* Skeleton Tree for Ancestry

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arthurk
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Skeleton Tree for Ancestry

Post by arthurk » 16 Jun 2017 16:30

I've recently done an Ancestry DNA test, and to facilitate matches they advise creating a tree on their site. I don't want a public tree, but simply a private one that shows a basic outline of my ancestors as a basis for discussion.

I don't have any shared facts or witnesses, nor am I going to upload any media. I am the only person in the tree who is still living.

I suspect my approach is similar to the one Jane mentioned in Exporting to Ancestry (14582) (this post):
Personally I only ever upload a skeleton file containing key deceased people and strip the facts to just BMD data.
From looking at Help, and Plugins and their help, I think I can achieve this by:

1. Export a GEDCOM of the whole file

2. Run Split Tree Helper on this to (a) restrict records to my Ancestors only; (b) exclude all facts except Birth, Baptism, Marriage, Death and Burial.

3. Use Export Gedcom File plugin to ensure compliance with Ancestry's requirements.

However, there are some things that I'm not sure about:

4. Places/Addresses:
(a) Most of my Addresses are included as part of the Place record. Since this is going to be a skeleton tree, is there a way to exclude the address bits, so that, say, 123 High Street, Burmantofts, Leeds, WRY becomes just Leeds, WRY? Or do I need to work on sorting out my Places/Addresses first?
(b) When inputting an address manually at Ancestry it would expect me to use Leeds, Yorkshire, England, so what would happen if I use Leeds, WRY?

5. Notes:
I see that I can include or exclude Notes with the Split Tree Helper, but is there an automatic way to include Local Notes and exclude Fact Notes (or vice versa)? I haven't quite decided on the best approach with these, and if I am going to include any, I suspect I might need to review them one by one.

6. Sources:
Since this is just an outline, my inclination is to exclude Sources altogether, but somewhere in the tree to tell people that I do have details which I am willing to share. As a note in the general description of the tree may be overlooked, I'm thinking of something like a Whole Record Source for each person - eg Personal Research, with the "Citation" being an invitation to get in touch for more details. Is there a way to add this automatically to everyone in the file once all the other sources have been stripped out?

Thanks for any help on this.

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Re: Skeleton Tree for Ancestry

Post by Jane » 16 Jun 2017 17:04

Personally I would export just your ancestors it's easy to do in the export options.

With regard to Places and addresses, I would probably look to tidy them first. You could use search and replace to sort out the chapman codes, but I don't know if Ancestry does anything with the place data so you might be able to simply remove it.

I suspect you could clean down the Facts using the Clean Living persons plugin, just set the cut off date to 1500.
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Re: Skeleton Tree for Ancestry

Post by tatewise » 16 Jun 2017 17:27

First of all take a look at Knowledge Base > Exporting a Family Tree with/without Media especially Knowledge Base > Export to Website Without Sensitive Data that offers a series of optional tools and techniques.

1. 2. 3. are similar to the above techniques but in a different order, and selecting just Ancestors is an easy option in File > Import/Export > Export > GEDCOM File > Select > Add using Query > Ancestors

4. Places/Addresses:
(a) If you have your Address and Place parts in regimented columns, then the Rearrange Address and Place Parts Plugin can split them into Address field and Place field. BUT before you do that, ensure you understand the geocode mapping implications, as many users have gone the opposite way and merged Address into Place to get detailed map co-ordinates. Also after rearrangement, whether by Plugin or manually) there will be a lot of Place record merging to do.
(b) Not sure what Ancestry will make of WRY but you could use the Search and Replace Plugin to convert Chapman Codes to County, Country format, BUT take note of the Plugin FAQ for changing Place record names, as it is fraught with danger.

5. Notes:
See the Knowledge Base > Clean Unwanted Fields Plugin in the advice above as that will cope with the alternatives you mentioned. The Split Tree Helper treats all Local Notes the same, whether on the Record, the Facts, or the Citations, etc.

6. Sources:
There is no easy way to achieve what you requested short of writing a dedicated Plugin.
BUT your opening statement said: "I don't want a public tree, but simply a private one" so who will see those Sources?

I think you will need some experimentation to achieve your objectives.
Mike Tate ~ researching the Tate and Scott family history ~ tatewise ancestry

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Re: Skeleton Tree for Ancestry

Post by arthurk » 16 Jun 2017 19:25

Thank you for your thoughts so far.

This was all a new area to me and I was feeling a bit overwhelmed in trying to work out how to use the built-in Export Gedcom and Split Tree Helper, as well as reading the article Mike has referred to, and seeing how his plugins Clean Living Persons, Clean Unwanted Fields and Export Gedcom File would help me.

