Today has been an incredibly frustrating day. I made the decision to finally move my Family Tree Maker software from the old PC to the new PC which we have had sitting by the side of the desk for several months now. Most of our stuff is on external drives so other than the forthcoming prospect of sorting out our iTunes files to work on the new PC – the main thing was my family tree files.
As well as my two large main trees (mine and my husband’s) I have many other smaller trees which I often upload to Ancestry and share with my clients so they can have the interactive experience of navigating the tree I have researched for them.
I wasn’t overly sure what the best thing to do was, I’ve had issues in the past when the sync and link to Ancestry stopped working and I either had to re-upload and then re-send invites to family members – and after having only recently sent the invites at that time I didn’t want to be a pain to people, so thought I would just get the link back by downloading the tree from Ancestry back into FTM. However it then renamed all my media files to Media Item-1.jpg for example. Imagine my distress at having to rename thousands of media files to make them all right again – just so I didn’t annoy some family members with another tree invite!
So I thought I better email Ancestry support to ask them what the best course of action was – this was the other week – they told me that I had to sever the link and download from Ancestry, or to just upload a new tree and send out new invites. I was a bit irked by that and so put it off for another couple of weeks.
So today came and I thought I would give it a go. After some faffing about with installing it on the new PC and downloading updates I tried with a couple of smaller trees with downloading them from Ancestry and they worked a treat but then I did one of the older trees and all 437 media files were renamed. So I was a bit annoyed about that. One tree seemed OK but about 50 odd files were renamed.
I was then nervous about doing my two main trees, so I thought I would try to download from Ancestry without linking to see what it would do with the media files before I committed myself. Imagine my surprise when downloading them through FTM I got error messages with both trees saying the files were either corrupt or not valid FTM backup files. Considering they were from Ancestry itself they should have been correct backup files.
Instead I resigned myself to just do backup files from the old PC and then do a restore and just send out new invites. That too was a trial! After numerous attempts where it would get to the end of the backup creation and then tell me it had failed, crash – try again – crash halfway through – I finally managed to create the files and went onto the new PC and did the restore. There was an option to restore sync – so I clicked that…. and it all worked fine. No need to send out any new invites, no file renaming, no major hassle.
I was elated but so very fed up that I had spent so much time today faffing about because of the incorrect advice from Ancestry Support. No-one there has ever been able to answer my query as to why it renames my media files. Part of me is wondering if it is something to do with items added to my tree when I was using FTM 2009 – then I upgraded to 2012 a couple of years ago and it may be that files added after that are ok. Anyway, I can now use my trees on my new PC which is quicker and swishier, which is a good thing. Hopefully it will also be more stable in terms of less crashing too.
Plus after discovering the speakers had stopped working on the old PC this morning – but that they still work on the new PC – gives me more reason to use the new PC (and to sort out iTunes) as I love listening to music while I work!
I’m sure there are probably some really good family tree software packages out there. I did used to use FamilyHistorian but I didn’t like the layout and I like the way FTM links to Ancestry and the hint options and the good ability to share with relatives etc. Plus packages come with free months subscription to Ancestry which is always handy.
I am not a big fan of the reports available in FTM and often use a programme called Ancestral Author to pull off reports from a Gedcom file but often find this doesn’t always show the sort of info I want.
However, despite all my moans and frustrations I find FTM easy to use on a day to day basis, it has many good points including maps.
What packages do you use? Love it or hate it?