16 June 2017

Run This Genealogy Report To Help Clean Up Your Dates

Update: Family Tree Analyzer is now available for Mac.

I've written before about my indispensable Document Tracker (see Haven't I Seen You Before?). It's a spreadsheet that shows at a glance which facts or documents I've collected and which I'm missing.

I've also written about Family Tree Analyzer (see Why You Should Be Using the Free "Family Tree Analyzer"). It's a program that does what I was struggling to write a program to do. And it does it so much better than I could have imagined. (Get the latest version.)

Now I'd like to show you how Family Tree Analyzer can quickly produce a document tracker for you.

Step 1: Export a GEDCOM

Export a standard GEDCOM file from whichever family tree software you're using. You may need to click File / Export in your family tree software. You can also download a GEDCOM from Ancestry.com if that's where you work on your tree.

Step 2: Open GEDCOM in Family Tree Analyzer

Launch Family Tree Analyzer and open your new GEDCOM file. Click the Individuals tab to view a grid of every single individual in your tree. My tree has 19,341 people at the moment, and that's not a problem. There is no delay at all in displaying the information.
The Individuals view in Family Tree Analyzer

Step 3: Export a Spreadsheet

Now click Export in the menu across the top and click the first option, Individuals to Excel. The program will ask you to name your file and pick a location for it.
Exporting your Individuals report

The file will be in CSV format. That stands for Comma Separated Values. You can open a CSV file with any spreadsheet software at all—not only Excel.

Step 4: Work with Your New Report

Now you have a spreadsheet of everyone in your tree and several basic facts about them. You can hide or delete the columns you don't want, and add some that you find more helpful.

Try some creative formatting: Find every cell with the word UNKNOWN and highlight it in yellow. Now you can spot these items quickly.
With all your people in one file, your imagination is the only limit.

I can review all the yellow-highlighted UNKNOWNs and work on filling in approximate birth, marriage and death dates. Entering an approximate birth date, such as Abt. 1900, makes it easier to distinguish people with similar names in your tree.

You can enter an approximate birth year for someone based on what else you know about them. For example, subtract 25 from the eldest child's birth year to approximate the parents' birth years. Or, if you have the mother's birth year as 1900 but not her husband's birth year, you can fill in Abt. 1900 for him.

Be sure to use the standard abbreviations of Abt. for about, Bef. for before, Aft. for after, and Bet. for between, if you're giving a range of years. (Note: Family Tree Analyzer prefers that you don't use a period—Abt instead of Abt.—but Family Tree Maker puts it in automatically. You can change this in Tools / Options on the Names/Dates/Places tab. Look for "Fact labels".)

How many ways will you use this Family Tree Analyzer report to fortify your family tree?



25 comments:

  1. Wow! I can't wait to try this!

    ReplyDelete
  2. What about if I use Family Search? They don't support a GEDCOM

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This came as a surprise to me, but familysearch suggests using family tree software to create a GEDCOM. There are free programs available to do this. I will reply again with more details.

      Delete
  3. OK, well, this is disturbing, and I'm glad I don't have my tree on FamilySearch.org:

    "Please remember that your "tree on family search" is not yours. There is only one "tree" in FamilySearch Family Tree, and we all contribute to it and update it.

    "When you create(d) your LDS Ancestry account, it should have automatically transferred your first four generations into your new Ancestry tree. After that, you can use the various FamilySearch functions in Ancestry to copy data from Family Tree to your Ancestry Tree, and from your Ancestry Tree to Family Tree, one person at a time.

    "There are, of course, third-party applications from FamilySearch partners, such as Ancestral Quest, which make it easier to move larger quantities of data back and forth."

    Here's a page that explains "How to download your ancestors from FamilySearch Family Tree into Legacy":
    http://support.legacyfamilytree.com/article/AA-00387/0/How-to-download-your-ancestors-from-FamilySearch-Family-Tree-into-Legacy.html

    It makes no sense to me that the people who created the GEDCOM standard won't let you export your tree to a GEDCOM.