Meanwhile I've just been dealing with what has turned out to be an incompatibility between the latest Windows update and a piece of software that my PC manufacturer pre-installed. I think I've now got that sorted, but I won't be able to focus on this Ancestry issue now till tomorrow, when hopefully I'll write a fuller reply.

Very briefly for now, though, you might have a point re my No.6. I think it's that Ancestry trees without sources don't inspire a great deal of confidence, so I was trying to avoid that. But since the idea is that no-one will get to see the tree before I've made contact with them, I can of course fill them in a bit when issuing an invitation.

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Re: Skeleton Tree for Ancestry

Post by LornaCraig » 16 Jun 2017 21:28

Ancestry trees without sources don't inspire a great deal of confidence
In reality Ancestry trees with many sources often refer only to sources in Ancestry's own databases, and have been linked by people who accept Ancestry 'hints' unthinkingly. In my experience a tree someone has uploaded to Ancestry without any sources may paradoxically be more reliable - because they have done their own research and not used the semi-automatic tree-building offered by Ancestry which leads to so many mistakes.
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Re: Skeleton Tree for Ancestry

Post by arthurk » 17 Jun 2017 16:48

LornaCraig wrote:
Ancestry trees without sources don't inspire a great deal of confidence
In reality Ancestry trees with many sources often refer only to sources in Ancestry's own databases, and have been linked by people who accept Ancestry 'hints' unthinkingly. In my experience a tree someone has uploaded to Ancestry without any sources may paradoxically be more reliable - because they have done their own research and not used the semi-automatic tree-building offered by Ancestry which leads to so many mistakes.
Thanks - I hadn't thought of it that way.

Anyway, my DNA results arrived this morning, so I thought I'd better get on with creating this tree rather than talking about it here. This is what worked, though I may have gone a rather roundabout way to get there.

1. Used built-in Gedcom Export to export a tree of me and my ancestors only, without Sources or Notes. Worked on this as a Gedcom file rather than creating a Project.

2. Considered Clean Living Persons plugin, but decided against it because keeping BMD only would have meant stripping the dates to years only, which I didn't want to do.

3. Used Split Tree Helper to select which facts to keep (Birth, Baptism, (Christening for good measure), Marriage, Death, Burial). This seemed quicker and easier than working with a list of Facts or putting a lot of separate Fact data references into the Clean Unwanted Fields plugin.

4. The resulting file had a lot of unused Places, so I deleted these manually. I also then tidied up my Places list, removing the parts relating to Addresses, and merging as many as seemed sensible. There were a few separate Address fields which I also deleted.

5. Found some Death Causes with a Query, and deleted these. (Could this have been done some other way?)

6. Ran Clean Unwanted Fields plugin with its default settings - this found 6 items, but there didn't seem to be a way to get a report of what these were. From undoing it and looking at a list of Facts, then redoing and looking at the list again, I know some were Ages at Facts, which was OK by me, and as this is only a skeleton tree, I doubt the other items will be particularly crucial.

7. Ran Export Gedcom File plugin, with Ancestry option, but on Extra Options chose to remove virtually everything. This produced a report (which I didn't save, unfortunately) telling me that various things had been removed. I didn't understand much of this, and was a bit puzzled that it had apparently removed some place names which were nevertheless still in the resulting exported file.

Anyway, the result was just what I was looking for, and for the record, Ancestry accepts places with Chapman codes exactly as uploaded, and doesn't try to change them.

A couple of reflections on the process:
(a) It seemed a bit convoluted. Is there an easier way to get to the end result?
(b) Might there be some way of having the Clean Unwanted Fields plugin create a report when working with a Gedcom file, as well as when working with a Project?

And finally, the thought about an automatic source on every person (whole record) was partly derived from an option in either RootsMagic or Legacy, I can't remember which, where if you imported a Gedcom file you were given the option of defining a source that could be added like this - presumably to help with identifying which records came from a particular file/import. Anyway, for this Ancestry tree I've gone down the No Sources route.

Thanks for the help with this.

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Re: Skeleton Tree for Ancestry

Post by Valkrider » 17 Jun 2017 17:55

This may be an easier way.

I have a simple query that extracts all the individuals from my Surname Study along with their BMD dates and places and I then use this to create a CSV file which I put on my website.

You could run the same query to extract your data. Create the CSV file and then use one of the many CSV to Gedcom programmes or even the FH plugin to create your Gedcom. Only 2 steps as I see it, maybe add a third to deal with the living people.

