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Fixing duplicates and re-synching

Fixing duplicates and re-synching

Posted: 10 Aug 2012 8:00PM GMT
Classification: Query
About a month ago, my FTM tried to sync to Ancestry and had an error. I synched again - another error. A few days later, I opened the program by mistake and since it was set to sync automatically, it tried synching yet again and froze, so I had to force the program to close.

The result of all of these errors was that my tree became littered with duplicates (actually quadruplets) of a large number of people. Multiple copies of people, sources and media files. It was a huge mess. Lesson learned: turn off auto sync!

Since Ancestry.com doesn't have a merge duplicates function, I did my cleanup in FTM. I merged nearly 1000 people, then went person by person to delete the extra copies of sources and media, and am just about back to where the tree should be, with single versions of every person, image and source. But now that I'm almost done cleaning things up, I'm afraid to sync it back to Ancestry. Obviously, I'll back the FTM tree up first, but when I try to sync, I'm afraid all I'll end up doing is creating MORE duplicates on the online tree and pulling the Anestry.com tree's duplicates back into my newly-tidied FTM tree.

My question: since I'm pretty sure you can't tell FTM to sync only one way, I made sure not to make any changes to the Ancestry.com tree once I started fixing it in FTM. So when it comes time to sync, there shouldn't be anything online changed since the last sync other than media. (MY mother is an editor to the tree and deleted all the duplicated photos, leaving only the oldest - original - versions of each.) When the trees sync, I know it pulls new info and changes, but what does it do for people and media that were merged or deleted? In other words, if you delete a person or picture online, then sync, does it delete them from FTM as well? I'm afraid when I sync all my duplicates will just come back and the last 3 weeks of work will be for nothing.

I really don't want to have to delete my online tree and re-upload the FTM version. I'd have to re-invite everyone that's got access to it and would probably lose a lot of the linked sources since I'm not sure they ever fully synched to FTM. I was so happy when FTM 2012 added the sync ability, but boy what a headache it created!

Sorry this got so long. Thanks for reading, and for any help you have to offer.

Allison

Re: Fixing duplicates and re-synching

Posted: 10 Aug 2012 8:19PM GMT
Classification: Query
Edited: 10 Aug 2012 8:21PM GMT
Allison,

I think the safest thing for you to do is create a new tree from your clean FTM file. This will mean unlinking the old AMT tree from your FTM file. Even safer would be to use a new clean FTM file for your new ancestry tree. No need to delete the old tree; you can use it as a reference for the new. And yes, you will have to re-do the invites, but still, having a cleaned-up tree is worth it (at least in my mind).

And keep auto-sync turned OFF.

Rosemary

Re: Fixing duplicates and re-synching

Posted: 10 Aug 2012 8:37PM GMT
Classification: Query
Edited: 10 Aug 2012 8:42PM GMT
I'm a bit confused. When you found that your FTM file had all these problems, why didn't you trash it and use:

1) Backup
2) Your ancestry file - just download it as a separate file to your hard drive.

__________________

You said: "My question: since I'm pretty sure you can't tell FTM to sync only one way

Sure, the good, old-fashoned one-way uploading and downloading is still available. You upload at in the Websearch workspace, upper right corner: share. From ancestry.com download to your hard drive as an FTM file (don't need a gedcom), you access at your on-line tree under Settings.

_________________________

So, I take it you now have two good files? One is ancestry and one is in ftm? And they both are supposed to be in synch but you have sync on manual? I would break the sync. I think you can do that by creating a new directory and then copying your ftm file and related media folder to it. Then leave the current ancestry tree and "old" ftm file as "archival" backups for awhile. Then upload your "new" FTM (via share, not sync) to ancestry.

I've heard too many scary stories, like yours, about sync. I am not using it. I still like WorldConnect. It shows alternative names in the index and it allows the host to be able to say whether viewers can download anything or not. (I choose not.) You don't have that choice with an ancestry tree. People can "take" your stuff only one family at a time, but over an afternoon, they can take quite a few families of your work.




Re: Fixing duplicates and re-synching

Posted: 10 Aug 2012 11:22PM GMT
Classification: Query
Sorry about the confusion. It wasn't just my FTM file that had the problems. The sync errors created duplicates in both FTM and on Ancestry.com. Because FTM has the merge duplicates option, I did the clean-up there, and am now trying to see if I can sync FTM back to Ancestry and erase those duplicates. But I'm starting to think that won't work.

Right now, my tree on Ancestry has about 200-300 people with 3 extra copies. So instead of one John Smith I have 4. Easy enough to fix when it's only a couple of people, but there are hundreds duplicated to that extent.

Ancestry, however, is where I do everything. FTM was really more of a backup to me, and I rarely used it. This all happened because I opened the program by mistake once and it auto-synced, got errors, etc. But because Ancestry is my main tree, I really don't want to trash it and upload FTM's file to it. I'm afraid I'll lose all the Ancestry source links that way.

My question was really when you sync the two programs, will Ancestry see that I've deleted these people and delete them from the online tree as well, or will it keep the duplicates and add them back to FTM, even though FTM's file is the more recent? Am I better off taking the time to delete them manually?

Thanks for the help!