    ReplyDelete
  4. The purpose for the Family Tree format on FamilySearch is different from any other genealogy site. It helps to understand that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints believe all humans are all literal children of God and therefore all related through Adam and Eve. You can then see why the site only supports one tree. Knowing this, FamilySearch heavily recommends users keep their personal trees on as many sites as possible and also on personal software. They support downloading direct family lines into personal software like RootsMagic which can then allow you to export to a GEDCOM. In the past FamilySearch had PAF which used GEDCOM, but found other programs were updating cleaner, faster, and better. As long as you recognize the difference in purposes between sites, you can take what you need from each and come out of top.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for the explanation - I appreciate it. It's a different mindset to be working on your family tree for fun vs. religious reasons. I don't like the idea of constraints on one's tree, but, again, you've made it understandable.

      Delete
  5. Replies
    1. I don't think so. It relies on Microsoft .Net technology to run.

      Delete
    2. Mack Lynch, the author of Family Tree Analyzer is working on a Mac version. It's in the early stages of development.

      Delete
  6. I use FTM. It now syncs with Ancestry and Familysearch. Should I continue to sync with familysearch and allow that info to come into my FTM?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Monta, I think that's a personal choice. I don't use the tree on FamilySearch, but it's my understanding that it's basically one worldwide tree. I'd worry that if you sync both ways, you'd download the whole world into FTM. (I'm sure FamilySearch users will think that's a stupid statement.)

      Delete
  7. I have followed your directions to get my GEDCOM file into Excel. Is there an easy way to find, select, and highlight the UNKNOWN?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi, Linda. I apologize for the delay in publishing your comment. I don't seem to be getting notifications anymore. Excel lets you sort any column alphabetically -- so that could group all the UNKNOWNs together. But it also lets you do "conditional" formatting. I didn't know this till I saw someone do it, but you can, say, search for UNKNOWN and change the cell color to yellow (or any color) for each instance. Search Excel's Help for "conditional formatting", or do a Google search for instructions -- even a video.

      Delete
  8. I have my extensive family tree on MyHeritage, will I be able to use your program with it?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. On MyHeritage, go to Family Tree, then Manage trees (it may be in the More menu). From there, in the Actions column, you can click to Export to GEDCOM. You've got to have your GEDCOM file so Family Tree analyzer can work with it.

      Delete
  9. Amazing tool! I have been looking for something that would do this for years now. Just found your site today! Thank you for all your hard work and knowledge that you are sharing! Very much appreciated!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm glad you found this site, Courtney. I publish on Tuesdays and Fridays. You have a lot of catching up to do. ;-)

      Delete
  10. I exported a gedcom from my Ancestry tree and ran the analyzer, you blew my mind Diann!!! now I know what I will be doing for the next few weeks. lol.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's great! But all credit goes to the programmer, Alexander Bisset.

      Delete
  11. finally got it to download but there is no way i can find it again without downloading it all over again. is there no shortcut i can put on the desktop to avoid this

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It sounds like you downloaded the program, but you haven't installed it yet. Your web browser probably downloads things to the same folder each time. You need to go to your download folder, find the program, and install it. You can make a shortcut to the program once you install it.

      Delete
  12. I have windows 10 and it crashes and doesn't create an icon to go back into it, just have to keep running the setup. Disappointing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You know what? I have a similar problem, but I seemed to be the only one with a problem until now. A previous version ran on my Windows 10 computer, but the newer versions do not. But...I also have a 1-year-old Windows 10 HP tablet computer. It runs there! So, when I want to use the program, I create a new GEDCOM and put it on the tablet. Do you have access to any other computers?

      Delete
  13. Question: Can I download on to a zip drive?

    ReplyDelete
  14. The latest version I have is small -- a 544KB setup file. But you will have to extract that setup file. So it will depend on the size of your zip drive.

    ReplyDelete