Ancestry Syncing / Note Feature

I have RootsMagic 9 and I have a very large database (400,000+) which I have synced to The database has thousands of photos linked to the various individual profiles. I use RootsMagic for my data entry and Ancestry is my “display” / “sharing copy.” Two questions:

  1. I have read that the only way to synchronize the two databases is by reviewing each individual/each fact at a time. This is very cumbersome as I now have about 2,000 individuals who are either new or edited since the last synchronization and I don’t have the time to go through these one-by-one. Is there any way to automate this process or have an override where if there is a discrepancy, the RootsMagic file is used as the “default?” If this doesn’t exist at present, is there any possibility of adding such a feature? Any suggestions are welcome. With the size of my tree, and the fact that it is linked to half a dozen DNA tests or more, deleting the Ancestry tree and re-uploading is not an option.

  2. I have been entering data into my genealogy software program (first PAF, then Ancestral Quest, now Roots Magic because of the Ancestry syncing feature) for 25+ years. Because of this, my documentation is generally in the form of Notes for each individual, which can include lengthy transcriptions of wills, deeds, census records, obituaries, etc. In uploading to Ancestry, the Notes are visible only to me. Is there a way – again, either within Roots Magic or perhaps via a Script – to convert the Notes into something (say, an Ancestry story or PDF file) that is viewable by visitors to my tree?

No, and no… TreeShare is tedious, but it prevents wholesale disaster that might occur if a full sync goes wrong (I’ve had this happen using Family Tree Maker).

Notes on Ancestry are private, while Comments are visible. TreeShare’s Notes field maps to the same field on Ancestry. I don’t know if there’s a way in SQL for them to be converted to Notes - that would be an answer for those with experience in that area.

Thank you for this information. Although disappointing it is helpful. Does FamilyTreeMaker have this automatic synchronization feature, then?

Yes, FTM does do an auto-sync, but sometimes with disastrous results…

For many years my profession was automating manual processes. Those who say that trying to automate the process completely would probably lead to significant problems are, in my experience, definitely right.

But this is no excuse at all for doing nothing to improve a process that is far, far, far, far more manually intensive than it needs to be.

Some time ago, I posted a reasoned proposal for improving treeshare. I set myself the target of cutting out 90% of the manual work and set out to determine how it could be done safely, without introducing any risk of the sorts of errors that other write of and in stages which would make implementation easier. This is the sort of thing that I was once paid an awful lot of money to do and which was eagerly implemented by people who wanted to improve efficiency.

Unfortunately here it has been met with resounding silence. After a few months’ more experience, I might make a few small changes - for example I have learnt more about the way in which treeshare leads to database corruption. But I stand by the suggestions overall.

I am convinced that they are practical, realistic and not too difficult to do and that they would lead to a very much better product for Rootsmagic users.

If anyone wants to explore or debate the ideas, I would be happy to engage in a discussion.

Thank you for the detailed response. The technical aspects of it are beyond me but I agree with your proposals and hope that, in time, they are well-received.
Meanwhile I am debating how best to keep my RootsMagic and Ancestry trees in sync, given that I have limited time to do so. Regularly re-uploading the RM tree to Ancestry isn’t a palatable option, given that (1) there are 400,000+ entries, (2) there are thousands of photographs attached which would make it a verrrrry slow process (think weeks), and (3) the present Ancestry tree is linked to half a dozen or more DNA tests which would all have to be re-linked if that process was followed. Of course, syncing a few thousand individuals with facts, notes, etc., a couple of times per year isn’t something I relish, either.
And of course the issue with the Notes not being visible to anyone except me remains.