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RootsMagic is again my main software, but I figured out how to still take advantage of the hints of Family Tree Maker 2012.

After all of the problems I’ve had with Family Tree Maker 2012 (FTM), I had decided to return to my old favorite, RootsMagic. I was, however, sad about losing the shaky leaf hints feature of FTM 2012 as it was extremely productive for me.

At first, I was totally despondent at the thought of the six months of work I’d put into the database in FTM 2012 and ended up losing when I was unable to successfully export to gedcom. Yesterday, however, I decided to figure out if I could still use the hints in FTM, while entering the data in my main database in RootsMagic.

full screenshot

Complete screen image of both programs open side by side to the same individual to work with hints (see yellow boxes).
Click for full size image.

It worked surprisingly well!

Here is the procedure I use step by step for those who would like to follow suit:

Open FTM in a window resized to fit in half of the screen.

Ancestry Family Tree hints window
Copy hint url from FTM 2012 browser (see yellow box).
Click for full size image.
Ancestry Family Tree 2012 hints in separate browser
Pasted hint url in new browser (see yellow box).
Click for full size image.

Open RootsMagic (or whatever other software contains your main database) and resize it to fit the other half.

Proceed to the individual in the main software (hereinafter I’ll refer to RootsMagic) where you would like to start.

If the individual exists in the FTM 2012 database, go to the same individual there as well.

If the individual does not exist, enter the new individual in FTM 2012 and refresh to show any leaf hints. If none show, enter more data such as birth date, marriage, death date, etc.

With those individuals for whom there are no leafy hints, move to the next closest relative(s), continuing until you find a hint that provides new information. In my case, I’m well ahead because I had imported my entire RootsMagic database into FTM and the majority of the people and all of their known data were already entered. Due to this, I am at present inundated with hints to work from. If I find new people to input, I input just the name using the procedure mentioned above, adding additional data if needed.

When I find a hint I want to work with, I open it in a new browser window resized to fit over the FTM window, and use my trusty old-fashioned cut and paste, save and download to obtain data and images – entering them in RootsMagic.

By using my software this way , I am able to remain confident in the stability and security of my database in RootsMagic, and bypass the hugely risky and inconvenient problems with importing, exporting, and uploading to the internet in FTM. The ability to continue to use the shaky leaf hints in this way means I don’t have to consider the money I spent on my subscription to FTM 2012 a waste any longer.

A fifties' child, mom, wife, avid genealogy researcher, web contributor and author/owner of four blogs including Empty Nest Ancestry, Feathering the Empty Nest Nest, Top Web Blog Tips, Job Bully, and our extensive family genealogy database site at Blythe Genealogy.


  • Randy Seaver

    Well done! A pretty good workaround.

    I just upload a GEDCOM created by RootsMagic to an Ancestry Member Tree and use the hints generated while sharing the screen with RootsMagic. Essentially the same thing without the FTM middle man.

    I can add sources, save the images, add the images to Media, etc. all with Ancestry open.

    • c blythe

      That’s great! I’ve never used the online member tree as I couldn’t successfully upload from FTM 2012. Had I known this, I could have avoided buying the software in the first place. Thanks, Randy.