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

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