Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Dear Randy: Tell me about Syncing FTM 2012 and Ancestry

My colleague DearMYRTLE asked a question in a comment on my post "Thinking About Software, Online Trees and Syncing":

Randy, when Syncing FTM2012 to Ancestry Trees and back, does it upload and download the attached document files? THAT would really be wonderful, even if you had to take a break from the computer for the task to be accomplished.

DearMYRT:  YES, it does, flawlessly.  And fairly quickly, if you've added only a few media items since the last synchronization.

As long as you understand these four things:

1)  The sync occurs from within Family Tree Maker 2012.  You have to upload your tree to a new Ancestry Member Tree (AMT) from the 'Plan" workspace in FTM 2012.  That tree in FTM 2012 can have the media files (documents, photos, audio, video) attached to Persons or Facts in your FTM database, and they will appear in the new Ancestry Member Tree "synced" to FTM 2012.  We had this feature in FTM 2011 - the media went from FTM 2012 to a new Ancestry Member Tree when we pushed the Upload button in FTM 2011.

Depending on the selected setting when you set up the FTM 2012 to AMT syncing, the syncing occurs either manually (you press a "Sync Now" button in FTM 2012) or automatically (when you save, as long as you have the Internet active, are logged into Ancestry, and have FTM 2012 open).

2)  Once the Ancestry Member Tree has been created, then the user can go into their AMT, edit persons, facts, notes, sources, and attach even more media to persons in the tree by uploading files from their computer into the AMT.  The information and media changed in the AMT will be downloaded to the FTM 2012 when synchronized.

3)  But, and it's a big but, if you have "Saved" an Ancestry.com record to a Fact in your Ancestry Member Tree, then the image of that document is not in the Media tab in your AMT or your FTM 2012 file.  The source citation created by Ancestry for the document is in both the AMT and FTM 2012 files, but the image is not.  From within the AMT, you can "View Image and "View Record" when in the "Facts and Sources" tab for a specific person.  From within the AMT, you can attach a media file, but only from your own computer file folders, not from the Ancestry collection.

UPDATE:  Duff Wilson, a Family Tree Maker developer, wrote in Comments to this post:

"Related to point number three above, an update for the Family Tree Maker 2012 Beta was just released today which addresses this. With this update, Ancestry record images that are attached to your online tree are downloaded to Family Tree Maker automatically subsequent to the next sync."

That is good news!  Back to the original post:

4)  The FTM 2012 user can use the "Web Search" workspace to find online images on Ancestry.com and attach them to persons in the FTM 2012 database.  When you do this, the Ancestry document image is added to the Person and the Facts, and the user can attach these Facts to other family persons.  When you sync the FTM 2012 tree to Ancestry, these media items and sources are uploaded.

So far in my three days of working with the latest FTM 2012 beta program version, this has worked perfectly.  I've done all of those functions, both ways. 

As long as the user keeps their specific Ancestry Member Tree linked to an FTM 2012 file, the user has a true synchronization between the two systems.  If the user unlinks their Ancestry Member Tree from the FTM 2012 file (while in the AMT Tree Settings), then the sync doesn't work any longer.  Likewise, if the user deletes or renames his FTM 2012 file, the AMT tree is unlinked.  In either case, the user can download the current AMT from Ancestry, or upload to a new AMT from FTM 2012.

I hope that explains it clearly.  Why are my posts always so prolix?  Is that a new word for you?  If so, go look it up!


Duff Wilson said...


Related to point number three above, an update for the Family Tree Maker 2012 Beta was just released today which addresses this. With this update, Ancestry record images that are attached to your online tree are downloaded to Family Tree Maker automatically subsequent to the next sync.

Celtic Tree said...

Randy, Please tell me if I understand you correctly....
I currently have Ancestry Member Trees for each branch of my family which are loaded with stories, records & photos. I will need to Open FTM2012, create a new tree from my AMT (which downloads everything), delete the AMT from ancestry, and then create a new AMT from FTM2012? THEN they will be in sync?
Thank you in advance.

Geolover said...

Regarding the synching feature that downloads images into FMT2012 for items whose citations were added to an AMT, there is a big potential bug.

There are Ancestry.com databases where there is an index, but the results-links are not to specific documents. For example, the index to NARA Micropublication 246, _Revolutionary War Rolls_ is to a specific microfilm roll whose images have been posted. But the index items link only to the beginning of the roll, which may have 700 images, not to a specific folio image within the microfilm roll.

