(Note: This was written for TMG v4x)

Converting from Reunion to TMG

By Bruce Cogan

The question was asked on the TMG Mailing List:
  •  I know that I will need to do a GEDCOM from Reunion to TMG and that it isn't the most reliable or best way to get my info into TMG...... but it is the only way from a Mac. What sorts of problems might I encounter when I do this?

A couple of years ago I made the switch from a Macintosh to a PC, and at the same time moved my genealogical data from Reunion to TMG. As far a I know, the only way to move data from Reunion to TMG is via GEDCOM files. Here are some issues I encountered, listed in no particular order. I was exporting from version 5 of Reunion into TMG 4.0a.  Keep in mind that this applies to a fairly old version of Reunion - it was already not the current version in June 2000 when I did the change over.   More recent versions of either program may have eliminated some of these problems.

  • Where I had unknown surnames represented by a string of hyphens, this needed to be changed since TMG uses hyphens as an "exclusion marker" (TMG manual p.144).

  • In Reunion, I had recorded sources as free-form text, and not used source fields. All sources were imported as type Book (Authored), with the entire text of the citation in the Title field.

  • When creating the GEDCOM file in Reunion, set the maximum GEDCOM line length to 255. When importing into TMG set the maximum line length to 234 (the largest possible). This will work fine. Your data will not be truncated. For some reason TMG actually reads a line 21 characters longer than the setting.

  • When you import into TMG it creates a new TMG data set which only understands a fixed set of GEDCOM tags. Reunion may well use some GEDCOM tags that TMG does not understand - especially if you have defined some event, fact or note types of your own in Reunion. Since TMG creates a new file in the import process, you can't create a new (TMG) tag type in your TMG file ahead of time, giving it an appropriate GEDCOM tag. But you can fix this up (somewhat) in Reunion before you export. Go to the screen where the Event, fact or note field is defined and change the GEDCOM tag definition to something that TMG understands, and which seems appropriate. (Note the confusing terminology. The 4-letter code in the GEDCOM file is referred to by Reunion as a GEDCOM tag; TMG calls it a GEDCOM label. Reunion refers to Events, Facts or Notes as types of Fields; TMG refers to them as Tags).

  • If you have a note field in Reunion that begins with a blank line, this will put a blank line in the GEDCOM file, which will cause TMG some problems.

  • Long Note fields: When a note extends beyond 255 characters, Reunion starts a new GEDCOM line with a CONC tag. If the note text contains a hard end-of-line, a new GEDCOM line is started with a CONT tag. This is, I think, what the GEDCOM standard specifies. Unfortunately TMG does not distinguish between these two GEDCOM tags. You may need to clean this up by hand, to restore your line formatting.  You might experiment with the "CONC lines split words" option under TMG's GEDCOM Import Settings.  This may reduce the clean-up work you might need to do.

  • Name prefixes (e.g. Capt.) do not pass through the GEDCOM file in a way that TMG can interpret correctly.  A typical entry in a Reunion GED file would look like:

1 NAME Robert /WADE/
2 NPFX Capt.

So depending on the Setup settings in TMG, this will either (a) read the NPFX and ignore the information following NAME or (b) ignore the NPFX data.  I used a text editor to manually replace all "2 NPFX" tags with "1 TITL" tags.

  • If you have a single note field in Reunion with several source citations (footnotes) located at different places in the text, the positions of the source citations within the text will not be preserved after import to TMG. Then you will have all your text, and attached to it will be the list of all the citations. There will be no indication as to which bit of the note text any source citation belongs.

The general procedure I adopted for transferring from Reunion to TMG, after much trial and error, was this:

   1.  Make miscellaneous changes to Reunion file, such as deleting blank lines at the beginning of Note.
    2.  In Reunion, change GEDCOM tags for fields, as required, to tags recognized by TMG; set the GEDCOM line length to 255.
   3.  Create the GEDCOM file in REUNION, and examine it with a text editor, removing blank lines, and possibly fixing other problems as noted above.
   4.  In TMG, select import settings (234 character lines; do not extract carriage returns). 
   5.  Import the GEDCOM.
   6.  Inspect the TMG database and the import log for problems, e.g. unknown GEDCOM labels. If it looks as though you can do a better job in steps 1-4, go back to step 1 and try again with different settings or chnages. If not then....
   7.  Manually clean up your TMG database --  Tidy up long notes, especially those with multiple source citations; Realign place names (manual p. 247); and work on anything else you're not happy with.

Good luck!

Bruce Cogan


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