Saturday, July 27, 2013

Merging Trees in Family Tree Maker

Merging Trees in Family Tree Maker

I have used Family Tree Maker (FTM) for over 15 year, yet I am constantly learning, or perhaps relearning, new things about it.  Recently, I had several versions of my family tree in my files and they all had similar names.  I thought I was using the latest version and had it linked on  However, yesterday I was checking the Mozingo branch of the tree that I had added about six to nine months ago and realized it wasn't there.  Somehow, I had switched to an older version of the tree sometime in that intervening period.  The tree I am using has at least 150 more individuals in it than the version containing the Mozingo line, which was only about 30 individuals.  Therefore, I didn't just want to switch back to the other version because I would be missing all the updating that I have done in the last few months.  I did, however, add some of the Mozingo line manually from a print out I had.  

I thought I could merge the trees; but can't remember ever merging; but I might have years ago and just not remembered it.  I have the manual for FTM 2012 so I looked in the manual's Index, both under "merging" and "Trees--merging"--nothing!  I then googled "merging two FTM family trees".  There were several answers; but the instructions weren't very clear and there seemed to be a consensus saying "be careful it can be very tricky."

I then called FTM technical support and, after about five minutes of checking her files, the technician said it could be done; explained briefly how to do it and said she would e-mail me detailed instructions.  I repeated my e-mail three times, but didn't have a good feeling when I hung up.  Sure enough, the e-mail never arrived.  I proceeded ahead, after making sure I had a back-up.  It seemed to be progressing very well until a window appeared, similar to merging individuals when you find a new record.  I selected merge for the individual. It started merging; but so slowly I thought something was wrong.  Fortunately, I was patient and after about an hour the merge was completed.

I decided to look back through the Mozingo family line to see if there were any duplicates, and there were several.  I took about 30 minutes and manually merged those individuals.

To begin a merge of two trees you select File and then Merge in the pull down window.  A window appears for you to select the FTM file from the appropriate file on your computer--usually the file in Documents labeled Family Tree Maker.  Then the "Merge Wizard" window below appears.

There are two categories from which to make selections, the first being "Individuals to Include".  You can either select to "Include all individuals from import file" or "Include only selected individuals from import file.  I assume if you knew you were only missing a few specific individuals that you wanted to be merged, it would be much quicker and safer to just import those selected individuals rather that the whole file. The second selection is "Merge or Append Individuals".  The two choices are "Merge matching individuals" or "Add individuals without merging".  I would think you might want to choose the latter if you had concerns about the facts and other data in one of the files you were merging.  Therefore, a manual merge would give you more control over which data was merged.  

Note at the bottom left of the above window is the term "Advanced" with an arrow beside it.  When you click on the arrow, you are given the chance to set the "Match Threshold"--a number between 0 and 1000.  A setting of 0 means there is "no similarity" and 1000 means "much similarity".  The default is 400, which is what I used.  Again, if you had doubts about the data from one of the trees you were merging; you might want to set the Threshold high so that you could manually merge the more questionable matches.  The Mozingo duplicates that I had to manually merge seemed to be obvious matches to me, so next time I think I would try a 300 setting vice 400.

In my May 27 blog I noted that I had discovered about 1600 errors in my FTM program, most of them being "Children sort order may be incorrect".  I had worked off about half of those "errors"; but was unsure if that was before I got the two programs switched.  I am happy to say that after the merge, all the corrections that I had made were incorporated.  Whew!

I have done other merges or uploads recently and they usually give you an estimate of how long the process will take.  This function doesn't do that; but it would be a nice feature.   

Now that I have merged these trees, I am going to eliminate the older one so I don't make the same mistake again and have to go through another merge.