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Re: Skeleton Tree for Ancestry

Post by arthurk » 17 Jun 2017 18:15

Thanks, Colin, that does sound relatively simple, although I don't at present have a CSV to Gedcom converter. However, part of me wants to resist this because I don't think what I want is so peculiar, and it ought to be possible using the tools I already have. You could probably argue that it should be possible using FH as is, without plugins, but since it's a program that's designed to use plugins to provide extra functionality, I'm happy to accept that.

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Re: Skeleton Tree for Ancestry

Post by BillH » 17 Jun 2017 19:24

Just saw this thread. I wanted a similar tree for Ancestry and didn't like how some things were showing up on their site. With Mike Tate's help I came up with a plan which as he pointed out is documented in the knowledge base. I created a step by step procedure that I use which I attached to the thread creating a file for Ancestry with no facts for living individuals (14691). It is attached to the posting dated Sun Mar 05, 2017 12:17 pm.

I included the names of the sources, but removed all notes on the sources and citations. Here is a link to my public tree on Ancestry if you would like to see how it looks after using the procedure, https://www.ancestry.com/family-tree/tr ... &selnode=1.

Don't know if it would be of any help to you, but thought I would mention it. You could always tailor this to have what you need.

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Re: Skeleton Tree for Ancestry

Post by tatewise » 18 Jun 2017 09:07

The main problem is that each user typically wants something different, and that is why there are so many customisation options in FH, and AS, and Plugins, etc. That is further complicated by products like Ancestry not implementing the GEDCOM standard very well, and is why the Export Gedcom File Plugin is needed at all.

If this skeleton export to Ancestry is something you need to perform repeatedly, then one way to simplify the process is for you to write your own dedicated Plugin combining elements from the existing published Plugins.

To answer your specific points :-

1. OK.

2. The Clean Living Persons Plugin could easily be adapted to have an option to keep entire Dates for BMD events, but remember it is only applied to Living/Private people, and most of your Ancestors will not still be living..

3. This Split Tree Helper step could be avoided if the above Plugin was changed.

4. If you tidy up your Place and Address fields in your main Project as your proposed to do in earlier postings, then this step is not needed. Removing unused Place records, and merging Place records is pointless, because the Export Gedcom File Plugin removes all Place records entirely, since Ancestry (like most products) does not handle those FH custom records.

5. Could use Clean Unwanted Fields plugin. Why do you need to remove Death Cause anyway?

6. Typically Clean Unwanted Fields will delete hundreds if not thousand of items, so a list would not be very practical. The Age fields are not supported by Ancestry, so the Export Gedcom File Plugin moves then to a local Note.

7. The Export Gedcom File Plugin removes Place records as mentioned above, but leaves Place fields as they are.

(a) If the suggestions above are adopted, then it is less convoluted.
(b) Yes, the Clean Unwanted Fields plugin could produce a Result Set of changes (irrespective of whether Project or Gedcom) but would would you do with it.
Mike Tate ~ researching the Tate and Scott family history ~ tatewise ancestry

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Re: Skeleton Tree for Ancestry

Post by arthurk » 18 Jun 2017 10:34

BillH wrote:Just saw this thread. I wanted a similar tree for Ancestry and didn't like how some things were showing up on their site. With Mike Tate's help I came up with a plan which as he pointed out is documented in the knowledge base. I created a step by step procedure that I use which I attached to the thread creating a file for Ancestry with no facts for living individuals (14691). It is attached to the posting dated Sun Mar 05, 2017 12:17 pm....
Thanks, Bill. I'm pretty sure I would have read that thread as it appeared, but I haven't reviewed it all since.

The document you produced seems to include the same settings as I used, and while I don't seem to need it now, it will be worth hanging on to in case I need to visit this again.

(Incidentally, the times of postings on the forum vary according to your time zone - for me in the UK the post you mention is showing as 05 Mar 2017 20:17.)

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Re: Skeleton Tree for Ancestry

Post by arthurk » 18 Jun 2017 12:33

Thanks for your comments, Mike.
tatewise wrote:If this skeleton export to Ancestry is something you need to perform repeatedly, then one way to simplify the process is for you to write your own dedicated Plugin combining elements from the existing published Plugins.
I don't expect now to need to do this again, but having found a way that works for me, I can always repeat the process even if it is a bit inefficient. I'm sure it would take me 20 times longer, or more, to learn how to write a plugin.
2. The Clean Living Persons Plugin could easily be adapted to have an option to keep entire Dates for BMD events, but remember it is only applied to Living/Private people, and most of your Ancestors will not still be living..

