* Importing Templates from RootsMagic

Importing from or exporting to another genealogy program. This is the place to ask.
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Importing Templates from RootsMagic

Post by APerson » 19 Jan 2022 13:33

Hi all, while I'm new to FH, I'm a very long-time user of RootsMagic and have just found FH. So far, I am VERY impressed with FH (and continue to be disappointed with RM - which seems to have simply gone the wrong direction, especially with RM8). Based on what I'm seeing in FH, I'm strongly considering making the "big switch" from RM to FH.

Anyway, I'm still playing with FH and it was very simple to import (a test) file from RM - it appears as if everything transferred over very well. This includes custom templates for my approach to citing sources, "Simple Citations": https://simplecitations.com/, which I created about ten years ago in response to the lack of a standardized approach to citing sources and my strong belief that "Evidence Explained" is an absolute mess. Anyway, that's a story for another day. . .

As I've searched the help files for FH and also contacted tech support (they provided links to some good information), I can't see how to add my imported templates to a "collection" ("Essentials" and "Advanced" come with FH). I was able to create a new "Collection" (which I call, of course, "Simple Citations") by cloning "Essentials" and deleting all of the templates in the cloned version but I can't find a way to import the templates I created from RootsMagic. I'm sure I've missed something as I've searched for a solution but haven't had any luck.

BTW, I can see a "collection" called "RootsMagic Import" when I go to an individual's "Facts" > "Add Citation." However, I can't find that collection elsewhere and even when I edit a template and change the "Collection" to "Simple Citations" it doesn't show up.

Thanks for your help!
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Re: Importing Templates from RootsMagic

Post by tatewise » 19 Jan 2022 14:54

Welcome to the FHUG.

Have you tried Tools > Source Template Definitions... where you can choose the Collection at the top.
After selecting a specific Template, you can Add to Project at the bottom.
Then it is more generally available.
Mike Tate ~ researching the Tate and Scott family history ~ tatewise ancestry

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Re: Importing Templates from RootsMagic

Post by Mark1834 » 19 Jan 2022 17:48

No - that manages existing Collection Definitions, but the issue here is that there is no Definition defined.

A short background introduction is necessary to understand what is happening here. FH Templated Sources are very similar in design and concept to those in RM (probably no coincidence...). However, they are managed differently in the two apps.

RM stores all its templates in each database file, so your existing file will contain all the hundreds of built-in templates, even though you don't use them. FH has a different method, which is more complex, but a lot more efficient once you get your head around how it works.

At the top level, there is a template "definition", and these are collected into various "Collections", such as Essentials and Advanced, which are stored at the system level rather than being associated with any particular project. Before you can create a new source template for use in your project, the definition has to be imported into the project.

When FH imports an RM file, it imports all the existing templated sources and their templates, but does NOT create the template definitions. So at the moment, all your templates are in the project, but cannot be used in other projects. To view the templates, see the "Source Templates" tab of the Records Window. If this tab is not visible, select Tools > Preferences > Records Window, and change the display option from the default of "Always hide" to "Always show".

You can create a source from the template in your existing project without creating a definition file. If you want to use the template in a new project, you have to create a definition file using the Create Source Template Defintions plugin, which is downloaded from the Plugin Store.

Does that solve your immediate issue? There is lots more that could be said on Facts, Sources and Templates, but it's best taken one step at a time, as it can be a bit overwhelming for new users...

Added in edit - I have edited this post a couple of times to hopefully improve clarity, as it is a complex topic.
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Re: Importing Templates from RootsMagic

Post by APerson » 19 Jan 2022 18:16

Hi Mark,

Thanks for the response. So far, I'm following you. In fact, FH tech support pointed me at your plugin - it's very helpful. At the moment, I'm having a problem with an error message that I receive while trying to see if I can edit the templates I created10 years ago (!!) and which I've used ever since with RootsMagic. I will say that I have been extremely pleased that I've never had to edit it while using it with RM and have been very happy with the results. However, I am having a problem with it now; specifically, I'm getting an error message that states,

"Citation field code not valid in this context"

I've been going over all of the help files and currently can't find a solution. Any ideas?

Also, thanks for the plug-in. Currently, I haven't yet bought FH as I'm trying to make sure I can get my templates to work. BTW, are templates new in FH?

Thanks,

Jeff
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Re: Importing Templates from RootsMagic

Post by Mark1834 » 19 Jan 2022 18:32

Yes, new in version 7. Up until then, all sources were “Generic” (not to be confused with the RM free-form template).

