Tuesday, January 18, 2011

FTM2011 Source Citations in RootsMagic 4 - Mangled?

I posted some source citations created in Family Tree Maker 2011 using the source templates, as a benchmark, in an effort to understand how they translate via a GEDCOM file to other genealogy software programs that I have available. 

I imported the GEDCOM file created by FTM 2011 into RootsMagic 4 yesterday, and looked at the same source citations in RootsMagic (the "Footnote").  The results are (with some entries showing the Source Comments also because they are sometimes informative):

 Vital records index (imported from FTM2011)

State of California. California Death Index, 1940-1997. Sacramento,CA,USA: State of California Department of Health Services, Center forHealth Statistics, "California Death Index, 1940-1997", Rootsweb, California Death Index,1940-1997 (Name: accessed onhttp://vitals.rootsweb.ancestry.com/ca/death/search.cgi;), Maybelle C. Wright entry, Death Date 31 March 1964, Death place SanDiego (80), Birth date 17 May 1902, Mother's maiden name Ashdown.

The source screen for this citation is shown below:

As you can see, RootsMagic shows the Master Source Name (this shows up in the Source List), the Footnote citation, the Short Footnote citation and the Bibliography field, based on the Source information and any detail citation information.  There are buttons at the top of the box for Quality and Repository, a button for "Source Detail" More at the bottom.

The FTM 2011 sources imported into RootsMagic 4 as a "free-form" citation (see note at top right of the box).  So, any source template work in FTM 2011 does not come into RootsMagic, as I expected.
Here are the rest of them:

Vital records certificate (imported from FTM2011)

Registrar of Births, Department of Public Health, San Diego, SanDiegoCounty, California, California, San Diego County, Certificate of Registration, Register ofBirths (Name: Name: not published;;), Department of Public Health Certificate No. NC-867 (1943).

Published book (imported from FTM2011)

Blaine Whipple, Whipple, Blaine, History and Genealogy of "Elder" John Whipple ofIpswich, Massachusetts (Name: Name: Victoria, BC, Canada: Whipple Development Corporation,2003;;).

Record Commissioners of Boston, Record Commissioners of Boston, A Report of the Record Commissionersof the City of Boston Containing Dorchester Births, Marriages andDeaths to the End of 1825 (Name: Boston, Mass., Rockwell & Churchill, City Printers, 1890;)

Robert S. Wakefield (editor), Wakefield (editor), Robert S., Mayflower Families Through FiveGenerations (Name: Boston, Mass.: General Society of Mayflower Descendants, 1997;), page 6.

Periodicals (imported from FTM2011)

Caroline Martino and Marcia Lindberg, Martino, Caroline, "Henry Collins of Lynn and his Descendants" (Name: Name: The Essex Genealogist, starting Vol. 10, #3-4 (1990), Vol11,#1-3 (1991), Vol 12 #4 (1992);;)

Elizabeth French Bartlett, Bartlett, Elizabeth French, " Genealogical Research in England" (Name: Name: New England historical and Genealogical Register, Volume76,Number 2 (April 1922), pages 115-129;;)
Source comments:
Bartlett, Elizabeth French. " Genealogical Research in England:Weeden". New England Historical and Genealogical Register,. Volume76, Number 2 (April 1922): Pages 115-129.

Newspaper articles (imported from FTM2011)

San Francisco Chronicle, San Francisco, California (online archive) (Name: Name: San Francisco CA (accessed on www.SFGenealogy.com);;), Frederick Schaffner Death Notice, 1 July 1899, page 10.

Census records (imported from FTM2011)

1930 U.S. Census, Population Schedule; NARA Microfilm Publication T626, San Diego County, California, San Diego city; ED 116, Sheet 5A,Dwelling #142, Family #148, Lyle L. Carringer household, Roll 192.

Probate Records (imported from FTM2011)

Massachusetts, Worcester, Worcester County [Mass.] Probate CourtRecords, Abigail Gates, 1867; Probate Packet 52,857 (viewed at Worcester CountyCourt House).

Cemetery Marker (imported from FTM2011)

Woodside Cemetery (Westminster, Massachusetts), Grave Markers, Benjamin Seaver monument.

Family papers (imported from FTM2011)

Abigail (Vaux) Smith, Della (Smith) Carringer, others, Personal Notesand Letters to Abigail (Vaux) Smith, Della (Smith) Carringer, others,Smith/Carringer Family Letter Collection, 1888-1902 (Name: Name: unpublished;;).
Source comments:
Smith/Carringer Family Letter Collection, 1888-1902. Privately heldby Randall J. Seaver, Chula Vista CA 91911.

Family Bible (imported from FTM2011)

unknown, Rebecca (Spangler) Carringer, 1828-1946, Carringer Family Births,Marriages and Deaths (loose pages) (Name: no publication information;).
Source comments:
Rebecca (Spangler) Carringer, Carringer Family Births, Marriages andDeaths (loose pages), 1828-1946. unknown title. unknown location:unknown publisher, unknown date; before 1901. Privately held byRandall J. Seaver, Chula Vista, California 91911. 1988-2011.

