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What to replace TMG

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#1 rowan.bradley

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Posted 07 February 2015 - 10:08 AM

It seems that I have to look for another program to manage my genealogy database. What do people recommend?


Is there any program which will directly read a TMG database?


What program most closely matches TMGs features?


What program can import TMG data with minimum data loss or corruption (this is the feature that I need most)?


Presumably everyone is grappling with this problem? I would really welcome your advice on recovering from the difficult situation that all TMG users have been left in.


Thanks - Rowan


#2 Terry Reigel

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Posted 07 February 2015 - 10:25 AM

It seems that I have to look for another program to manage my genealogy database. What do people recommend?

I'll give you my recommendations, but other's will differ. My recommendation is TMG. I don't see an alternative.

Is there any program which will directly read a TMG database?

Yes, several. However that doesn't mean they will import all your data, either because their program doesn't support features you have used in TMG, or because of issues with their import features.

What program most closely matches TMGs features?

What program can import TMG data with minimum data loss or corruption (this is the feature that I need most)?

I can't help you there, other than to note that depends on which features of TMG are important to you. I suspect the best help you may find will be on the TMG-Refugees on RootsWeb.

I would suggest you read my article on The Future for TMG Users and then make up your own mind.


See my Tutorials and Articles on using TMG at tmg.reigelridge.com

The Second Edition of my book, A Primer for The Master Genealogist, is still available
. For more information see my website.

#3 Michael Hannah

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Posted 07 February 2015 - 01:58 PM

Presumably everyone is grappling with this problem? I would really welcome your advice on recovering from the difficult situation that all TMG users have been left in.


No, many of us consider that our current TMG program will work just fine on present and future computers for at least ten and probably many more years.  The only "difficult situation" that I see is for other genealogists who don't already have TMG not being able to purchase it.  Like Terry, I recommend sticking with TMG until other genealogy programs "catch up" to the existing capabilities of TMG.  I don't see any current or probable program coming close to its features for many years.


As Terry suggested, this is just one opinion.  Read Terry's article and make up your own mind.

See my book on how I customize TMG My Way.
My website.

#4 geckmand

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Posted 07 February 2015 - 03:28 PM

Hi Rowan

I'm been having some success with Family Historian V6 so far using their 30-day free trial version - all records came across OK and the program has some nice features although missing some others. (I still prefer TMG and hope to stick with it longer as pointed out by Michael)

Its worth giving FH a go perhaps so that you can see at least one example of an alternative.

FH also has some tutorials online as well as an active user group including a "hangouts" call between users and "experts"

Best Regards


#5 argothor

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Posted 26 May 2015 - 06:16 AM

While Terry and Michael are sticking with TMG, I'd suggest at least looking at the other options that are currently available.  I have two issues that I'd like to address at the same time.  The first is TMG is no longer being actively supported, yes there are those who are willing to help, but no more improvements or upgrades are forthcoming.  And secondly I switched from a Windows running PC to a Mac a few years ago and would like to find a genealogy program that is native to the Mac.  


Terry and Michael are right, there is no other program out there that has the same capabilities as TMG.  So which ever way you go you may lose some capability you are use to with TMG (I say may because TMG was features that I never have used and suspect you might not use them either).


The other big issue is transferring your TMG data over to another program.  I have over 97,700 people, 34,200 families, 138,000 different events, nearly 10,000 distinct locations, over 3,000 exhibits and 48,000 citations in my database.  That would take a lifetime to re-enter everything by hand, and nearly a lifetime to verify that everything transferred over correctly by using a GEDCOM transfer.  The third, and I think the best way, to transfer your data is to find a program that can read the TMG data directly, however there aren't that many that can.


One program that can read directly is RootsMagic 6.x or higher.  The latest version of RootsMagic is 7.0.5.  Yesterday I  transferred my TMG data over to RootsMagic 7.  I haven't had a lot of time verifying that everything transferred correctly, but what I have checked looks okay.  I did not clean up my data beforehand.  


