Thursday, June 29, 2017

Using RootsMagic TreeShare - Adding Facts, Media and Sources to My RootsMagic Tree

After uploading my RootsMagic database directly to a new Ancestry Member Tree yesterday (see GREAT NEWS: RootsMagic Now Has Ancestry TreeShare and WebHints Activated) and reviewing how my Evidence Explained based source citations transferred to my Ancestry tree (seLooking at My New RootsMagic Upload Ancestry Member Tree and Source Citations), I wanted to see how Ancestry Facts, Media and Sources downloaded into my RootsMagic database using the TreeShare feature.

1)  In my Ancestry Member Tree, I attached an 1874 marriage record and a 1920 U.S. census record to the profile of my great-grandmother, Hattie Louisa (Hildreth) Seaver.  

2)  I started RootsMagic, highlighted Hattie Hildreth, and clicked on Internet > TreeShare.  The program quickly compared the two databases:

3)  On the "TreeShare for Ancestry" screen in RootsMagic I had already clicked on the check box to "Only show changed people" (located above the list of names on the left side of the screen):

The screen above shows the information for Hattie Hildreth in RootsMagic in the middle of the screen and the Ancestry information for Hattie in the right side of the screen.  There are two new Facts on the Ancestry side of the screen:

*  a Name Fact and a Residence Fact for the 1920 U.S. Census (Ancestry does not provide a Census Fact, only a Name (if different) and Residence Fact)

*  a Marriage Fact for the 1874 marriage of Hattie to Frank Seaver (note that I already had a Marriage Fact from New Hampshire).

4)  In order to accept these Facts and Sources into RootsMagic, I have to click on the check box for each of them on the Ancestry side of the screen.  I clicked on the check box for the Marriage Fact:

When I clicked on the check box, a menu appeared offering the choice of:

*  Add a new event to RootsMagic
*  Update existing event to RootsMagic
*  Delete event from Ancestry

I chose to "Add a new event to RootsMagic."  The screen changed, adding the marriage (in blue on the screen below).

I did the same process for the 1920 U.S. Census:

I selected the "Add a new event to RootsMagic" option again.  In order to add the two Facts to RootsMagic, I had to click on the green "Accept Changes" button on the screen above.

The two Facts were added to RootsMagic, with only a "Source" icon showing to the right of the Facts (i.e., no Note, no Media).

5)  What about the Sources?  Here is the source template for the marriage record (note the template is titled "Ancestry Record):

Note that there is no source detail for this record.  The Footnote for this source citation, created by RootsMagic from the Ancestry fields, is:, Massachusetts, Marriage Records, 1840-1915 (Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2013).

Earlier, I had created a source citation for this record on American Ancestors using my EE-based source free-form template, and it looks like:

"Massachusetts Vital Records, 1841-1915," indexed database and digital images, New England Historic Genealogical Society, American Ancestors ( (N.p.: n.p., n.d.), Marriages: Volume 264, Page 286, Leominster, 1874: Frank W. Seaver and Hattie Hildreth entry.

In my humble opinion, the "Ancestry Record" source citation is inadequate.  It does not provide any indication of how the record was found or who it was for.

I had added three sources for this Fact in RootsMagic before I uploaded my file to Ancestry, each with a different source template because I had three different records - a marriage certificate, a Keene NH town record, and the Massachusetts vital record from American Ancestors.  When this process added the fourth record - from the Ancestry record - the interchange between Ancestry and RootsMagic labeled all four of the source citations as "Ancestry Record" - it eliminated my three EE-based master sources.

That is very upsetting to me.  Now I have to change them all back.

What about the 1920 U.S. Census record?  Here is the source template (labeled "Ancestry Record") created in RootsMagic from the "Ancestry Record" for the census record:

The Footnote source citation for this Fact created in RootsMagic from the Ancestry fields is:, 1920 United States Federal Census (Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2010), Year: 1920; Census Place: Leominster Ward 3, Worcester, Massachusetts; Roll: T625_747; Page: 5B; Enumeration District: 102; Image: 238.

The 1920 census record that I crafted for the same record in a free-form RootsMagic source template is:

1920 United States Federal Census, Worcester County, Massachusetts, Leominster Ward 3, Supervisor District 3, Enumeration District 102, Sheet 5B, dwelling #68, family #132, lines 7-10, Frank W. Seaver household; digital image, (; citing National Archives Microfilm Publication T625, Roll 747.

