Monday, November 18, 2013

Transferring Media Files Between Software Programs - Post 1: Project Defined and RootsMagic GEDCOM Created

An SDGS friend and colleague asked me last week:  "Are there any problems sharing Media files between genealogy software programs using a GEDCOM Export/Import process?"

I didn't know the answer, offhand.  I think my first response was "No, they only share media links to file folders from one to the other in a GEDCOM file."

But the more I thought about it, I wondered if the Media attached to a person, a Source or an Event in one program will transfer cleanly to another software program, or an online family tree, without being corrupted.

So I set up a little test, and this blog post will start a series highlighting what I find.  I'm going to use RootsMagic 6, Legacy Family Tree 7.5 and family Tree Maker 2014 as the software programs.  I will also use an Member Tree to check out an online family tree.

A)  My process is going to be:

1)  Create a three-generation GEDCOM file starting with my father in RootsMagic 6.  Note the attachments of  media items to persons, sources and events for three persons in that tree for reference purposes.

2)  Import the GEDCOM file generated by RootsMagic into the other two software programs and a new Ancestry Member Tree.  Evaluate each program and online tree system to determine if all media items transferred correctly.

3)  Do the same process for Legacy Family Tree 7.5.  Start with a tree created initially in LFT.

4)  Do the same process for Family Tree Maker 2014.  Start with a tree created initially in FTM 2014.

5)  do the same process for an Ancestry Member Tree.  Start with a tree created initially in FTM 2014 and synced to FTM 2014.

B)  Here is the process I used to create my RootsMagic 6 GEDCOM file:

While on my parents Family View screen, I clicked on File, and selected Export from the dropdown menu:

That opened the GEDCOM Export dialog window in RootsMagic, and I want to select 3 generations of persons from my family tree database.  In the "People to export" field, I select "Select from list:"

Clicking on the "Select from list" link opens the "Select People" dialog window, and I type my father's name (the person I want to start with) and then click on the "Mark group" button (upper left-hand corner).  That opens a dropdown menu and I picked "Ancestors of my highlighted person:"

The "Ancestors options" dialog window opened and I selected 3 generations of ancestors and the "Ancestors and descendants of ancestors" radio button, and 1 generation of descendants:

RootsMagic selected those persons and put a check mark next to their names:

I clicked on "OK" and the "GEDCOM Export" dialog box opened and I checked only the Notes, sources and Multimedia tasks items from this list:

I clicked "OK" and selected a name for this small GEDCOM file:

The GEDCOM file was created and stored in my Software>RootsMagic 6>GEDCOM file folder.

C)  If I import the GEDCOM file into RootsMagic 6 and look at the File>Properties window, I see:

There are 50 people, 27 Families, 370 Events, 63 Places, 68 Sources, 327 Citations, 100 Multimedia Items and 320 Multimedia links in this database.

D)  I want to look at Media items for three persons:

1)  My father, Frederick W. Seaver (1911-1983) has 17 Media items:

The head shot, in the first position above, is listed as the "Primary Photo" and is attached to the person's name in his Media collection.

The Media in this file are located in different file folders on my computer.  They are not stored in one specific file folder.  That may become a problem if I wanted to share the actual Media items with a family member - I would have to copy them all in one file folder and then re-link them in the database in order to transmit the whole package to someone.

2)  My Grandfather, Frederick W. Seaver (1876-1942) has 18 Media items, including a head shot identified as the "Primary Photo" that is attached to the person's name.

3)  My Great-Grandmother, Julia E. (White) Richmond has 10 Media items, including a head shot identified as "Primary Photo" that is attached to the person's name.

E)  Now I'm ready to import this GEDCOM file into the other two software programs and upload it to a new Ancestry Member Tree.  

In the next posts in the series, we'll see how this works out.  Will all of the Media be imported into the programs, and will the links to the persons, sources and events be maintained?  Will the Media file images be kept in the same file folders?  I'll start using just the RootsMagic GEDCOM file imported into the three other programs.

The URL for this post is:

Copyright (c) 2013, Randall J. Seaver


Louis Kessler said...

That will be a good test, Randy.

I recommend doing the import twice. The first time, just do it. The second time, temporarily rename the directory containing your media files and then import - to see what it does when it can't find the links.

Looking forward to your results.


Cousin Russ said...


Please verify this, when you go from Roots Magic 6 to FTM2014. I do NOT think that the "Primary Photo" file as marked in Roots Magic 6 will become the Thumbnail image in the People Workspace, Person View, at the top of the Right Hand Column. I thing that function in both programs are unique within them and not defined in GEDCOM 5.5.1.

Louis may know the answer to that question.

Louis -- I know when I have done this, that FTM2014 has a Find "Missing" Media files feature and WILL find the filenames, and will offer to allow the user to Link to that Image or to Copy that image, in the renamed folder, to the < filename > Media folder in FTM2014.

Looking forward to your test results Randy.