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Master Source Citations vs. Master Events


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#1 Lee Irons

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Posted 28 December 2011 - 11:57 AM

First, let me define the environment. There are two basic types of genealogy software programs. Those with master source citations, such as Family Tree Maker 2012 and Legacy Family Tree 7.5 (quasi-master source citations) allow source citation records to be linked to multiple "tags" (using the TMG vernacular). Then thre are TMG 8 and Roots Magic 5, which use master events to which multiple witnesses with roles can be linked.

Now the challenge. A user who wants to import their large data files with years of research into TMG 8 runs into the problem that the TMG 8 import function does not recognize master source citations linked to mulitple persons and turn them into master events with with mulitple witnesses. This is a big barrier to people moving from Family Tree Maker or Legacy Family Tree to TMG.

Now the question: Does anyone know of any database routines that have been written by any users of TMG that will convert data that has been imported from FTM or LFT in this way?

#2 Michael Hannah

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Posted 28 December 2011 - 12:50 PM

Hi Lee,

I have never used FTM or LFT, but I used PAF many years and wrote myself a little program to improve the import activity into TMG, so I understand your question.

I am assuming you already know that TMG will do the best it can directly importing FTM 2008/2009 or Legacy databases. But your point is a good one that many genealolgy programs differ in how data is entered and stored. I have not heard of any "database routines" or programs to help in this case.

I wonder what you would suggest some such "database routines" or program should do in this case? How would you convert a "master source citation" linked to multiple persons? How would you want it expressed in TMG using the features available in TMG? At first glance it seems creating a TMG tag linked to multiple persons with that source citation cited to that tag is a reasonable approach. What would you suggest differently?

Michael
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#3 Lee Irons

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Posted 28 December 2011 - 02:00 PM

I wonder what you would suggest some such "database routines" or program should do in this case? How would you convert a "master source citation" linked to multiple persons? How would you want it expressed in TMG using the features available in TMG? At first glance it seems creating a TMG tag linked to multiple persons with that source citation cited to that tag is a reasonable approach. What would you suggest differently?

Michael


Yes, that would be the basic approach. TMG 8 is importing marriage events from LFT 7.5 (GEDCOM 5.5) and shared events from FTM 2012 (GEDCOM 5.5) just fine, making the husband and wife the two principals of the resulting event tag in TMG 8. The conversion program should then look for every occurence of a person who is the only principal of a tag that has a source citation that is exactly the same as the source citation that is linked to the tag that has the two principals. It would connect the person with the second tag as a witness to the first tag that has the two principals, and then delete the tag that just had the one person as a principal in it.

#4 Michael Hannah

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Posted 28 December 2011 - 02:36 PM

Ahhh... Lee, Maybe I understand now??

TMG 8 is importing marriage events from LFT 7.5 (GEDCOM 5.5) and shared events from FTM 2012 (GEDCOM 5.5) just fine...

This seems to imply that you did the import by first exporting to GEDCOM then importing that GEDCOM?? If so, that is the whole problem. GEDCOM is a very ancient format and has very few features, such as no ability to identify multiple people linked to a tag. It can only identify at most two people linked to a tag, and then only if those two people are married. There are lots of other modern genealogy software features which simply cannot be expressed in GEDCOM. As is often said, much is lost in translation. :sad:

But, the actual raw database files of both FTM 2008/2009 and LTF can be directly imported into TMG without first exporting to GEDCOM. TMG wrote those database routines precisely to deal with issues which cannot be expressed in GEDCOM like multiple people linked to a common event. Are you having problems with that direct import? What do you think about how TMG performs this direct conversion? I think all your multiple people links will remain with that import. At least that is what other users report who have done such imports.

As for your suggestion, maybe I don't understand it, but it seems it would be fraught with potential errors. For example, my citation might be from a book of biographies. I could have the citation be "Biographies book, page 214". Multiple very different events in a database could all have that identical citation, and would all look the same in GEDCOM. I think collapsing them into a single tag in TMG would be a real mess. :unsure:

GEDCOM is very useful for expressing basic genealogy information, which was its sole purpose when it was developed decades ago. But in my opinion GEDCOM is very awful for transferring more complex data and constructs between genealogy programs. That is why TMG provides direct import.
Michael
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#5 Lee Irons

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Posted 28 December 2011 - 04:12 PM

Ahhh... Lee, Maybe I understand now??

