Monday, June 4, 2012

Do the Research Notes Transfer via GEDCOM to Family Tree Maker 2012?

In Creating Research Notes in RootsMagic 5 - Post 1 and Post 2 last week, I demonstrated how to create a set of Research Notes in RootsMagic 5 (using the "Detail Text" field in the Source citation menu), and how to create a "Research Notes Report" that puts all of the Research notes, with their sources, in chronological order.

That's great for users of RootsMagic, but the next question for me is:

Does that information transfer, via GEDCOM, to other genealogy software programs?  And can it be put into a report format in the other program?  I'm going to look at Family Tree Maker 2012 first.

I created a small GEDCOM file of alpheus B. Smith and his family in RootsMagic 5, and exported it to a file.  Then I opened Family Tree Maker 2012 and imported the GEDCOM file just created.

The People Workspace and Individual & Shared Facts screen for Alpheus B. Smith looks like this:

A quick review of the Facts, sources, Media and Notes indicated that everything I wanted to transfer across in the GEDCOM file was included.  I was curious to see if the "Detail Text" notes in the Source citation was transferred.  Here is the "Source" tab contents of the  "Edit Source Citation" window for the Birth Fact:

As you can see, the "Detail Text" note is labelled "Citation text" in the bottom part of the window.

On the "Reference Note" tab, the "citation text" is included after the Source and the Citation detail:

The GOOD NEWS is that the "Detail text" material is transferred using GEDCOM into the Family Tree Maker 2012 database as "Citation text."

What about Reports?  Is there a Family Tree Maker 2012 report "just like" the RootsMagic 5 "Research Notes Report?"

Not exactly...After checking out all of the Report options in the "Publish" Workspace, I found two Reports that provide similar information.  Here is the first page of the "Documented Facts" Report for Alpheus B. Smith (I selected only him):

Here is the first page of the "Source Usage Report" for Alpheus:

As you can see in the two screens above, both reports provide the person's name, the Fact description, the Source citation, and then the "Citation text" information.  The Facts are listed in alphabetical order, instead of chronological order.

Further down in the list, a problem appeared.  Look at the text in this Citation text:

Any text formatting (e.g., bold, underline, italics) in the Citation text, which is transferred via GEDCOM in RootsMagic has formatting indicators of <b> <u> <i> throughout the FTM information.   When I created the GEDCOM file, I checked to save note formatting and special RootsMagic formatting.

If I uncheck those items in the GEDCOM export, create another GEDCOM report and import it into FTM 2012, then the resulting Report in FTM 2012 looks like this:

The formatting problem (at least for bold, underline and italics) is solved.  However, the general GEDCOM import problem to FTM 2012 remains - there are spaces throughout all Notes and Sources text because FTM 2012 doesn't do the text concatenation task correctly ( a known problem).

It appears that FTM 2012 does import the "Detail text" as "Citation text" and a similar report to RootsMagic's "Research Notes Report" can be created using the "Source Usage Report" or the "Documented Facts Report" for an individual.

If Family Tree Maker 2012 modified their "Documented Facts Report" for an individual to have the option of putting the Sources in Chronological order, rather than alphabetical order, the report would be equivalent to the RootsMagic report.   Another option would be to add the Source and Citation text to the "Timeline Report" to create a "Source Citation Notes Report."

I hope that Family Tree Maker will take these suggestions to heart and add these features to their program.

The URL for this post is:

Copyright (c) 2012, Randall J. Seaver

1 comment:

Louis Kessler said...


I love your excellent analysis and comparisons of reports between different programs.

But the bottom line is whether or not any of these reports are useful to you. By useful, I mean now that you know about them, will you be using them regularly to help you with certain aspects of your genealogy research?

Or are they just a "nice" feature you might use someday if you happen to remember that they're there?

What would be really useful to know is how many of the other various reports (e.g. the timeline) that you've previously reported on have you started to use on a regular basis after you found out about them? Which of them are keepers, and which are throw-away?