Thursday, October 13, 2011

Exploring Family Tree Maker 2012 - Post 6: Understanding Media Items

In comments on Exploring Family Tree Maker 2012 - Post 5: Importing and Exporting Media Files with GEDCOM, genea-bloggers Russ Worthington (Family Tree Maker User) and Caroline Gurney (Caro's Family Chronicles), have been trying to educate me on Media items and how they work with FTM 2012. 

Caroline noted:

"Randy, A GEDCOM file only includes the file pathways for the media, not the media themselves. In your first example, the GEDCOM contained the filepaths for the two media, which were presumably somewhere on your computer. So when you opened the GEDCOM in FTM 2012, the program was able to find the media from the filepaths..."

Yes, for the first example in my post (call it "Scenario 1" - read a GEDCOM into FTM 2012), the Media items were in my computer file folders.  They were also in my computer file folders for the second example (call it "Scenario 2" - sync an existing AMT into FTM 2012).  But when I created a GEDCOM file in FTM 2012 from the "Scenario 2" database, and tried to include the Media item links, the Media item links that should have been there were not included when I imported that GEDCOM into FTM 2012 - and not in the Media workspace or the /Family Tree Maker/"New Database 2"/Media computer file.

Russ noted:

"Since you can open any GEDCOM file in a word processing program or another genealogy program, there will be NO media files in that GEDCOM file.  This just gets the DATA from one place to another. The GEDCOM 5.5.1 and FTM2012's version of a GEDCOM only adds LINKS to the images that are in FTM2012.  Oh, this is the same from any other of the Genealogy Programs that I have tested in this specific area. GEDCOM = NO Media / Image files.

"What has to happen if you want Images in that "new" created from a GEDCOM is to get the Media files from one place to another or one program to another.  FTM2012 has the Find Missing Media option, and / or the CTRL+F5 option, but IF those media files are NOT on the SAME computer, the CTRL+F2 won't find the media files.

So, and maybe this is the mis-understanding here, and I'll blog about it shortly, is to package up those Media Files and transport them to the other PC, other user. Bundle that Media Folder into a ZIP file might work. But those media files must be sent to the other PC, or other User.  Just watch the Upload or Download to With FTM2011, we could download the Family Tree Maker "friendly" files from that AMT. That is a two step process. Data then Media. That happens now in FTM2012, Data then Media.  Getting the Media to another PC, another Program has to follow the same process.

"I think you will find that Roots Magic does the same thing. Create a GEDCOM from RM4, and look at the GEDCOM file. Are there any IMAGES in that GEDCOM? Don't think so. But, you WILL find, if my memory serves me correct, Links to those images, just like FTM2012."

Russ is right here - there are only links to Media items in files on my computer in a GEDCOM file, not the Media items themselves.  A user will have to transfer the Media files to any other computer or another user in order to share them.

From the above conversation (which I greatly appreciate), my conclusions are:

* Scenario 1: When a GEDCOM file, created by another program or online database, is imported into FTM 2012, then the images of the Media are included in the FTM 2012 Media workspace, are put into the /Family Tree Maker/"Scenario 1"/Media file folder on my computer, and links to those Media files are included for the Person(s) and Facts involved in the FTM database. If this FTM 2012 file is exported to a NEW Ancestry Member Tree, the Media images are included in the Ancestry Member Tree.

*  Scenario 2:  When an existing Ancestry Member Tree is synced to FTM 2012, the images of the attached Media in the AMT are included in the FTM 2012 Media workspace, are put into the /Family Tree Maker/"Scenario 2"/Media file folder on my computer, and links to those Media files are included for the Person(s) and Facts involved in the FTM database.  The source citations created by for their historical records are also synced with FTM 2012.

* When I create a GEDCOM file in FTM 2012, my assumption is that any Media links associated with selected Persons and Facts included in the FTM 2012 database should be included in the GEDCOM file. 

*  When I created a GEDCOM file in FTM 2012 from the Scenario 1 database, and then imported that GEDCOM file back into FTM 2012 (I could have used another program), the links to the Media items were included  the Scenario 1 database and are in the /Family Tree Maker/"Scenario 1"/Media file folder on my computer. 

*  However, when I created a GEDCOM file in FTM 2012 from the Scenario 2 database, and then imported that GEDCOM file back into FTM 2012 (I could have used another program), there were no links to the Media items in the Scenario 2 database and no Media files in the /Family Tree Maker/"Scenario 2"/Media file folder.

*  If a user creates a GEDCOM file using FTM 2012 (or any other program) that includes Media file links to files on the user's computer, and then transmits that GEDCOM file to another computer (his own or someone else's), the user will have to send the Media file folder contents to that other computer.  If the link text to the Media files do not reflect the file folder names on the receiving computer, then the links will have to be changed, or the Media will have to be properly linked to the Persons or Facts.

