* Importing from Brother's Keeper

Importing from or exporting to another genealogy program. This is the place to ask.
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geoffmackay
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Importing from Brother's Keeper

Post by geoffmackay » 07 Mar 2021 04:36

Hello

I'm converting to Family Historian from Brother's Keeper, and this is my first post.

I'm puzzled that FH doesn't seem to allow for a period where the dates aren't precise.

For example, I know my grandfather lived in Hawksburn from about 1940 to 1950.

In BK the date field for Residence is
c.1940 - c.1950.
The relevant narrative report reads
"[He…] resided c.1940 - c.1950 in Hawksburn, Vic".
The Gedcom lines produced by BK are:
1 RESI
2 DATE FROM C.1940 TO C.1950
2 PLAC Hawksburn, Vic

After importing my gedcom into FH, the date field has become a date phrase:
"FROM C.1940 TO C.1950"
The relevant narrative report reads
"FROM C.1940 TO C.1950" he lived in Hawksburn, Vic.
The Gedcom lines in FH are:
1 RESI
2 DATE (FROM C.1940 TO C.1950)
2 PLAC Hawksburn, Vic

As you can see, I need to tidy up my place names. But my question is, can I get FH to accept the approximate dates for a period? Or do I need to customize the settings for narrative reports so that they read more smoothly?

BTW, I tried editing the FH gedcom in Notepad to remove the brackets, but they reappeared after I'd restarted FH.

Thanks
Geoff Mackay
Geoff Mackay - Researching the Mackay, Cohn, Schwieger, Gillies, Hammon, Trickey, Hopper and Rowbotham families

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tatewise
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Re: Importing from Brother's Keeper

Post by tatewise » 07 Mar 2021 11:55

Welcome to the FHUG Geoff.

The problem is that Brother's Keeper is producing invalid GEDCOM Date formats.
It is not alone, as many products do not fully implement the GEDCOM rules.
FH insists on being compliant with GEDCOM so does its best to import what is supplied.

FH & GEDCOM does allow Date Periods and you can see them in the Date fields of the Property Box.
The correct format is:
2 DATE FROM 1940 TO 1950
GEDCOM does not define a C. prefix at all and does not allow any approximation in Period or Range dates.
FH treats the invalid format as a GEDCOM Date Phrase which must be enclosed in parentheses.
You would probably have similar problems if you tried migrating Brother's Keeper to any other product.

There is a Plugin designed to try and repair such invalid dates.
See the FHUG Knowledge Base Fixing Dates and Date Phrases.
I cannot guarantee that it will fix all your invalid Dates but try it and provide feedback about what does and does not get fixed so that the Plugin can be updated where necessary.
Mike Tate ~ researching the Tate and Scott family history ~ tatewise ancestry

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geoffmackay
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Re: Importing from Brother's Keeper

Post by geoffmackay » 07 Mar 2021 23:39

Thank you Mike

I have run the Fix Dates plugin, as you suggested. It didn't help with the kind of date phrases I mentioned earlier, and some of the fixes didn't give the result I needed. It showed that I need to do some work to make all my dates GEDCOM compliant.

I'm fairly new to genealogy, and inherited a lot of handwritten family trees from my parents. In an attempt to digitise these, I didn't stop to think about standard formats, and only became aware of GEDCOM when I decided that I needed better software than BK. So rather than give you a list of very obvious errors (eg. 194x instead of AFTER 1940), I'll clean up my file and run the plugin again before providing you with more feedback. It may take a while!

I guess I just have to accept that, as you say, "GEDCOM...does not allow any approximation in Period or Range dates". I have a number of these, so will change the format as you suggested, and indicate in a note that the dates are approximate.
Geoff Mackay - Researching the Mackay, Cohn, Schwieger, Gillies, Hammon, Trickey, Hopper and Rowbotham families

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tatewise
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Re: Importing from Brother's Keeper

Post by tatewise » 08 Mar 2021 10:31

Thank you for the feedback Geoff.
Your proposals sound fine.

May I suggest you review the FHUG Knowledge Base starting with the FAQS section that has much advice for newcomers.
Mike Tate ~ researching the Tate and Scott family history ~ tatewise ancestry

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geoffmackay
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Re: Importing from Brother's Keeper

Post by geoffmackay » 09 Jun 2021 06:53

In my previous post I offered to provide more feedback for Mike on the Fix Date Fields plugin.

After delays unrelated to FH, I've finally cleaned up my dates. I haven't come across anything that would require a modification to the plugin. All of the date fields that had errors were due either to my inconsistent or non-standard formatting of dates in BK, or to my use of approximate dates in periods or ranges, as discussed earlier.

My GEDCOM file had about 8200 date tags, 800 of which became date phrases on import to FH. The plugin attempted to fix about 100 of these, but because of my erroneous formatting most of the fixes were inappropriate (garbage-in, garbage out of course!). I was able to convert those, and most of the other date phrases, to valid dates by copying the GEDCOM file into Excel. I then used formulas to edit each of the common types of invalid date tags. That left just a handful that will need to be fixed manually after a bit more research.

Overall, the transition from BK has been a very positive experience. There have been other hiccups along the way, but as with the dates, they were mostly self-inflicted. One of my aims in converting to FH was to become more systematic in my recording of data, so I've been learning some valuable lessons during the process. I am most grateful to everyone who contributes so much helpful information on this forum and in the Knowledge Base.
Geoff Mackay - Researching the Mackay, Cohn, Schwieger, Gillies, Hammon, Trickey, Hopper and Rowbotham families

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Mark1834
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Re: Importing from Brother's Keeper

Post by Mark1834 » 09 Jun 2021 07:45

Geoff, glad it’s all going well. Just a word of caution regarding Excel. As you probably know, it doesn’t recognise historic dates, so presumably you have forced everything to be processed as plain text. If you don’t do that, Excel can corrupt data by wrongly interpreting what it represents. I’ve also had problems with character sets in the past, and lost all the £ signs from my Probate text!
Mark Draper

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geoffmackay
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Re: Importing from Brother's Keeper

Post by geoffmackay » 09 Jun 2021 11:04

Thanks Mark.

Yes, I was aware of that problem with dates, so I did keep everything as text. I'd opened the GEDCOM file in Notepad first, then copied all of the rows into Excel as text. After using mainly text-related formulas to manipulate the relevant tag lines, I then copied the results into another column as text, and back into the GEDCOM file via Notepad. It worked very smoothly.

As far as I know there are no non-standard characters in my data, but I've successfully copied them in and out of Excel in other situations.
Geoff Mackay - Researching the Mackay, Cohn, Schwieger, Gillies, Hammon, Trickey, Hopper and Rowbotham families

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