* Short dates and place name for Gedcom export to Family Tree DNA

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GeorgeJ
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Short dates and place name for Gedcom export to Family Tree DNA

Post by GeorgeJ » 04 Nov 2019 12:58

Hi All,

Is there a Plugin that will allow me to Export a Gedcom file with shortened dates and places ?

The idea being to simply have year and parish/county for each type of event.

I realise I can use Excel to achieve this but if there is a plugin that will obviously make life easier.

George

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Re: Short dates and place name for Gedcom export to Family Tree DNA

Post by tatewise » 04 Nov 2019 13:39

George, could you please update your Profile to show which FH Version you have.
Click your username GeorgeJ top right and choose User Control Panel.
Then on its Profile tab, select Family Historian V6.2 (or whatever version you have) and scroll down to Submit.

I am not aware of a Plugin that would produce shortened Dates and Places for every Fact.
You talk about exporting a GEDCOM file or using Excel, but they involve completely different data formats.
So it is not entirely clear what your fundamental objectives are ~ perhaps you could explain?
Do you really want a GEDCOM file or do you want a spreadsheet CSV file?
If the latter, then a Query may produce what you want.

It is generally far better to explain your overall objectives, rather than describe a perceived process.
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Re: Short dates and place name for Gedcom export to Family Tree DNA

Post by GeorgeJ » 04 Nov 2019 19:25

Hi Mike,

I did select V6.2 in my registration, Maybe I missed Submit.

So, I want to export a Gedcom file to be uploaded alongside my DNA kit at Family Tree DNA. The editing of records on the FTDNA website is not as easy as FH. So producing an updated Gedcom file with short date and place would be ideal.

I want to keep the event dates to the year only and not include day or month. Likewise, with place names all I want is the Parish or County and no further details.

I can use Excel and manually edit 5700 individuals for date and place. Not keen to do that if there is a Plugin. If I can find a way to automate the process that would be great.

I am not that familiar with FH queries. More familiar with Excel. Happy to learn all about FH queries if you think I can truncate fields that way.

George

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Re: Short dates and place name for Gedcom export to Family Tree DNA

Post by tatewise » 04 Nov 2019 19:55

Please see Exporting Gedcom file to Family Tree DNA (15114) that lacked detailed feedback.

Note that Family Tree DNA only seems to take any notice of Birth and Death events.
So only those events need any 'adjustments'.

If I can get better feedback, then the Export Gedcom File Plugin can be enhanced as necessary, perhaps with options to shorten Date and Place fields.

BTW:
I cannot see how any form of Excel editing could produce a GEDCOM file.
Queries are not an option where a GEDCOM file is required.
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Re: Short dates and place name for Gedcom export to Family Tree DNA

Post by GeorgeJ » 04 Nov 2019 20:58

Hi Mike,

I read through the other topic. The reason I want to edit a standard FH Gedcom is partly for FTDNA as it is a regular requirement where updates and additions are made. I would also use the short date and place Gedcom to perform regular updates for my Ancestry tree.

I prefer using year and parish only as it encourages potential cousins to make contact with me. Rather than simply adding sections of my tree to their tree without any contact. When I originally put my tree up on their website it was copied, and added to, but with numerous unproven errors. I was only getting complaints about errors, no credit for my 30+ years of research, and was spending too much time advising others of their mistakes. I am willing to share any of my research but want people to contact me. If any parts of my tree is of interest maybe their tree might help me. So my tree is now Private and I find the short dates and places does encourage people to make contact.

I run projects at FTDNA and regularly try to encourage members to update their Gedcoms more frequently.

I have just tried amending a Gedcom in Excel. I have opened one and altered a single date and then saved it. It opened and validated successfully, with hyphenated single lines, but only contained 5 individuals and no spouses. Is there no way to save the file as maybe plain text with a .ged subscript. Why does the file get corrupted ?

If I can help with FTDNA requirements please tell me more.

