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#1 brent524

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Posted 03 November 2013 - 09:52 AM

In the section "Collaborating With Family Members" in the book "Getting the Most Out of RootsMagic version 6", it suggests exporting a GEDCOM file from RM and giving it to your family members to import into their RM. This way everyone will have the same RM "unique ID" making it easier to merge and share using ShareMerge. Why would this be better than just giving them each a copy of the RM database directly?

Also, I would rather use the FamilySearch Family Tree "unique ID" for matching. Is this possible?

Any insight much appreciated!
Thanks,
Brent

#2 Laura

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Posted 03 November 2013 - 10:54 AM

No, it isn't possible. To see the UID number assigned to a person by RootsMagic, export a gedcom for a person and imporg the gedcom file into a word processor program. Right under the person's sex is the _UID tag. The UID is a long combination of numbers and letters.

I doubt if it will ever be possible to Smartmerge by Family Tree ID's. In the database I am using to match people in FamilySearch Family Tree, most of my people are not in Family Tree at all. I have very few people that will match. Also it is posible to merge and eventually delete people in Family Tree which will change the FamilySearch ID. And, what if one person matches a person in Family Tree with a diferent FamilySearch ID than the person you matched the person to and you both have different FamilySearch ID´s.

Not all users will ever use RootsMagic and Family Tree. I match people in a copy of my main database and probably will never do the matching in the main database as I am only using Family Tree as a reference tool just like I do any other family lineage database online.
Laura

The following was overheard at a recent high society party...
"My ancestry goes all the way back to Alexander the Great," said one lady. She then turned to a second woman and asked, "How far does your family go back?"
"I don't know," was the reply. "All of our records were lost in the flood."
-on various web sites-

#3 c24m48

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Posted 03 November 2013 - 11:04 AM

I realize that I sound somewhat negative when I talk about this subject, but in my view it really isn't very easy to collaborate with family members using RM (or any other desktop software, for that matter). The fundamental problem is that if you work on some parts of the family and other family members work on other parts of the family, then it's hard to put all the pieces back together. Your database sort of becomes like Humpty Dumpty.

Let's say that you are working on the family of John Doe who has two sons Samuel Doe and Thomas Doe. Let's assume that you have a good bit of data on Samuel and Thomas and that another family member has none. Let's assume that both you and another family member have RM. Let's assume that you and your other family member agree that you will research Samuel Doe in great detail and that your other family member will research Thomas Doe in great detail. At some point (I was going to say "after you were done", but genealogy is never done), you will merge your data back together. You will give your family member your new and improved data on Samuel and he or she in return will give you their new and improved data on Thomas.

Let's start with using GEDCOM as the tool of choice for exchanging data. Since you have all the data to start with, you would begin by sending your family member a GEDCOM with all your data on Thomas. You would focus on working on Samuel. After a few months, you would send your family member a GEDCOM for Samuel and he or she would send you a GEDCOM on Thomas. Remember that these GEDCOM's could possibly include hundreds or thousands of individuals, depending on how many of generations of Samuel and Thomas's descendants you are working on.

At this point,all your family member has to do is to import the Samuel GEDCOM, since he or she does not yet have any data on Samuel. But you would have to import and merge the Thomas GEDCOM to include all the research done by your family member with whom you are collaborating. You would use the RM's ShareMerge feature. That would automatically make sure that the individuals from the Thomas GEDCOM are matched with the proper individual from your own database. But the matching is the only part of the process that's really automatic. On a case by case basis, one individual at a time, you would have to examine the data from your family member to see how it corresponds to the data already in your database. For example, suppose Thomas had a daughter named Sarah and you originally had her birthdate listed as "about 1848". Suppose your family member had found a tombstone that listed her birthdate as 27 Jun 1848. You would end up with two birthdates and you would have to manually delete the one for "about 1848". You really have to do this almost on a fact by fact basis for every individual. And the problem is really worse than it sounds. Even though the more basic data such as dates and places is pretty visible to compare visually, other data such as notes and sources is not very visible to compare visually and you have to drill down pretty deeply to find it all.

