Your Source and Citation Information Is In Danger

Today I finished methodically testing which source and citation information reliably survives GEDCOM import and export. It’s not a pretty picture! A mere five of fourteen key GEDCOM tags are safe across the nine leading genealogy software packages I tested.[1] Fortunately, the ones I previously identified as essential to source citations are among them.

Why You Should Care

The ability to move your family history data from one application to another is important. Even if you have no intention of changing software or sharing your research you ought to be concerned. It’s entirely possible that the person or people that inherit your research will choose a different package. They may load your data and probably won’t even know they lost anything in the transfer. Well, that fate needn’t be yours if you know where you can safely store information.

What You Can Do

This research is part of the work I’ve been doing to create the very first GenealogyTools ebook and video course: Practical Citation. After completing the course, you will be able to safely and confidently record sources, citations, and quality in your genealogy software without having to consult a book or quick sheet. Say “goodbye” to uncertainty about citation templates and formats.

Notes

[1] I tested Family Historian 5, Family Tree Maker 2012, Family Tree Maker for Mac 2, GEDitCOM II, Legacy 7.5, MacFamilyTree 6, Reunion 10, RootsMagic 5, and The Master Genealogist 7.

Trouble-Free FTM TreeSync Secrets Revealed

Have you been on the Family Tree Maker software message board on Ancestry recently? If so, you’ve see all the posts about sync problems like I have. You’ll also have seen long-time FTM user, FTM guru Russ Worthington on there helping people with great advice and clear answers. Well, I’ve been wanting to help out on this matter too so I asked Russ if I could record an interview with him about TreeSync and share it with you, and he enthusiastically agreed. So we talked in preparation and he told me something the blew my mind!
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Video Guide to Using PC Genealogy Software on Mac

You can run PC genealogy applications (like Family Tree Maker 2012 and RootsMagic) on your Mac, even if it’s just as a supplement to your primary Mac genealogy software.

There are features in the best Windows genealogy software that aren’t in Mac offerings. Family Tree Maker 2012’s ability to synchronize with Ancestry.com and RootsMagic’s full-featured narrative reports spring to mind.

There are essentially three approaches to running PC software:

  • Run Windows on your Mac in a “virtual PC”
  • Make your Mac boot into either OS X or Windows using BootCamp
  • Use a piece of software to do for your genealogy software what Windows would (Windows emulation)

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Splitting a Family Tree with Family Tree Maker, Part 2

Ben recently wrote about his frustrations with splitting a tree in Family Tree Maker for Mac 2 (FTMM2). I needed to do this for my own tree, so I set about finding the best way to do it. I recently prepared a family tree for my stepmother-in-law and, silly me, included it in my primary file. After reading Ben’s post, I became concerned that splitting that branch from my file would be impossible. As Ben said, many steps are involved, but it’s not impossible.  [Read more…]

What Genealogy Software Do We Recommend?

When I tell people I don’t recommend Family Tree Maker for Mac 2, they often ask what I do recommend, which is understandable. But I really can’t recommend a genealogy program for other people without knowing what their requirements are. You must first decide what your priorities are. Then you can check on the web to see which programs meet your requirements. You can use Ben’s Feature Comparison Table or FindtheBest.com to find the features you need (but take the Smart Ratings on the latter with a grain of salt). GenSoftReviews.com lists lots of genealogy programs, although not all of them have reviews. But see Tamura Jones’ article, The Most Important Genealogy Software Feature. [Read more…]

Family Tree Maker for Mac 2 Review

Fewer Features for More Money

Introduction

Family Tree Maker for Mac (FTMM), released in late 2010, was the first Mac version of the best-selling genealogy software released by Ancestry.com (hereafter referred to as Ancestry). The only previous version for Mac was Family Tree Maker Deluxe Edition II for Macintosh, released by Brøderbund in 1997. There have been reviews of FTMM (see, for example, this review at PC Advisor UK), but many people want to know if version 2 is worth buying or not.

TreeSync

Prior to the release of FTMM2, the feature I wanted most but didn’t get from FTMM was the ability to sync with my family tree at Ancestry, so when Ancestry announced they would include this feature, which they call TreeSync, in FTM 2012 and FTMM2, I was very excited. In a comment to one of Ben’s posts on this website, I said, “if the Mac version includes this, it will be worth buying, although it would be nice if FTM adopted price parity as well as feature parity.” Now that I’ve used FTMM2 for two months, I’ve been able to evaluate whether the TreeSync feature meets my expectations. I’ve also compiled a detailed list of the pros and cons of the product. Bottom line: TreeSync is great in concept but lacking in implementation. [Read more…]

New Index Page

I changed the family tree maker tutorial index page. Will you look at it for me and give me your feedback? Even if you’re not using that software, I want to know what you think so that I know whether to invest the time it will take to change the index pages for Reunion, RootsMagic, and Family Tree Maker for Mac.

I modeled the index pages after the index in a book. Does this make it easier to find what you’re looking for? Can you think of anything I could do to make it even easier? What else might you want to know on that page?

Please leave me your feedback in a comment on this post or in a quick email.

Adding and Changing a Portrait in Family Tree Maker for Mac 2

Portraits in the Family Tree Maker 2 Pedigree ViewAdding and changing a portrait in Family Tree Maker for Mac 2 (2012) is one of the activities that isn’t very Mac-like. Mac users expect intuitive control of an app. The intuitive action here is to drag and drop the image onto the portrait in the pedigree view or editing panel. Alas, it doesn’t work that way yet.

Having pictures of my ancestors in my pedigree view helps me connect to my main purpose while doing family history research: to revive and keep their stories alive. Like you, I do this by discovering and crafting stories about them that my family members are eager to hear and share. Their faces help create a sense of familiarity.
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