The short version of my question is: Is it possible to download my family tree through my fourth cousins from FamilySearch, and, if so, what is the best practice to accomplish this?
What I have tried
I first tried an import starting with my FamilySearch ID (FSID). I suppose it should have been obvious that that would not work, because it only captures ancestors.
I next recorded the FSIDs of my 16 great-great-great-grandfathers and tried to serially import them from FS into a RootsMagic database. However, links of the people between the “sub-trees” were not created.
Now, I am downloading all of the 16 sub-trees separately and am combining them into a separate “master” database file through drag-and-drop (everyone) followed by AutoMerges.
The last strategy seems to be working, but I am wondering what might be getting lost: Some links between people? Multiple marriages? Other?
Also, is there a better strategy?
Why I am doing this
My mother created a huge genealogy database over a 40-year period–most recently in Family Tree Maker. She has a little over 10,000 people in there. She has worsening dementia and wanted me to take over. Unfortunately, she was not a professional and did not record or maintain any sources.
After considering many options, I decided to try to add her information to the FamilySearch tree and attach as many source documents as I can. I have done about 3,000 people so far, and I have tried to clean up messes on the FamilySearch tree as I have gone along (and tried not to create too many of my own).
I realize there are risks of using FamilySearch as the main platform, but I am hoping the benefits outweigh those, and I have found it to be pretty powerful and amazing for a browser-based application–particularly in combination with the Ancestry.com search links. I am so used to the way it works that it can be frustrating trying to use desktop software, including RootsMagic.
In any event, I thought I would periodically do this download through my fourth cousins to get a “snapshot”/backup of what is currently on FamilySearch. It is looking like that will include around 8,000 individuals. That is a large number, but going back another generation would have been completely unmanageable, so I settled on that level.
I am also wondering whether I can use my combined master file in RootsMagic to monitor changes that occur over time on FamilySearch, or whether it is truly just going to be a snapshot. For example, if new children get added on FamilySearch, or if IDs get merged or deleted, I am not sure what happens when I open my file in RootsMagic. I don’t think it is really that “in sync” with FamilySearch to reflect such changes.
Is there something useful that can be done to track changes and keep such a local database updated?