Gransnet forums



(58 Posts)
mollie Sat 27-Jan-18 11:47:39

I opened my family tree software yesterday and found ... nothing! Just an empty programme as though it had just been installed. My four trees and 1300+ people had disappeared shock.

Enter OH who solved the problem. Phew! But it took a while before my knees stopped feeling weak. I began digging about in the family history in 1985 when everything involved good old fashioned paper records so I’ve gathered a fair archive. In recent years I’ve put lots on the computer and new information comes directly via the internet so is saved that way. But I still print out some records and keep paper files just in case. So I’m keeping the digital stuff just in case I lose the paper files and holding on to my paper stuff in case the digital records disappear in to the ether. I thought computers and the internet was supposed to make life easier?

yggdrasil Sat 27-Jan-18 11:50:55

back up your pc regularly

mollie Sat 27-Jan-18 12:14:00

I do, and it’s also all on Ancestry so I needn’t have worried.

Elegran Sat 27-Jan-18 12:24:17

You can also do a GEDCOM file of your tree, which saves all the facts and details in a spreadsheet in a way which can be accepted by any Family Tree programme. You just load it in and it all slots neatly into the right places like magic. Very useful when you go back to your tree after neglecting it for ages a couple of years to find that your Family Tree programme no longer works on your updated system and in any case it is no longer supported by the makers. You can just load your GEDCOM into a new programme and carry on where you left off.

Jalima1108 Sat 27-Jan-18 12:37:42

I have a new pc and my Family Tree programme can't be accessed on it. My trees are also elsewhere on a family history site but that costs quite a bit to subscribe to. I do keep meaning to download them and print everything off in book form and keep it on memory sticks.

What is the best programme for printing into a logical form and making everything understandable to other family members?

Elegran Sat 27-Jan-18 13:06:12

I have Rootsmagic on my PC and I like it. It replaces Family Origins (the one that I could no longer use) and there is a bit in the FAQ about Family Tree Maker files -
"Importing Family Tree Maker files
You can import a Family Tree Maker file into RootsMagic by going to File > Import.
Unfortunately you won't be able to do a direct import of an FTM 2014.1 file. (MacKiev changed the encryption code and the file format so RootsMagic cannot recognise it as a Family Tree Maker file.)
To work around this you will need to export the FTM 2014.1 file to the FTM 2012 format:
- Go to File > Export
- Under Output format select "Family Tree Maker 2012" from the drop down list
- Choose any other options as required
- Click OK to complete the export
This export will create an Ancestry version FTM 2012 backup of your database. RootsMagic will now be able to see and import these files."

Or you could take a GEDCOM file from Ancestry/Family Tree and load that in. I assume that you can do GEDCOMS in Ancestry?

Elegran Sat 27-Jan-18 13:07:27

Sorry, I am assuming you are talking about Ancestry. Which Family History site do you use?

Jalima1108 Sat 27-Jan-18 13:09:29

Thanks Elegran

I think you can do GEDCOMS in Ancestry and I'll take a look at Rootsmagic.

Kittycat Sat 27-Jan-18 13:11:41

I know how you felt! Our daughters partner got us a new/old computer from his work and said he would put everything from our old one to newer one. I went on new one to check all ok and horrors! No family tree files! Apparently they were stored somewhere else and he hadn't realised I wanted them put over! I don't keep all my work(since I was 12 with my mum and now I'm 60) in online trees esp Ancestry as we found someone we had allowed to see our tree had made alterations to it. My husband bought me a new program for Xmas that I can use to store info on and print out etc without having to be connected to an online company. Family Historian6 was recommended by Peter in his 'Lostcousins' newsletter before Xmas. Don't know if I'm allowed to put this tho! Still have piles of paperwork going back years and years tho plus certificate to go with people, not a cheap interest but so much easier now. Just don't take any connections you find for granted like some people do just to get a nice tree!

Grannaby Sat 27-Jan-18 13:51:32

Thanks for the reminder for me to make a back up copy. I keep mine on Dropbox so my iPad can sync with my Mac but I do need to make another copy elsewhere and it would probably be good to do some printing too - I keep waiting until I have “finished” before making into book form. But do we ever finish?

Jalima1108 Sat 27-Jan-18 13:54:57

Kittycat it's amazing what some people put in their trees - which connect with yours!

I have files and a crate full of paperwork but I need to write down some stories to make family history come to life for the present-day family.

as we found someone we had allowed to see our tree had made alterations to it.
shock is that allowed?
I have contacted a few people to suggest (nicely) that they may have the wrong information re joint family in their tree and some have been very grateful and amended theirs, others have been adamant they are right (when they're not) and others just ignore it.

Elegran Sat 27-Jan-18 15:01:44

I sent some info to a distant relative, who put it on a locational genealogy website entitled "X's research" - X being him, NOT me! The same man was always very coy when I asked him where any of HIS facts had come from so that I could see the source for myself - probably because they were all pinched from someone else and not acknowledged or checked! It made me very cautious about believing any of his "research".

Elegran Sat 27-Jan-18 15:03:20

Sometimes people don't accept it when you tell them something you know for certain, like your mother's name, or even your own!

mollie Sat 27-Jan-18 17:14:49

Elegran I’m fed up with trying to correct errors on other people’s trees. It’s frustrating and annoying. NowI have a tree on Ancestry that links with my Family Tree Maker programme (updated several times and no longer impressive having had several glitches since the latest software upgrade in 2017) but I keep it private. Occasionally I find a connection that looks helpful, make contact, get a decent response, send some information then never hear a thing again!

Keeping online records current is a nightmare, isn’t it. I keep backups and my OH always ensures things are moved across when we have hardware changes. I’m currently sharing files with someone via Dropbox but I’m not confident with it. I like the sound of the universal Gedcom system, I may have to investigate that. On the one hand the advent of the internet has made research easier but on the other hand it’s brought a whole new load of worries, hasn’t it.