The Ancestry source is definitely not Evidence Explained compliant, but it does provide some information about where to find the record, but does not indicate where on the page or who it is for.

6)  What about the Media?  I noted on the "Edit Person" screen for Hattie Hildreth that there was no media icon for the two records (note the second marriage record and the Residence record on the screen below):

I did manage to find the Media for the 1920 census record when I clicked on the Source button and then on the "Edit" button on the "Residence Sources" and then the "Media" button on the "Edit sources" screen:

In order to make it appear on the "Edit Person" screen as a Media icon I would have to Tag the Media item for the Fact.

7)  Some other things I noticed in this process:

*  The Ancestry place names are downloaded as presented by Ancestry;  for the marriage record, it was "Leominster, Massachusetts, USA" without a County name.  for the 1920 census record, the Place Name downloaded as "Marital Status: Married; Relation to Head of House: Wife - Leominster Ward 3, Worcester, Massachusetts, USA".  The street address is not indexed by Ancestry so it does not appear in the Residence Fact.

8)  In summation:

*  The RootsMagic TreeShare feature works well to download records, sources and media attached to persons in my Ancestry Member Tree.

*  The Source Citations downloaded from Ancestry are inadequate - they are not Evidence Explained compliant, far from it.  They will require significant time and effort to perform "Clean-up." 

*  The Source Template for all sources attached to a specific Fact in RootsMagic are all changed to "Ancestry Record" from Evidence Explained-based source templates in RootsMagic.  This will require more "clean-up" even for sources that were not changed by the TreeShare operation.

*  The Place names from Ancestry are not standard place names - they are Ancestry place names which are often haphazard and incomplete.  RootsMagic uses standardized place names that include "United States" rather than "USA."  This will require more "clean-up."

9)  The bottom line for me, as far as attaching Ancestry records to persons in my Ancestry Member Tree and then using TreeShare to capture the Fact, Media and Source of a record, are:

*  The TreeShare capture of the Fact, with Media and Source, really CRAPS UP my database and adds to my workload.  

*  I have worked for almost ten years now standardizing my RootsMagic database with place names, EE-based source citations, etc. I don't want to perform "clean-up" operations - they are a time-wasting task. 

 *  It is actually easier for me to add a Fact by typing it into a person profile, add a date and place name, craft an EE-based source citation for the event, and download the Media item to my family file folder and attach it to the person and the Fact and the source citation.  

*  I won't be using TreeShare to add Facts, Media or Sources to my RootsMagic database.

10)  Call me a genea-snob or a purist if you want.  I want to be able to present an accurate, coherent and  well-sourced family tree to the genealogy world in the limited life I have remaining.  I don't have time to fix other people's mistakes - I make enough of my own.


Copyright (c) 2017, Randall J. Seaver

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LeslieP said...

I so appreciate the effort you take in discovering and sharing all of this info. Seems to me that the Ancestry connection, much like the Family Search one, is best used for connecting our (clean) data up TO those services, then letting their servers and other users make other connections that we then review for perhaps manually adding or mining for additional info.

We're a long way away from automated bidirectional sync - too much garbage out there!

Randy Seaver said...

what an excellent summary of the situation. Thanks for the comment!

ABDS (nice acronym!!) is a pipe dream still. The sync of names, dates, places, facts, relationships, notes, etc. is fairly straightforward, but sources are not. It would help if Ancestry, MyHeritage, Findmypast and others crafted useful source citations, but they don't. FamilySearch has the best - almost EE compliant.

Marcia Crawford Philbrick said...


In addition to what you stated, I believe the images come down with a generic name and are all placed in the same folder. Since I want more control, I'm planning to just send info from RM to Ancestry. I will still save the hints in Ancestry but I won't pull them down to RM. Instead, I will create my own citation and save the media to my computer. On the TreeShare side, I will just click the button in the top right to get them off of the changes list.

Don Varner said...

Not really sure you would expect a source created by Ancestry to look like. Even with the old FTM sync this was an issue for me. I never allowed Ancestry to sync TO my FTM file I setup a sync FROM FTM to Ancestry. I would never allow anything to automatically be merged to my RM db. I want to craft all of my sources as I see fit. I also want all of my media items to go to the folder I desire with the filenames with my naming convention. So you use the webhints feature, update your RM db to your needs then merge those changes up to Ancestry if you desire to.

Unknown said...

