Friday, November 30, 2018

There are Back Up's and there are Back Up's

Within the Family Tree Maker program there two major types of Back Ups, the Automatic Back Up and the Manual Back Up.

I am mentioned this, with my recent posts about the naming of our Media Files to hi-light the differences between your Back Ups and how you include your Media and other files into Family Tree Maker.

Here is an example of How and Where I same my genealogy files BEFORE I add them to my FTM2017 file.

The files in these folders may or may not be included in my database yet. They may be Documents, Images, other Media Files, but fielded by Surname, so I can find them again.

When you Add a file, into Family Tree Maker, you use the ADD button, in many places within toe program, either to a Person or a Citation. My previous Filenaming blog posts have been with those Media files, linked to Citations. My goal is to have a Citation on ALL Media files, so that I know where I got "that file" from.

This happens to be in the Media Workspace, but there are many places where to add a Media file into the program.

After you navigate to where the file is, like the list of folders above, we are given an option to Link To or Copy the file, into Family Tree Maker.

I ALWAYS use the COPY option. I do what for two reasons: 1) If something happens to either the original or the copy, I have a Back Up Copy of that Media file. If I do any editing of that Media file in Family Tree Maker, as an example, I have that Original Copy it the Genealogy Folder elsewhere on my computer, 2) when I Back Up my Family Tree Make FILE, the Media Folder, and all of the Media files in that folder are Backed Up, along with the Data (names, dates, places, facts, citations).

REMINDER: In Family Tree Maker, Media Workspace, that the CATEGORIES serve the same purpose as the Sub-Folders do in File Explorer.

Now for the different types of Back Up files in Family Tree Maker, the Automatic and the Manual. Both types of these Back Up files have the File Extension of FTMB. (bit confusing, until you look at the rest of the filename.

The Automatic Back Up

In the Tools Menu, Options selection

Is the Automatic Back Up option. What that means is that every time you close down the file (File, Close, is the RECOMMENDED way to do so), the program will create an Automatic Back Up.

The important thing to mention here is that it ONLY  Backs Up the DATA in that File. No images are included in this type of FTMB file. 

This is important to remember IF you have a computer crash and the only thing you did was an Automatic Back Up, and IF it was backed up on an External Drive or "In the cloud" (or OneDrive, Dropbox), the Media files are NOT included in that FTMB file.

If you do a File, EXPORT, for a choice other than GEDCOM, it Too will generate a FTMB file, but WILL include the Media files.

The Manual Back Up option, there are TWO types of Manual Back Ups. 1) when you compact the file, and 2) from the File menu.

Again, the Tools Menu, Compact file (my  recommended method)

Selecting the Backup file before compacting will cause Family Tree Maker to Back Up the file, before it Compacts and performs the extended analysis of the file.

An aside on this, that you have a BACK UP before the analysis begins, What IF there is a serious issue within the file and makes that file so that it can't be opened. This Back Up can be sent to the Support folks at Family Tree Maker to resolve, just provide them with the detatils.

I ALWAYS use the Compact AND Back Up option.

The difference here is that ALL of the "Copied" files, in the Media Folder for that file, are included in that Back Up. That Manually created back up can be taken to another computer, put on a flash drive and ALL of the Media and Data are in ONE FTMB file.

For this blog post, I am not going into the other options in the Manual Back Up process, like allow the Back Up to include the Syncing with an Ancestry Member Tree.

Here is an example of an Automatic Back Up File:

The filename and "AutoBackup.ftmb is listed, but note the file size

Look at the file SIZE difference AND that the Date is added. Family Tree Maker includes the DATE of the Back Up, in the Manual version. I modify the filename to include the TIME (at the end). I may make several back ups in a given day and want to be able to tell the difference.

There is also a Back Up option in the File Menu. That allows you to select, as does the Compact and Back Up option, what to include in that Back Up.

I use the "Custom Directory" Option, and direct that Back Ups to an External Drive.


  • Use the Copy option when Adding a Media file into Family Tree Maker
  • Use the Manual Back Up, along with the Compact File option

Copyright © 2018 by Cousin Russ

Monday, November 26, 2018

Media File Names and a Photo Journal Citation

Continuing the thought process about Filenames, within Family Tree Maker, I wanted to re-look at how I handled my  own Media Files. In this specific case, photographs.

My goal here, is to have Citations on ALL, well almost all, Media files. My exception to that goal is Family Tree Maker Charts, Reports, and other Media files. This is my continued drive to have Citations linked to Facts. Where appropriate, those Citations have the Media Files. I want to be able to answer the question, Where did THAT photograph come from?

