While preparing my review of MacFamily Tree 7, I ran across an article on their website, “Switch from Family Tree Maker to MacFamilyTree and import your family tree.” The section headed “Attention: Media file import” caught my attention. I don’t agree with Synium’s statement, “Unfortunately the developers of Family Tree Maker made the very poor choice of not importing media files but just linking them. Just Family Tree Maker knows where these files are and there are just links to those media files.” I disagree on several counts: [Read more…]
We’ve all heard the news by now: Ancestry.com is retiring Family Tree Maker (FTM) after 26 years, at least 6 different owners, and 22 major versions for Windows (plus 4 for Mac). No, the sky isn’t falling. This is a business decision on Ancestry’s part, and in the long run, I think it will be a win-win situation for both Ancestry and genealogists. Let’s face it: FTM has travelled a rocky road since the major update in 2008, and then again in 2012 when they added the TreeSync feature. TreeSync was in fact the only reason I stuck with FTM, despite the bugs and constant crashes until it finally stabilized with version 3 for Mac. I’ve read with envy the glowing reviews for some of the Windows apps like RootsMagic and Family Historian, but using Windows apps on a Mac is just not convenient, ideal, or Mac-like. And besides, while some of them can sync with FamilySearch.org or MyHeritage.com, they can’t sync with Ancestry.com. Up until now.
This week I had been contributing to a thread on the ReunionTalk forum about the wish to be able to link multimedia to events and citations. Some of my posts are disappearing shortly after I enter them!
In response to a specific question I provided details about how Reunion’s citation feature is limited in comparison to what the GEDCOM standard and other leading genealogy software support. I also pointed out that due to Reunion not supporting multimedia and quality assessments linked to citations, that data is discarded without warning, when one imports a GEDCOM.
After posting in the thread I viewed my post in context so I know it was there. A couple hours later I went back to see if there was a response and found my post had mysteriously disappeared! [Read more…]
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. 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.
 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.