Instead, let's assume that you send your family member a copy of your database which is returned to you a few months later. You would have two options. One would be to open both databases at the same time in side-by-side window panes within RM and eyeball the differences (if you could find them all). You could drag and drop from family member's version of the data into yours, but would still end up with duplicate events such as the aforementioned Sarah Doe's birthdate to reconcile manually. The other option would be to export a GEDCOM from your family member's database and import it into yours, and the effect would be the same as if all your family member sent you a GEDCOM in the first place. I think it's really a mess.

But let's go one step further and assume that you and your family member continue working on the descendants of Samuel and Thomas Doe. But the second and subsequent times you and your family member exchange data, all these problems I've just described would accrue not just to you but also to your family member. The way I set up this scenario, your family member started with nothing and didn't have to worry about any merging. But this time, your family member does already have a database so he or she also has to worry about the merging.

A totally different approach might be for you and your family member with whom you are collaborating to work on a single database that you share with Dropbox or some similar tool. But this can be really dangerous, and if you do it you have to have some way to be really, really sure that you and your family member never work on the database at the same time. For example, you might mutually agree that you will only work on the database on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, he or she will only work on the database on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays, and you will both take Sunday off.

There are no really good solutions. Indeed, the best solution might be to do something like put all your data on Family Search Family Tree and to treat that as your master database. Then both of you would update Family Search Family Tree using RM, and each of your instances of RM woud be synced with FSFT and thereby with each other. But the data model supported by FSFT (managing events, sources, notes, media, etc.) is generally speaking much weaker than RM's data model and in my opinion is not especially compatible with RM's data model. Which is to say, if you send data from RM to FSFT and back to RM, some of the data won't be the same. So you would be stuck with figuring out and using only the part of the RM data model and the FSFT data model that are sort of least common denominators. There are probably people who have already thought through and understand what that would entail, but I have not done so yet.

Jerry

#4 TomH

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Posted 03 November 2013 - 11:07 AM

If Internet bandwidth is low, a GEDCOM would be smaller. The database file contains a lot of built in stuff that may be unused. If you have a very large database and just want to collaborate on selected families, the size advantage increases. That said, a backup of your database is just a compressed copy so that is another way to conserve bandwidth. As an alternative to selective export, you could use selective drag'n'drop to a new database and send that. They have the same choices to make when sending stuff to you.

Another method is to share one common database on a scheduled basis via Dropbox or other similar cloud sharing tool. Everyone would keep the database in their own local DropBox folder sharing a common DropBox in the cloud. Agree on a schedule that allows only one person at a time to open the database. Any change he/she makes is sync'd to the others. However, to avoid possible access collisions between Dropbox and RootsMagic, it is advisable to suspend DropBox while RM has the file open. Unfortunately, Dropbox does not have a lock function (unless introduced in the last year or so) that would prevent accidental doubling on the file. That requires a workgroup collaboration software.

A new technique you might want to consider is to collaborate on FamilySearch Family Tree. That will inherently show what changes others make and provides a discussion feature by which moot facts may be settled. However, it is wide open to anybody who registers and you may be less than thrilled with how your data exports to FSFT and how it's data imports to RM. It certainly avoids the issues of syncing, collision, GEDCOM or drag'n'drop import/export and merging.

Wow! We tripled...

Edited by TomH, 03 November 2013 - 11:13 AM.

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#5 Laura

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Posted 03 November 2013 - 12:57 PM

I have never shared with anyone where we were both using the same database in RootsMagic.

One person I shared with used PAF. He would periodically send me a gedcom of his whole database, and I would import it into a new RootsMagic database and use it for reference. And I would also periodically send him a full gedcom from my database and he would import into a new database in PAF. We both maintained our own databases.