Media File ==> Citation ==> Fact

What I created was a "Photo Journal" Citation. There is a Diary or Journal Source Template that works very well (I think). The fields for this template are:

  • Source template: Diary or Journal
  • Author surname:  [ my name ]
  • Author forename(s):  [ my name ]
  • Manuscript title: Photo Journal
  • Record type: Photo
  • Place created: [ blank ]
  • Record dates:[ blank ]
  • Owner: [ my name ]
  • Owner address: [ my address ] *
  • Owner location; [ my city, state, zip ]
  • Year owned: [ blank ]
  • Comments:

I have several Media Categories that my photographs will fall into.
  • Headstones from Cemetery Visits
  • Photographs of houses
  • Photographs of buildings
They are already time stamped, or I know when I visited a place and took pictures.

What I have done, with the Filenaming, is in line with what I have already blogged about, but I stated with a common first element of the file name of House-. I wanted these photos to be together when looking at File Explorer, outside of Family Tree Maker, so that at a glance, I know they are not people, based on the filename.


As before, if the City was "West Chester", the filename would have West_Chester where "City" is. The Street name would be spelled out with the "underscore" separating the words, replacing the space key.

The citation would look like this:
Russ Worthington, "Photo Journal"; Photo (Hackettstown; privately held by Russ Worthington, Hackettstown, New Jersey, 07840).  Pennsylvania, Exton, 129 Worthington Road. Date of Visit: 04 April 2010.
The Citation screen looks like this:

To keep the Places together, in the Sources Workspace, The Citation detail is State, City, then the address. In this case, I chose to use the Citation text field, for the "Date of Visit" entry. There is a check mark in the "Include in ref. note" but doesn't show up well in the screen capture above.

No, here is the beauty, for me at least, for doing it this way. I can now go to the  Places Workspace, where I can see everyone who has an Address Fact, at this address.

This example is a different address:

Selecting that first Address Fact, clicking to Go To, takes me right to the Fact that I now want to Add and Existing Citation. The Citation with the image of the house at that address.

When I go to Anna Bennett's People Workspace, Person View, I see this, for the Address Fact:

What that tells me is that I have a 1930 Census Record that places her at that address, and that there is a photograph of that address.

Going back to the Sources Workspace, I can see how many Address Facts were cited, with that photo journal citation.

I will probably to another blog post on this topic, where I address my Cemetery and Headstone Media Files.  The same concept is used for those pictures.

The advantage is that I can make public my pictures, each with a citation, including the Date that the picture was taken. This way, if I find a picture of an address or building, that I did NOT take, they are in a Media Category that are ALL marked Private, and another Media Category that has my photographs ALL without the "private" setting.

Copyright © 2018 by Cousin Russ

Thursday, November 22, 2018

FTM2017 - A Thought on Media File Naming - Follow Up

Earlier this week, I did a Blog post FTM2017 - A Thought on Media File Naming and I wanted to do a follow up on it. I understand that the blog post was very long and typed, but it was the only way I could get the full picture of the Filenaming scheme that I use, specifically, in the Family Tree Maker program.

As a follow up, I thought that I use the same scheme for all of my files on my computer. For example: an Online Bank Statement


Vender_Name-YYYY-MM-DD for bills

Photographs, what ever, the same basic format. They will be in different Folders on my computer. For example, A Bank Folder, a Bill Folder. There could also them be sub-folders, for each Bill for example. Sorting and Grouping so that I can find them easily.

Now, having said that, I use a similar filenaming scheme for things like Cemetery Photographs, not headstones, but those photographs that I "book end" a series of pictures of headstones, where I have a photograph that has the name of the Cemetery before any of the headstones, and a photograph of some other part or sign of that Cemetery.

My "sorting" is a little different. But I follow the way a Citation might be crafted for a Census Record. "Largest to Smallest".


Notice the Dash and the Underscore. My earlier concept of making in readable and to separate the  parts of the filename holds here as well. Location (with the underscores, State and Town) DASH Cemetery Name.

When I look at File Explorer, I can see the Cemeteries grouped by State, then Town, then Cemetery Name.

Kansas for example:

Three Cemeteries in three towns.

A little more difficult, and this is only s part of Maryland.

