Monday, October 28, 2013

FTM2014 and Multiple Computers (TreeSync™ feature)

In the Dear MYRTLE Genealogy Community on Google+, there was a question about the use of multiple computers by a husband and wife. They were wondering how to maintain one file from these two computers.

In the Monday's With Myrt, Hangout On Air today, I tried to answer the question. In this case, it's a little difficult to "talk" about it, and easier to see visually.

Lets get some basics: ( this is as of today, in Version FTM2014 )

One Computer to One Ancestry Member Tree (AMT)

 (image from

The AMT in the center (in the cloud) with access to that Online Tree from anywhere.

I do most of my research from my PC at Home, with FTM2014  Using the TreeSync™ feature I can keep my AMT in Sync with the information on my Desktop computer at home.

But, what if I go to work OR my wife wants to work on the SAME Tree. Answer, from her laptop or PC to the AMT, no software required, only access to the internet and logged in, with her account to my AMT, with Editor Permissions. She can work on the Tree, or I could work on it from work (oh yeah, I'm retired)

Or, I take my Laptop to the Family History Center in Salt Lake City or any other repository. Same thing, no software, access to the Internet, I log in and can update my AMT from there.

But, what if I go to a family reunion or another Family Gathering and I only have my iPhone or iPad with the Ancestry APP installed. Same deal. Access the AMT and update as I am able.

When I finally get home, from any of these places, I have an indication in the Plan Workspace, or the ICON on the upper right of the screen, that the file needs to be updated. The downward pointing arrow tells me that something has changed in the AMT.

The TreeSyncLog shows who changed what by Ancestry Username and WHAT was updated.

Let's make this a little more complicated. I have a Mac to test and use FTMM-2 (Family Tree Maker for the Mac, Version 2) for testing and help with other Mac users. I have a Laptop, with FTM2014 installed for Presentations AND I help with an Adult Care Center Genealogy Club. I have files on that Laptop, just for that group of folks, I help them with their research. If I am at home researching for them, I do it from my Laptop. It's my On The Road computer. I do NOT have my PC file loaded on this laptop.

But, what about Dropbox?

I use it to Back Up the files on my Mac and from my Laptop. Those Back Ups are in the Dropbox folder on each computer (all three of them) and "in the Cloud" in Dropbox. I then move those Back Up files from the PC Dropbox folder and put them onto my external drive.

I have identified which Computer will handle each of these files. When I open FTM2014, on the Plan Workspace, New Tab, I selected Download from Ancestry.

The file in Blue, has an indication that it is Linked to a file, in the Status column and that I have No Action Available.. So, my PC, which is where this screen capture came from, controls that AMT, with the name in the first column. All of my another AMTs are also listed. Many of them say "Not linked to this machine". It's linked as there is No Action Available.

Looking across the three computers, it looks like this in a Spreadsheet..

The AMT Name is listed 3 times, one line for each computer. The filename is in the third row with that status of Link to the Filename. The other two computers say Not linked to this machine.

The next entry, the Filename with that file on my Laptop. I can access that AMT from any of the computers, but in this case the Laptop is the Sync computer.

Because FTMM-2 (the Mac version) has a different format, and there is a Migration program to go from PC to Mac or Mac to PC, I include -MAC in the File and Tree Name. This also helps with the Back Up file, which will include the Date of the Back Up. I keep the Mac and PC files in different folders on the External Drive.

So, I have identified which Computer Files manage with Ancestry Member Tree. The Download from Ancestry List shows me which AMTs are linked to Files on that Computer.

But, what about Dropbox?

I am sure that this could be done differently, but I have not done enough testing of my own, to put all of my eggs in the Dropbox basket.. BUT I DO have a specific purpose for Dropbox besides the Back Up command referred to earlier.

I have a Test File that I use just in case I run into a Sync Error Message. I just open that file, Upload and Sync, close it, and open the file that I may have had a Sync problem with. Yes, it's happened a couple of times. That little 3 person file, no images, no sources (please don't tell Elizabeth Shown Mills or DearMYRTLE) has kept me out of trouble a couple of times. Once the Sync Issue is resolved, I just Delete the related AMT. Keep the test file in Dropbox, just in case.

Bottom Line or Short Answer to the question:

One person work on the computer that controls / manages / Sync's to the Ancestry Member Tree and the other, work on the Ancestry Member Tree. Both at the same time will work. Then use the Sync Feature to put them back in Sync.

I would suggest that the two users work on different people or different lines so that you both aren't updating the SAME person between Sync's.

Copyright © 2013 by H R Worthington

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