FTM to RootsMagic Migration #ftm2014 #gedcom

This page provides some guidance to émigrés from Family Tree Maker to most completely and successful migrate their data to RootsMagic. It includes some operations in FTM itself in preparation for exporting data, the export itself, operations on the GEDCOM file before importing into RM, and then operations in RootsMagic and with SQLite that complete the process. What is provided here is from the perspective of a light user of FTM who primarily was interested in its ability to batch download citation images along with the Ancestry Family Tree, acting as an intermediary between Ancestry.com and my RootsMagic database. The platforms on which this page is based are Family Tree Maker 2014 for Windows and RootsMagic for Windows.

Cleanup in Family Tree Maker

Don’t rush to export your database without considering whether there are things you should do to clean it up first, because:
a) You want as complete an export as possible (not everything makes it to GEDCOM)
b) You want the export to be as compatible as it can be with RootsMagic (if RootsMagic does not recognize something in the GEDCOM file, it is not going anywhere)
c) There may be some normalisation of your data and styles more easily done in Family Tree Maker.

One reference offering guidance on cleanup is Ben Sayer’s blog article, Replacing Family Tree Maker, Part 1: How to Scrub Your Data, but I would offer a caution: his approach is to achieve highest compliance with the GEDCOM 5.5.1 draft specification, according to his interpretation. While RootsMagic supports the same specification, that does not mean that it has been interpreted consistently with his. There may be differences that warrant different cleanup operations or, in some cases, inaction. It also is based on Family Tree Maker 3 for the MacIntosh computer, not Family Tree Maker 2014 for Windows which is the basis for this page. I recommend that you read through each Part and comments to Part 3 as there are things he discovered with the import of his ‘spec-compliant GEDCOM’ that counter some of what he recommended in prior Parts, e.g., he advises against converting EVEN tags to FACT tags as he had recommended in Part 2.

Exporting from Family Tree Maker 2014

FTM2014 Export setting

The common recommendation has been to export to GEDCOM 5.5, Destination: Other. However, that GEDCOM omits some things, notably Media Description, that are included if you change the Destination to Family Tree Maker 2012. Use the UTF-8 Character Set for support of most alphabets.

Edit the GEDCOM for better compatibility

Ben Sayer’s page Replacing Family Tree Maker, Part 2: How to Get Your Tree out of FTM provides useful guidance on tools and procedures for editing the GEDCOM file exported from FTM. However, there are changes he advocates for compliance with GEDCOM 5.5.1 that may be unnecessary or inappropriate for an import to RootsMagic Read Part 3 before you undertake any of the revisions he recommends in Part 2. This is a work-in-progress that will expand with experience.

Import into RootsMagic

Ben’s page

Post-import Operations

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