The first entry is the 10th photo from the Green Mount Cemetery in Baltimore, Maryland. The Deer Creek Friends Meeting Cemetery has 3 photographs. As you can see they are grouped, first by state, then town, then Cemetery. The State and City are separated by the Underscore, and that is separated from the Cemetery Name by the Dash. The Cemetery Name is readable, All of what are important for me.

Before I go further, I want to re-state my warning about the Changing of Filenames that are files used in Family Tree Maker:

WORD OF CAUTION: Rename the files within the Media Workspace of Family Tree Maker and NOT outside of the program.

I routinely do a review of all of the Filenames, Captions, Links, and Descriptions in the Media Workspace. The image below, is the Media Workspace, to show the two tabs or views of what is in the Media Workspace, Collection and Detail. You will see that I have the List by Media Category. That would have the list if Media Categories that I have created. More on that shortly.

Please note, that the 3 images that you see are how those "New Cathedral Cemetery" media files appear. This view doesn't have the number shown, but that can be adjusted with the Thumbnail Size at the bottom, right of the center panel.

The Media Category, Left Panel, looks like this.

There are two categories that have not media files, at the moment, Video, and World War I Index. The Video was supplied by Family Tree Maker, and I have a World War I Index media that I will be adding.

A Rule that I have in my file, is that I Privatize any "Index" records, because I did a Screen Capture for my information. I do not care to Share them in the Linked Ancestry Member Tree (AMT). Understanding that all of my media files have a Citation, so the Citation that has those index screen captures WILL have the Citation that can be seen in the AMT.

To compare File Explorer and the Media Workspace, to see what I have for images for my grandfather:

File Explorer 

Media Workspace (the last two images are on the next line in FTM)

My Review of the Media Workspace, and all of the Media files is this.

  • Review by Category
  • Verifying that each Media file is Linked to a CITATION
  • Verify the Filename that meets my format
  • Verify the Caption format that meets my format (see earlier post)
  • Verify that the Description field is filled in (which is the Citation Detail of the linked Citation

IF a Media file does not comply, I remove the Category Check box, so that the [Uncategorized] media files need to be fixed.

I do this review in the Detail Tab:

Across the top is the Mini-Nav bar that lets me move from Media File to the next Media File. The Caption is at the Top of the Right Panel, below it is the Data (if there is one), The category name (Cemetery Photos) and the Description. That is the Citation from the Link in the lower left of the screen. I copy and paste the Citation Detail from that Link, and paste it into the Description field. I want ALL of my media files with a Citation. The filename is under the Description and the location of the image in below that. 

In this example, the Private box is checked. That means that this image will NOT be uploaded to my AMT. The reason is that this image came from the Find A Grave website and I do NOT have permission to use it. However, I want to be able to see it within FTM2017. In many cases, I have my own photos from these cemeteries, which I will publish, but I have a Different Category name for them. This specific category "Cemetery Photos" will ALL be private. 

But, what IF I want to name the people in a photograph. That information should be seen and the best place, I have found, is in the Description field. AND I want to include the Citation, as before.

Here is an example of a Scanned Image that I received from a cousin.

There was information about that media file that I want to be able to see in the description field and in the AMT.

Reeves & Graland families went to church here
Elizabeth W. Leeds met the Reeves & Garland families here. Samuel & Catherine Reeves Worthington were married here
Russ Worthington Scanned Image Collection, 06/11/2018; privately held by H R Worthington III, Hackettstown, New Jersey, 2018.  Cottonwood Friends Church, Emphoria, Kansas (1860 - 1960).

 Russ Worthington Scanned Image Collection, 06/11/2018; privately held by H R Worthington III, Hackettstown, New Jersey, 2018.  Cottonwood Friends Church, Emphoria, Kansas (1860 - 1960).
I captured the writing that was on the image that was scanned, which is this case was very important, that image has a citation, where I got it from. The Citation is then linked to Samuel and Catherine' Marriage Fact.

The next step, now that my Media Files are linked to a Citation, have the Filename it the format I want, the Caption is correct (both for Sorting and readability on the computer and in the AMT). I will now go back and review my Citations, making sure that they are in the EvidenceExplained / Source Template format. 

One final note: Remember that these Media Files in the Media FOLDER linked to the FTM2017 FILE are COPIES of the original files. Any Media that came from a Web Merge from Ancestry, will not be duplicated, as they are on Ancestry and NOT uploaded to Ancestry. That image of Cottonwood Friends Church is also in a Photo Folder on my hard drive, which is backed up "to the cloud" and to an external hard drive. I do NOT mess with those original files. Same with Documents that I will include in FTM2017. Those scanned letters that I have remain in the appropriate Folder under the Documents folder and sub-folder. Remembering that the Sub-Folder for those original files replace the Category feature of Family Tree Maker.