Elegran Sat 27-Jan-18 17:41:24

I don't have anything at all online any more, it is too fiddly to keep up-to-date and you are a captive to the site financially. I have Rootsmagic on my PC and Rootsmagic To Go on my tablet (you can take the To Go with you to libraries etc and synchronise one with the other when you get home if you have added more to one of them,)

I have all the tree in a folder on my PC, and a copy on a USB stick, plus GEDCOM files on each device. I haven't added anything for a while, but whenever I do I update all the copies.

Rootsmagic is very good for printing out the tree, or parts of it, in all kinds of different ways.

I have also printed out summaries for each direct-line couple and their children, and have paper copies of certificates and so on for them. These are stored in a plastic folder each, in four different colours for my four grandparents' lines. (You can buy packs of 100 of the folders in red, yellow, blue or green or mixed 25 of each of the four colours.)

The folders are filed in a box, the order is a simplified Ahnentafel numerical order ( invented by a German Genealogist - very efficient!). Each father has a number twice that of the child, the mother is fatherplusone. So I am number 1, my father is 2, my mother 3, my father's parents 4 and 5, my father's paternal grandparents 8 and 9, his maternal grandparents 10 and 11. My mother's parents are 6 and 7, her paternal grandparents 12 and 13, her maternal grandparents 14 and 15.

Once you get your head round it, you can find any relation. If you get carried away with efficiency, there are further numbers with decimal points to refer to, say, the grandchildren of a cousin, but I stopped at one level of filing. It can get OCD.

mollie Sat 27-Jan-18 19:52:35

Elegran I’ve got FTM 2017 so will that convert to Rootsmagic?

I’m with you Jalima1108, I need to write up the family story and put it into context rather than leave a big archive of dull facts. Not that I think anyone left behind will be interested...

Talking of family lines, has anyone come across step families who have adopted their stepfathers name informally? I’ve got several of these during the Victorian period and have mistakenly chased down several stepfamily lines before discovering the facts. What would you do? Keep the non-related history or ditch it? Go down the original family line instead or as well?

Elegran Sat 27-Jan-18 20:27:20

The website is a bit ambiguous. makes it sound wonderfully easy, and FTM users get a special price. But it also says:- "And best of all, RootsMagic is able to directly import any Family Tree Maker file through version 2014." and then on page which was published in 2016 it talks about :-

" RootsMagic 7.1. In addition to various tweaks and fixes, this update adds the ability to directly import any Family Tree Maker file.

And by “any” Family Tree Maker file, we really mean it. RootsMagic can directly import:

Family Tree Maker 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2014 for Windows (*.ftm, *.ftmb)
Family Tree Maker 3 for Mac (*.ftm, *.ftmb)
Family Tree Maker 2010 and 2012 for Mac (*.ftmm, *.ftmd)
^ Classic Family Tree Maker Files (*.ftw)^

This has not been updated since 2016 to include 2015, 2016, 2017, but surely it will still import ALL files from FTM?

There is a "contact us" link on the first page I quoted from (it is at so maybe your best bet is to ask them. There may be a UK price too - the one on their pages is in dollars.

Jalima1108 Sun 28-Jan-18 00:29:40

Talking of family lines, has anyone come across step families who have adopted their stepfathers name informally?
Yes mollie and it caused me no end of problems finding him, searching every so often for many years until I had a breakthrough late last year and found that at birth he had one surname, then informally adopted his step-father's surname until his step-father died then he had reverted back to his original name by the time he got married in 1881!
In fact, this was one ancestor who had been claimed by another researcher and put into her public tree when he is obviously a totally different person to the one she is researching.
I do have a family Bible with names and several certificates relating to him too and knew a little bit about him from conversations with an elderly relative before she died.

Thanks Elegran , will take a look tomorrow.

Jalima1108 Sun 28-Jan-18 00:32:58

All I did when I discovered the step-father link was find out step-father's name, dates and places of birth and death and put them in the tree, along with relevant censuses. Anything else was irrelevant so I didn't pursue it.

mollie Sun 28-Jan-18 10:37:48

Twice now I’ve researched the ‘step’ line in my ignorant bliss, happily adding a couple of generations and many people to my tree before discovering that ‘my’ direct connection had a different father. Both times I had to backtrack and take out the unconnected info and remove the people that weren’t part of my story. Sad really, I’d become quite attached to both those branches and had discovered a few interesting things. The other side of the coin is that when I’m stumped I go looking for an earlier marriage/relationship and alternative fathers just in case.

For the last twenty years I’ve been trying to find a birth certificate for someone I have so much information for so that I can, at last, connect him with the man I believe to be his dad. They refuse to be linked. So annoying!!!

Jalima1108 Sun 28-Jan-18 10:56:37

Some people would just happily add them to their public trees mollie, regardless of any glaring discrepancies and so these mistakes get perpetuated as others add the misinformation into their trees.

Jalima1108 Sun 28-Jan-18 10:58:12

Could he have been illegitimate mollie? in which case the father's name may not be on his birth certificate.
Of course, that would have been a matter of shame which they wouldn't talk about in the olden days so family anecdotes may not have been passed down.

maryhoffman37 Sun 28-Jan-18 11:20:47

Don't you use a hard drive for back up? Or Dropbox? Glad you got your research back.

Hm999 Sun 28-Jan-18 11:31:25

I never trust anyone else's research unless I can validate it myself, somehow.

missdeke Sun 28-Jan-18 11:46:55

I have everything saved on my laptop but also on a USB drive. Having managed to go back to the mid 1500s I don't want to lose it!