There are several things I don't like about RootsMagic (RM).  But the most obvious problem is in TMG I have the program set up so I can see the details of the person in one window and in other windows see that persons siblings in a second window and their children in a third window.  I haven't seen a way to get RM to do the same.  To see all that information I can see at a glance in TMG I need to cycle through several different tabs in RM.  The other problem I have with RM is that is a Windows based program so I have to run it, like I do TMG, in a virtual machine by using Parallels (one can also run it under MacBridge for RootsMagic 7 and not need Windows installed on your Mac). I'd like to get completely away from having Windows.  I've read that a Mac based version of RM is coming out, but as of yet I haven't seen any timeframe for when it will be released.  I like to use TMG's Accents and Flags, but I haven't seem any similar feature in RM.


For the time being I am going to continue to use TMG and run RM simultaneously so I can get a better feel for the features of RM.  It means double entering everything, but it should give it a good test to see if it meets my needs.  I also plan to keep looking for other programs that might come closer to the features of TMG, but I'm not that hopeful one will be developed that meets the standard that TMG set.


RM is offering TMG users a discount on RM, it normally costs $29.95, but with the TMG upgrade it is only $19.95.


So in essence I am following Terry and Michael's lead, but I'm also seeking other alternatives.


Roger D.

Edited by argothor, 26 May 2015 - 06:55 AM.

#6 James K

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Posted 27 May 2015 - 05:45 PM

"Keep calm and carry on" with TMG seems to be the best strategy for now.



#7 Max

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Posted 01 June 2015 - 09:46 AM

When thinking about replacing TMG do not forget the companion programs that are extremely useful and will most probably not be updated for a differen product. My concern is that I will not be able anymore to use John Cardinals most valuable Second Site and TMG Utility with a different genealogy program. I would only be ready to use a different genealogy program if John would adapt his Second Site to that particular product.


Edited by Max, 01 June 2015 - 09:47 AM.

#8 orsonk

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Posted 02 July 2015 - 08:49 AM

I am new to this forum, so bear with me.

I found you as I am looking to see what I might replace my TMG with.

I have an earlier version [very lax in buying upgrades - now it is too late.]

I am looking as my version seems to be getting very rocky.

I have to go through several windows clicking on ignore messages to get the thing to work.

My biggest problem is with reports - most reports when they are run, say they have run successfully - but I am dammned if I can find them !!!

I am trying to get printable lists of all the info. that I have on all the members of the two family trees that I have got.

Any ideas would be welcomed - if there is a more suitable place for this query - please let me know



#9 ricklach

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Posted 24 November 2016 - 11:55 AM

I have been around the block with this question.  As a long-time user of TMG, I was disappointed when its developmental life cycle ended.  I fretted and fumed for almost a year trying to find a replacement.  I already had all the major genealogy programs (Rootsmagic 7, Legacy8, Gramps, Webtrees, Family Historian, etc) and gave them all a trial period to see if I could adjust to their way of doing things.  While I found good features in all of them, I just could not come to grips with the underlying data model that was based on the GEDCOM standard in each and every program.  After a year of lost research time and disappointment with these replacement programs, I recently had a eureka moment that would solve my dilemma.  I knew that TMG could not survive many more Windows upgrades or updates so I decided to take an older laptop (or desktop) and literally "freeze" the technology.  


I started with a fresh install of Win 7 that I fully updated to the latest updates and then disabled any automatic updates for Windows7. Then I installed TMG 9.05.  I added dropbox so that I could download the latest backups should the Win 10 OS stop working with TMG for some reason.  I also added Word so that I could see the results of my output in a word processor, for reasons that might become clear in a moment.  I prefer working on a desktop so my plan was to continue working with TMG on Win 10 for as long as the program was supported, and when the time came, to switch over to my laptop (or re-purpose one of the many desktop computers that I have).