Some of us have edited the Ancestry.com citation in this instance to show which image or images bear the record(s) for the indexed result, but it is doubtful that specific code could be added to the AMT citation that would direct the server to download the correct image(s) to AMT.

Some of us have downloaded the correct image(s) and then attached the actual image(s) to the particular "Timeline" Event. It is possible that this would conflict with the server's attempt, upon next synching, to download elements related to this event.

So there are two major issues here related to such databases.

Geolover said...

PS - there is an asterisked item in Duff Wilson's post on the FTM Sync Beta message board


related to his posted comment here. It reads, "*Ancestry record images attached prior to this update are not automatically downloaded. Only record images for newly downloaded trees or newly added record images in existing trees are downloaded."

In addition, it may be requisite to pay attention to the Ancestry.com terminology. The phrase "Ancestry record" does not mean the image of the document. It means the extract-of-document shown on the page that enables linking the citation to an AMT individual profile.

Thus my prior post is beside the point. The synching will not attach the document images, only the "Ancestry record" (where it exists). And not from citations existing prior to installation and use of the latest FTM2012-beta code.

DearMYRTLE said...

THANKS for replying Randy. This is interesting stuff.

I see distinctions:

1. What about where you have linked an Ancestry.com record (but not the scanned image) to an Ancestry Member Tree (AMT) person?

2. Is Duff saying all the attachments I've done in AMT *prior* to this FTM update don't count?

3, What if I just begin using FTM right now, after years of working online with my AMT?

Geolover said...

Dear Myrt, good questions.

I have been following the message board for the FTM2012 beta (it's really hard now, hundreds of threads and it has not been indexed), but have not been in on the test since I can't download the version of FTM being tested.

But can somewhat respond to your questions:

1) You can "link" scanned images to AMT profile pages when you upload to Ancestry.com server after saving to your own computer. These images are supposed to be synched between tree and FTM, and when synching between tree and FTM are supposed to be downloaded to the FTM media folder. Where images are linked to an AMT via the "web link" option (say to a flikr account) these web addresses evidently are not being translated to FTM. Note that attaching an Ancestry.com Record to an AMT for such items as US Census enumerations adds the citation to the record, it does not link the image, even if you substitute the image URL as an edit to the citation. When you click on the citation in the AMT at lower right, you go to the Ancestry.com Record Page, not to the record image (where one exists), even if you have changed the URL in the citation. Changing the citation URL might really confuse the interface server.

2) Yes, the Ancestry.com Record Pages will be translated to FTM2012-beta only if they are newly added after installation of FTM2012-beta present version (the 4th incarnation, I think).

3) In the present beta version of FTM2012, whatever you newly add to an AMT after installation of the present version and after downloading an AMT post-FTM2012 (present version) installation is supposed to translate to FTM2012beta. The present version does not seem to play well with AMTs uploaded using the 3rd or prior incarnations, nor can you synch with pre-existing trees: you must first download a pre-existing tree to new beta FTM2012, and upload again using new beta FTM2012. Only the newly uploaded tree will synch.

Randy Seaver said...


#1 - look at point 3 in my post. Only links to the record summary are in your FTM file when you have Saved the image in your AMT.

#2 - yes, that's what Duff said - if you have linked in your AMT before now, the image will not download. The "fix" would be to attach the media from within the FTM filwe using Web Search. You will probably have duplicate sources then for the Facts involved.

#3 - from within FTM, you can download your AMT with all of the attached media into a NEW FTM file. Then create a new AMT from that FTM 2012 file. Your attached media and links to A.com records should be there.

Hope that helps!

Randy Seaver said...


Yes, you have it exactly right, I think.

I would wait to delete the tree already on Ancestry until I'm sure that the synced tree is working, though.

Geolover said...

Randy, thanks for your continuing coverage of this. It is very hard to get an overall picture from the Message Board.

I think users will be disappointed if the final version of FTM2012 does not synch with existing Ancestry Member Trees, though.

Anonymous said...

Ancestry has sent an e-mail announcing FTM2012 will ship the end of September.

Judging from the FTM Beta Sync Message Board, there is neither evidence the sync feature is ready for prime time nor that it can be made so in three- four weeks.

Now- can we all say 2008 Re-dux?

Yes, I thought we could!