Sunday, May 29, 2011

My First Look at AncestorSync (Pre-Beta Version)

After receiving the answers about AncestorSync last week (see AncestorSync is coming - I got answers!), Dovy Paukstys of Real-Time Collaboration asked if I would like to be part of the Beta testing for the program.  I agreed to it, and he sent me the link yesterday. 

I had some time to work with it today, and Dovy agreed that I could share the experience with my readers.  This is a Pre-Beta version, and it only permits a download from to a genealogy software file at this time, but it works.  A Beta version will be unveiled and demonstrated at the SCGS Genealogy Jamboree on 10 June in Burbank.  I'll be there!

After downloading and installing the software (it is an executable file), I opened it, logged into to my account using AncestorSync, and the first screen was:

The window above has four potential actions - "Download a Personal Copy," "One-Time Synchronization," "Automatic Synchronizing," or "Share With Someone."  Only the first one - "Download a Personal Copy" is available at this time in the program development.  However, the screen above does provide a window into future opportunities and capabilities.

My family tree file on is relatively small (I have only a Free account) - I uploaded a GEDCOM file with six generations of ancestral families in 2009.  However, some of my persons in the Geni tree have been linked to earlier generations by myself and other researchers, so there should be "more" persons in the downloaded file than I submitted to 

I clicked on the "Download a Personal Copy" button - which will "Download a brand new file for the program of your choice from your data on" - and saw:

In the screen above, I could choose the number of generations "Back (Ancestors)" from me (I chose 9, the maximum was 10), the number "Forward (Descendants)" (I chose 0), and the "Breadth" - the choices were "Direct Ancestors and Descendants Only," " + Children", "+ Children and Spouses," "+ Grandchildren" or "+ Grandchildren and Spouses."  I chose "+ Grandchildren and Spouses."  There was also check boxes to select download of Documents, Photos and videos.

I clicked on the green "Save and Select Program" button on the screen above.  The next screen shows:

The screen above is where the user selects the program file type for the download.  The choices currently available are Ancestral quest, Legacy, Personal Ancestral File, RootsMagic and Gedcom.  I selected RootsMagic and Gedcom, and specified file names for the files in those formats.  There are check boxes for "Automatically keep in sync" - I checked them.

Note that AncestorSync will download to the native format of the programs selected.  I expect to obtain a RootsMagic 4 file (.rmgc file) and a GEDCOM file (.ged) from this download.   I clicked on the green "Finish and Begin Download" button. 

The  download began with this screen:

The blue and white graphic was constantly changing.  After several seconds, the download of persons from began.  The system gave me about ten names at once.  Here is a screen showing the download in process:

The first time I tried, the download ended with an error message after about ten minutes.  I decided to try it again, and this time the download was successful.  It took over 70 minutes to download the persons that I had requested.

I was curious as to how many persons were in the file, so I opened Legacy Family Tree 7.5 to import the GEDCOM file and to see the results.  It created a new Legacy file with the family tree information.  Here is the Legacy screen after the GEDCOM file import:

There are 1,269 individuals, 548 families and 0 sources in the imported file.  There were no Notes either.  I did not have documents, photos or videos attached to my persons.  If the download was 70 minutes, then that's approximately 18 persons per minute.  I'm glad it wasn't a large file!

I need to check the RootsMagic file also, and compare the downloaded data with the information is on, and what is in the GEDCOM file that I uploaded to back in 2009. 

Tamura Jones on the Modern Software Experience website has three articles with information about AncestorSync (including screens similar to mine above) in:

Please read Tamura's articles for more information about AncestorSync and how it fits into the grand scheme of genealogy software. [Note - Users that do not use Internet Explorer 8 and earlier should be able to read Tamura's site without difficulty.  I recently upgraded to Internet Explorer 9 and now can read his site!]

If you have questions or comments about what you've seen of AncestorSync so far, please ask them in email (, or in comments, and I'll pass them to Dovy  Paukstys.

Stay tuned - there is more to come.  The webinar held on Saturday, 28 May, featuring AncestorSync is not yet on their website ( - when it is, I'll like to it here.

(c) 2011. Randall J. Seaver. All Rights Reserved. If you are reading this on any other blog, then they have stolen my work.  If you wish to re-publish my content, please contact me for permission, which I will usually grant.

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