I created a user defined fact with the date and description enabled. The date was the date I made a change in RM. In the description, I entered the fact I changed and what I changed, Birth, Death, note, source, etc.. I would either send him a new gedcom or Narrative report depending on the amount of people I had changed or added. I would also send him a custom report using the user defined fact date as a filter, i.e. after [date I last sent him a gedcom as per the email date].

We used the same Reference number, Henry numbering, in the Reference number fact to coordinate people.

The other person I researched with used Family Tree Maker and then Reunion. We just exchanged data and research results in emails. And some times I would send her a Narrative report or she would send me one.

I agree that even when both researchers are using RootsMagic, trying to maintain the same database could be very difficult.

In addition to the reasons already posted, the two parties would have to agree how data was going to be entered into the database, what facts to use for what data, how sources would be entered, etc. to maintain consistency in the database. There are posts after posts of the different ways users enter data into RM on this forum. What works for me doesn't necessarilly work for another user.

And, also there would need to be agreement on how to handle a difference in views on how conflicting names, dates, places, sources, etc. should be entered. For instance, different sources give different birth dates or places. One researcher wants to use one date and the other user wants to use the other date as the Primary.

I would definitely want a user defined fact as above to track the changes made by each person and, probably, a user defined fact to track the differences of opinions or ideas about research results of each user.

If I were to try using the same database with both making changes, I would be very choosy about the other researcher. I have one family member I would do it with and another I might have enough differences of opinion on how to enter data that it would be better to just share data and each maintain their own database.
Laura

The following was overheard at a recent high society party...
"My ancestry goes all the way back to Alexander the Great," said one lady. She then turned to a second woman and asked, "How far does your family go back?"
"I don't know," was the reply. "All of our records were lost in the flood."
-on various web sites-

#6 kbens0n

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Posted 03 November 2013 - 01:26 PM

A totally different approach might be for you and your family member with whom you are collaborating to work on a single database that you share with Dropbox or some similar tool. But this can be really dangerous, and if you do it you have to have some way to be really, really sure that you and your family member never work on the database at the same time. For example, you might mutually agree that you will only work on the database on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, he or she will only work on the database on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays, and you will both take Sunday off.

Another method is to share one common database on a scheduled basis via Dropbox or other similar cloud sharing tool. Everyone would keep the database in their own local DropBox folder sharing a common DropBox in the cloud. Agree on a schedule that allows only one person at a time to open the database. Any change he/she makes is sync'd to the others. However, to avoid possible access collisions between Dropbox and RootsMagic, it is advisable to suspend DropBox while RM has the file open. Unfortunately, Dropbox does not have a lock function (unless introduced in the last year or so) that would prevent accidental doubling on the file. That requires a workgroup collaboration software.


It seems as though one trick to using Dropbox to collaborate might be for sharees to open the Dropbox-synched database and perform an simple silly test edit of some kind such as changing their own Given Name to 'NONE' or something. Then the user should check online at DropBox itself to see if there's now two copies of the database, where one has been renamed with additional text in parentheses signifying that it's a "conflicted copy" as per this Dropbox Help Center explanation https://www.dropbox.com/help/36/en <- This would signal the potential editor sharee that the database is already open and they should simply rescind that silly Given Name test edit and try some time later. If there's no second copy listed up at Dropbox, then the sharee can rescind the silly simple test edit of Given Name -AND- begin their normal editing/additions. Crude but possibly enough? Note: I don't use Dropbox for RM collaboration
--
-- "GENEALOGY, n. An account of one's descent from an ancestor who did not particularly care to trace his own." - Ambrose Bierce
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#7 brent524

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Posted 03 November 2013 - 03:30 PM

Two thoughts come to mind,
  • "You want the truth? You can't handle the truth!"
  • Don't Ask the Question if You Don't Want the Answer
This is certainly not the response I expected but on the other side everything that has been said makes complete sense. This is not going to be as straight-forward as I thought. I am very grateful for the suggestions, examples, and cautions. You have probably saved me a lot of heartache by giving me a more realistic view of things. I believe my first focus needs to be building a database I am happy with and using FSFT and other's databases as reference.

