Thursday, October 6, 2011

Exploring Family Tree Maker 2012 - Post 2: Syncing Both Ways

In Exploring Family Tree Maker 2012 - Post 1: Loading and Syncing, I installed Family Tree Maker 2012, imported a GEDCOM file, and uploaded that file to a new Ancestry Member Tree.  I then used the "shaky leaves" on to add two records, including one image to my Ancestry tree, and also added an image of my own birth certificate to my profile. 

As a result, my FTM 2012 database was no longer the same as my Ancestry Member Tree, so I needed to synchronize ("sync") the two trees.  I chose to do this manually (when I want to do it), rather than automatically (when I open FTM 2012) when I uploaded the FTM database to Ancestry.

Here is the screen when I opened Family Tree Maker 2012 after changing the Ancestry Member Tree content:

In the "Plan" Workspace shown above, the "Online Access Via Ancestry" box says "Sync Needed."  I clicked on the "Sync Now" button in the upper right-hand corner of the "Online Access Via Ancestry" box.  After about ten minutes, the screen looked like this:

The "Online Access Via Ancestry" box says "In Sync" but the Media was still "processing."  After more than three hours of "processing," it still wasn't finished.  I decided that it would never finish, so I exited the program.

\I started FTM 2012 again, and went to the "Media"  Workspace and saw:

There are three media items in the program.  The middle one is the one that did not finish processing - it's the California Marriage Index page with my marriage information from  The 1880 census record (which was in the FTM 2012 database initially) and my birth certificate (which I uploaded to my Ancestry Member Tree) are there also, and are complete.

The FTM 2012 "Online Access Via Ancestry" box says that I'm "In Sync."

Once again, there's a hiccup here - sometimes the download from the Ancestry Member Tree to Family Tree Maker 2012 gets hung up, and needs to be restarted to recover using the program.  I will now delete the partially downloaded image from the FTM 2012 database, and see if the sync works flawlessly this time. 

I deleted the partially downloaded image from the FTM 2012 file, and then synchronized the tree again. It quickly told me that I was "In Sync:"

That's great!   Let's look at the "Media" Workspace:

The Marriage Index image that was in my Ancestry Member Tree file was not in the "Media" Workspace after I synced FTM 2012.  Why not?  I have no clue!  I went into my Ancestry Member Tree and the image wasn't there either.  But it was there two days ago, and the only place I deleted it was in FTM 2012 so that I could download it again. 

I went back into my Ancestry Member Tree and attached the record to myself again.  The link to the image shows up in my birth and marriage record:

When I sync again with FTM 2012, the source citation is present, but there is no link to the image, or to the image itself:

The screen above shows the Source tab for the Marriage source obtained from Ancestry.  The Media tab for the Marriage source shows:

There is no Media shown.  However, there is a button for "Download Image if Available."  I clicked that and saw:

That worked!  The image for the Marriage record was downloaded.  Is it in my "Media" Workspace?

Yes, it is.  However, it doesn't show up in my People > Person > Media tab for some reason:

The source citation list (in the right-hand sidebar) shows that there is a Media item for the marriage, but the "Media" tab for myself, with the Marriage Fact highlighted, does not show the media file.

I don't quite understand what happened in the sequence above.  I've written the last 50% of this blog post as it happened, being really confused by what Ancestry does, and what FTM 2012 does.  It does raise some questions:

1)  Why did the first sync download an image file for the marriage record, but the more recent sync did not?

2)  The "Download Image If Available" button in the People > Person > Edit Source Citation > Media tab downloaded the record image from Ancestry.  Will I have to do this for each image or record that I "Attach" to a person in my Ancestry Member Tree? 

My initial reaction to this synchronizing is that it usually works well... but there are occasional problems that seem to be fixable by trying again.

However, my earlier conclusion that I really want to download record images to my computer and attach them to persons and facts in my genealogy software database, rather than attach them to persons in my Ancestry Member Tree, is still operative.  Why? 

1)  Because I don't want the poorly crafted source citations in my software database when I have my beautifully crafted source citations :) in my software database already.

2)  Because I don't want to go through the hassle of figuring out how to download Ancestry images in FTM 2012 when it's easier, for me, to get them into FTM 2012, and attached to my software source citations, by saving them from to my computer files using my file naming system and file organization.  It's all about organization, consistency, and efficiency - doing it right once, and not doing tasks over and over again.

What do my readers want me to investigate in Family Tree Maker 2012?  Please make suggestions in Comments or in email - - or on Facebook or Google Plus.  This may be an endless FTM 2012 Compendium!


Geolover said...

You began with importing a GEDCOM (generated by a different program) into FTM2012.

I suspect that most users would like to begin with existing AMTs (having photos and stories attached) and synchronize through FTM2012.

However, synchronization is not possible without having a copy of some sort of the tree in FTM2012 on the desktop.

So how about trying a different tree with attached images and other files: download to FTM2012 as an FTM file, not a GEDCOM, and see how you like the results, and how well it synchs.

Can you synchronize between the downloaded AMT in FTM2012, and the existing AMT without uploading the FTM2012-filtered genealogical compilation back to

Cousin Russ said...