Check out the Knowledge Base using the link at the top of this page. There’s a lot of useful stuff in there comparing templated and generic sources. Ignore for the moment any references to Data Entry Assistants. They are effectively “wizards” for using templated sources, but will not be available for your custom ones.
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Re: Importing Templates from RootsMagic

Post by Mark1834 » 19 Jan 2022 18:39

PS - I would create the definitions, then edit those, as that’s a better fit with the FH hierarchy. There are sync tools for updating templates if you change the definition.
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Re: Importing Templates from RootsMagic

Post by APerson » 19 Jan 2022 18:51

Hi Mark,

Ah! I thought so! Not only have I found templates to be extremely useful in RM but their (new) implementation in FH has also made improvements that I've asking the folks at RM to include for many, many years! Bravo to FH!

The "wizards" look like an interesting feature but that's something I won't be playing with for awhile as my big concern at the moment is to just get my templates to work in FH. I've been looking at the knowledge base and can't seem to find information on the error message. There seem to be several places for information - help files, this forum, another forum (can't remember the name but I haven't signed up for it just yet), etc.

FYI, I've already created the definitions and that's were I'm getting the error message - when I try to save the edit. I tried to post a couple of screen captures but I can't upload them to this board. I'll have to see if I can find another way to post them.
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Re: Importing Templates from RootsMagic

Post by ColeValleyGirl » 19 Jan 2022 19:00

When posting, under the box where you write your post there's a label ATTACHMENTS. Upload your files there and Use 'Place inline' where you want them in the post.

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Re: Importing Templates from RootsMagic

Post by APerson » 19 Jan 2022 19:48

Thanks, ColeValleyGirl! I found it! I was trying to attach the screen captures using the menu at the top, not the bottom of the box.

I've attached two screen captures:

1. A copy of the "Source Template Definition Editor" that includes one of the templates (note a few items, such as the "prompts" did not seem to transfer over to FH)
Template Screen Capture 01.jpg
"Source Template Definition Editor"
Template Screen Capture 01.jpg (178.49 KiB) Viewed 1456 times

2. A copy of the error message when I try to save the template
Template Screen Capture 02.jpg
Error Message when trying to save template
Template Screen Capture 02.jpg (32.76 KiB) Viewed 1456 times
I'm continuing to search the KB but and not having a lot of luck so far.
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Re: Importing Templates from RootsMagic

Post by tatewise » 19 Jan 2022 20:03

Those fields are green ticked to show they are Citation-specific and thus are not allowed in any of the Format templates.

No doubt Mark will be along to offer some workarounds.
I can't remember if this snag with imported RM templates has cropped before.
Mike Tate ~ researching the Tate and Scott family history ~ tatewise ancestry

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Re: Importing Templates from RootsMagic

Post by APerson » 19 Jan 2022 20:20

That’s very interesting. This was imported directly from the RootsMagic file. I’ve tried everything I could find but am currently stuck.
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Re: Importing Templates from RootsMagic

Post by Mark1834 » 19 Jan 2022 20:29

I’ve got a couple of things in mind, but I know that CP have tweaked the import process a couple of times in new updates so I’ll have a play and get back to you...
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Re: Importing Templates from RootsMagic

Post by Mark1834 » 19 Jan 2022 20:51

Jeff,

So we are working on exactly the same template, could you export the RM definition for this template please and attach here. In RM7, it's under Lists > Source Templates > Export from the main menu, and in RM8 click on the Sources option on the left hand panel, then the 3 dots and Source Template List.

You won't be able to attach the .rmst file directly, but simply change the extension from .rmst to .txt, or zip it and attach the zip file.

I can then import it into RM, create a test source, and see how they all transfer to FH.
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Re: Importing Templates from RootsMagic

Post by Mark1834 » 19 Jan 2022 23:19

I've had a look at another example of an imported RM Source Template, and I understand what is happening.

Although FH and RM source templates are very similar, there is one key difference between them. RM permits Citation level fields in the Bibliography, but FH does not. They ARE permitted in the Footnote and Short Footnote definitions, so Mike's comment was only partly correct.

This has come up on the forum before. Personally, I think the FH implementation is more accurate. Footnotes relate to individual citations, but the Bibliography is a list of the master sources, not every single citation, otherwise it is just repeating the footnotes.

There is no workaround, as it is a design limitation. You will have to amend your Bibliography definitions to include only source level fields.

You commented that prompts do not come across. I can see why, but that might be an oversight. Out of respect for RM Intellectual Property, CP limit the import of source templates to the minimum required to reconstruct the data accurately. For example, if you use any of the built-in RM templates, FH will import only those templates, not all 400+ that are in every RM data file.

