Thursday, May 1, 2014

RootsMagic 6 Software Updates - Post 2: Importing Descendants from FamilySearch

The RootsMagic 6 genealogy software program was updated to Version on 24 April 2014 to incorporate a number of new features and improvements.  The list can be seen at

One of the items on the list is:  "New: Importing descendants from FamilySearch Family Tree now follows all lines of descent."

I admit that I didn't know that I could import ancestors from the FamilySearch Family Tree, when did that occur?  Now they provide it for descendants also.  This is, potentially, a significant capability for RootsMagic (and I know that Legacy Family Tree 8 can do this also).  

So I wanted to try it out to see how it worked, what information was transferred, etc.  Here is my experience:

1)  I opened a new RootsMagic 6 file using the "File" > "New" menu, and after naming it and specifying the file directory for it, the new file opened:

As you can see, there are no persons in the new file.  I could start typing into the program, but I'm not going to do that.  I could import a GEDCOM file created by a software program or an online tree.

I want to import persons from the FamilySearch Family Tree, so I clicked on the File menu and then on the "FamilySearch Central" item in the File menu list, as shown above.

2)  After clicking on the "FamilySearch Central" link, the "FamilySearch Central" screen opened, and there are four buttons across the top of the screen for:

*  Find matches
*  Share data
*  Import
*  AutoMatch

I want to import persons from the FamilySearch Family Tree, so I clicked on "Import" and saw:

On the "Import a Tree from FamilySearch" screen shown above, I could choose the Start Person, and then umber of generations of ancestors and descendants to download.

The Start Person could be myself in the Family Tree, or I could use the FamilySearch ID for a specific person in the tree.  I chose to do the latter, using the person ID for my third great-grandfather, Abraham James Kemp (1795-ca 1881).  I chose to download 2 generations of ancestors and 5 generations of descendants.

3)  I clicked on the "Import" button and it took several minutes to download the requested persons from the FamilySearch Family Tree.  A progress window defines how many persons and families have been currently downloaded, as shown below early in the downloading process:

4)  When the downloading was complete, I was back to the "FamilySearch Central" screen and it indicated that 391 persons in the new RootsMagic tree had been matched  to persons in the FamilySearch Family Tree:

5)  I closed the "FamilySearch Central" screen, and saw the Pedigree view in RootsMagic with Abraham James Kemp in the #1 position:

6)  I wanted to see what had been imported, so I clicked on the "File" menu item, then on the "Properties" item to see the "Database Properties" list:

The information imported from FamilySearch Family Tree included;

*  391 people
*  135 families
*  946 events
*  347 places

There were no alternate names, no sources, no citations, no repositories, no multimedia items, no multimedia links, etc.

I double-clicked on the name of Abraham James Kemp and saw his "Edit Person" screen:

As you can see, there are four events that transferred - a birth, a christening, a marriage and a death.  There are no notes, no sources, no media attached for this person.  There are no alternate names, alternate events, etc.

7)  I went into the FamilySearch Family Tree to see what information was available for Abraham James Kemp and saw (four screens, a little overlap):

 As you can see, there are other bits of information - alternate names, religious affiliation, and occupation.  There is one source attached to this person.

A researcher could capture the alternate names, the other information, the source citations, the notes, the photographs, the stories, etc. and add them to their RootsMagic file by sharing data with the Family Tree, by saving files to their computer, or by copy and pasting information.

More importantly for me, there were two sets of parents attached to Abraham James Kemp.  He is listed in the family of John Kemp Jr. (LCPF-7S2) and Mary Dafoe (LD5N-G53).  Another set of parents - John Kemp (L6L1-YJW) and Mary Dafoe (LD5N-G53) - are also listed.  The first set of parents are currently listed as "Preferred" which is correct.  However, when the file was imported, the second set of parents were the ones imported, not the "preferred" parents.

8)  My conclusions from this study include:

*  This importing of information from the FamilySearch Family Tree is very efficient - it works quickly and straightforward.

*  The information imported is what is available in the FamilySearch Family Tree at the time of the import.  That includes names, dates, places, and relationships in the format they are in in the Family Tree.

*  The information imported for a specific person is limited to the relationships (parents, spouses, children) and the vital events (birth, christening, marriage, death and burial).

*  No photographs, stories, sources, citations, or media items are imported even though they are available in the FamilySearch Family Tree.

*  If you perform the import while in an existing tree in RootsMagic, information in the Family Tree for the imported persons may be added to your existing RootsMagic tree. In addition, duplicate individuals may be added.  

*  I prefer to download the information to a new RootsMagic file and then selectively add the information to an existing RootsMagic file so that I can control the standard name, date, and place formatting and ensure that the relationships match the supporting documentation.  

*  The only significant problem I saw was the "preferred" parent designation - the "preferred" parents should be imported to RootsMagic.

*  This capability to import ancestors and descendants from a specific person can be very useful to researchers just starting out, or who discover a link to persons already in the Family Tree and want to capture the information, or who are doing descendancy research from a specific person.

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copyright (c) 2014, Randall J. Seaver


1 comment:

Devon Noel Lee said...

Thank you for your case study in this matter. I didn't know this option existed either. I'll keep the points you made in mind. However, I'm excited to share this with newbie family historians. It will be a big help. One question though... does this work only in the full version of RootsMagic or does it work in the essentials version as well.