No, it isn't possible. To see the UID number assigned to a person by RootsMagic, export a gedcom for a person and import the gedcom file into a word processor program. Right under the person's sex is the _UID tag. The UID is a long combination of numbers and letters.


I'm still a bit unclear why I can't just give someone else a copy of my RM database as opposed to exporting a GEDCOM for them to import into RM. It seems to me either way the UID would be the same.

Thanks everyone!
Thanks,
Brent

#8 Laura

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Posted 03 November 2013 - 04:10 PM

There is no difference in sending another RootsMagic user a gedcom or copy of your database or a backup database as far as the RM UID numbers in your database is concerned, and I didn't mean to imply there is. It is only in a gedcom that we can see what the UID for a person is.

Where it would make a difference in sharing databases would be if each user was using a different version of RootsMagic. An older version of RM cannot convert a newer version's database so you would need to use a gedcom.

And that is another thing to think about when planning to use the same database along with features a newer version has that is not available such as sharing a fact or place details to a person using an older version.
Laura

The following was overheard at a recent high society party...
"My ancestry goes all the way back to Alexander the Great," said one lady. She then turned to a second woman and asked, "How far does your family go back?"
"I don't know," was the reply. "All of our records were lost in the flood."
-on various web sites-

#9 brent524

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Posted 04 November 2013 - 12:38 AM

Laura,

Thanks for the clarification. Makes sense.

Brent
Thanks,
Brent

#10 Don Newcomb

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Posted 04 November 2013 - 11:27 AM

This is a question. How would it work for one person to act as the keeper of the master database, which would then be shared via a service like DropBox? Say, once a week, on a given day, each collaborator would download the master. Later each would upload only that portion of the database that they changed (Using the "Date Last Edited" field). The changes would be smart merged into the master and a new master database would be shared. Careful version numbering should be followed.

I'm not a big fan of this sort of collaboration. Seems like too much can go wrong. I also don't like the idea of passing information about living people around on the net.

#11 c24m48

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Posted 04 November 2013 - 12:41 PM

The changes would be smart merged into the master and a new master database would be shared.


Therein lies the fly in the ointment. The SmartMerge process is generally speaking extremely manual and labor intensive.

I have suggested before and I don't feel that I've gotten any traction with the suggestion is that what is needed in this case is SmartReplace rather than SmartMerge. Which is to say, when individuals come back into the master database, they would totally replace whatever was there before. Presumably, the family member making the changes would already have gotten all the changes reconciled with what was there before. Doing a SmartReplace instead of a SmartMerge would assure that all this work wouldn't have to be done again a second time as a part of the SmartMerge process.

Jerry

#12 brent524

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Posted 04 November 2013 - 12:57 PM

SmartReplace ... I like that! I'll sign the petition. :)

Brent
Thanks,
Brent

#13 westis

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Posted 11 November 2013 - 10:04 PM

I'm working with my uncle on a particular branch. He is using a different tool, that to a large extent is not compatible with RM. Since he has 15 000 entries, and this branch only has 300+ entries, he doesn't want to risk anything by doing a GEDCOM import.

What we do now is I print a narrative report and he adds what he needs based on that. Sometimes I use custom facts, but he may use another way to enter that same fact.

Is it possible in any way to only include data changed after a chosen date/time in a report? That way it would be very easy to print only what has changed and he can then easily go through that, now a lot smaller, report and copy/paste to his database.

#14 TomH

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Posted 12 November 2013 - 07:15 AM

You could just export people whose data has changed but it would include all their unchanged data, too. Either he imports into a temp database or you generate reports from your temp database. Former and changed persons could be compared, best done using Individual Summary reports and software that can compare the two report files. You should experiment with the file types. For RTF, you will need to use MS Word while you can find a free text editor that will compare TXT files.