Lessons Learned:

Establish YOUR filename scheme
Establish YOUR filing system (Folders, Sub-Folders)

Review the Media Workspace from time to time.

I have 2,745 media files, currently in my database. It took about a week to review AND UPDATE, correct typo's of those files. Most of the clean up was to meet my current file name format, along with the Captions and links.

Copyright © 2018 by Cousin Russ

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

FTM2017 - A Thought on Media File Naming

Not too long ago, in a Facebook Group, there was a long discussion about how we name our Genealogy Files. The person who started the discussion have a very long file naming system that works for that person.

So, I stopped that really thought about this topic. I'll share my current thinking here, for Family Tree Maker Users.

Here is the example that was used (modified a bit)


At the same time, I have just added an external drive, with Back Up software to another back up of my data. It was throwing off Error Messages that some Filenames were TOO long. The conversation of FB indicated that I was wrong and a Windows10 computer did not have a filename restriction.

Looking into this issue, in fact Windows10 had removed an earlier 256 character limitation. The key part of that limitation included Full Path to the file and name.

So, the above example would include (for FTM2017  Users, using the default settings, that would mean having

c:\username\Documents|Family Tree Maker\Filename Media\ 

in front of that. So 55 plus 78 (133) Character right there. Still doesn't meet the 256 character limit. I am sure I am missing some technical character information placed on that old limitation.

I took some time to really think about how I deal with filenames in general, and for genealogy, again in general, and for Family Tree Maker specifically.

So, let's back up a minute. I have a scanning project going on where I set up my laptop computer, with scanner and worked on the project not connected to the internet, nor to have any program running. Just wanted to scan a notebook of photos, letters, and newspaper clippings.

The first step was just to let the computer scan the files and create it's own filename and saved into a Documents\Scanned folder. The notebook (upper left) has pages and I wanted to keep the pages in order and be able to return the notebook to the owner as I received it.

I then renamed the "Image-001" to "File01-01", File01-02, where "file" in the archival sleeve, then the number that followed was the order that the scanned image was in that sleeve. To deal with the Front and Back of that page, scanning both sides, even if it was blank, the ODD numbers were the front, Even numbers the back. 

Not very useful, EXCEPT, I got all of the scanning done pretty quickly. 

Note the 2nd monitor (oh the right), it had EXCEL open, where I created a spreadsheet to keep track of what I was doing.

The first column has the Scanned Image Filename. Next column was the Location (Sleeve01), Subject, Envelope - 2 - Front, for example. Date / Page was the next column. I entered what I could as the image was being scanned.

There were several sleeves that were empty, but I had [ empty ] iin the subject column. I wanted to keep track of everything, and to be able to provide a Thumb drive with all of the images and the spreadsheet to the owner of this notebook.

200 images, not very helpful filenames, on a Thumb Drive.

Here is where the filenaming thought comes into play AND where and how will those files be used.

When I have files that I am not ready to put into Family Tree Maker, I have them in a "Genealogy" Folder on my hard drive. I might have Surname Sub-Folders, or Place Name Sub-Folders, and Cemetery Sub-Folders. The thought is, where can I find those Media files Quickly when I am ready to enter them into FTM2017.

Sub-Sub Folders could be used, based on my scanning example. All of them were for one Surname, so, ALL of the Scanned Images could be COPIED from the Thumb Drive into the "Jones" or "JONES" Surname folder, still with the weird filenames. Not yet helpful.

Thinking back to the suggested filenaming scheme that started this, I re-evaluated my normal process. That is:


Some may choose to use all Upper Case surname, I choose not to. The important thing for me to consider was the "readability" of the Filename AND Sorting. Oh, Female surnames are always Birth Surnames, for me. I will let FTM2017 handle the married name issue, based on the relationship(s) within the program. IF I don't know the birth surname, I use my "unknown name" format of 5 underscores.

What I also do with filenames is NO spaces. Old DOS day's habit but it works for me. The parts of the filename are separated by one Underscore to replace the space, and a Dash between the Name, Date, and Event.

With the spreadsheet open, now I take the time to Rename the files into the above format AND move that file to a sub-folder. Lets say I am looking at an obituary from a newspaper. The YYYY becomes the Year of the Newspaper, and the Event becomes "Obituary". If there are three scanned images of that obituary or multiple obituaries, I just add "-01" or "-02" even though the date of those newspaper articles may have different dates. What I am capturing is the Year and Event.

