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Too many clicks to sync ancestry

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#1 tconrad



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Posted 21 August 2017 - 05:22 PM



I'm interested in feedback on this.   I mentioned that yesterday I had some issues syncing data and hinted that I thought the whole feature needs an update.    As I continued down this path, I'm pretty convinced that for me, this feature is unusable.


I started by downloading my current ancestry tree and then doing cleanup before sharing a family tree with others.   I used RM to a) update the "living flag" (which doesn't work - see my other thread) and B) merge locations.   Unfortunately, even the location merge doesn't seem to register unless I give each person focus.  So I started at the first "Conrad" and then down arrowed through all 1200 of them, which registered the updates for them (but not non-Conrads).


Now, when I go to do the sync function, I have to do *5* clicks per difference.   So if a person had 5 diffs, that's 4*5 +1= 21 clicks to sync them (only need to do the update click once when multiple things change).  But really?   I had hundreds of manual updates and spent two days clicking.   I felt like hiring someone to just work my mouse button and do clicks for me.    Never again.  I didn't want to stop in the middle though with things so out-of-sync.


There are only a few tasks required in doing any sync.  Think of doing merges in a version control system, doing a file backup sync, or doing an ftp upload.   All of these common "sync" systems use rules to avoid all this clicking.


For me, the rule should come down to pushing data to ancestry, or pulling data from ancestry.   Then you

enable what to do:


- if it's a new place/date event, add it

- if it's dropped, user enables whether to force drop these (or leave alone)

- if the data/place change, change it

- if the flag changes, change it

- if a new person, add them

 - etc


This would cover 99% of the operations.  An executive summary would say "these things will change".  That report of changes would be one line per change (right now I have to click to even see each change!).   You approve what it plans to do and hit "synchronize".


Yes, it's a risky thing.  Yes, people will go "oh no!".   This is the way with computers.  Backup and backup often.   But requiring 5 clicks per change offers little value over just doing edits in two places at once (which I gave up a long time ago).


Or... did I miss something and this is operator error?   I watched the video and read the man page, and poked around on the panels and I just can't find a way to do a batch "sync" operation.


Such an improved method might even be useful in the future on say FamilySearch or any future supported online tree system.


Thoughts?   Do other people have a different way to keep their ancestry and RM in sync?   I love the concept, just not the implementation.




#2 keithcstone


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Posted 22 August 2017 - 03:42 AM

I have about 7000, so I'm going through mice like potato chips. 


I agree some rules would be nice, particularly if you had the option to turn them on and off. I understand the issue how the extreme granularity can be helpful once you're through the initial "cleanup", and that RM probably has an issue with which side is "right". For example if a place is edited on both which do you choose?


For example I think something they could implement quickly would be to "upload all new" and "download all new".

#3 mjashby


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Posted 24 August 2017 - 02:59 AM

In my experience to date, the automatic upload and download of data for numerous individuals would leave the unwary user with yet another major clean-up problem/exercise. e.g.


 - Marriage Facts are transferred from Ancestry as two individual events; not as a single 'Shared Fact' (or Family Fact in GEDCOM terms)

 - Place Records are merged with Place Details in any new transfer either way.

 - importing 'random' changes/updates from Ancestry can lead to multiple copies of the same source citations and source images being downloaded when the same Source needs to be attached to several people, or even to different facts for the same person.

 - Local updates carried out in RootsMagic which involve creating links to any existing Sources/Media can result in those 'new' Source Records and Media being uploaded to Ancestry as local Sources/Media.


How would a user recognise which records amongst many may have been affected by such issues; and need to be re-edited in RootsMagic, in Ancestry's Online Tree, or possibly in both once their Records simply show as 'matched'. 




"A Mac User with Windows & Linux Tendencies"

Windows Genealogy Software: Family Historian 6, Ancestral Sources, RootsMagic 7, Behold, Charting Companion

#4 keithcstone


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Posted 24 August 2017 - 06:44 AM

While I agree there are potential issues with a bulk-upload, not having that capability is a major drawback. We are talking tens of thousands of clicks and months of time to get any reasonable sized tree synced. I've been working every day since it was released to get my tree synced and I'm not even through the H's. The fact that a mass sync could cause a problem doesn't out-weigh the fact that lack of it is already a problem and makes the feature only marginally useful.


For example there's no good reason NOT to have the option to bulk-upload all the new people, or bulk-download all the new people. That capability alone would make cleanup faster. For example the tedious one at a time process with thousands of people means if you find someone that you can merge, leaving an orphan on one side or the other you have no idea if that's a "new" people or a "duplicate" person. The only other option is freezing all work on one side or another until everyone is on both sides and you can deal with just changes. That freeze could be months, or years of you don't have vast amounts of time.


For a casual genealogist the sync feature is totally unusable if they have more than a few hundred people in their tree. It only works for a practical matter for someone that already has a tree on ancestry.com and creates a fresh database from it. 


That said I think the RM + ancestry.com combination has great potential and I'm betting they will they will get it to work, hopefully sooner rather than later. I've bet a couple months of near daily work on this, so I hope that wasn't in vain.

#5 vikjohn


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Posted 12 October 2017 - 07:34 PM

I am new to RM and find this tedious. I moved to keeping my Ancestry file up to date and then just creating an new RM tree each download. Trying to figure out how all this works... I am a legacy user or I was. I have used FTB from MyHeritage which synced beautifully but unless you have a subscription it is worthless. Didn't like FTM. Love Legacy but their move prompted me to try RM.


Think I will take a break ... V

#6 momakid


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Posted 28 November 2017 - 11:07 PM

I totally agree with tconrad.  There are way to many clicks to sync/update to Ancestry. When the person is selected, I would like to be able to add, deleted or leave it alone on either side.  I can't delete stuff on Ancestry in Rootsmagic unless I go to Ancestry and then delete whatever. I have added as many as 5 media back to Rootsmagic partly because I don't know what media is in Ancestry or in Rootsmagic and Rootsmagic says they are different. It causes a lot of time checking for duplicates.  I go through thousands after adding people from census records.  It takes close to a week to update Ancestry.  I am starting to disconnect from Ancestry and then reupload it. Seems like a whole lot less work.

#7 twgerber



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Posted 30 November 2017 - 09:05 AM

I am only updating in RM.  I want RM to move all changes to Ancestry.  Clicking each one individually is a royal PIA.   It's bascially useless.  I am working on adding lots of media and I have to add to RM 1 by 1 as expected but I do not expect to have to then also sync each one  1 by 1.


Sync all.