I wouldn't call you a "genea-snob or a purist." You offer so much information of currency and value. But I would call you inconsistent. Your goal of "present(ing) an accurate, coherent, and well-sourced family tree" is laudable, but was not exemplified by your recent (6/24) presentation, admittedly entirely uncourced, of the existence and parentage of "Safronie Walter."

Randy Seaver said...

Marcia and Don,

I completely agree with you - great observations. What you describe as your practices is pretty much what I have tried to do. I've been exploring these new RootsMagic features to evaluate them and will continue to do what I was doing previously - download the image, file it in my family folders, craft my own sources, etc and avoid bringing things into my tree that will crap it up. I am imperfect, but trying to be good!

Randy Seaver said...


I see you are onto me...that stung! I didn't say I was finished with the tree - only that I was trying to be a good genea-boy. I know I'm inconsistent...and always have been. But I'm having fun doing it my way. My successor can fix all the stupid will give them something to do.

Lois Willis said...

I also found it better to set up my tree and sources manually - I wrote a post about this yesterday
Why I prefer to search for records, and update my tree, manually

Jim A. said...

I'm downloading my Ancestry tree into Roots Magic TreeShare right now. I have a large tree and let's say, well, it's taking a while.

As to "USA" and to "United States:" My personal preference is for neither one. If an event occurred in Wisconsin, then it's clear that it occurred in the United States. My work is nearly all in the U.S., so it's really redundant to say "Wisconsin, USA." I realize this may not be correct according to some external standard, but it's my tree and I make the rules. It's very annoying that for a birth or death before 1776, Ancestry's place name includes "USA."

I'm looking forward to the TreeShare feature and I hope it works well. And thanks for your blog, Randy. I enjoy it!

Fax said...

I'm so disappointed! Thank you for doing this test and letting us know about these very significant failures. Many of my source citations date from pre-internet days of courthouse, library, cemetery sleuthing, and I would be devastated to lose them. (And no, I'm not willing to spend the time to recover them as you are planning to do.) I will stick with The Master Genealogist (which I much prefer to RootsMagic anyway) and Second Site. After all the hype, I'm very sad.

Lisa S. Gorrell said...

I teach a lot of beginners who only have trees on Ancestry. I still think that the Tree Share will work well for them as they can then have their tree safely on their own home computers as well as on Ancestry. Though I understand that Family Tree Maker now fully syncs with Ancestry trees. I just like to encourage them to have their database also on their own computers.

Anita said...

Thank you for such a clear example of why I don't automatically accept the sources from Ancestry OR FamilySearch. I also prefer going to the record itself, downloading the image to my computer and using the sources from RootsMagic. I did download my tree from Ancestry and took one look at the place names and thought "What a mess!" I'll use the hints and go from there.

Unknown said...

COMMENTS ON RootsMagic in general by Doug Hamilton, Australia. July 2017.

Thank you Randy for your welcome thoughts on “TreeShare”, and other matters. I have tried the programme with a small Ancestry file. The hints do provide ideas of merit but I would prefer to enter manually relevant data. I do not agree to your thought that the COUNTRY name can be excluded though. When a tree covers several countries the full place name is important.
In regard to importing an ancestry tree into RootsMagic, I do not care for it being put in with all the other data in the nominated “FILES” folder, as it becomes very cluttered.
I no longer use ancestry after having imported very successfully my FTM tree into RM. I do miss however that the RM tree is not web based, and thus not having a “Sync” aspect when the programme is used on other computers. One has to be very careful to be sure that a master file is kept up to date.

The reports available in RM are not as comprehensive as in FTM, and the book feature is rather poor. Of course ancestry itself now suffers from rather poor reports too. I do not really like the prospect of uploading my tree from RM to Ancestry either. In RM the access to My Heritage hints are very limited when one does not have a subscription to the organisation.

I also use WickiTree, which I quite like, as it is web based and other genealogists can provide help. On the negative side the reports from Wicki are rather limited.

Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Marcia Crawford Philbrick said...


I SO agree with you on the way using TreeShare works in terms of citations and media.

I thought I had it all figured out. I would use the lightbulb to see the hints and add them to my tree FROM RootsMagic. That allowed me to craft my own citation and to download the media and organize it as I wish.

HOWEVER, I just discovered that this may be keeping my tree from showing up in any searches. Because all of my sources are from RootsMagic and NOT Ancestry crafted sources, I don't have any Ancestry sources in my tree.

Are you accepting the leaf hints on Ancestry and working them separately in your RM database?