Why did I choose this path?  Simply put, TMG is the best genealogy program.  Its data model is far superior to all of the other genealogy programs combined and it is a well structured relational database that does not use the gedcom standard for storing data.  Consequently, the power and functionality of the TMG database is unparalleled in speed, and flexibility.  To make an analogy, TMG was "Watson" while all the others were "Vic20s" and that is why I am staying with TMG until I die.


The second reason is the amount of effort that I have invested in my research.  My family tree project starts in France about 1570 and includes about 90% of all the descendants of the first progenitor to arrive in North America in 1665.  This amounts to tens of thousands of records with copious amounts of data including witnesses, along with stock and custom sentence structures.  Only TMG was able to produce the output that I was looking for.  Yes, the other programs could mimic TMG's output, but not with the resolution and accuracy that I had so painstakingly developed in TMG.  Re-visiting all of the records in any import into any of the other programs was just not an option.  I did not fancy redoing 35 years of research just to "make my gedcom" file work in an inferior program. There are many other reasons for staying with TMG,  Plainly put, you could combine all of the best features of the other genealogy programs and the resultant program would not hold a candle to TMG - primarily because of their data model.


My personal genealogy project is to produce an encyclopedia of each and every person in my ancestral tree, by generation, complete with end-notes and citations, a bibliography, and indexes.  I have about 15 generations in the family tree, and just five generations produces a book that is already well over a thousand pages in content.  15 Generations will probably produce tens of thousands of pages.  No other program can produce this type of output without massive post editing, in my opinion.  From my observations, all other programs crash when I try to produce an encyclopedic sketch from the gedcom data.  Hence another reason to stay with TMG.


Clearly, my research may not match the aspirations of others in scope, content, or time invested.  Given the fact that TMG is no longer available one is only left with the option of choosing one of the newer "gedcom" based genealogy programs.  It is just not for me!  Perhaps some ambitious soul will acquire the TMG data model and rewrite it so that it will work with the latest operating systems and databases.  I am not a fan of cloud-based anything for security, privacy, and commercial reasons (you do all the work and someone else reaps a profit from your time and effort).  I just will not go there!




#10 Michael Hannah

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Posted 24 November 2016 - 12:52 PM

Hi Rick,


As noted from my previous post, I intend something similar to you in sticking with TMG for quite some time.


However, with respect to several of the competing products now on the market, I am not sure it is fair to characterize all their underlying data models as based on the GEDCOM standard.  Certainly many of these programs have a strong focus on both importing and exporting GEDCOM, just as TMG did, but I believe? several now have internal data models which have little to do with the GEDCOM model.  This can especially be seen by those programs with ever more improving import of TMG data directly using the TMG database files and completely bypassing GEDCOM.


But all that aside, with such an existing investment in TMG as you mention I agree with your current approach, especially at my advanced age.

See my book on how I customize TMG My Way.
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#11 E Wilcock

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Posted 28 December 2016 - 07:39 AM

I am glad to discover this Forum topic and to give feedback on an issue to which I gave much thought. 


Like most people on this Forum, I have not moved my TMG projects but, if I ever need to, I know I can import and open the TMG Project files directly either to Roots Magic 7 or Family Historian 6.


I did however decide not to begin a new Project in TMG and instead began one in Family Historian which now amounts to about 800 people.

While using Family Historian, and going through the learning curve involved, some things occurred to me which may not have received much attention.


The valuable RootsWeb list for TMG Refugees and the associated webpages itemise the capabilities of TMG and compare them with features of potential successor software.


Comparison charts assume genealogists use their packages as they come out of the box. Some TMG users use TMG at a basic level.  But many of us do not. Over the years we have adapted it and customised it. Users like myself may know very little about computing, but we none the less use TMG with customisations that have been devised by expert users and made available via this Forum. I used a lay out with a custom tool bar providing buttons to instantly add selected Tags for data entry. I used compact pre-formatted charts.