Will go back and read more, but want to address this one:

Yes, it is. However, it doesn't show up in my People > Person > Media tab for some reason:

It will NOT show up there, as that Media item is a Citation Media. IF you look in the 2nd column of that screen, you will see that there ARE Citation Media files. I think you have that in the Birth Fact. Select the Birth Fact, then click on Media in the RH panel and you will see that image.


Cousin Russ said...


In that 2nd screen, after 3 hours, did you try to Cancel that download then try to sync again?

It should not have taken 3 hours.

One thing, and this may not make sense, but when you do a manual Sync, which I do, try to do a Compact File first, then see it the downloads work better.

I was working on my file most of the day, but I do a Compact file before I do the Manual Sync and I have not experienced what you have posted here.

Thank you,


Cousin Russ said...


You said:

However, synchronization is not possible without having a copy of some sort of the tree in FTM2012 on the desktop

That is not quite right. You can, as with previous versions of Family Tree Maker, FTM2010 and FTM2011 to be more specific, Download an AMT first into FTM2012, then you can sync to that tree.


Geolover said...

Russ, I did intend to say, as you suggest, that FTM2012 must have a copy of a particular AMT in order to synch with it as changes/additions are subsequently made.

Some users of FTM2012 may not initially be aware that (if they'd been working on a GEDCOM export of an AMT in another desktop program or other version of FTM) they cannot use FTM2012 to simply add their desktop changes to an existing tree.

Some may not be willing to live with whatever data/media losses or changes take place when an AMT is filtered through FTM2012, especially if they find that synchronization only works well if they upload the changed tree through FTM2012.

Randy Majors said...

Hi Randy,

I've been playing around with FTM2012 and syncing as well, and I think I can speak to one thing you mentioned in your post.

You said "The Marriage Index image that was in my Ancestry Member Tree file was not in the "Media" Workspace after I synced FTM 2012. Why not? I have no clue! I went into my Ancestry Member Tree and the image wasn't there either."

That actually makes sense, as TreeSync is based on the timestamp of whichever tree was last updated. You had mentioned you deleted the partial image of the marriage record in FTM2012. Therefore, that deletion was the "latest" change between your FTM2012 and online trees. Therefore, when you synced again, it removed the marriage image from your online tree, and hence it was removed from both trees.

Hope that makes sense, or let me know if I misunderstood something.

All the best

Cal said...

I agree that FTM2012 TreeSync has a media processing issue or two. I downloaded a new copy of a small tree from ancestry into FTM2012 for Windows running in a VMware virtual machine of Win7 on my macbook pro. I thought that I would wake up this morning and find the media all done. NOT! The vm and the machine went to sleep and the job was swapped out. When I woke up the vm and windows again, FTP2012 started the media processing all over from scratch and then it got about half way and seems to be hung (like 3hrs+ later its only midway??. My question is: is this where it died when it went to sleep last night, too? There is no log to tail to see where it is or what it is doing so I dunno how to debug it. - Cal

Cal said...

I found another problem with FTM2012 media processing: under the tab Media in the All or Photos groups all of the Sources from that were .jpg files have a red error under "Filename and location:" on the far lower right that are similar to: File not found - 1790_United_States_Federal_Census.jpg Somewhere the help or faq docs say that .jpeg is one of the acceptable filename extensions (BUT NOT .jpg?).

Cousin Russ said...


Did you find the Media, Find Missing Media utility?


Cal said...

Nope. I did not find the Missing Media Utility. But, I counted the total amount of images/censuses that were downloaded (including the ones with the File Not Found errors) and there were 204 for the damaged tree. So, I then "totally" deleted this tree. (Note: tree deletion does not always remove your Documents\Family Tree Maker\MyDamagedTree Media\ folder so you may have to remove that yourself by hand if you want a clean house!) Then started the whole download/link process again for that damaged tree. This time it completed (but it took over an hour!), then I counted all the Media files and got the same number: 204. But this time NO ERRORS ABOUT Files Not Found either. So, workaround is to totally remove the tree and try it again.

Unknown said...

Interested in your post as I was researching Family Tree Maker. Currently I use the Legacy software. When I originally uploaded my family tree onto Ancestry I only did a small part of my tree. And that is where I got sloppy.

My Ancestry tree has linked to a number of files and records(thanks to those darn shaking leaves) and I have not transferred them all into my existing family tree software program. I was considering the software because of the sync feature as this would speed up some of my sloppy record keeping and perhaps get me back on track.

Another issue is that I have the option of operating on either a Mac or PC platform. I would prefer to go with the MAC but would not do so if the software is inferior in any way (as it often is for MAC).

Any Advice out there.

Cousin Russ said...


There is a Mac version of Family Tree Maker (FTMM-2). It has the TreeSync Feature in it. That is, the ability to download and Sync your Ancestry Member Tree into FTMM-2.

There are some features in FTM2012 (PC version) that are not in FTMM-2 (Mac version), but I understand that the developers are trying to close that gap between the two platforms.

What this would give you is the ability to work on your tree, follow those shaky leaves, either Online OR on your Mac.

There is nothing wrong with Legacy Family Tree, but it only allows you to upload a GEDCOM file or download a GEDCOM from Ancestry.