Saturday, May 30, 2015

Another FTM Issue - Unattached Family Records in My Tree

As I reported here and here I am separating my Family Tree into multiple branches. I have discovered that there are thousands of unattached family records in each of my new branch files.

Reviewing my original Family Tree I also found over a hundred similar unattached family records in it.

I discovered this by reviewing the GEDCOM created by FTM when I export some or all of a tree. These unattached records have no HUSB or WIFE records associated with them and float around the database. For example:

0 @F408@ FAM
2 DATE 12 DEC 1700
2 PLAC Suffield, Hartford County, Connecticut


I just discovered unattached family records with nothing but the level 0 GEDCOM record. Here is a section of the GEDCOM. These are also NOT removed by compacting.

0 @F18656@ FAM
2 DATE 27 FEB 1707/08
2 PLAC Newton, Middlesex, Massachusetts, USA
0 @F18659@ FAM
0 @F18660@ FAM
0 @F18662@ FAM
2 DATE 26 NOV 1919
2 PLAC Proctor, St Louis, Minnesota, USA
0 @F18667@ FAM
0 @F18670@ FAM
0 @F18671@ FAM                            
Updated 6/3/2015

Because they are not attached to an individual, I can find no way to manually delete them from the database from inside FTM.

I have tried several tricks to fix this but to no avail. Compacting the file does not fix the problem. Nor does the export of the Tree to a different FTM file rather than directly to a GEDCOM file.  Years ago there was a workaround for repairing a tree, But this no long works.

At this point in my project, I  think my only choices are; live with the problem, edit the GEDCOM file and manually delete each GEDCOM entry, or I could write a program to do those deletions.

Those two latter options would require a load of new databases with the corrected GEDCOM and a manual reload all of the associated media. None of this is to my liking. I hope that this post will result in someone offering a much better solution.

How is this caused? In my case and in this recent project I often used several of the reports that allow selection and deletion of groups of individuals. I suspect that one or all of these deletions are done without regard to the family and/or marriage records of those individuals. If this is true it demonstrates some very lax testing on their part. This seems to be a continuing theme.

I cannot explain the presence of the unattached records in my original file. This file has been in effect for nearly 15 years and has undergone various updates as I have implemented new releases. It could stem from data entry errors I have made in entering new information, deleting miss-entered individuals, or as the result of merging GEDCOM files, with these errors in them, into my tree. But they do exist and, in my mind, FTM should not allow them to exist.

But, perhaps I am wrong and FTM did intensive testing and discovered this and other errors and they made a conscious business decision to ignore the issues.

Is this specific issue a major problem? Not really. The tree will still be processed, reports and charts will not be affected. However, processing time will be longer as a result and, more importantly, the errors will be perpetuated as we generate GEDCOM.

What this issue does demonstrate, once again, is the lack of attention to detail that we repeated see in the product. This software is not free and many of us repeatedly purchase upgrades in the hopes that the new release will be an improvement over previous releases.

I continue to be disappointed and frustrated.  

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Family Tree Maker Issue – Ignores Sex for determining Husband / Wife

Notice! The issue discussed and documented below has gotten more complex. Please refer to my reply below in the comments section. Ron - 5/29/2015

While working on my project to break my tree into separate branches I encountered this gem.

Two individuals in a family tree as shown in Family Tree Maker.  The female Sarah Reynolds is shown on the left side of the relationship (below the pedigree panel) and the male David H Woods is shown on the right side.  Please note that their sex is correctly reflected in the details panel for each and that here David is correctly identified as the Husband in the relationship.

The output GEDCOM from this tree for these two individuals.

0 @I58356@ INDI
1 NAME Sarah /Reynolds/
2 SOUR @S1495@
2 DATE 1806
2 PLAC Fairfield, South Carolina, USA
1 FAMS @F19079@
1 FAMC @F18842@
0 @I58357@ INDI   

0 @I58606@ INDI
1 NAME David H /Woods/
2 SOUR @S1495@
1 FAMS @F19079@           

Here is the problem! The output GEDCOM for the Family of these two individuals.  The INDI of the female Sarah Reynolds is linked as the Husband and the INDI of the male David H. Woods is linked as the Wife.   

0 @F19079@ FAM
1 HUSB @I58356@
1 WIFE @I58606@
1 MARR           

It appears that for its GEDCOM output Family Tree Maker uses the positional placement of individuals to determine the husband and wife designations of individuals rather than the sex of people.  Thanks FTM for remaining firmly planted in the dark ages.

This will now require another major project to identify and correct any others in my tree like this. 

How Family Tree Maker Reporting Slows Your System.

First, my disclaimer. I don't know for a fact that what I say here is absolutely true.  However, my years in data processing and database management lead me to these conclusions. 

When you run a report in Family Tree Maker that software clogs your database with links and generated data and it remains there until you purge all that "crap". 

Because my database has grown large and unwieldy, I am in the process of separating my family tree into multiple lineages. I copied my existing tree into a separate tree and began deleting branches. After deleting several thousand individuals I attempted to run the Extended Family Chart and it did not successfully complete. So I compacted that new tree and received this message.

Wonderful, I thought, problem solved. So I again clicked Publish and selected the Extended Family Report. Immediately FTM began running the report. It  does that every time and does not allow you, the user, the opportunity to tailor that report for this specific run. No you don't need to do a thing because FTM knows better than its users and it just takes off running. Eventually it came to a stop and I clicked on the little box on the right that says Include All Individuals.

That is all you need to do because again FTM does what it wants, regardless of your needs.  FTM again immediately began processing. So I again allowed FTM to do what it wants and waited. Coffee, a tv show and many games of solitary later I got this message.  

How disappointing! Yes, good old FTM failed me - again! This is getting to be a habit with this software. So I thought that the only thing that has happened is that the database is corrupted. So I will compact it, once more.

 And the result is that I am now in a wild loop. Compact, run a report, have the software blow up, and do it all over again. Because as one can see the running of the report reloads the database with debris when the report fails.