Last week I wrote about my wish to enable a smooth transfer of data from the genealogical software I use, The Master Genealogist, to the cloud site offered by Family Search. Here is a guest post from someone who knows a whole lot more about this complex issue than I do, my husband/tech advisor:
Many of us are looking for a place to save our research in case none of our relatives wants it. Most of us use a Genealogy program of some sort but many have already “taken the plunge” and gone to online programs.
Those of us who haven’t gone to an online program, and even some of those that have, face the issue of what’s going to happen to our hard work when we can’t do it anymore. If we don’t migrate ourselves, our research is subject to the vagaries of a family member taking it over or performing the migration plan we might have left behind. Web sites we’ve built with our research will go away when the contract is up, causing the data to be lost.
The only solutions:
· to plan on a transfer to a repository and hope the heirs will do it and will be able to do it,
· to have a family member who will take it over,
· to identify a repository and synchronize to it,
· to identify a repository and switch to using their on-line software.
I can hope that a family member will continue the work – but unlikely at this point – or that enough peripheral people are working in my areas to take my work and run with it, but the reality is that it most likely will fade away as the paid web site expires or the software it’s based on becomes unusable unless I start ensuring continuity now.
Because I don’t like making other people pay someone else to see my hard-won research, I’ve chosen the LDS New Family Tree (NFT) as my repository and would like to synchronize to it. I currently use The Master Genealogist (TMG) version 8. Oops, based on both past experience and asking questions, I don’t think synchronization is coming soon.
Basically, I’d love to stay with TMG as I like the program and know how to use it. But if there aren’t plans to start doing what all the other major Genealogy programs are doing – synchronizing to NFT. Rather than enter more data into a dead end program, I’ll have to move to a program that is keeping up with the Joneses. And I have about 300 Norwegian and Danish relatives and over 500 sources to enter – a very productive summer.
Two programs are “certified” for synchronization with NFT – RootsMagic (RM) and Ancestral Quest (AQ). However, there are different levels of certification. You can also upload GEDCOMs to NFT regularly to synchronize – but I’m giving away the plot. I guess I’ll consider moving to RM or AQ.
There are several good web blogs about the pain and anguish and advantages of moving from TMG to each. The bottom line is that both do a decent job of importing from TMG via GEDCOM. But, from what the blogs say, RM, AQ, and – it turns out – NFT do not “nicely move sources from TMG. NFT requires sources and if no sources are attached to a person, that person is not considered to be a “good” record. When a GEDCOM from TMG is uploaded to NFT, the TMG sources are treated as notes rather than sources. When other major Genealogy programs use their “direct” link, sources remain attached – but according to bloggers, I can expect problems here.
I’ve done some investigation into what Synchronization really means. Say I have grandpa, and so does NFT. NFT doesn’t have grandma or grandpa’s parents. For grandpa, I have 4 sources and NFT has 2.
· If I use TMG and GEDCOM – each record is added to FamilySearch and none are put in my NFT Tree. When I add a person to my Tree, the sources come as details. The details can’t be converted to sources. No siblings, parents, spouses, or children come along – even if they are there in the Person Record – I have to manually find and attach each one – just because they are on the Person Record doesn’t mean I can attach them from there. Basically entirely manual after a painful process to upload the GEDCOM – requires matching checking and verification and adding the record to FamilySearch one by one.
· While on GEDCOM to NFT – most FAM tags seem to be ignored after the first generation.
· If I move from TMG to RM or AQ and do a Synchronize – the only difference is that once I have the person in my Tree, source and details placed in RM or AQ will then be placed into the Person Record which is available to NFT. New siblings, parents, spouses, or children are not attached – I must Find them and attach them.
Basically, to use NFT requires me to start over and completely re-enter my tree and all my sources.
Of course when asked about this, they tell me that should only take an hour or so. [Insert here Words that can't be printed.] I’m looking at a minimum of ½ hour for every source. 95% of my sources are not in FamilySearch. My grandfather born in 1877 in Norway and who came to the US at 14 months has two census records that FamilySearch has. I have 26 sources, of which 6 are “governmental”. There’s 12 hours of data entry. An afternoon, my left foot.
One good reason not to use Family Tree directly is that they don’t really support PDFs, and they don’t like “active” PDFs. All of my Norwegian documents from Arkivverket are active PDFs – if you click anywhere on the PDF, it takes you to the real original image location. A nice touch and one that TMG handles very nicely. Too bad Arkivverket doesn’t advertise it so other archives will start doing this..
Basically, since I’ve spent the summer getting all these source documents, I have to make a choice – hope that there will be a way to get them in Family Tree, give up on TMG and use a program that will put them in Family Tree, or just use Family Tree directly.
But I’d rather stay on TMG.