I was party to the discussion that led to that decision during beta testing, so I will raise it with CP. IMO, FH should import bare bones details of the built-in templates, but full details of user-defined ones. They are your IP, not RM's.

It would be possible to modify an existing plugin to extract the missing data and add it to the templates, but let's see what CP say first.
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Re: Importing Templates from RootsMagic

Post by APerson » 19 Jan 2022 23:26

Hi Mark,

Thanks for your help. I've attached a copy of the template that I exported from RM7 and change the file extension to .txt

In addition, all four templates (actually, three are merely subsets of the "Master Template" are found on the RM4 Templates site: https://sites.google.com/site/rm4templates/ (they're the first four listed at the top of the table). While it's hard to believe, those templates are now 11 years old and should be identical (or extremely close) to the ones I'm using in RM7.

Again, thanks for your help!

Jeff
Attachments
RM7 Simple Citations Non-Traditional Template.txt
(9.54 KiB) Downloaded 33 times
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Re: Importing Templates from RootsMagic

Post by Mark1834 » 19 Jan 2022 23:42

Thanks Jeff - think our postings crossed! Off to bed now - don't know which side of the Atlantic you are, but we can pick up tomorrow if necessary.
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Re: Importing Templates from RootsMagic

Post by APerson » 19 Jan 2022 23:51

Hi Mark,

Wow! Great information! Ironically, I just sat down at the computer again and was about to remove the material from "Bibliography" when I saw your message. Actually, I agree that the citation level perhaps shouldn't be in the Bibliography (as long as that information is provided elsewhere so that readers are able to locate the same information) - I'll have to think a bit about that but for now, sounds good.

From what I have observed based on my extremely limited use of FH, I think that CP has done an amazing job - just the fact that the "places" tag now pulls from places that have already been used, made me do somersaults! ;)

I believe I should be able to easily restore the information that was provided in RM as "hints" for use in FH. When I designed "Simple Citations" I paid particular attention to keeping things frugally parsimonious. As I mentioned in my previous post, the templates were created eleven (maybe even 12) years ago and are essentially the same that I'm using today. They have worked very well for me and I've consistently had extremely positive feedback from those who have actually used them. I've been threatening to write a (very small) book on the use of Simple Citations and how it's used (essentially, just follow a flow chart).

I also want to reiterate what you've stated - the Simple Citation templates are entirely my own creation, which I have freely shared with others for their own personal use. Despite the disclaimer on the template I exported from RM7, they do not hold the copyright on them.

I'm going to work on editing the templates that I imported into FH now. (BTW, thanks again for your plugin.) If all goes well, I think I'm about to become a very big fan of FH and I'll share the edited templates with users.

Again, thanks for being so helpful!

Jeff
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Re: Importing Templates from RootsMagic

Post by APerson » 19 Jan 2022 23:52

Hi Mark,

Good night! Chat more tomorrow. FYI, I'm on the west side of the pond - New Jersey, USA.

Jeff
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Re: Importing Templates from RootsMagic

Post by Mark1834 » 20 Jan 2022 10:30

CP have responded to my ticket, saying that import of full user-defined template data has been "passed to the developers for review". I can't think of any good reason not to do that, but it's more a question of priorities over other planned fixes and upgrades. If they have RM migrants as a priority growth market, that might help.

It wouldn't be difficult to modify the existing plugin to read the data from the RM template export file (*.rmst), as they are plain text files very similar to the FH definition files. However, that would be tedious for anything other than a handful of templates and is a bit of a sticking plaster.
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Re: Importing Templates from RootsMagic

Post by APerson » 20 Jan 2022 17:43

Hi Mark,

I've successfully imported and converted my templates - I even put them into their own "collection" and everything seems to be working! In my case I only had three templates (plus a fourth "master" templated that I never use - it was for development only). I've used ONLY those three templates for the past 11 or 12 years, which was one of the reasons I developed Simple Citations - it's the complete antithesis of "Evidence Explained" (which requires the use of a few million or so templates that are continually increasing in number :roll: ) I guess my bias is showing but just dealing with all of the EE templates would be a complete nightmare!

Getting back to my own three templates :D , they've all been converted for use in FH and I'm now going to start playing with entering data into FH. (Actually, I'm about to purchase the program because I'm really impressed with what I've seen so far.) Here they are in the "Collection" I created:

Attachment 01.jpg
Simple Citations Collection in Family Historian
Attachment 01.jpg (46.23 KiB) Viewed 1315 times

Specifically, the three templates that comprise the complete set of those used in Simple Citations are:
  • Census Records
  • Traditional Sources
  • Non-traditional Sources
The "Master Template" was only used for development and contains all of the fields found in the three listed above. In other words, those three templates are merely subsets of the "Master Template."

