Step 6 Import your FTM GEDCOM back into FH

← Back to: Exchanging Data with Ancestry and FTM

Both FH and FTM enable us to Open or Import a GEDCOM file, or to Merge it's content with an already open GEDCOM file. In both FH and FTM the merge facility provides mechanisms for us to choose which data takes priority. In comparison with simply replacing the original GEDCOM, checking a merge is labour intensive and will inevitably lead to file versions that are out of sync.

A preferred approach, if possible, would involve full replacement of the existing data in FH. If mechanisms can be devised that translate readily between FTM and FH then either could become the master. That said, a merge (rather than import) back into FTM will probably remain necessary to preserve details of hints already accepted or rejected in Ancestry. More investigation required.

Below are a few initial notes about opening an FTM exported GEDCOM in FH. The GEDCOM exported from FTM requires further work to prepare it for import to FH.

Items below marked M might just be handled manually by editing the GEDCOM. Items marked with A absolutely require automation mainly due to volume or complexity. Items marked ? require some rechecking and discussion.

Topic Action Note
OBJE, NOTE ? FTM tends to export one often empty NOTE record for each OBJE record numbered the same as the parent OBJE. I suspect this would work but is wasteful and needs looking at further. Further, FTM exports some orphaned note records, these appear to be citation reference note although the same content appears on the INDI (for example) as a record note 3 NOTE under 2 SOUR (must be a programming omission).
Note Records A Discuss FTM exports most notes as note records which clutters FH and sometimes prevents access to the note data. Examples include RESI note into which the FH export plugin previously put the address. Also INDI, NOTE and lots of empty notes too. These note records output by FTM need to be a fact or record local note. The Clean Up Notes plugin appears to fix this issue. For info, FH exports all notes as local notes except for those on the notes tab which are notes records.
EMAIL M T Rename EMAIL to _EMAIL REPO, EMAIL needs to be renamed to _EMAIL. Also if Web appended it should be split out.
OBJEct Links M Rename paths Although full paths to media files work in FH these need to be renamed back to relative paths. Indeed, ideally the users's FH folder structure needs to be reconstituted along with the full image and data (e.g. AREA, ASID). The Export Plugin currently prefixes file names with ASID (or zero to identify a full image) then the OBJE tag number (to cater for duplicate filenames coming together into one folder (note this number becomes meaningless due to FTM's renumbering of OBJE). Whilst the AREA could be suffixed to the filename, a way must be should be found to cater for media from multiple folders.
ALIA A Discuss Nicknames and Given Names are exported from FTM as 1 ALIA. These need to be demoted to 2 NICK under the first NAME however what about multiple occurrences?
NSFX A Discuss This is appended to NAME in FTM and needs to be put back into NSFX.
Citations A Duplicate Sources Note that FTM regards INDI, SOUR (and FAM, SOUR) tags as citations and each has additional OBJE records. There might be just one source for all like citations (e.g. England Census 1911). The solution is to use the PAGE record description and OBJE links to identify and duplicate Source records replacing the original. This new source requires the OBJE links (which can now be deleted - also the 2 SOUR link needs promoting???). Thus Events link directly to sources (used as citations) that contain media. It appears there is no requirement to re-merge on input although some checking is required regarding hint matching in Ancestry. More explanation required.
TITL ? Discuss TITL is used for surname, source title and object title. Selective promotion and/or tag renaming is required depending on parent record. e.g. 2 TITL on OBJE is invalid. More investigation. A Plugin can do that.
Event Values ? Discuss FTM allows both attributes and events (facts) to have values (known as the description field), indeed, it uses some (e.g. RESI to record Census info, but others to record Addresses) and exports them all. Of course FH doesn't like such values against an event so moves them to the fact note and reports warnings. Thoughts are that an import plugin should assume the Value for an event (inc customs) is an address and but a legitimate value for and Attribute. Clearly, data stored in a note will need reconstituting to the appropriate FH field.
_PHOTO ? Discuss This indicates the profile picture whereas FH uses ASID. It is desirable that ASID, LATI, LONG, STAN etc are reconstituted somehow.
_PLAC ? FTM does not have place records, one normalises place names against an Ancestry database to improve matching (presumed) and to obtain lat/lng for local storage, and can also enter a short name for printing. Neither lat/lng nor short name are exported. This means that those (few hopefully) FH users putting notes or photos against a place record will lose such information on a full replacement. It also means FH will have to lookup lat/lng again but being normalised this should be quick and straightforward. Note, structured places with leading commas will be replaced by simple comma delimited "least significant first" names.
2 _FREL and _MREL ? These custom tags are found in FAM records and might be preserved in FH for sending back to FTM.
@numbering@ Warning We need to ascertain exactly how FH's input merge deals with records that have been renumbered (as they are when data passes thru FTM). FTM's import tolerates renumbering (such as utilities in FH) as record matching is on data not numbering.

