Wednesday, February 23, 2022

Rabbit Holes With Randy - Working With Family Tree Analyzer

This week's Rabbit Hole was to use the Family Tree Analyzer program to help me improve my RootsMagic family tree.  I have seen blog posts by Marcia Philbrick on her Heartland Genealogy blog and decided it was time for me to take advantage of this free program.

1)  The Family Tree Analyzer website says:

Use FTAnalyzer to investigate your family tree in new and interesting ways, see where your ancestors lived and moved over time on the new maps feature. Find errors in your tree eg: childrens birthdates before parent was born. See lists of who is missing from census searches then click their name to automatically search on Ancestry, Find My Past, Familysearch etc. And lots more.

You can download FTAnalyzer from the Microsoft Store:

2)  Once downloaded as an executable program, you can install it on your computer, and open it up.

It requires a GEDCOM file of your family tree.  I created a GEDCOM in RootsMagic 8, and in FTAnalyzer I clicked on "File" and "Open GEDCOM File."  It started working:

It loads the sources, then the individuals, then the families, and then the relationships and locations.  When it is finished, the main screen for "GEDCOM Stats" looks like this:

The program loaded 2,174 sources, 68,825 individuals, 27,772 families, 19,227 locations, and a number of date errors, missing children, unknown custom fact types, and more.  AAAAAll of this took 6 minutes and 17.87 seconds on my Windows 10 computer.

3)  This program only analyzes information, it doesn't change the information, so the user has to do it himself.

Unfortunately, all of the relationships are to my #1 person in my RootsMagic tree, who is the third wife of Robert Seaver (1608-1683), and has no known name, so in FTA she is "Unknown Unknown."  Related to only one person, but related by marriage to 10,401, linked by marriage to 46,899, and unrelated to 11,523.  

There are other tabs on the tab ribbon for "Main Lists," "Errors/Fixes," "Surnames," "Locations," "Facts," "Census," "Lost cousins," "Research suggestions," "Treetops," "World Wars" and "On This Day."

4)  The "Main Lists" tab shows every individual in the tree:

You can double-click on any line to see a Facts report for that individual.

5)  The "Errors/Fixes" tab shows, mercilessly, all of the errors you have made in your family tree, according to the rules defined by the program.  

The different error types are listed at the top of the page.  The user can select the errors they want to see.

For instance, I have 9 burial dates before death dates in my tree*. 
I have many Fact dates before a person was born*, some Fact dates after they died (some are OK, like "Probate")*, some Marriage dates after death dates*, some marriages before age 13, lots of census date errors, many Unknown Custom Fact errors (any Fact that aren't vital records related, I think), Duplicate Facts*, Couples with same Surnames, and 2 Dates in the Future*.

6)  I spent several hours in RootsMagic fixing the errors found for the Error type with an asterisk (*) on the list above.  I need to look at the other lists.  The Unknown Fact Types are no problem, and I don't know why the Census date errors occur - I used the census date for each census.  

All in all, this analysis was very useful and helpful.  Every one of these errors were mine - I typed something wrong.  On the other hand, with over 68,000 names and 216,000 events, the list of actual errors is really pretty short.  My estimate has always been that I have a 1% error rate in data entry, and I've corrected at least 300 errors from the list above, so maybe it's lower.  My RootsMagic family tree is now cleaned up to some extent.  

7)  Family Tree Analyzer has many more tabs, and menu items, to explore.  The top menu includes "Reports," "Export," "Tools," "Maps" and "Help."  The above is only the start.  Before I dive into those I need to figure out how to make me #1 in my RootsMagic family tree so the relationship information in Family Tree Analyzer is correct.

8)  Whew!  This genealogy bunny needs to climb out of this hole and find some carrots for brain food.  


Copyright (c) 2022, Randall J. Seaver

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Unknown said...

Hi, Randy. Have you tried the Mac version of the Family Tree Analyzer? Your experience shows how useful this program can be to genealogists. However, it appears that it hasn't been updated for the Mac in over 2 years, since 2019. Do you know if it is still being developed?

Randy Seaver said...

No, I don't have a Mac computer. It may be that all versions haven't been recently updated.

Alexander Bisset said...

Thanks for the mention I am the author of FTAnalyzer.

A few points I could help clarify. If your family tree program doesn’t correctly create a GEDCOM file with the home person first as per the GEDCOM standard you can simply right click the correct person in the main list of individuals set them as the root person and it will then remember that for all further use of the program. This means all the relationships will actually be calculated correctly. The guides at explain this and more so may prove useful.

If you need further info or tips I’m always happy to help. I’ve setup a support group on Facebook if you use that or I can send my email address privately if you prefer.

To answer the question about the Mac version. Developing on a Mac is expensive (Apple charge an annual fee) and cumbersome, you have to use Apple’s tools and slightly odd way of designing interfaces. I had done a lot of work on the Mac version and published the last one over 2 years ago. That was just before my mother got seriously ill and sadly died a short while later. My enthusiasm for family history waned for a while then the pandemic hit and the machine I used for Mac development was pressed into service to do remote working.

I recently came back to trying to update the Mac version but realised my machine was too old to work with the latest Mac updates and needed replaced and at over £1500 I just wasn’t up to spending that money on a replacement just now. Sadly therefore the Mac version updates are on hold. I do hold out hope a fellow genealogy enthusiast that is a Mac Developer may wish to assist and bring the Mac version up to speed. The core code is shared it’s just the user interface that needs Mac specific work.

Hope this helps explain to your reader the issue with Mac.

If you have any further questions reach out at

Alexander Bisset said...

I should have said the Windows version was updated last week. So it is very actively developed.

Randy Seaver said...

Thank you alexander for the extensive note and help. I appreciate it, and I think my readers will too.

Unknown said...

Thanks for the update, Alexander. When I get a chance, I will try the existing program even though it doesn't have all of the latest features. It should still be a big help. Mac development isn't always easy or cheap, so I understand. I'll keep watch in the future in case something changes. Good luck and thanks to Randy for bringing the program to eveyone's attention!


Danine Cozzens said...

I just downloaded the Mac version -- it's still in the Apple Store and worked just fine on my admittedly elderly MacBook Pro running Catalina. I can see this would be useful in cleaning up old files, some data having been keyed in by my then teenaged son who's now 50.