Loose Birth, Death and Marriage pages in hand of Rebecca (Spangler)Carringer, Della (Smith) Carringer and Lyle L. Carringer

For reference purposes, I entered information for this last citation into the RootsMagic 4 source template for "Bible Records" to see how it looked: 

Family Bible (Using RootsMagic 4 Template:)

Family data, Rebecca (Spangler) Carringer Family Bible, Carringer Family Births, Marriages and Deaths (loose pages): (1828-1946), (unknown place: unknown publisher, unknown date); original owned in 1988–2011 by Randall J. Seaver, [address for private use].

Listed below are items that I noticed resulting from the export of the FTM 2011 database into a GEDCOM file and then importing that file into the RootsMagic 4 program:

*  All of the Master Sources in RootsMagic are Free-form" format. [no surprise to me...]

*  There are often two words stuck together that should have a space between them.  This happens in the Notes also for an FTYM 2011 to RM4 GEDCOM import. [I have heard that this is because of FTM's use of the concatenate tag (CONC) rather than the Continuation (CONT) tag in the GEDCOM file.]

*  Any italicization of titles or other fields was lost. [no surprise here, GEDCOM is a pure text file without formatting]

*  The Publication fields are pretty messed up, with the word "Name" added, and sometimes the words "Name: Name:" added at the beginning of the field.  There are also semi-colons added to the end of most publication fields. [this surprised me, both program have the same fields]

*  Authors names for published books, periodicals and newspaper articles are sometimes duplicated.  FTM 2011 has separate fields for lead author surname, lead author first name, and other authors names. [not surprised due to different fields in different programs]

*  The order of source elements is different from the FTM 2011 template order, and many elements in the FTM 2011 templates are provided in Source Comments in RootsMagic 4. [not surprised, RootsMagic tries to put data into the free-form fields.]

*  The repository data is provided in the Repository field in RootsMagic 4 as opposed to in the actual Source Citation in FTM 2011 (if selected by the user). [logical to me why this happened]

I'm sure that there are more differences for each citation type. 

The purpose of this post was to show the differences, and not assign blame or make suggestions for improvement for either program.  An examination of the GEDCOM file text would indicate which GEDCOM tags are used to export the file to determine if the exporting program or the importing program create the problems.  A fair test would take template sources from RootsMagic and import them into Family Tree Maker 2011 using the same process.

However, it does demonstrate the problem that GEDCOM export/import of sources badly often mangles the sources carefully created using source templates in the original program.  The ideal situation is that every bit of information in the imported program using GEDCOM is identical in content and format to the information in the exporting program.

I'm still wondering if it is worth the time to use the source templates in any program, or just use free-form citations (created perhaps using Evidence! Explained models).

We will look at Legacy Family Tree 7 tomorrow.


Cousin Russ said...


I posted, but certainly not in the detail you did, similar results:


My purpose was not to get into the details but to identify one of the GEDCOM issues that need to be addressed.

Thank you,


Delia Furrer said...

What you found in the GEDCOM process is exactly what happened to me. My big question would be is this...How do we cite our sources? Not all genealogy programs are going to be here in infinity. What do the pros do? I hope you continue with this subject as it is very important to us as we try to leave our research with the proof that we have spent so much time, money, effort to achieve.

RootsMagic said...

If you look at the sources in the GEDCOM file created by FTM, I'm guessing you will see that FTM doesn't export the templated sources, but puts the sources in the TITL, AUTH, and PUBL fields. That is what RootsMagic ends up having to read from the GEDCOM file.

Cousin Russ said...


From my test results, FTM exported the Template information BUT it didn't remove the AUTH tag. I can't see that information in the Family Tree Maker Source / Citation screen. It was there, because it was in the screen that Randy started with. I have moved the Source format to the Template format. The Template format should have, unless I missed a step somewhere, remove that AUTH tag information.

Just went back into Family Tree Maker and the AUTH information is not there. BUT, it is in the GEDCOM.


Cousin Russ said...


The issue at hand here, is a GEDCOM issue.

There is a group of Users and Developers working on a project to get the GEDCOM back on the table, as we users continue to want to share our research.

The link that I put in my first reply is part of that project.

Family Tree Maker and Roots Magic examples are on the Better GEDCOM Blog.

They do pretty well when sharing information, but where it gets a little messy, is in the Source sharing.

I can only suggest that you enter your source citation information into your genealogy program as that program expects or wants it entered. Just understand that there may be an issue with a GEDCOM file.

Please check out the Better GEDCOM project.

Thank you,


TreeTraverser said...

It is partly a GEDCOM issue because source templates are non-standard and therefore they are proprietary to each software vendor. But, even if a vendor exports their proprietary format via GEDCOM, a third-party application may still not be able to reconstruct the source information. For instance RootsMagic exports its source templates, but a third-party application cannot currently reconstruct those sources even if it understands that proprietary format. Until the technology matures, I recommend using a citation generator like easybib.com, then pasting the results as a free-form source in your genealogy program.

Perhaps vendors will keep the ease of use factor in their source template implementations, but ultimately generate and store the "free-form" source citation for eventual export. Hopefully, one could modify the information stored in the template, and the free-form source would be updated automatically.