The reason why there are so few templates in Simple Citations (essentially just "one" - the "Master Template") is that I developed a STANDARDIZED approach to citing sources that encompassed every possible source I could think of. I think I was successful in that I've now used the same templates, without the need to change them, for more than a decade.

There are a few things I found as I was going through the conversion process, which even for my limited number of templates, required several hours of work on my part to complete. I strongly suspect that this will be a challenge for many people wishing to convert their own templates. BTW, after I completed the conversation, I imported a clean copy of my good RM database and started fresh with FH. While it still a little bit of work, I was able to successfully compare and combine the RootMagic Import templates with the new FH templates - so all of existing data from RootsMagic should now work very well with FH!

Here are a few things I've noticed:

1. While it may have something to do with the manner in which things were either coded for RM or as a result of the conversation process into FH, I would like to change the label in the "Field." Specifically, I want to change the data in "Field" from "Primary Creator*" to "Primary Creator (Required)" as that accurately describes the label that's displayed when using the template. However, doing so then changes the value in FH found under "Code" - (shown in the screen capture below as "{Primary_Creator}" even though such a label doesn't appear in the RM file. I suspect that during the conversion process that FH took value from the RM "Display" field instead of the RM "Name" field" as the label shown when entering data. I hope I explained that clearly.

Attachment 02.jpg
Problem with changing value in "Field."
Attachment 02.jpg (42.37 KiB) Viewed 1315 times

2. In RM, there is a field called "LongHint" that provides additional details about what should go into each field on the template. The data in these fields were not carried over during the conversion process; instead, I had to manually enter that into each the "description" field in FH. However, it appears as if the "description" field performs differently in FH than in RM. I would REALLY like for users to be able to see a more detailed "prompt" (RM calls them "Hints") when desired and allowing the information from the FH "description field" to be displayed (perhaps by clicking on a question mark next to each field). That would be a very useful thing to add. Here's a screen capture that shows the type of information in the description field that would be great for users to have access to as they're entering data:

Attachment 03.jpg
Description Field that would be good for users to have access to as they're entering data.
Attachment 03.jpg (77 KiB) Viewed 1315 times

3. Finally, it's interesting to note the changes in terminology between RM and FH. One thing that is consistent on both is the use of the term "Bibliography" as the place were full citations are displayed or printed. While I'm getting really nitpicky now :o "Bibliography" really isn't a good descriptor for genealogical sources as very significant portions of our data does not come from the Greek, "biblio," meaning "book." Tombstones, personal letters, diplomas, passports, etc. are all very non-bookish artifacts that contribute to constructing a genealogy. The use of the term "References" would be better than "Bibliography."

Well, as you can see, I'm EXTREMELY nitpicky, especially when it comes to documenting family histories. Most of my suggestions (except for the last one) apply to templates.

Finally, I can understand that challenges of converting zillions of templates (but given I only need three, I'm not concerned with converting large numbers of them - LOL). You're absolute correct, having to convert a large number would be a real mess! For me, one of the primary reasons I've continued to use RM for so long (probably 20 years?) is that they did allow the use of templates and their UI was, for quite a long time, one of the most intuitive out there. I think that may have caused more problems when they created RM8. FH, on the other hand, looks as if they've taken a really serious look at data entry, which is critical. I have to use it more to make a really informed view but my initial impression is very good.

Thanks again for your GREAT help! I need to play with FH now and get a better feel for it.

Jeff
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Re: Importing Templates from RootsMagic

Post by Mark1834 » 20 Jan 2022 18:16

Interesting stuff...

I must admit, I share your scepticism on EE. I’ve spent a lifetime working in technology R&D, and my test of a source citation is simply “does it contain necessary and sufficient detail to enable others to repeat my analysis?”. On the other hand, there are those here that treat EE with great reverence and jump through all sorts of hoops to follow it. The beauty of FH is that it is equally useful for both approaches. But this isn’t the thread for a detailed EE critique...

If you have any interest in coding, I can offer you a real carrot for the future. With this limited number of templates, they might be ideal for you to write your own DEA “wizard” data entry form, and you can have whatever layout and prompts take your fancy.