Tom user of RM6314 FTM2014 Ancestry.ca FamilySearch.org FindMyPast.com
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#15 westis

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Posted 13 November 2013 - 02:08 AM

You could just export people whose data has changed but it would include all their unchanged data, too. Either he imports into a temp database or you generate reports from your temp database. Former and changed persons could be compared, best done using Individual Summary reports and software that can compare the two report files. You should experiment with the file types. For RTF, you will need to use MS Word while you can find a free text editor that will compare TXT files.


How do I export only those that have changed since the last export? That is, without having to select each individual manually. Exporting all their data is ok, since my uncle wants to double-check everything he enters into his db anyway. Or you mean I simply export another Individual Summary report and compare the two? Although it is not possible to include all people in the db in an Individual Summary report?

If I could simply select individuals by the last edit date, that would be enough for me. But that is not possible?

#16 c24m48

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Posted 13 November 2013 - 05:59 AM

If I could simply select individuals by the last edit date, that would be enough for me. But that is not possible?


Yes, that's possible. When you export a GEDCOM, you can select who to export and your criterion can be by last edit date.

Jerry

#17 westis

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Posted 13 November 2013 - 06:22 AM

Yes, that's possible. When you export a GEDCOM, you can select who to export and your criterion can be by last edit date.

Jerry


Ok, but only with GEDCOM? Since my uncle will import manually (he doesn't want to import a GEDCOM, since it means losing control of the data he adds to his db), I would need a printed report using the same criteria (last edit date). But I haven't found such an option.

#18 TomH

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Posted 13 November 2013 - 07:02 AM

He can import the GEDCOM into a new temp database and run both master and new side-by-side or generate Individual Summary reports from both for comparison. Or you generate the baseline Individual Summary reports from the last version you sent him and again after the revisions for comparison. In RM, you can selectively generate IS reports using the Select People From a List option in Report Settings.

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#19 westis

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Posted 13 November 2013 - 07:10 AM

He can import the GEDCOM into a new temp database and run both master and new side-by-side or generate Individual Summary reports from both for comparison. Or you generate the baseline Individual Summary reports from the last version you sent him and again after the revisions for comparison. In RM, you can selectively generate IS reports using the Select People From a List option in Report Settings.


He is not using RootsMagic, which is why GEDCOM is not working. But maybe I can export to GEDCOM and import to a new db with only the people that have updated.

There is no way to get an Individual Summary report for all people in the db? The only report that could include everything in the db seems to be the narrative report, although that is more difficult to use when copying to another application.

#20 TomH

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Posted 13 November 2013 - 09:17 AM

He is not using RootsMagic, which is why GEDCOM is not working. But maybe I can export to GEDCOM and import to a new db with only the people that have updated.

Surely he is using a genealogy database system that imports GEDCOM. You may have to uncheck the box "Extra details (RM specific)" on your export for it to be more compatible. Yes, you can import to a new database via GEDCOM or even more conveniently using drag'n'drop with the option "Let me select people from a list".

There is no way to get an Individual Summary report for all people in the db? The only report that could include everything in the db seems to be the narrative report, although that is more difficult to use when copying to another application.

Of course, there is. When you launch the Individual Summary report, it opens the Report Settings dialog. Press the F1 key to open the Help screen about this report and read... See the para "People to include" and, within, the link "Select people" - click it. Read that... section 6 shows the option to select Everyone in the database. Within that section is the bullet "Select people by data fields" and in it the link "Search for information"... click it. That takes you to the "Using the search dialog" help screen which may not be of much help. However, if you follow the steps in the RM dialog to the working screen, this is where you get to select "Date last edited" as a criterion to mark the checkboxes of people in the Select People dialog.

Using that process for export, drag'n'drop or individual summary reports, you can either select Everyone or those whose Date last edited is later than the last time you generated the baseline.

Tom user of RM6314 FTM2014 Ancestry.ca FamilySearch.org FindMyPast.com
SQLite_Tools_For_Roots_Magic_in_PR_Celtiwiki, exploiting the database in special ways >>> RMtrix_tiny.png app, a growing bundle of RootsMagic utilities.






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