Re: Fixing duplicates and re-synching

Posted: 10 Aug 2012 11:27PM GMT
Classification: Query
Rosemary,

Thanks for the advice. That's more of a last resort for me because I really don't want to delete my Ancestry tree. Ancestry is where I've done all the work and FTM was more of a backup. I'm too afraid that I'll lose information given all the sync errors FTM was giving me.

It's looking like my best bet in order to keep the tree is to go through and manually delete the copies of everyone. It'll be time consuming, but at least in the end it'll be right and I won't lose all my links and sources. I don't trust FTM to have synced them all properly, and I really don't want to have to upload ALL those images again (there are a lot of pictures on our tree!).

I guess what I was asking was, when syncing between the two, I know it will add new people to the un-updated tree, but will it also delete people that have been removed?

Auto-sync is definitely off. And will stay that way forever. In fact, I may never sync again once I get this fixed. I don't use FTM enough for it to be worth the trouble!

Thanks again,
Allison

Re: Fixing duplicates and re-synching

Posted: 11 Aug 2012 12:33AM GMT
Classification: Query
Allison,

Yes, sync will delete people.

I work the opposite way to you; FTM is my primary file. If something happens I just break the links and upload a new one. And I don't have any major problems with Sync with a 3300 person tree.

Rosemary

Re: Fixing duplicates and re-synching

Posted: 11 Aug 2012 1:10AM GMT
Classification: Query
Thanks, Rosemary. Maybe there's hope that a sync will work, then. It can't make things much worse, at least.

I read somewhere that the sync errors were happening a lot to people that use the iPad app, which I have used a few times. So maybe that's what caused my problems. I won't be using that anymore, just in case.

Re: Fixing duplicates and re-synching

Posted: 11 Aug 2012 2:00AM GMT
Classification: Query
Allison,
I have had the problem with duplicates created by FTM/Ancestry sync when my tree somehow got corrupted. I didn't have as many as you, but I did have a bunch who were in exactly 4 times. I had to locate them (via the duplicates report) and go through and delete.
FTM worked well for me for about 6 weeks since the last sync problem I had, then last night got a sync error and it won't sync now at all without the error.
I also use Ancestry.com as my primary tree and use FTM only for backup and for the reports.
I've sent in a trouble ticket on this error. The last few times I have sent in trouble tickets, I always had to re-download my entire tree to fix the problem, then it works for while until "something" causes it to not be able to sync anymore. It's very annoying to still have such issues.

Barbara

Re: Fixing duplicates and re-synching

Posted: 11 Aug 2012 3:23PM GMT
Classification: Query
Given all the sync problems, and what I've been reading on these boards, I've decided that while it will be a major pain in the rear, my best bet to have a clean online tree is to go through and manually delete the duplicates, rather than trusting another sync to fix them. I don't want to delete the online tree and re-upload because while I can re-invite the few people with access to it, there are quite a lot who have linked to people on it that will lose those links, not to mention the hours of time I've spent clearing hints that will be lost.

Aside from the fact that every sync I've done since May has had an error, I have a LOT of media, and since there is no way to tell FTM to sync without the media files, I don't feel like it's worth the amount of time it will take to sync them all, especially when the end result will almost definitely be an error with corrupted and/or duplicated files.

Thanks to everyone for their help. I've learned my lesson the hard way and will never sync FTM to Ancestry again. I'll go back to using it the way I used past versions and keep it as a secondary, manually-edited backup. Needless to say, I'm disappointed that I spent the money to upgrade from 2011 when all it did was create a problem that's taken nearly a month of my time to fix, and will likely take another month to get my online tree back in order.

Re: Fixing duplicates and re-synching

Posted: 21 Oct 2012 1:59PM GMT
Classification: Query
Just to tell you, Allison, that I've had experiences parallel to your's:
I recently downloaded and installed "the bonus update" for Family Tree Maker 2012. I then opened FTM and started synchronizing my offline and online family trees. The synchronization failed several times so I ended up with the "usual procedure" of first deleting my FTM tree and then downloading my Ancestry family tree to FTM. After working a bit with the FTM version, I synchronized again and every thing seemed to work fine. I then started working with my Ancestry tree. And horror! First thing that struck me was a lot of "media" in the media gallery without any actual pictures, but only a standard graphic symbol of media. Next that there endless duplicates of a lot of my source records, apparently the ones I've added the last half year or so. Finally I found out that also people were duplicated. But the duplicates were in fact not "endless". There were always 1 original plus 4 duplicates. Of course the duplicates also were to be found in my FTM tree because of the synchronization. But it's a lot easier to handle duplicates in FTM than in the Ancestry tree. But like you I don't want to waste my work through almost two years, with nearly 3000 people, 1345 photos, and many times more source records added. And the links, people invited to share. No! So instead I've spent many hours cleaning my tree, and I'm still not there!

Of course I contacted FMT support through email. But all what he did was to refer to the "Get Help"-procedures for deleting duplicates in FTM. And else convince me that it all happened because of some "user error"! When I referred to the fact that the duplicates came in a fixed number, proving to me that it had to be caused by a programmatic error, and asked him how I could contact Ancestry.com about that through email (no way that I'll make long distance phone calls from Denmark, discussing complicated technical issues in English, not being used to talk in that language!) he stopped communicating!

Until Ancestry convinces me that they have recognized and solved the problem I'll seriously warn against using the synchronizing feature. Instead I advise downloading one's online tree to FTM as a new tree at some interval.

Knud
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