George

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Re: Short dates and place name for Gedcom export to Family Tree DNA

Post by tatewise » 04 Nov 2019 22:42

George, there are a few fundamental issues that you need to understand.
In general you cannot edit a GEDCOM file using Excel. There are too many pitfalls, as you have discovered.
It is like trying to edit a Word document in Excel, or an Excel spreadsheet in Word.
The biggest problem is that Excel insists on protecting commas by enclosing the text in "string, quotes" which corrupts the GEDCOM format as you found.

If you insist on editing a raw GEDCOM file, firstly never work on the file within the Project folder.
Always use an exported copy, and edit with a plain text editor such as Windows Notepad.
However, bulk editing hundreds of DATE and PLAC fields by hand is an unenviable task.
It might be more feasible with a programmable text editor such as Notepad++.

I believe the only way forward is to follow the well trodden process outlined below, which is a variant of that described in Knowledge Base > Exporting a Family Tree with/without Media.
  1. Use File > Import/Export > Export > GEDCOM File to create a new Project without any Media files, since neither Family Tree DNA nor Ancestry upload Media files.
  2. Run a Plugin on that new Project to shorten the DATE and PLAC fields as required. (I can write this for you.)
    This is more complex than you probably realise because of the Place records.
  3. Use techniques such as the Clean Living Persons Plugin to remove private or sensitive data for online.
  4. Use the Export Gedcom File Plugin to export GEDCOM dialects applicable to Family Tree DNA &/or Ancestry.
    There are many special cases such as for Family Tree DNA creating missing BIRT and DEAT events, and for Ancestry converting CENS into RESI facts, and for both eliminating Place records.
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Re: Short dates and place name for Gedcom export to Family Tree DNA

Post by GeorgeJ » 04 Nov 2019 23:22

Mike,

I was hoping there might be something in existence so I wouldn't need to reinvent...

I have used Notepad++ for website projects with php and MySQL. Don't know why I didn't think of that sooner. I guess I assumed Gedcom was simply a text based file, which I still assume is the case, and Excel could be manipulated to save it correctly. That's my downfall.

If I had time alongside my Admin role at FTDNA I would love to spend time learning how to write Plugins. You will know, I am sure, the consequences of following such temptation. So if you could provide the necessary plugin I would be most grateful. When time permits I will search out the plugin tutorials.

What is this about special cases at FTDNA and Ancestry ? Thanks for the warning. I will keep a look out. I will also let you, and the forum, know how I get on.

George

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Re: Short dates and place name for Gedcom export to Family Tree DNA

Post by tatewise » 04 Nov 2019 23:37

Yes, GEDCOM is a simple text file (although there are several possible character encodings such as ANSI, UTF-8, UTF-16).
But Excel and Word are not so good at preserving simple text file format.

For Plugins, see Knowledge Base > Family Historian Plugins and in particular the Developer Guide section.
Leave the custom Plugin with me for a few days.

Every genealogy product I have investigated has its own dialect of GEDCOM with special cases, custom tags, etc.
Most products are not compliant with the standard GEDCOM features of either V5.5 or V5.5.1.
That is why I wrote and continue to enhance the Export Gedcom File Plugin.
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Re: Short dates and place name for Gedcom export to Family Tree DNA

Post by tatewise » 04 Nov 2019 23:50

Regarding the new Plugin, there are a few clarifications required.

You want Date fields reduced to just a Year.
But how do you want period and range Date fields adjusted?
e.g. before 1800, or from 1900, or between 1800 and 1900, etc...
Do you want all Date fields adjusted, or only those attached to Facts?

You want Place fields reduced to just Parish/County.
But how will the Plugin know which comma separated part of each Place field you want retained?
Do you have a fixed number of comma separated columns, and perhaps only want the middle part?
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Re: Short dates and place name for Gedcom export to Family Tree DNA

Post by GeorgeJ » 05 Nov 2019 00:37

Mike,

I found the tutorials. Succumbed to temptation and so went off to learn another language.

