Explore Your Family Tree with FTAnalyzer 5

Genealogy sites MyHeritage.com and Ancestry.com as well as genealogy programs like RootsMagic, Legacy Family Tree, AncestralQuest, Family Historian, and many others are great for presenting family trees, displaying your data in a straightforward graphical form. However, one Windows program allows you to really understand your tree, to spot problems, links, and patterns you might have missed.

FTAnalyzer is an open source tool for Windows which imports your data in the form of a GEDCOM file, then analyzes it by using a number of useful reports, providing details you might not have uncovered any other way.

To use FTAnalyzer, you have to export your family tree from your present genealogy program or online service as a GECDCOM file. (If you are unfamiliar with GEDCOM files, read my GEDCOM Explained article at https://blog.eogn.com/2014/05/24/gedcom-explained/.) All modern genealogy programs and the leading genealogy web sites all do that although instructions will vary from one such service to another. In most programs and online family tree web sites, you need to find the command to EXPORT your family tree and then follow the menus.

FTAnalyzer produces many reports, including:

  • Listing individuals, families, surnames, locations, occupations and more.
  • “Data Errors” looks for possible mistakes in the data (birth date after the mother’s death, married before the age of 13, and 20+ others), while the “Duplicates” report intelligently checks your tree for people who appear more than once.
  • “Census” report takes this a step further with a choice of 16 reports highlighting issues with US, UK, Canadian, Irish and other census data. To take a single example, one click will show you everyone you’ve not located for a given census year, very helpful in understanding where to research next.
  • “Occupation Lists” showing all the occupations in your GEDCOM – double clicking on an occupation shows the lists of people with that occupation.
  • “Facts” allows you to view the various fact types in your GEDCOM see who has a particular fact also shows a count of how many sources a fact has. Double clicking on a fact shows the detailed sources for that fact.
  • “Sources” shows all the sources in your GEDCOM along with a count of the number of facts for each source. Double clicking on a source lists all the facts that have been sourced by that source.
  • “Data Errors List” shows various types of data errors in your GEDCOM such as events happening before someone was born or after they died, etc.
  • “Census Lists” permits listing everyone in your file that should be alive on a census at a particular date and for whom you have not yet found a census entry.
  • “Loose Death list” shows all details where you have death date info for an individual but you haven’t updated the death record for that individual.
  • “Lost Cousins Report” shows you everyone you have already found on a census so you can check if you have entered them at Lost Cousins.
  • “Maps” reads your GEDCOM locations, geocodes them, and presents the results on Google-sourced maps.
  • “Timeline” highlights your ancestor’s locations on a map, for instance, then graphically shows how they’ve moved around over the years.

Perhaps best of all, no installation is required. Simply download the file, unzip it, move all its files to a new subdirectory you create (there are a lot of files!), and then click on the FTAnalyzer.exe file to run the program. You also can save Family Tree Analyzer and all its files to a USB flash drive or other portable storage device, then run it on any other Windows computer with no need for installation. It does not create new entries in the Windows Registry or Start menu, leaving the disk clean after removal.

Unfortunately, FTAnalyzer 5 runs only on Windows; there is no Macintosh version.

FTAnalyzer 5 is available free of charge at https://ftanalyzer.codeplex.com. The users manual may be found at https://ftanalyzer.codeplex.com/documentation.

When I looked at FTAnalyzer 5, the web site was agonizing slow and took several minutes to display a web page. While waiting, I opened another window and checked other web sites and they all worked normally so I know the problem was not in my Internet connection. I don’t know if the problem was in the codeplex.com web site (very possible). If so, it may be a temporary problem. I checked https://ftanalyzer.codeplex.com again a couple of hours later and performance was better but still much slower than most other web sites.


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21 Comments

I had no issues with the web site loading or with downloading the application. I had other tabs open to Twitter, Gmail (which usually slows things down considerably), and this page. Thank you for the info on the app. Can’t wait to try it!

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Dick,
I downloaded the program from the publisher’s site. It seems to be a nice program. It takes some time to load everything up. It also looks like it could be useful in identifying where chunks of data may be missing.
One thing, though, I’m definitely going to have to spend some time with the user documentation to fully understand all of the reports.
I am having problems geocoding with the google option. It times out and says that too many locations have been geocoded and to try again in 24 hours. I’ll probably find the solution to this in the documentation.

