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Growing and Sharing Your Family Tree shows how rewarding and informative building a family history can be. Genealogy instructor Jeff Sengstack teaches how to find lost ancestors, connect with living relatives, and collaborate with others to grow a family tree. He explains how to use the Family Tree Maker application along with Ancestry.com and other internet sites to track down census data, immigration records, and other important documents, and then organize family tree data. Jeff also presents tips on how to scan old photos, create video slideshows, and build family web sites. Exercise files accompany this course.
Download Jeff's free genealogy tips from the Exercise Files tab.
Family Tree Maker is not the only genealogy software game in town. There are other software products out there as well. I chose Family Tree Maker for this course because I really think it's the best and I have been working with it for 20 years now. And what I like about this current version is that you can link to media. It's easy to use. You can also use the Microsoft Virtual Earth places, that is a wonderful feature, and most importantly is this great connection between Family Tree Maker and ancestry.com, where if you have an ancestry.com subscription, you can use Family Tree Maker to find all kinds of stuff from ancestry.com and download it right in the Family Tree Maker.
But many times people want to share family tree files with you and they will not be Family Tree Maker version 19, 2010 files that you can work with directly. So, you need to import them using this little Import tool that Family Tree Maker has and if you go to the New Tree tab or the Plan workspace, there will be an option to import a tree from an existing file. This is the sort of standardized easy route. In case you forget to do this, you can always go File > Import As New Tree. That's the same basic process. But here you can sort of see what things the Family Tree Maker works with.
It works with older versions of Family Tree Maker. The current version of this particular product, if you go to Help > About Family Tree Maker, you will see that this is version 19. Holy cow! Usually one per year is what they do in the terms of updating. You can go back all the way to Version 5 and import those guys and still make it work. The only little problem with importing previous versions of Family Tree Maker files is that the place and the description names are in the same field, and so in importing them, we are going to be stuck in the Place field in and lots of times, the descriptions have nothing to do with the place. You need to resolve that later.
And I will give you a quick sense of what's that like in a moment. Another type of file you can import is GEDCOM. This is the standardized genealogy file. It stands for GEnealogical Data COMmunication and the current version is 5.5. That may be updated to 6 one of these days, but that's the current version, so if you have got a 5.5 GEDCOM file that's coming in from somebody, it has a lot of information. It's not as good as a Family Tree file in terms of all the things it can contain, but it's a great way to swap Family Tree data. Finally, these three file types come from three different products that you can work with, if you are a genealogist.
Personal Ancestral File is sort of the granddaddy of the basic genealogical programs. This comes from the Mormon Church, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. They really are very big into genealogy and this was created by the Church. Legacy Family Tree is another product, as well as Master Genealogist, so you can import all those kinds of file types and the way you do it is by going Browse and track down the file that you want. Now in this particular case, we have got a file for you that you can use from the Exercise Files, if you are going to have the exercise files. And this is a SampleFamilyTreeGEDCOM.ged.
ged is the file extension for GEDCOM files. We will select that one and now if you click this little down arrow here, you can see all the different types that it will bring in. The pjc is The Master Genealogist and Legacy is leg or fdb and GEDCOM is ged. So those are all these different kind of file types you can bring in, but we are specifically brining in this ged, the GEDCOM, and click Open. I will say okay there is it. Well, should we call it FamilyTreeGEDCOM? Well, let's just keep it that way so we can remember what we just imported and I will click Continue and that will now import it. And you will see a little screen that pops up and shows you the progress.
Now it says okay, the import is complete. And number of Individuals, number of Records, no Errors. It's all good. So, we can view the log files. It's a little itty-bitty text file, but we will just say Close. And this is the imported GEDCOM file, which should look familiar to you by now because we have been using this sample file in other forms in other videos. Let me just show you one little thing that happens when you import a GEDCOM file. I am going to go to Places and you will notice that all these places have little question marks next to them.
Question marks mean that this is not yet a resolved place. We have not worked with Family Tree Maker to say this is a place that I recognize as a standardized name place, but in fact, most of these guys are in fact standardized names. It's just that when you import a GEDCOM file, you have got to go through the process of saying look, these are standardized and there are ways to resolve them, this is called. This little button up here says that you can resolve all of them. If you click on that, you want to back it up. Well, we don't need to back it up. We just imported it, so we say No. Then it will list every single place name and ask us to say what is the Suggested Place Name using standardized Place Naming Conventions and it will almost always match the ones that we have already imported.
So, all there is to do is just say accept all the place names, except for the few exceptions maybe and click OK. That's a quick way to resolve all the place names. Then the other thing I was mentioning, that place and descriptions are put into one place in the place name. You will see a lot of stuff here if you import let's say an old Family Tree Maker file that says something like, oh, this guy was a friend of so-and-so. That's because it was in the description field. This is not a place field. So, you need to actually move that to a description later. That's just a little bit of manual labor that needs to be done, if you import an older version of Family Tree Maker file.
So, that's the basic way that you import files of other formats than the current version of Family Tree Maker into your Family Tree Maker software.
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