FTDNA only needs birth and death dates and I'm thinking in plain 4 digits. I don't think they accommodate c., abt or bet. I will check that before I confirm.

The Place field is something I might need work on to make sure I have both parish and county recorded in all cases before running any plugin. If I don't have a parish recorded, as in not known, then I include a place holder or just double ",,". So truncate last or last 2 comma separated parts of field. I will check what is practical for use with both FTDNA and Ancestry and let you know.

George

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Re: Short dates and place name for Gedcom export to Family Tree DNA

Post by tatewise » 05 Nov 2019 11:13

George, your requirements appear to be changing with each posting, which makes writing a Plugin difficult.

For FTDNA you are now talking about focussing on only Birth and Death events.
Whereas earlier you said you wanted short dates and places to encourage people to make contact, and that logically applies to all Date and Place fields for both FTDNA and Ancestry.

I am not sure what you mean by "I don't think they accommodate c., abt or bet".
Every fact (including Birth and Death) is allowed to have any form of Date, and FTDNA must cater for all possibilities, otherwise some of its DNA features will be inhibited.
e.g.
If I only have a Birth/Death Index then the Birth/Death Date will be a Quarter Date which is a Range Date in GEDCOM terms using the between format.

Furthermore, FTDNA only recognises Birth and Death events for its DNA features.
Thus users who only record parish Baptism and Burial events prior to the UK 1837 civil registration threshold cannot use those DNA features (unless they use the Export Gedcom File Plugin that synthesises Birth and Death events from the Baptism and Burial events).
In your Admin role can you influence FTDNA to use for its DNA features the earliest Date from any Birth, Baptism, or Christening events, and similarly for any Death, Burial, or Cremation events.

Moving on to Place fields, I believe that extracting just the Parish/County from the middle is bad practice, as it leaves them out of context. It would be better to crop the Place field from the left leaving just a nominated number of trailing comma separated column parts such as County, Country.

So to make the Plugin more widely attractive, it would be more useful if it offered user options for cropping the Date and Place fields.
So Date field options would be such as:
  • Crop to just first/only Year
  • Crop away Day and Month
  • Crop away Day number
There is still some thought needed for such as circa, calculated, double dates, B.C., Hebrew & French calendars, etc.

Place field options would be such as:
  • Crop to just last column part
  • Crop to last 2 column parts
  • Crop to last 3 column parts
Does that make sense?
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Re: Short dates and place name for Gedcom export to Family Tree DNA

Post by GeorgeJ » 05 Nov 2019 13:20

Mike,a

FTDNA only display b. and d. dates and places. As far as I can tell there is no provision for c., bef, aft, or ranges. So I assume they just extract b. and d. dates and places from a Gedcom and ignore the rest. It is limited but sufficient for a basic trees. Their Input/Edit screen, for an individual, has drop down list boxes in the form of 3 char. month and 2 digit day and a text box to enter 4 digits for the year. They have boxes for Gender etc. but that is not relevant to our discussion. My feelings are they consider only b. and d. dates and places are important for the DNA research.

My Ancestry requirement is purely a personal preference. Others might find it of interest. They include dates and places for b, m. d. and also custom events. Ideally I would like to all crop all dates and places but cropping custom events might prove troublesome.

After all we are looking at editing our Gedcom prior to uploading it to these companies. Their routines, for handling the fields, will presumably just look at whatever we leave in them. Be that day, month and year or just a year. Likewise for places - whatever we leave in that field.

Your 2 suggestions for the options make perfect sense. I was thinking of including an option to crop Just b. and d. or All events but do we need that. If the plugin crops dates and places for all events, for uploading to Ancestry, that won't effect the FTDNA handling of any Gedcom file as they don't look at anything other than b. and d. events.

As it stands at the moment those "special" dates - circa, calculated and double dates etc. are not used by FTDNA. Ancestry does allow custom fields for dates but my feeling is that if an individual wants to crop dates they will want to crop all events. I am not sure how a Gedcom file accommodates custom fields. Would it possible for your plugin to ignore such custom fields.