TMG 8 is importing marriage events from LFT 7.5 (GEDCOM 5.5) and shared events from FTM 2012 (GEDCOM 5.5) just fine...

This seems to imply that you did the import by first exporting to GEDCOM then importing that GEDCOM?? If so, that is the whole problem. GEDCOM is a very ancient format and has very few features, such as no ability to identify multiple people linked to a tag. It can only identify at most two people linked to a tag, and then only if those two people are married. There are lots of other modern genealogy software features which simply cannot be expressed in GEDCOM. As is often said, much is lost in translation. :sad:

But, the actual raw database files of both FTM 2008/2009 and LTF can be directly imported into TMG without first exporting to GEDCOM. TMG wrote those database routines precisely to deal with issues which cannot be expressed in GEDCOM like multiple people linked to a common event. Are you having problems with that direct import? What do you think about how TMG performs this direct conversion? I think all your multiple people links will remain with that import. At least that is what other users report who have done such imports.

As for your suggestion, maybe I don't understand it, but it seems it would be fraught with potential errors. For example, my citation might be from a book of biographies. I could have the citation be "Biographies book, page 214". Multiple very different events in a database could all have that identical citation, and would all look the same in GEDCOM. I think collapsing them into a single tag in TMG would be a real mess. :unsure:

GEDCOM is very useful for expressing basic genealogy information, which was its sole purpose when it was developed decades ago. But in my opinion GEDCOM is very awful for transferring more complex data and constructs between genealogy programs. That is why TMG provides direct import.


I'm working in FTM 2012. TMG 8 does not have the ability to import from FTM 2012. I just did an import directly from LFT 7.5. I get the same results as I got with an import from a GEDCOM 5.5 file exported from LFT.

Funny thing is that FTM 2012 does a better GEDCOM import from LFT than it does an LFT import using an LFT file. FTM 2012 is able to compare source citations in a GEDCOM file and merge all source citations that are exactly the same.

The assumption the import into TMG 8 would have to make is that all source citations that look exactly the same (regarding both citation detail and citation memo) are for the same event tag. This is probably a safe assumption, considering that TMG 8 does not have master sourece citations. But, to be safe, the tags that have exactly duplicate source citations should also have exactly duplicate dates and places. The additional thing that would need to be done is that the memo of the tag associated with the witness would have to become the role memo for that person as a witness to the tag with the two principals.

I know it sounds complicated and I am doing a poor job of explaining it. However, a database programmer and user of Roots Magic 5 managed to program a database query that was able to accomplish this in Roots Magic 5, and Roots Magic 5 uses the same data organization approach as TMG 8 (i.e., master events with prinicpals and witnesses).

If this were to be programmed into TMG 8, it would have to b specifically selected as an import interpretation option, and should not be done automatically for all imports from LFT or FTM.

#6 Michael Hannah

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Posted 28 December 2011 - 04:14 PM

I'm working in FTM 2012. TMG 8 does not have the ability to import from FTM 2012...

True, but you can export from FTM 2012 as a new, separate project in 2008/2009 format. TMG 8 does have the ability to import that database.
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#7 Lee Irons

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Posted 28 December 2011 - 04:20 PM

I'm working in FTM 2012. TMG 8 does not have the ability to import from FTM 2012...

True, but you can export from FTM 2012 as a new, separate project in 2008/2009 format. TMG 8 does have the ability to import that database.


I'll try that.

#8 Lee Irons

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Posted 28 December 2011 - 04:55 PM

I'm working in FTM 2012. TMG 8 does not have the ability to import from FTM 2012...

True, but you can export from FTM 2012 as a new, separate project in 2008/2009 format. TMG 8 does have the ability to import that database.


I'll try that.


Wow. This is taking a really long time to import a FTM 2008/2009 file.

#9 Lee Irons

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Posted 28 December 2011 - 07:57 PM

It took a couple of hours, but the FTM 2008/2009 file finally finished importing. It did not combine the shared source citations into single event tags with witnesses. However, it did create custom tags for all of my events that were custom, which is helpful. It also did a clean import with no errors.

So, I will still have to go through manually and boil down the duplicate event tags with single principals into unique event tags with parents as principals and children as witnesses with son and daughter roles. Is there a quick way to do this?

#10 Michael Hannah

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Posted 29 December 2011 - 09:30 AM

Is there a quick way to do this?

Sorry, Lee, I don't know of one. Maybe some other user who has experience in converting from FTM will have a suggestion.
Michael
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