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    Google provide a free geocoding service but they put a limit on the maximum number of locations you can look up in any 24 hour period. Simply wait and you can scan more locations. Sadly for people with very large trees this might take a few days. However it is just Google trying to ensure its servers aren’t overwhelmed.

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For thos of us that are non-geeks, please explain moving files to a subdirectory! Thanks

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For NON-Geeks .. there is a great site called “How-to Geek” at
http://www.howtogeek.com/ which is a good place to answer your questions on such subjects. Use their ‘search’ function. From Basics to more complex subjects.

I use it quite often for computer and software issues.

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I have used FTAnalyser for quite sometime now (well over a year) and I have found it very useful, particularly those damned typos which creep in. But it has allowed me to correct a number of errors in one gen file with over 17000 people in it. I doubt I would have ever picked them up “manually”.
My one criticism is that it doesn’t recognise just a year for a marriage, birth or death: flagging it as an error if other dates are complete. That being said, I still use it after a major input session. I am still getting to grips with some of the reports but I would recommend it to anyone.

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    Hi Sandra can you raise an issue for me at FTAnalyzer.codeplex.com and I’ll investigate what you mean by “it doesn’t recognise just a year for marriage, birth or death” there is no reason at all it won’t recognise just a year, a massive number of people in my own tree have just a year, so I’m keen to see where the problem lies and fix it for you as this shouldn’t happen.

    The only thing I can think you might mean is that you have an exact birth date and some other event in that same year where you have just put a year and no other info. It might then suggest a potential error as the start date of the year is before birth. However it is usually a bit more subtle than that and doesn’t highlight this, so let me know and I’ll fix it if I can.

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That’s for the review Dick.

Codeplex is a Microsoft run site for developers to save their code. It does occasionally run slowly there is nothing that developers can do about that. Many Microsoft sites have been terribly slow the last few days presumably with the load generated by the launch of Windows 10. So it might just be that you caught the Codeplex site on a bad day.

I would also recommend that users install via the Microsoft “One Click” functionality as this means that they don’t have to worry about downloading anything or unzipping etc. they simply click once and the program installs. It also means that every time they run the program it checks to see if there is a new version then auto updates it so that they are always up to date.

I’m more than happy to answer questions, fix bugs and add new features if any of your readers wish to contact me via the Codeplex site, just use the issues or discussions pages.

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I was very excited to give this a try, especially as I’d forgotten about “Lost Cousins”. I do all my research in Family Search, and came up against the problem of exporting a GEDCOM to use with Family Tree Organizer. I’ve used RootsMagic before to create a GEDCOM, so I imported a 6 generation tree (figuring this would cover the 1880-81 censuses), but then looked at the resulting FTAnalyzer report, and remembered that sources are not automatically imported to RM. Is there any possible way around this? It would take weeks to import all the sources into RM, one by one by painful one…

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    Hi LH,

    I’m the author of FTAnalyzer. If your tree is at Family Search then its entirely down to how their GEDCOM export works, if you have sources against facts in your tree I’d be shocked if there wasn’t an option to export those sources. I’ve not used FamilySearch to store my tree what options are there to export your tree?

    Note going via RootsMagic is adding a completely unnecessary complication. After all why export the tree (as a GEDCOM file) then import it into RootsMagic only to export it as a GEDCOM file again. That isn’t worthwhile, you are just losing information. Instead when you export the file from FamilySearch then it should already be in GEDCOM format. I’m not aware of any other format they would export it in.

    Once you have a GEDCOM file then FTAnalyzer will analyse it. Note sources are only used to find census references if you don’t already have census facts so you don’t need any sources in your file if you have already added census facts to the individuals there. Given that GEDCOM was invented for the people behind FamilySearch I’d be really surprised if they are doing anything non standard. So your tree should have every detail it in when you export it.

    Further research: I found a help article https://help.familysearch.org/publishing/816/110088_f.SAL_Public.html which suggests that you cannot directly download a GEDCOM from FamilySearch this suggests you have no control over your own data which for me would be a reason to immediately abandon my tree on FamilySearch and use a program that actually gives you not them control. However all is not lost you can use other programs to download the data but it seems with loss of info. I cannot see how this is acceptable to users.