I will just point out I am Administrator for surname and geographic projects as opposed to Admin for the FTDNA website.

George

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Re: Short dates and place name for Gedcom export to Family Tree DNA

Post by tatewise » 05 Nov 2019 14:11

Your FTDNA feedback that only Birth and Death events are handled is invaluable, and not been mentioned by others.
I cannot experiment as there is no free trial option.
So it seems that the Export Gedcom File Plugin for FTDNA could strip the data down dramatically, including simplifying Dates and synthesising Birth and Death events from Baptism and Burial events, etc.

There is no problem cropping Date and Place fields for custom facts. They are the same as standard facts.

I was not aware that Ancestry had custom fields for dates. The Export Gedcom File Plugin just propagates the standard Date formats from the FH GEDCOM file.

HOWEVER, I've realised there is a problem with cropping Place names in FH V6 with Place records.
If by removing leading Place column parts, two Place records would have the same name then it won't work.
For example, if you have Newtown, Kent, England and Old Town, Kent, England then after cropping there will be two Place names Kent, England and that is not allowed as Place record names must be unique.
Merging the two records Newtown, Kent, England and Old Town, Kent, England into one Kent, England record and maintaining the links from Place fields is more complex than it sounds.

One solution is to prefix each cropped Place name with some arbitrary leading column text such as P1, P2, P3, et seq.
So the new Place names from above would become P1, Kent, England and P2, Kent, England.

Another solution may be to delete all the Place records and just crop the Place fields.
Then new empty Place records will get created for those cropped Place names automatically by FH.
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Re: Short dates and place name for Gedcom export to Family Tree DNA

Post by GeorgeJ » 05 Nov 2019 18:05

Mike,

Now you might appreciate why my first post was rather basic in its requirements. I certainly did not appreciate how difficult it would be to maintain the integrity of Gedcom files.

The plugin will produce a gedcom file that will be used to upload an initial or updated file. If it contains any errors will that affect the upload process ? Will FTDNA or Ancestry validate a new Gedcom or will they just look at fields they are interested in ? We won't be using any cropped Gedcoms for importing back to FH. Does this help simplify things in regard to duplicate place names etc.. We are taking a freshly exported Gedcom and cropping its fields and then uploading it to FTDNA or Ancestry. Then we can discard it. Any errors its contents might throw up during a further import/validation won't
compromise thing.

Maybe try a plugin for FTDNA and then when its tested add additional functionality for Ancestry. What about 2 separate plugins ?

I know this is not the appropriate place and soo hesitate but must ask if you, and your good lady wife, have not tested your DNA.

George

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Re: Short dates and place name for Gedcom export to Family Tree DNA

Post by tatewise » 05 Nov 2019 19:35

You are overlooking some crucial points from the steps 1. to 4. that I posted yesterday evening.
In step 2. the new cropping Plugin can only be run from within FH so must abide by FH GEDCOM rules and thus cannot "contain any errors" otherwise FH will object.
In step 4. the Export Gedcom File Plugin is also run within FH but it bypasses FH GEDCOM rules by reading & writing the GEDCOM files directly, but that involves a far more complex process.

It is difficult to say what products like FTDNA and Ancestry do when importing GEDCOM files.
They rarely publish what dialect of GEDCOM and what features they support, so it is often down to trial and error.
I have a test Project with many GEDCOM structures and experiment with adjustments until the target product imports successfully without error reports (rather like the logs FH produces when importing a new GEDCOM).
Then that forms the basis of the Export Gedcom File Plugin for that product.

You are correct that such GEDCOM migrated to FTDNA and Ancestry cannot be migrated back to FH.
That is made clear in the Help & Advice for the Export Gedcom File Plugin.

So for the Trim Date and Place Fields Plugin, as I have named it, I will see if the delete all the Place records and crop the Place fields technique will work.

To answer your last question, no we have not explored the DNA avenue yet.
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Re: Short dates and place name for Gedcom export to Family Tree DNA

Post by GeorgeJ » 05 Nov 2019 21:51

Mike,

Do you need anything else from me ?

