Monday, October 10, 2011

Exploring Family Tree Maker 2012 - Post 3: Syncing an Existing Ancestry Member Tree

In a comment to my post Exploring Family Tree Maker 2012 - Post 2: Syncing Both Ways, on 6 October, reader Geolover asked:

"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"

That is an excellent question, and I'm happy to work through the results. 

1)  I decided to use the "Randy Seaver's Genealogy Database" tree on as the test vehicle for this challenge (my recollection is that this tree was uploaded in late 2009, so it is not my current tree).  While I had previously uploaded five family photographs to this tree, I had not attached any document images to the tree that were linked to documents.  Therefore, before I worked on this tree, I easily attached 32 historical records to people in my tree.  I stayed away from other Ancestry Member Trees though. 

2)  I opened Family Tree Maker 2012 to the "Plan" workspace, and selected "New Tree:"

3)  The screen above shows all of the Ancestry Member Trees that I currently have on Ancestry, including "Randy Seaver's Genealogy Database."  I selected that database on the screen above, and clicked on the "Request Download" button in the "Action" column.  A window opened for me to specify the different download options I desired:

4)  I entered a file name for the FTM 2012 file, and selected to manually synchronize (as opposed to automatically synchronize) the FTM2012 file with the AMT tree.

When I clicked on "Continue," the Ancestry Member Tree downloaded to Family Tree Maker 2012.  There are over 38,000 persons in this tree.  The download to FTM2012 took almost three hours (but the media processing was not yet completed), and when I came back two more hours later, I captured the screen below:

In the screen above, the middle panel "Online Access Via Ancestry" says that the files are "In Sync."  The statistics for the database are in the left-hand panel. 

6)  Geolover asked me to comment on "see how you like the results"  Here are some screens from the "People" workspace for this FTM2012 database.  First, the Person summary for my grandfather, Frederick Walton Seaver (with his name highlighted):

From the screen above, you can see that there are check marks for Media attached to several of the Facts on the Fact list.  Five Media image icons are shown in the right-hand panel also. 

The most important thing, to me, noted on the screen above is that the Person Notes (bottom panel, below the Fact list) does not have paragraph breaks.  The Notes in my Ancestry Member Tree has quite a few paragraph breaks, so this is a significant problem, in my humble opinion.  It's probably easily fixable in the next FTM release...

7)  Next, I clicked the Media tab in the bottom panel, and the images for the five "Attached" records in the Ancestry Member Tree are there (with Frederick's name highlighted):

8)  When I click on the "Birth" Fact, then the screen below appeared:

The screen shows seven sources for the Birth Fact, with six media items.  However, with the "Media" tab clicked on the lower panel, none of the Media items are listed for the Birth Fact.  I don't understand why that is.   It seems to me to be a logical expectation that the Media for a Fact should show up in the lower panel when a Fact is highlighted.  If I click on one of the Sources for the Birth Fact, and click on the "Edit Source Citation" icon, and then the "Media" tab, the Media item sourced does appear.

9)  What about all of the Media attached to my Ancestry Member Tree?  I clicked on the "Media" workspace button and saw:

There are 37 images on the screen above, and five of them are images I had previously uploaded to Ancestry from my computer files.  The other 32 are images of records that I attached to the tree in before I downloaded the AMT to FTM2012.  An eagle eye observer will note that one image, the 11th in the screen above, did not download completely, so I'll have to delete it, and go re-attach it next time I synchronize. 

The important thing to notice for the Media is that the images of the documents attached, obtained from historical records, are downloaded to my computer and put into the Family Tree Maker Media file folder on my computer.  This is different from downloads using GEDCOM or directly into earlier FTM versions - the user gets the images, not just sources and links.

10)  Geolover also asked me to comment on "how well it synchs."  My answer is that it appears to synch well, although it seems to take a long time on medium sized databases like mine.  I don't know how well it will sync with thousands of media items attached to an Ancestry Member Tree - users might have to be real patient.  There are some issues with Notes and incomplete media items, as I noted above.  It works, and i'm sure that Family Tree Maker developers will continue to make it work better over the next few years.

11)  What else do you want to know about?  I have some comments on FTM2012 about reading GEDCOMs, source citations, media, and notes, and will share them in future posts.


DearMYRTLE said...

I am thrilled to hear this. Guess I'll go order up my copy of FTM 2012 thru

DearMYRTLE said...

hmmmm, not available thru yet.

Geolover said...

Randy, thanks for acting on this suggestion. I look forward to your further notes regarding citations and what else you encountered. This is real work!

One of my AMTrees has a lot of *.pdf files (such as Civil War Pension files and MO Death Records) and a few other media file types attached. Guess I will have to try the program myself to see what happens with them in this protocol.

Others have noted on the message board that FTM2012 seems to lose specific citations where they are to part of a larger collection, such as City Directories and California Registered Voters' Lists. Personally, if I am citing to 1932 and 1934 RV lists in a particular County, and (for the same person) 1936 and 1938 RV lists elsewhere, I will want all of that information retained for each citation, not just the collection name.

Randy Majors said...

Hi Randy,

I started with my primary tree on Ancestry AMT...I know, risky, but I'm an early adopter cloud guy I guess. Anyway I finally bought FTM since it finally had sync.

Bottom line: good results on sync! My tree has about 9000 people and about 1500 media items. First sync took about 1 hour for the people and a couple hours for the media. Several syncs since then after making changes both online and in FTM took well under 5 minutes. So I'm happy.

Strange thing is that I can still see myself doing most tree work on AMTs .... FTM is great for offline work though, and I travel a lot so this will be convenient.
I also like the maintenance features of FTM such as finding duplicates, standardizing place names and such.

Thanks for the posts.

Unknown said...

wondering if you have an opinion for someone who has both FTM and Ancestry files...move Ancestry to new FTM or move FTM to new Ancestry?

Duff Wilson (Ancestry) said...


The media items attached to the birth fact are displayed in the media tab in the right panel (with the birth fact selected) just as they were in your example about the name fact.

The media tab at the bottom is for items that are attached to the person generally rather than to a specific fact.

I hope that helps.

To respond to another question about whether to start from FTM or AMT, it doesn't really matter. But if one of them is more complete or up-to-date, I'd suggest starting there.