Import errors and UDF fields

Error Comment
INFO ONLY: Loaded uncategorised data (non-GEDCOM): "2 OBJE @M1253@" This photo tag was attached to NAME whereas FH only allows media on proper events. Will probably reject on other such fields.
EXCLUDED: invalid line : "1 ALIA Günther or Gerry" Demote to 2 NICK
EXCLUDED: invalid line : "1 ALIA Given" Demote to 2 _USER
INFO ONLY: Detected & fixed invalid use of EVEN (event) tag: "1 EVEN Internment Address" ADDR found in Custom event Value (INDI and FAM)
INFO ONLY: Detected & fixed field format error (data moved to Note Field): "1 BIRT Holsteinische Straße 41" ADDR stored in event Value (INDI and FAM)
INFO ONLY: Detected & fixed invalid use of EVEN (event) tag: "1 EVEN Unmarried Couple" Value for _STAT custom event. Handle this differently.
INFO ONLY: Loaded uncategorised data (GEDCOM extension): "1 _PHOTO @M1@" Can be deleted or used to set ASID=1. Does it export from FH for 2nd trip.
INFO ONLY: Loaded uncategorised data (non-GEDCOM): "2 TITL Lazard Blum 1909" OBJEct, TITLE should be at level 1? T
INFO ONLY: Loaded uncategorised data (non-GEDCOM): "2 CONC database)" Found when 0 REPO, 1 NAME was long (but < 255 by far).
EXCLUDED: invalid line : "1 SEX U" Occurs when no SEX tag exists
UDF Plugin report The currently known issues resulting in UDF when importing from FTM to FH are few and as follows: REPO, EMAIL and then CONC child tags on REPO, NAME and REPO, PHON and REPO, EMAIL and INDI, OCCU and INDI, EDUC.

Local notes and note records for the round trip

FTM appears to use notes and other interesting data as follows:

Field Note How exported from FTM How imported to FTM
Person or Relationship: Media (+) Any file inc Smart Stories 0 INDI/FAM, 1 OBJE @M123@
Person or Relationship: Note (1) Formatted which strips on export, FAM is hard to find 0 INDI/FAM, 1 NOTE @N123@
Person: Research Note (1) Formatted which strips on export 0 INDI, 1 NOTE @H123@
Person: Web Links (+) na na
Person: Tasks (+) na na
INDI or Shared: Fact Note (1) 0 INDI/FAM, 1 Event, 2 NOTE @N123@
INDI or Shared: Fact Media (+) 0 INDI/FAM, 1 Event, 2 OBJE @M123@
INDI or Shared: Citation (+) 0 INDI/FAM
1 Event
2 SOUR @S123@
3 OBJE @M123@
3 PAGE
3 NOTE text
3 QUAY
3 DATA
4 TEXT
SOUR: Comments 0 SOUR, 1 NOTE text
Media: Note 0 OBJE, 1 NOTE @N123@ 0 OBJE, 1 NOTE Record Notes import as do NOTE records but only when HEAD, 1 SOUR FTM (not 1 SOUR FAMILY_HISTORIAN). Export plugin option for Note Record does not function.
Place: nothing na na
Repository: nothing na na

Prioritised development list to enable deeper testing

Issues in import report

  1. Ordered List Item
  2. Convert media paths to relative paths
  3. Translate ALIA to NICK/TITL
  4. Use _PHOTO tag to set first media
  5. Deal with custom events that have a value (e.g. custom attribute "contact" - this still imported however)
  6. Deal with custom events that have a value (e.g. "unmarried couple" _STAT ?)
  7. Deal with text in RESI event
  8. Some CONC records are rejected (investigate which)
  9. Deal with custom fact _MILT (military service)
  10. Many 2 TITL records rejected at end of file (from Sources?)
  11. 1 EMAIL rejected in REPO records

Issues once in FH

  1. ROOT is undefined in FH after import
  2. Hundreds of note records!
  3. Source media missing (as in FTM it is connected to citation instead - do we need to create fake sources?)
  4. 1 unidentified (blank) submitter record
  5. Media records have name = <file: c:….path>
  6. Date (on media) missing - could be my early FTM data?

Data tidying

  1. Remove "." in names (particularly where middle name is an initial only) and tidy abbreviations e.g.Wm (perhaps automate ".")

Other observations

  1. A FH project contains data other than the gedcom and media for example the web definition. When reimporting from FTM (full replacement) the web definition is incorrect as (it is assumed) it still records the old record numbers. This may affect other aspects of FH. Corrections could be done manually (reconfigure the web) or automated. There is still a preference for full replacement over merge despite this.