Now What: Sharing Data from Family Tree Maker

By Rick Crume Premium

Q. I’d like to share my large Family Tree Maker 10 database – ideally, on a CD — with family. Copying the program and its data would violate copyright laws and make the data changeable. Is there a way besides pages of PDF files?

A. A CD-ROM is a great way to share your family history. Most genealogy software lets you create reports in HTML format for the Web — but instead of posting the files to your Web site, you’d just copy them onto a CD-ROM. Your relatives can view the files on a PC or Mac using a Web browser, such as Internet Explorer. Hyperlinks will work just as they do on a Web site, and you can include as many pictures as you want without worrying about long download times.

Family Tree Maker, however, can’t make HTML-format reports. You’ll need to create a GEDCOM file (the universal genealogy file format) by selecting File>Export File>Entire File (or Selected Individuals). Then use another genealogy program or a utility program to generate HTML files from the GEDCOM. Unfortunately, since Family Tree Maker won’t create GEDCOM files with multimedia links, you’ll have to add your pictures in the other program — and that’s not possible in a utility.

One workaround, GED4WEB <> utility designer Anthony Papineau suggests, is to type links to your images into Family Tree Maker’s Individual Notes and Family Notes fields before making the GEDCOM file. Use the format <img=picture.jpg>, replacing picture.jpg with the image’s file name. In the HTML files you generate from the GEDCOM, the images will appear within the notes section. Be sure to include your image files separately on each CD-ROM. If you want to put the images in a folder, include the folder name in the file path (for example, <img=photos/picture.jpg>). Otherwise, the links won’t work.

Once you have a GEDCOM, look on Cyndi’s List <> for links to several utility programs that can create HTML files from a GEDCOM. Or generate the HTML-format reports using Personal Ancestral File (PAF), a free download from Family Search <> and an excellent program. If you opted to skip Papineau’s tip, you can add pictures to your database in PAF.
From the February 2005 Family Tree Magazine