3. This Split Tree Helper step could be avoided if the above Plugin was changed.
The reason I tried Clean Living Persons was that Jane suggested above that it might be work if I changed the cut-off date: "I suspect you could clean down the Facts using the Clean Living persons plugin, just set the cut off date to 1500." But fair comment, maybe it wasn't the right tool for me to be trying.
4. If you tidy up your Place and Address fields in your main Project as your proposed to do in earlier postings, then this step is not needed. Removing unused Place records, and merging Place records is pointless, because the Export Gedcom File Plugin removes all Place records entirely, since Ancestry (like most products) does not handle those FH custom records...

7. The Export Gedcom File Plugin removes Place records as mentioned above, but leaves Place fields as they are.
This has me confused. First, as I wanted to get the Ancestry tree uploaded asap because my DNA results had just arrived, I didn't have time to tidy my Places and Addresses in the main Project first. I think I may have been mixing up Place Records and Place Fields - certainly after running the Export Gedcom File plugin and uploading the file to Ancestry, places are showing for the remaining BMD facts, so what has been deleted, and where is this place information coming from?

I felt merging Places was a good idea, since in a skeleton tree all I'm looking for is an outline showing roughly where things happened, not the precise address. That meant tidying the list up, but possibly not in the same way as I might eventually do with the main database.

While on Places, I'm now beginining to wonder whether Ancestry's matching algorithms would work better if I used their standardised versions of their names, rather than the ones I currently have - so Leeds, Yorkshire, England rather than Leeds, WRY. I could no doubt have done this as part of a tidy-up before exporting the Gedcom, but since the numbers aren't massive, and to make sure I get things exactly as Ancestry have in their dropdown lists, I'm probably going to work through things bit by bit while on the site.
5. Could use Clean Unwanted Fields plugin. Why do you need to remove Death Cause anyway?
As it's a skeleton tree I want the When and Where, but the How and Why don't help with matching and can wait till later.
6. Typically Clean Unwanted Fields will delete hundreds if not thousand of items, so a list would not be very practical. The Age fields are not supported by Ancestry, so the Export Gedcom File Plugin moves then to a local Note
So as I ran it almost at the end of the process, there wasn't much left for it to remove.
(b) Yes, the Clean Unwanted Fields plugin could produce a Result Set of changes (irrespective of whether Project or Gedcom) but would would you do with it.
With just a handful of items removed I would check that I was happy with what it had done, and if not, undo it and change the options. Because of the size of my file and what I'd already done with it, it didn't occur to me that there could sometimes be hundreds or thousands of items to report, and in such cases I can see that it might not be terribly useful or easy to deal with.

Anyway, thanks for your input.

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Re: Skeleton Tree for Ancestry

Post by tatewise » 18 Jun 2017 13:30

Setting the birth year cutoff in Clean Living Persons only applies if there is no Death Date so cannot apply to earlier Ancestors.

You need to understand how Place fields and Place records work.
Unlike other records (that are linked by Record Id) the Place fields and Place records are coupled by the place-name.
So if all the Place records are deleted, then all the equivalent Place field names remain.

What Place records add is the ability to record Lati/Longitude, Media, and Notes.
But they are a custom FH feature supported by very few other products, so they get ignored by or upset other products such as Ancestry.
Therefore, the Export Gedcom File Plugin applies the Extra Options tab Place Record option to either migrate the details to a Source record or remove them entirely, but either way all the Place records get deleted.

See the Plugin Help & Advice that includes Knowledge Base > Export Gedcom File ~ (ANC) Ancestry Family Tree > Extra Options Minimal Mode that help with this type of skeleton tree.
Mike Tate ~ researching the Tate and Scott family history ~ tatewise ancestry

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Re: Skeleton Tree for Ancestry

Post by arthurk » 18 Jun 2017 15:58

tatewise wrote:You need to understand how Place fields and Place records work.
Unlike other records (that are linked by Record Id) the Place fields and Place records are coupled by the place-name.
So if all the Place records are deleted, then all the equivalent Place field names remain.

What Place records add is the ability to record Lati/Longitude, Media, and Notes.
But they are a custom FH feature supported by very few other products, so they get ignored by or upset other products such as Ancestry.
Therefore, the Export Gedcom File Plugin applies the Extra Options tab Place Record option to either migrate the details to a Source record or remove them entirely, but either way all the Place records get deleted.
Thank you, that's clearer now.
See the Plugin Help & Advice that includes Knowledge Base > Export Gedcom File ~ (ANC) Ancestry Family Tree > Extra Options Minimal Mode that help with this type of skeleton tree.
Yes, apart from keeping the NICKname I set as many of these as I could to Remove entirely. I was a bit surprised that this wasn't one of the options for Fact Phone and Record Phone, though as I don't have any of these it didn't worry me unduly.