Obviously I will be happy to run tests using your plugin on my tree.

DNA is the same as any other resource available for genealogical research. It is a good, if not the only, way to prove your conventional research. Everyone holds their little piece of information that can be added to the human haplotree. Its for the benefit of not just the individual but the wider community. Sermon ends.

George

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Re: Short dates and place name for Gedcom export to Family Tree DNA

Post by tatewise » 06 Nov 2019 23:02

I have attached a prototype Trim Date and Place Fields Plugin Version 0.1 Date 06 Nov 2019.

I think it implements the Date and Place trimming options discussed.

Are there any other fields that may need trimming, such as the Address field?

After trimming Place fields in FH V6 that will rearrange some Place records.
Place fields that are not trimmed will still be linked to the same Place records as before.
Place fields that get trimmed might link to existing matching Place records, or they might create new blank Place records, and they may leave their original Place records without links.
Those unlinked Place records, and any unlinked originally, will be deleted by Purge unused Place records? tick option.

After completion the Plugin produces a Result Set listing all the changes.

At present the Help & Advice button is not helpful as there is no matching Knowledge Base page yet.

Please try and break the Plugin with as varied Dates and Places as possible.
BUT only do that in a copy of your main Project.
After running the Plugin use Edit > Undo Plugin Updates to reverse all its changes, before closing FH.
It is also possible to retrieve the original data by using File > Backup/Restore > Revert to Snapshot.
Attachments
Trim Date and Place Fields.fh_lua
Version 0.1 Date 06 Nov 2019
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Re: Short dates and place name for Gedcom export to Family Tree DNA

Post by GeorgeJ » 09 Nov 2019 11:39

Hi Mike,

I've been uploading small test Gedcoms to Ancestry.co.uk . It throws an error when using UTF-8 but ANSI seems to work fine. I've not tried any other Formats. Ancestry being American ANSI seemed the logical one to try first.

The end results are fine. I may need to be more consistent when adding new records to my FH project.

I will try further testing but thought you might appreciate my initial findings. I'll try FTDNA next and let you know how it goes.

Very grateful for your time. :D

George

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Re: Short dates and place name for Gedcom export to Family Tree DNA

Post by tatewise » 09 Nov 2019 14:38

To be honest, I was only expecting testing of my new Trim Date and Place Fields Plugin.

Ancestry should accept UTF-8 perfectly well, and is essential if you use any non-ANSI characters such as accented foreign languages, various symbols, etc. What error message was Ancestry producing?

Perhaps you did not follow the Knowledge Base > Exporting a Family Tree with/without Media advice I gave last Monday to use the Clean Living Persons Plugin to remove private or sensitive data for online and the Export Gedcom File Plugin to export GEDCOM dialects applicable to FTDNA &/or Ancestry.
If you uploaded the trimmed FH GEDCOM then not only are you possibly exposing living person details but unconverted FH structures are unacceptable to other products such as Ancestry. If your FH GEDCOM uses default settings then it will be encoded in UTF-16 (not UTF-8) and that is not recognised by Ancestry.

Please try the attached updated Trim Date and Text Fields Plugin Version 0.2 Date 09 Nov 2019.
It adds some new features, including the Address field, a Delete all option, and it preserves the settings for future use.
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Trim Date and Text Fields.fh_lua
Version 0.2 Date 09 Nov 2019
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Re: Short dates and place name for Gedcom export to Family Tree DNA

Post by GeorgeJ » 09 Nov 2019 17:14

Ancestry Error message with UTF-8 -

Error: The file you have specified (Cowie WIP 2 9 Nov 2019.ged) does not appear to be a valid GEDCOM file, please try again.

I may have missed something as there is a lot that is new to me. I will re-run Clean Living Persons and then Trim Date and Text Fields.

These are the first Plug-ins I've used and some options require more than a little thought.