That’s something that RM definitely can’t do!
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Re: Importing Templates from RootsMagic

Post by APerson » 20 Jan 2022 20:07

Hi Mark,

Thanks. I’m an academic and have also engaged in empirical research. I have long been concerned with citing sources accurately and succinctly from the moment I began conducting research into my own family history back into the early-1970s. I remember attempting to follow style guides such as the Silicon Valley PAF User Group’s approach and while it was a fairly good approach, it wasn’t sufficient. When EE first arrived on the scene, I made a serious effort to use it for an entire year and finally gave up because it is such a mess. When RM began permitting templates for citations - which I thought was brilliant - I spent about two weeks thinking about and developing Simple Citations. I thought of that task along the lines of what I might find if I was conducting a factor analysis and started making long lists of the most salient information needed to cite sources accurately in order to assist other researchers to find the same materials again.

In addition, I was concerned (okay, appalled) at the massive amount of time I wasted trying to cite a newspaper clipping that could not be identified while using EE. That was such a traumatic experience - LOL! That was when I said, “Oh heck, RM has a template system and that would lend itself well to develop my own approach.”

I also looked at existing citation approaches - APA, Chicago, MLA, etc. as well as what others had written about citing genealogical sources. Surprisingly, all the pieces came together and Simple Citations was born. Anyway, I’ve never looked back and life became much easier.

Not only do I get excited when I saw that FH now permits templates and I could import mine from RM (yeah, it took a bit of work but its now done), but FH has finally done things I’ve been asking RM do for ages (and they still haven’t done in RM8).

I also noticed the FH DEA “Wizards” but haven’t yet looked at them. However, they also IMMEDIATELY caught my attention because I created Simple Citations to allow users to follow a flow chart in deciding how to cite their sources. I wanted to make the process as simple (and fast) as possible, while maintaining integrity of the source citation. Essentially, one only needs to follow a flow chart to determine what to cite. I don’t believe I’ve come across a source that I wasn’t able to cite relatively quickly. The use of a “wizard” would be IDEAL for Simple Citations.

One of my biggest concerns has also been to encourage everyone who is researching their family tree to clearly document EVERYTHING and in a manner that will help others find the same information. If people are going to construct a family history, the task should be kept as simple as possible. Again, a wizard would be PERFECT for that! Yes, I’m interested!

I’m about to watch a few YouTube videos on FH before I delve in a get my feet wet. I remain excited as to learning more. I can’t say the same about RM8.
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Re: Importing Templates from RootsMagic

Post by Simonides » 28 Jan 2022 17:17

Jeff, I think we exchanged a few messages about SimpleCitations on the RM forum last year. I tried to set up SimpleCitations in FH some months ago but abandoned it. Can't remember why now! I'd certainly be interested to try your templates if you don't mind sharing them.

thanks!

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Re: Importing Templates from RootsMagic

Post by APerson » 28 Jan 2022 20:11

Hi Simonides,

I suspect we did but can't remember the conversation (sorry)! Anyway, while I have been able to import the Simple Citations Templates into FH and they are, for the most part, working, there are a few things that are different in FH, which I'm trying to overcome. The issue with the "Long Hints"/"Descriptions" is kind of a big one (I just posted a thread on those issues elsewhere on this board) as it helps to clarify (if needed) what each field should contain, and how to enter the data. I've already found a couple of very minor things that aren't working in FH but I'll take those one step at a time. At the moment, the "description" issue is an important one.

As I've reviewed what I created for the RM templates, so many years ago now (12?), they're still working like a charm with one minor exception - RM did something with "long hints," quite a while ago, that broke their formatting. Not a big deal but it's just something that bugs me! ;)

Once I get things working well in FH, I'll very definitely share the new Simple Citations templates. I remain extremely impressed with FH as it's already evident to me that will make data entry a lot faster - BUT - I can't do that or switch over from RM until I've getting the templates to work here. At the moment, I'm continuing to test things. Once the current things with my templates get resolved, I'll work with the other little things.
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Re: Importing Templates from RootsMagic

Post by Chrisv » 21 Mar 2022 21:15

I just discovered this post. I also am abandoning the RM ship in favor of FH. What a difference it is, albeit a little more challenging on the front end, but I'm having a great time learning about all it can do!
I wrote a template in RM that could handle all my potential situations. It was basically a long template divided into three sections with the most used portion (vital records) on the top and less used portions below. The code for it had a lot of exclusions in it. I think using three different templates makes more sense. It should be a lot cleaner and fit each situation better and will export more cleanly. I have been as yet, unable to import any portion of the template and my 400 some citations have all been converted into a messy free-form looking abomination with random gibberish mixed in. :( It also may explain why my import has a lot of Excluded items. Is there any chance you have worked out the bugs in your template and are willing to share it? It would be nice to start clean with a better working system.
Thanks for all the great information everyone. I have learned a lot from this thread and that is what keeps me going!

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