Unknown to myself, I had become dependent on customisations for entering data in TMG and when I used Family Historian, I looked to replicate them there. So the real life experience of my switching was far removed from any straight out of the box comparison.


Family Historian like TMG has a wealth of additional facilities provided by expert users. The most important of these are the free Plug ins which facilitate many genealogical tasks but cannot be tried out with the free trial download of the program. Some Plug ins carry out tasks provided for by John Cardinal's TMG Utility. Companion software Ancestral Sources, allows for rapid data entry of family groups, somewhat similar to the  spreadsheet data entry form which became part of the latest versions of TMG. So. as with TMG,  Family Historian is far more than what  is in the box from Calico Pie. And it can  therefore provide more than is outlined on the comparison site.


Trying to replicate one's use of TMG is not necessarilly the best way to embark on software that was designed with other priorities.  I made a conscious decision not to use FH in the manner of a TMG relational database but to benefit as much as I could from using the things FH was designed to do - A text based programme allows for rapid opening, copying, cutting and pasting. And  its graphics allow one to work directly from a visual representation of a family tree. Maps, document images and media are new experiences. I work on foreign sources and the foreign alphabets from unicode are what I need. By concentrating on what was new and different, I gave myself an incentive to persevere.The key is to find out what the enthusiasts like about a programme and do with it, and then copy them.



But I still missed things I was used to. Things which drew me to TMG in the first place. I  missed the layout which allows one to see at a glance the marriage partners and surnames of siblings and children. The expert users of FH are naturally annoyed at any suggestion that their software cannot replicate the things some of us liked so much in TMG. But one of them, Mike Tate rose to the challenge.  He has designed a plug in (not just for myself) which with  a couple of keystrokes opens a pane giving the information on siblings and children which is such a feature of TMG. Mike also helped me customise a data input Tab which more than replicates the tool bar buttons I used for rapid data entry in TMG.


For a novice user, customising software paves the way for all sorts of errors. And guidance is definitely needed. Which is where the vexed question of Help comes in. People have mentioned the effort of changing to a new program in older age.  Because FH has user-designed Plugins, it also inevitably has multiple sources of Help  including a big on line User Knowledge base.  I have found the FH vocabulary and the Help hard to master. Yet the same could be said of TMG. TMG  itself relied on several sources of Help: Wholly Genes themselves plus this Forum, yet I also have books Getting the Most out of TMG edited by Lee Hoffman and A Primer for The Master Genealogist by Terry Riegel.  


We all do research in different ways and have different priorities, so perhaps using any software in the end relies on us finding the customisations that fit our work and with which we feel comfortable. To do that we may rely on the charity of resident enthusiasts and experts. I surely did that here in TMG. Thank you Theresa and Jim as well as many others. And in Family Historian too I am dependent on the patience of people who know it better than myself, who may not approve of the way I want to do things, but who have none the less  helped me tailor the programme so I feel at home there.


I began serious use of the new FH project on 30 October 2016 - that is two months ago -  to give some idea of the time scale. The alterations/customisations I have made (been helped to make) have been recent when a massive task of data entry encouraged me to look for short cuts to speed the process.  But using and enjoying new software does take a bit of time and in many ways my initiation into FH has replicated my early days in TMG. 


I guess it is more typical of what goes on between genealogists and their software than the idea that you simply open your old tree in a new format and go on from where you left off. We blunder in, get help, follow it and the new becomes normal. After 2 months data entry into FH, I found it counter intuitive to go back and enter data on TMG.

#12 Max

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Posted 28 December 2016 - 09:38 AM

We should also consider the development of HRE (https://historyresea...nvironment.org/). There are some promising claims concerning the transfer of TMG-data.

#13 Jim Byram

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Posted 28 December 2016 - 09:57 AM

If you move to another program, you now have John Cardinal's GedSite available so you can make make a decent website using the data from your new genealogy database application.

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