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Re: Short dates and place name for Gedcom export to Family Tree DNA

Post by tatewise » 09 Nov 2019 21:19

Yes, that is the error you get with the FH GEDCOM default UTF-16 encoding of the Cowie WIP 2 9 Nov 2019.ged file.

After running the other two Plugins it's essential you run the Export Gedcom File Plugin in (ANC) Ancestry Family Tree mode with all other options in their default settings.
Then upload the Cowie WIP 2 9 Nov 2019 ANC UTF8.ged file from the \Cowie WIP 2 9 Nov 2019\Public\Export folder.

Don't forget the Help & Advice button in Plugins that tries to offer useful tips.
Also keep returning to Knowledge Base > Export to Website Without Sensitive Data until it all becomes clearer.
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Re: Short dates and place name for Gedcom export to Family Tree DNA

Post by GeorgeJ » 11 Nov 2019 14:06

Mike,

I'm trying to break the plugin. It seems to work fine for Ancestry. I needed a (Dummies) set of instructions . So here it is.

1. Copy backup of FH project for exporting to Filename. Check it is using UTF-8 not UTF-16
2. Run Clean Living Persons plugin to remove living persons details.
3. Run Trim Date & Text Fields plugin. Select options to remove/shorten Date & Text fields.
4. Run Export Gedcom File plugin. Select Ancestry or FTDNA modes. Options set to default.
5. Upload Filename from the Filemame\Public\Export folder to Ancestry or FTDNA

I tried to use Edit>Undo Plugin Updates but could find the option enabled in the plugin or in FH menu ???

Would it be possible to add an option to exclude Notes from Trim Date & Fields Text plugin.

Is there a way to view the source code for the plugin ? Is that possible for other plugins ?

George

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Re: Short dates and place name for Gedcom export to Family Tree DNA

Post by tatewise » 11 Nov 2019 16:21

At step 1. you don't need to worry about UTF-16 or UTF-8 as that is sorted out by the Export Gedcom File Plugin.

Edit > Undo Plugin Updates is in the main FH menu top left, but only if you have NOT closed FH after running a Plugin.
If you run two Plugins without closing FH then there will be two Edit > Undo Plugin Updates available to step back each Plugin's changes. Alternatively, use File > Backup/Restore > Revert to Snapshot.
Note the Export Gedcom File Plugin does NOT change current Project database, and only creates a new GEDCOM and possibly image files in the ...\Public\Export\ folder, so there will be no Edit > Undo Plugin Updates available.

Yes, it is quite easy to add an option to trim Note fields.
Bear in mind it will apply to all Note fields throughout all records, and there are a great many.
What forms of trimming would you like?
e.g. No trimming; Delete everything; Delete [[private]] text;

Yes, the script for all Plugins is visible via the Tools > Plugins > More>> > Edit button.
See Knowledge Base > Family Historian Plugins Developer Guide and particularly Knowledge Base > Getting Started Writing Plugins.
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Re: Short dates and place name for Gedcom export to Family Tree DNA

Post by GeorgeJ » 11 Nov 2019 17:49

Thanks Mike,

Ideal options would be as per your suggestion - No trimming; Delete everything; Delete [[private]] text;

I note your comments re Undo.

I found the view source link.

George

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Re: Short dates and place name for Gedcom export to Family Tree DNA

Post by tatewise » 13 Nov 2019 12:08

Try the attached Trim Date and Text Fields Plugin Version 0.3 Date 13 Nov 2019.

It adds the options to trim Note fields as discussed.

Now copes with both settings of the Tools > Preferences > General tab Preferred Standard Date Format.

Adds an option to inhibit the Result Set that is useful/necessary on very large Projects.

Adds a Progress Bar that is useful for large Projects.

I am working on the Help page available via Help & Advice button and Knowledge Base > Trim Date And Text Fields Plugin.

Sorry for delay, but have redesigned some functions to increase speed and show progress mainly for large Projects.
Attachments
Trim Date and Text Fields.fh_lua
Version 0.3 Date 13 Nov 2019
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