    I can see now why you had to use Rootsmagic to get at your data. How can you possibly like this situation where you have no control over your data? It seems to me to be a situation to avoid like the plague and an excellent reason to remove your tree from FamilySearch.

    As noted however if you for whatever reason continue to use FamilySearch, despite them holding your data hostage, you can still analyze it in FTAnalyzer without sources, you just lose the automatic creation of missing census records from census references in the source record.

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Thanks, Alex, I will still try FTAnalyzer – looks like a great tool! Hope someone somewhere comes up with a solution to the FamilySearch sources/GEDCOM issue. I really do love FamilySearch for its integration of sources, free access to huge numbers of records, and one-world-tree approach. It’s gotten markedly more user-friendly since I started my tree (less than 2 years ago), and I have faith it will keep improving.

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To the author of FTAnalyzer————

As of this morning 2-19-2016, Norton.Symantec removed it from my machine due to WS.Reputation.1.

I tried to download again and it refuses to let it open on my machine—Windows 10 laptop

Can you please let me know what the problem is.

Thank you

Kathy H

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    —> Can you please let me know what the problem is.

    The problem is: Norton.Symantec

    Norton.Symantec is infamous for “false positives. That is, it reports there MIGHT be a problem when, in fact, there is no problem. You can read a few hundred reports of similar issues with Norton.Symantec by starting at: https://duckduckgo.com/?q=norton+%22false+positive%22

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    Nothing has changed in the program for months. If Norton is suddenly reporting an issue with a program that you have been running for ages then as Dick says it is likely to be a problem at Nortons end. Norton used to be a good program in the 1990s early 2000s these days it gets very poor reviews. The “reputation” error is probably referring to the expired certificate (see below).

    Windows 10 works slightly differently. When you download an application it hasn’t seen before it will pop up a blue box saying “Windows Smartscreen prevented an unrecognised application from starting”. The default button is don’t run, there is also a link to “More Info”. Clicking this will show Run Anyway button.

    The problem is that the certificate I used to sign the code to prove it was genuine expired today. When the certificate was within date the program was “signed” and thus trusted. Now it’s expired you get a warning it’s not signed.

    At some point I’ll need to purchase a new certificate, and generate a new version. Unfortunately I’ve not done any family history since last summer so I’m not sure when I’ll have to time to update the program.

    That said nothing’s changed other than the certificate date has expired its still exactly the same program as before so you can continue to use it safely.

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    Thank You so much Alex and Dick—– I am glad to hear all is ok with this program—I really like it and have recommended it to many, so now I will be able to show them what you say about it when they start saying theirs did the same thing. Headed to download it again!!!!!

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My two cents worth! This program is the best use of technology ever. As mentioned above those darned typo’s 1897 instead of 1879 make a lot of difference. I am still in the process of finding and correcting errors either created by myself or from long ago research – that wasn’t really research. A most interesting item due to one “error” found by FT Analyzer was in a report in my old 2003 FTM (yes that is what I still use) that found three pages of people whose parentage was marked as “unknown father” but “natural mother” also both parents “unknown” when I know for a fact that they should have been tagged as “natural” – how did these things happen? Who knows but they are now being fixed – YEAH FAMILY TREE ANALYZER!

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    Yes Barbara, I agree, I love it and I hope my Norton program will leave it alone and quit disabling it.

    My Norton expires in 187 days—-What would be a better virus protection program to use—any suggestions Dick or Alex?

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    —> What would be a better virus protection program to use—any suggestions Dick or Alex?

    All anti-virus programs will occasionally report “false positives.” As long as you know that, it shouldn’t be a problem. Just keep in mind that a report from your anti-virus program doesn’t mean there IS a problem, only that there MIGHT be a problem. In many cases, perhaps the majority of cases, there is no problem. However, you always want to be cautious.

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    As Dick says there is no perfect program out there. I happen to use Trend Micro myself although the one that gets consistently great reviews is Kaspersky.

    Like

Thank you both for the information—much appreciated!!

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