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Old 11th January 2013, 04:18 PM
brookes brookes is offline
FTDNA Customer
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: New York City
Posts: 133
GEDCOM import issue with alternate facts

I like to use alternate facts in my family trees, such as name spellings or birth years from the census & the like, including originally recieved inaccurate information from relatives or guesses of my own, etc - but as I nail down the details with documentation, I mark the most accurate facts as Preferred in Family Tree Maker/Ancestry. These show up fine in FTM 2012 for Windows and on the Ancestry.com site. However when I create a GEDCOM 5.5 format file and upload to FamilyTreeDNA, inevitably the oldest entered fact is shown on FTDNA, which is rarely (if ever) the preferred fact. I checked the raw file and it appears that the names/DOBs are output in the correct order, i.e. preferred fact first, followed by alternates. I know the issue is not with the file/FTM because in WorldConnect, loading the same GEDCOM shows that the facts are handled correctly, i.e. Preferred is the main fact used (alternates are shown on the individual's detail page, which FTDNA does not have (nor does it need)). I wonder if FTDNA is simply overwriting the facts for each individual in the order in which they are received. Can that overwriting be suppressed or turned off? I would be happy to have just the preferred fact accepted and then all subsequent for the same person disregarded, because for the purposes of this site's ancestry representation, it's more important to have the accuracy of the preferred fact being used than luxury of the additional alternate detail. I refer all my matches to my Ancestry online tree or Worldconnect anyway for more details on my family, so there's no need to recreate the wheel.

FTDNA programmers, a little help here?

To the community: Right now I am doing a tedious and inefficient workaround of creating a temporary tree from which I manually delete all the alternate facts before creating my GEDCOM, since once it's up on the FTDNA site, I can't modify it. Does anyone have a better way of doing this?


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Old 11th January 2013, 07:17 PM
brookes brookes is offline
FTDNA Customer
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: New York City
Posts: 133
Quoting from the GEDCOM standard:

"The order in which GEDCOM lines are written to a GEDCOM file is controlled by the context and level number. When the lines are of equal level number but have a different tag name then the order is not significant. The occurrence of equal level numbers and equal tags within the same context imply that multiple opinions or multiple values of the data exist. The significance of the order in these cases is interpreted as the submitter's preference. The most preferred value being the first with the least preferred data listed in subsequent lines by order of decreasing preference. For example, a researcher who discovers conflicting evidence about a person's birth event would list the most credible information first and the least credible or least preferred items last."
Hope this helps!

Last edited by brookes; 11th January 2013 at 07:21 PM.
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