It's clear as mud, eh?  I know that this is complicated and sort of "Inside Family Tree Maker" stuff, but it's imperative that all of us understand what is happening.  I've published material about this that may be erroneous and I want to get it right.  I hope that others will try this test and tell us about their results.  Please comment here.


Cousin Russ said...


Scenario 1 - Roots Magic 4, Export a GEDCOM, where the RM4 file has an Image.

That GEDCOM file opened in FTM2012.


Caro said...

Randy, I want to try and replicate your Scenario 2. How did you download your database from Ancestry? Did you use FTM 2012 Tree Sync or did you download a GEDCOM?

Caro said...

I have replicated your Scenario 2. I created a small new tree on Ancestry, to which I added 2 media. I then imported the tree from Ancestry into FTM 2012. The 2 media were attached and showed up correctly. I created a GEDCOM and checked the box to include media files. In the Export to GEDCOM box I chose Other and UTF-8. After exporting the GEDCOM to my Desktop, I looked at the file in Wordpad and the media file links were there. I then imported the GEDCOM back into FTM 2012. The Import Complete window showed that the import included two multimedia files and the media showed up correctly in FTM 2012.

Caro said...

In view of the fact that I was able to transfer media successfully when replicating your Scenario 2, it is imperative that you look at your GEDCOM file in Wordpad, as I suggested yesterday. You need to see whether the links to the media files were included in the GEDCOM or not. If they were not, I suspect the problem was your choice of export settings.

Cousin Russ said...


I just wanted to complete your Scenario 1. My blog post, I think, covered that scenario. But, may have left one piece, not as clear as I might have. Specifically, the last sentence of that scenario.

You said:

"If this FTM 2012 file is exported to a NEW Ancestry Member Tree, the Media images are included in the Ancestry Member Tree."

To be clear, you would NOT EXPORT that file to a New Ancestry Member Tree.

In my blog post, I showed the image in the AMT that was in my FTM2012 file. That wasn't Exported, but I used the Upload and Link feature.

As you know, I invited you to view that test AMT. You can look at this private tree so that you can access it from any PC. You do NOT need to have FTM2012 to do that. If you want to play around with that tree, I can change what you can see and what you can do, based on the settings. Guest, which you are now, Contributor, or Editor.

Please let me know.

Hope I answered Scenario 1 and I know that Caroline has addressed Scenario 2.

Please let me know if you want some more testing to help us all understand the TreeSync™ feature.

Thank you,


Cousin Russ said...


I have made a couple of additional Blog posts in response to your great post on this topic.

Please visit:

Thank you,


Randy Seaver said...


Again, thanks for the help. The steps I've taken with an Ancestry Member Tree:

1) Open Plan in FTM2012 and select New Tree.

2) Choose to select "Download Ancestry Member Tree"

3) Select tree from the list to download.

4) Tree is synced FTM2012 to AMT.

5) Media files show up in Media workspace and in Media file folder on computer.

6) Use File>Export to create GEDCOM file

7) Select "Entire file" and "GEDCOM 5.5" and keep all boxes checked, including "Include Media files." Selected "Other" for the Destination and "UTF-8" for the Character Set. clicked OK.

8) GEDCOM was created.

9) Open Notepad program and check for media file info. They are there with @M1, @M2, @M3, etc. with links to files in Media file folder on my computer.

10) Did a "Find" for "@M2" in GEDCOM file and did not find it other than in the one "OBJE" tag item. There is no link to the media in the SOUR tag (where I expect it) or in the NAME tag.

11) Opened RootsMagic 4, did File > Import and imported the GEDCOM file. File imported, named it appropriately.

12) Checked Lists > Media Gallery and none of the media images are there. No person has Media attached, and no sources have media attached. If the Media item links had transferred, they should show up there.

Cousin Russ said...


I do not think that FTM2012 and RM4 handle "images" the same way.

Export from RM4 to GED:

2 FILE C:\Users\ { user } \Documents\Family Tree Maker\ {file name} \Howard-James_M-DavidR.jpg
2 FORM jpg

and FTM2012 of the same image

0 @M40@ OBJE
1 FILE C:\Users\ [ user } \Documents\Family Tree Maker\ { filename } \Howard-James_M-DavidR.jpg

So RM4 Wont find the Image.

FTM2012 found the image from RM4

RM4 Log file:

Unknown info (line 897)
0 @M40@ OBJE
1 FILE C:\Users\ { user } \Documents\Family Tree Maker\ [ filename }\Howard-James_M-DavidR.jpg

Works RM4 to FTM2012 but NOT FTM2012 to RM4