Here is where my thought has gone. We always want to Cite our Sources, I have chosen not to "cite my source" in  a Filename. I will do that in FTM2017. And, whether I have a scanned image of my own, or one from an Online Resource, my filenaming works and the citation will remind me where I got it from. That scanned image from that thumb drive will be my the folder mentioned above, while an online image will be in the Filename Media folder in Family Tree Maker.

So far, none of the images that I have scanned are in Family Tree Maker, but in a folder on my hard drive. With the filenaming and the folders that I created, I can Find what i am looking for.

Now to FTM2017. I have blogged about the fact that I ALWAYS use the  Copy Option NOT the Link To option that is available. I will NOT link to those images that are in the Subfolder, but will Copy that scanned image into FTM2017 and the "media" folder. (remember that Full Path Name that I mentioned earlier). 

I now can create Media Categories to help find media files from within Family Tree Maker. I don't need sub-folders. For me, the Media Category feature IS the Sub-Folder feature out side of FTM2017. I have 50 or so Media Categories. "Census - Federal", "Census - State" for example.

Taking a Census Record or any Record, the Same filenaming format is used.


This census example is where I am cleaning up right now. I started with

1940_US_Federal_Census-Surname_Firstname_Middlename-State_County. Doesn't sort wall for me, My Citations handle the place of the Census (state, county).

WORD OF CAUTION: Rename the files within the Media Workspace of Family Tree Maker and NOT outside of the program.

What I want to be able to see, both within Family Tree Maker and Outside of Family Tree Maker is what Media files to I have for a Person, and date order and what event.

The Rule that I have about Census Records is always by Head of Household, unless my  person was a boarder. My linking of that Census Record to the Facts for members of the Household, with the media file linked to that Citation and the Citation linked to the Fact.

Please note: that IF a merge of a Census Record is done in an Ancestry Member Tree, there may be an issue with Citations, as Ancestry handles this type of citation different from the way Family Tree Maker does.

That Census Media file (1), is linked to a Citation, what would provide the Details of that record. That Citation, with media, is linked to the Facts for the Profiles (people) mentioned in that Record.

From Filenames, was can see what Media files that person (name) has, in Date Order.

A Rule about my file, I do NOT use the Suffix Sr (Senor). No birth record that I have seen shows that suffix. Records may, but a birth record may not. The Name format, is the same for that Person's Media Files (always).

So, what about the same name in your file. The "DATE" / YYYY helps tell them apart. The Suffix, if used, also helps. There have been times when I go back and Rename the file, such as finding the Middle name which I didn't have before. I can easily find those media files to rename.

There is another thing to consider. The CAPTION of a media file.

That is important to me, because that is what is going to be seen in the Ancestry Member Tree (AMT). Filenames don't count in an AMT.

My solution is the similar to the filenaming. I replace the Underscore (for space in the filename, to a SPACE in the Caption. The Dash separates the fields.

Firstname Middlename Surname - YYYY - Event

I want the Caption to be reader friendly.

Two things to remember about the way the Media Workspace sorts the Media Files. !) By Filename, 2) By Caption. 

With the "List by: All Media" The files will be sorted by Firstname, Middlename, Surname, Date, and Event. (not concerned about the surname for this sort), but grouped by Person. Sorted by Filename, then would sort by Surname, the SAME is you would see the Files, with Windows File Explorer.

This shows me a "time line" of Media files for a person, sorted either way, Caption or Filename.

One final benefit here, is that in the Media Workspace, All Media, bottom of the Center Panel on the Left is the Number of Media Files, Linked into my database. I regularly check that number with the Number of Files, in the Media Folder outside of the program. Those two numbers should be the same, UNLESS there is a Photo Darkroom folder, which would provide one more "file" in File Explorer vs the count in Media Workspace.

Not mentioned yet, is "those media files" that have multiple "pages" or images. A Census Record where the Household is on two pages. Easy Solution - "Page 1" for the Caption, "-p1" for the filename. I have a couple of media files where there are more than 10 "pages" or media files. I just start, both the Caption and Filename with  "Page 01" and "-p01". Like the dash between the name, date, and event, I use the dash to separate the event from the pages.

Finally: Each of use need to create our own Filenaming scheme.

Lessons Learned: 

Try it before you set your filenames up

Be consistent

Find what works for YOU. I can only share my experience and it is working very well for me.

Copyright © 2018 by Cousin Russ

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