Friday, July 11, 2014

Why Do I Have Two Ancestry Member Trees?

I discussed adding a new Ancestry Member Tree as my "cousin bait tree" in How to Put a Family Tree on Ancestry Member Tree With Media Items on 7 July 2014.  In that post, I explained why I added the new "cousin-bait tree." Since the earlier "cousin bait tree" had been posted in August 2012, I had added over 1,600 persons to the tree, and added about 22,000 source citations, and added about 800 media items to my RootsMagic database since uploading the August 2012 tree.  Note that I only add data manually to my RootsMagic database to avoid duplicate effort and to keep my source citations as "pure" as possible (since no record provider provides Evidence Explained quality source citations!).  

1)  The Cousin-Bait Tree

The "cousin-bait tree" is used to try to attract cousins - people who may share one of my ancestors, who I may be able to correspond and collaborate with on our mutual research interests.  I have about 42,900 persons in this tree, which includes not only my own ancestral families but also the ancestral families of my wife, my sons-in-law and my cousins, plus the one-name study surnames I've worked on for decades - Seaver, Carringer, Auble, Vaux, Dill, Buck, McKnew, etc.  

One problem with this is that every time I replace an old Ancestry Member Tree with a new Ancestry Member Tree, the green leaf Hints accumulate anew as finds records that might apply to my tree persons.  I refrain from attaching records to my "cousin-bait tree" because I know that I will replace it from time to time.  

2)  The Ancestral Family Tree

My "ancestral family tree" includes only the ancestral families for my grandchildren, so it includes my ancestors, my wife's ancestors and the ancestors of my sons-in-law.  There are about 7,400 persons in this tree, and I limited it to 12 generations of ancestry.  It includes siblings of the ancestors but not their children.  I use this tree on my mobile app on my iPhone and my wife's iPhone so that I can easily see what information I have for my ancestral families. 

I attach, and choose to ignore, records from to the "ancestral family tree" using the green leaf Hints in a methodical manner one branch at a time.  At this time, this tree has over 25,000 Hints identified for the persons in the tree.  By methodical, I mean taking one branch at a time, and resolving all of the Hints for that branch so that if new Hints appear, then I can easily see them.  Typically, I attach Hints only to my ancestors, not to their siblings.  I pick only records that I consider to be useful - vital, church, military, census, migration, cemetery, newspaper, etc.  I don't attach family trees, or indexed items from books, or emblems, etc.  For the records that I do attach to the Ancestry Member Tree, I also download them to my computer, rename them and file them in my surname/family file folders, and then attach them to persons in my RootsMagic database.

One problem with this is that the "ancestral family" tree is "old" - it doesn't have all of the "new information I've added to my database over the past two years or so.  My potential fix for this was suggested in a comment on my earlier blog post by Kim Mills - she creates a new GEDCOM file in RootsMagic, imports it into Family Tree Maker, merges with the earlier version that is synced to the Ancestry Member Tree, and then syncs it with the existing Ancestry Member Tree.

I haven't done this yet, but I will in the near future.  If it works, it will be an excellent fix!  It would include the attached Ancestry Hints plus the recently added media images and the updated content, including the source citations.

My guess is that a merge of 7,400 persons will be faster and more successful than a merge of almost 43,000 persons.  One problem may be duplicate persons and duplicate events, and "orphan" persons who I may have deleted from the RootsMagic database.

3)  The Ideal Situation

I'm not sure that what I've done is the "ideal" situation - the ideal situation would be if I could upload and sync my RootsMagic database directly with an Ancestry Member Tree on a regular basis, and have access to this tree on my mobile devices.  That probably won't happen in my lifetime.

I could break down, I guess, and make Family Tree Maker my genealogy software of choice, but I doubt that will happen in my lifetime either, considering the problems I've had with text information and source citations in Family Tree Maker.

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Copyright (c) 2014, Randall J. Seaver

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