Unlink trees."

For more information about FTM 2012 Sync Beta test problems, please refer to the FTM Sync Beta message board.  There are many interesting posts there!  If you have questions, you could ask them on the message board.  If you are testing the FTM 2012 Sync Beta program, then you should definitely report any problems on that message board.

Remember, this is a Beta test of Family Tree Maker 2012.  They want users to find potential problems before the software release, and they need a full discussion of them to sort out what is happening to testers on all sorts of platforms with data files with a broad range of data types and situations.

I'm not sure why I haven't had any problems (except for the one noted above).  Perhaps it's because I have a relatively new computer with lots of RAM and hard drive space, using Windows 7 and Internet Explorer 9. 

If you have questions about my FTM 2012 experiences, or have easy questions for me to answer, please comment on this post.  If you have hard questions to ask, please use the FTM Sync Beta message board.

If I have something wrong or unclear in my points above, please let me know (  I want to inform my readers of this product, and I want to be accurate.  I anticipate having to update this post, so please check back occasionally.


Anonymous said...

Hi Randy,
I'm about to start a new family tree using Gedcom to bring in the one my brother did back in 1991. We both have a mac and are leaning heavily toward Reunion. Can I then transfer all Reunion stuff (using Gedcom I assume) into the Ancestry form? My relatives in Europe all have PCs and I thought it would be nice for them to add stuff to Ancestry tree as they discover -- Or they could just send to me and I could add to Reunion. But a "cloud" tree for them to access would be great.
thanks a bunch!

Genealady said...

So does FTM currently or in the future allow linking of all the sources from I've never done source citation or documentation for my familytree yet because I have all the sources linked straight to it in I've also never wanted to download a GEDCOM and lose those associated sources...but if FTM currently or will allow that sort of linking of sources, I might just look into it...

Linda Gartz said...

Oops. Sorry, Randy -- that last anonymous comment was from me -- Linda. Don't know how it came up like that. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

1 did they fix the french accent problem in the descendant report sources

2 Did they fix the other spouse in the book. In 2011 it shows other spouses for everyone in the tree but 2010 only showed other spouse for the ones that had another spouse.

Thanks Rita