Media File Default location Ignored when Importing Tree from Ancestry

C:\Users\Daniel\Documents\Genology\Roots Magic\RM 9\RM 9 Data Files
C:\Users\Daniel\Documents\Genology\Roots Magic\Media

My default program media file location is as shown above. This was set before I downloaded the tree from Ancestry. When I downloaded the tree it placed the media file in a subdirectory of the data file location rather than the default location. What did I do wrong? Can I simply move the media file to the proper location and “fix the broken links”?

I have also noticed that this same phenomena has occurred with an established file called Research Tree in RM 9 that I have been using a while, suddenly there is a subfolder created in my data folder location named Research Tree.rmtree_media. It contains @ 300 images whereas my main media file @ 4,000. What gives?

Those settings are for media file default search/navigation, basically. Ancestry TreeShare media files are programmatically downloaded, stored and managed separately. Treeshare media import - #2 by Harold_Primm


As Ken notes, this is the expected behavior. See also the bottom of page 7 in the Treeshare guide -

And, yes, you can move the downloaded media files into your desired folder structure and then run ‘Fix broken media links’. The one caveat is that Ancestry names the media file with an internal index number that will be meaningless to you. If you want to change the name to something meaningful then you will also need to update the citation media tag. The ‘Fix broken media links’ function corrects issues with the file path not the file name. So changing the file name that’s stored in the citation media field needs to be done manually

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Thanks. I understand now. Waiting for someone to pick up on typo Genology study of?
Would keeping the default media file location as Tree share creates prevent the duplication of media?

Would it be better to download an ancestry gedcom and import that to avoid media file name changes? Seems like a great example of why having the master file on ancestry is bad.

Downloading an Ancestry GEDCOM does not download media. The only way to download Ancestry media is via TreeShare, or else to download the media files manually, one file at a time, while you are logged on to Ancestry.

RM’s default media folder doesn’t mean what you might expect it to mean. It certainly isn’t the place where RM puts your media files.

In the case of media downloaded via TreeShare, the media is all placed in a single large folder that’s in the same folder as your RM database. If your RM database is called Smith_Family, then the single large folder where TreeShare downloads media files is called Smith_Family_media. RM’s default folder is completely irrelevant for media files downloaded by TreeShare.

For files you link into RM yourself, you decide where to put the files and then you tell RM where you put them. RM itself doesn’t put them anywhere. Instead, RM just links to them.

Prior to RM8, RM’s default folder was pretty much ignored for these files as well. RM simply linked to where the files really were stored without regard to its default folder. Beginning with RM8, the default folder is somewhat meaningful. Instead of linking to where the files really are, the files are linked to where they really are relative to the default folder if possible. You can’t see this behavior in the RM8 and RM9 user interface because the user interface for the links looks just like the user interface for the media links in RM7. But what this behavior makes possible is for you to have your RM database on two different machines with the media files in two different folders on the two different machines. Each machine can then have a different default media folder. Other than that, RM’s default media folder doesn’t much matter in RM8 or RM9, either.


No, I’m not aware of any foolproof way to avoid duplicate media if you download via treeshare because the Treeshare default is to download media associated with an ancestry source/citation. Rootsmagic doesn’t check to see if the media already exists. It’s up to your workflow to check the media after a treeshare event. On the plus side, if the media is a duplicate, chances are there’s a duplicate citation as well.

Some people manually type the data into RM and manually download the citation image to avoid these potential extra steps cleanup steps. There’s pluses and minuses to both approaches.

I have been entering every bit of data manually since Family Origins 3 and downloading images manually from an abundance of websites. I have yet to see the minuses. The amount of correspondence on here and the other groups concerning downloading data and media convinces me that there aren’t any!

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Fair point. There is one benefit of Treeshare that manual data entry cannot match. It doesn’t impact the data in RM but it does have an impact on the quality of the tree that gets pushed back to ancestry.

When downloading a source via Treeshare a field is passed from ancestry that contains a combination of source ID + page of the citation + the person that the citation references. This value gets stored in a RM db table and is linked to the citation. Subsequent treeshares of this citation from RM back to Ancestry also contain this ancestry ID, allowing ancestry to identify the citation as originating from their database and for the citation to be properly displayed in the tree as an “Ancestry Source” with the same look and feel as all other ancestry sources versus being displayed as an “Other Source” with source and citation details that get created from RM fields.


Wonderful explanation.

One additional variation that I have wondered about but never tested is the following. Some TreeShare users have reported using TreeShare to download media files but then renaming the downloaded media files to make the names meaningful. Does doing so break the ability for the source to be displayed as an Ancestry Source when the data is pushed back to Ancestry?

Good question. Renaming the media doesn’t cause any issues. I rename all of the media that I download from Ancestry via treeshare and it has no impact on the citation being displayed as an Ancestry Source after being pushed back up to Ancestry.

My workflow in the past was not really a valid test for your question because I also add the renamed media to the event and delete it from citation. So I just did a test case where I downloaded 2 Ancestry sources associated with a Name fact via treeshare, renamed the media, updated the media filename in RM, then did a copy/reuse of the citations to a new Death fact in RM. I also edited the Source & Citation Names and data fields (which is my usual workflow) and added the media to the Death event. Then, I treeshared the new fact back to Ancestry. The reused citations worked as expected, displaying as Ancestry Sources. (Of course none of my RM source/citation field edits carry over because the native ancestry source detail is displayed. If the citation is Copy Pasted instead of Reused then the typical “Other Source” display occurs with associated data from rootsmagic fields.)

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If I recall correctly the Ancestry generated Source in RM via TreeShare itself stays the same in RM if one renames the associated media file. But this will probably cause TreeShare to no longer recognize the media file and cause a miscount or lopsided count when viewing that Person Record in The TreeShare comparison screen. If I recall correctly this happens even if the media file is left in the TreeShare created media folder. Possibly even just moving the media file without renaming it to another folder will create a miscount in the TreeShare comparison screen

It currently is sort of a no win situation. Either leave the Ancestry Media files all jumbled up in a large mess in the TreeShare media folder generated by the RM database for that Ancestry tree…or have the TreeShare comparison showing a mismatch in count and associated media files.

I do not see an easy programming fix for this as it most likely would include Ancestry adapting things for RM.

Yes and no. Media files transferred over to the RM database are individualized. So if your 2GG has a family if five, you will get five media files if each family member has that same Source transferred over.

Sort of a programming conundrum as the concept is to link the specific Citation transferred of that Source as a unique one. Not too far off from how FamilySearch Source Citations are transferred into RM (i.e. “John Jones in the 1880 US Census” versus lumping them in as a Source of 1880 US Census). This somewhat appears to be a defacto industry standard of sorts.

Additionally if the Source from Ancestry is updated or transferred via TreeShare again, it may send the media file again also.

In some sense the latter makes sense as if the media file was altered or adapted online, then it brings along the most current or updated version.