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Re: Skeleton Tree for Ancestry

Post by tatewise » 18 Jun 2017 16:18

The Fact Phone and Record Phone explanation is that they are standard Gedcom fields supported by Ancestry.
The main objective stated at the top is "to minimise the number of Note items under Other Sources."
Phone fields don't create those Note items, and there is no option to remove them entirely.

You will discover that every product has its own 'dialect' of Gedcom.
Some don't even support the standard Gedcom 5.5 specification very well.
Most also have their own (perfectly valid) custom fields that match FH custom fields, but use a different format.
So the Export Gedcom File Plugin tries to cater for all those, and retain as much data from your FH Project as reasonably possible, in Notes if necessary.
However, there have been a number of recent discussions where minimal data is required to obtain Hints & Hits or in your case DNA matches, so maybe the Plugin needs more options to remove data than I first imagined.
Mike Tate ~ researching the Tate and Scott family history ~ tatewise ancestry

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Re: Skeleton Tree for Ancestry

Post by arthurk » 18 Jun 2017 17:56

tatewise wrote:However, there have been a number of recent discussions where minimal data is required to obtain Hints & Hits or in your case DNA matches, so maybe the Plugin needs more options to remove data than I first imagined.
I agree, this kind of thing does seem to have come up a few times. Please don't do it for me, as I don't think I need it now, but if there could be others looking for something similar and it's not too hard to do, maybe it would be worthwhile.

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Re: Skeleton Tree for Ancestry

Post by trevorrix » 22 Jun 2017 11:04

When viewing your family tree logged in on your own Ancestry account *you* can see everyone including living people, but everyone else cannot not see those living people because Ancestry hides them for you. See Tree Settings > Privacy Settings > Public Tree > "Information about living people is automatically hidden from others and is NOT included in our search index".

So, I am suggesting that there is no need to take extra steps to delete/clean living people yourself prior to uploading a GEDCOM.
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Re: Skeleton Tree for Ancestry

Post by tatewise » 22 Jun 2017 11:33

Agreed Trevor, but some users are still nervous about trusting Ancestry with that responsibility, especially as the Ancestry Submission Guidelines include phrases such as "make reasonable efforts to hide all information about living individuals" and "use a process which in our belief excludes the living" that do not guarantee anything. There are other parts of those Guidelines that worry some users about how private the data really is.

Also some users just want a much simplified tree, without all the finer details in multiple Note items under Other Sources, which are due to the restricted Ancestry Gedcom dialect.
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Re: Skeleton Tree for Ancestry

Post by Jane » 22 Jun 2017 11:51

I am with Mike, I don't trust the Ancestry terms and conditions so only upload a bare minimum and other than my own record, no living people. I would never upload all the detailed information I have to them.
In addition I read this
Ancestry may reproduce, compile, and distribute, all information about non-living individuals in your submitted GEDCOM file.
as any data about deceased persons you upload is their's even if the tree is private.
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Re: Skeleton Tree for Ancestry

Post by arthurk » 22 Jun 2017 12:27

I agree with Mike and Jane on this. I'm not certain, but I think that even if the website marks people as Private, their details will still be in any Gedcom file that you allow others to download.

With the benefit of hindsight, I have one more comment about Places in this kind of skeleton tree. Ancestry doesn't seem to change what is uploaded, but I felt it might help with matching if I changed my Chapman codes with no country to full county name with country appended. However, as each event had to be done separately, it would have been a lot quicker and easier to do this in FH first.

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Re: Skeleton Tree for Ancestry

Post by mikefisher » 29 Jun 2017 13:28

Please make your skeleton tree public, people won't see living people, and they can't download it.
If it there is a match AncestryDNA will find you DNA and tree matches you don't know of because that "lost daughter" in your tree went abroad and married and had children in a different county.

The best researched tree on paper is of no use if DNA says your sibling turns out to be a 1/2 sibling or one of your parents isn't your parents or one of your grandparents isn't your grandparents..... There's a lot of it about. as I have learnt

Mike Fisher in a damp Droitwich
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Re: Skeleton Tree for Ancestry

Post by tatewise » 29 Jun 2017 13:45

Depends on whether you are only interested in biological relationships, or more general family relationships.

Foster parents, adoptive parents, step-parents & step-siblings are just as interesting and important in the history of any family.
Mike Tate ~ researching the Tate and Scott family history ~ tatewise ancestry

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