Terry's TMG Tips

The Future for TMG Users

This page updated 8 Jan 2016

Version note: Applies to all versions

Now that Wholly Genes is no longer be supporting TMG (since the end of 2014) many users are asking what they should do now. After consulting with other "expert" users and reading the posts by many users on the TMG List and the Wholly Genes Forum, and doing some research on my own, I've developed the thoughts in this article.

Topics Included in this Article
WG Announcement
The text of Bob Velke's June 29, 2014 announcement
What Does This Mean?
Understanding how the announcement impacts you
Continuing Use of TMG
Steps to take to protect your TMG installation and data
Moving to Another Program
Some considerations when moving to another program

Wholly Genes Announcement

Bob Velke, president of Wholly Genes Software, the maker of TMG, made this announcement on July 29, 2014:

I am sad to report that the decision has been made to discontinue The Master Genealogist ("TMG").

While thousands of TMG users appreciate the program's many powerful features that are unmatched in other software, the market for those advanced features has proved to be insufficient to support the infrastructure that is necessary to support it and continue development. A variety of my own health issues have also contributed to this decision as I have fewer opportunities to focus on the things that would be necessary to develop and market the program.

There is every reason to believe that TMG will continue to work for existing users for the foreseeable future but official support will end at the end of 2014, although we may release some more bug fixes (but no new features) before that. In the interest of those who may want to communicate their data to family members or upgrade to the latest release, we will continue to sell the full product and updates through September with the understanding that product development has been discontinued.

After the end of the year, I expect to maintain the support forum which would be available for user-to-user support. Other online support forums, including the TMG-L mailing list, are also available to users.

For 25 years, TMG has repeatedly pushed the boundaries of genealogical software and promoted the highest principles of scholarship in record-keeping and reporting. It has encouraged users to expect more from their family tree software, especially in the area of source citations, and the industry has responded by setting new and higher standards in its suite of "standard features." To lesser degrees, programs have begun to emulate some of TMG's other innovative features, including its powerful filtering/searching functions, flags, customizable screen layouts, shared events (i.e., witnesses), and narrative output options.

As genealogical data has become more sophisticated, researchers have been increasingly confronted with the many limitations of GEDCOM in transferring that data. For more than two decades, our GenBridge technology has demonstrated that much more complete and accurate transfers can be achieved through direct imports. Other family tree programs have implemented the GenBridge technology or developed similar direct-import strategies, resulting in the preservation of precious data for countless researchers.

I am proud of the leadership role that TMG has played in the evolution of genealogical software and I encourage TMG users to continue to press developers to raise their standards and implement features that allow researchers to do the same.

In the interest of preserving users' data, I have released a document that details TMG's internal file structure and I will make GenBridge available for free to developers who wish to produce a direct import from TMG insofar as their programs support the same features.

It goes without saying that this has been a painful decision and is a significant milestone for me. TMG has been a major part of my life for more than 25 years and it is not easy to let it go. I recognize too and regret the degree to which it may leave researchers uneasy about the future of their data and the prospects for their research tools. I am taking a necessary step back from the genealogical community but with the hope that my contribution to it has left researchers better equipped to accomplish their research goals.

What Does This Mean to You?

Let's explore exactly what the implications of this announcement are to current TMG users, and why I believe there is no need for any immediate drastic action by users:

In short, major portions of support for TMG users should remain in place for years to come.

In short, your existing computer should continue running TMG 9 to be usable for up to eight more years.

Further, users who have converted to Windows 10 have reported installing and using TMG 9 on it successfully. The issue with Windows 8 with repeated requests to enter the ID number, remains, and appears as a new issue for Windows 7 users. The solution is described in my article on moving to a new computer. Some issues with folder permissions and saving reports as PDF files have been reported. See the TMG 9 section of the Wholly Genes Forum for discussions and solutions.

In short, the chances of transferring your data successfully to another program would appear to be enhanced by waiting.

So there is no need for TMG users to do anything quickly, and a number of users have declared their intention of staying with TMG as long as it works on their computers. For those planning to transfer to another program, delaying the transfer offers the potential for a more trouble-free transfer with less loss of data. Not only might direct transfer become possible, but other developers may decide to enhance features to entice TMG users to adopt their program.

For users deciding to adopt a wait-and-see approach, there are some steps that should be taken now, as discussed next.

Continuing Use of TMG

If you are planning to continue use of TMG after the end of 2014, as recommended above, there are a few steps that seem prudent to protect your TMG installation and your data, as outlined below:

If you obtained a copy of TMG on a CD, it is most likely useless. Unless you verify that it is the lasted edition (or if it has the serial number written on it, which you do need) you may as well throw it away. The reason is that the free updates which you should have installed if you originally had an early edition included changes in the data file formats, so your Project files will not open if you install an earlier version with the CD. You do not need to install an early version and run updates. The current installers will install a full fresh version.

If you do not know whether you have copy of the current installer, find one and keep it in a safe place. You should be able to find a copy on your own computer, at a location like C:\Users\All Users\The Master Genealogist v9 Installer\Update if you used the Help > Check for Update method of installing the most recent update. If you downloaded the update manually it should be where you saved it during the download unless it has since been deleted.

If there is any doubt whether you have the correct version of the installer, check by right-clicking on the installer file and choosing Properties on the right-click menu. On the Details tab of the Properties dialog look for "Product version" about half way down, as shown below. For TMG 9 be sure it says 9.05.0000; for TMG 8 it should say 8.08.0000.

Copies of both the version 8 and version 9 installers can also currently be obtained from a website provided by Wholly Genes using these links:

TMG 9.05 US Edition TMG 9.05 UK Edition
TMG 8.08 US Edition TMG 8.08 UK Edition

The Wholly Genes site is no longer accessable to overseas users (except by use of a Virtual Private Network). If the above links produce an error message to the effect of "You don't have permission to access this resource" access the installers instead from the Roots Users Group instead from their site. Their site also has installers for earlier versions available.

The installation file should be kept in a location on your computer where it will be part of your backup routine (see my article on Protecting your Data) or at least copied to external media stored in a safe place. Place a copy of your serial number, and if there is any question the associated email address, in a text file and put that in the same place. I think saving these two files in a safe place is important. If you are not comfortable doing so I recommend enlisting your favorite technical support person (grandchild?) to assist.

If you do not have a copy of the email from Wholly Genes with your serial number you can obtain a copy which you can cut and paste into the text file by using the Help > Technical Support command, and on the screen that appears, clicking the "Trouble report" button. Choose the option to open the report in your word processor, and your serial number and the associated email address appear a few lines from the top.

Important: If upgraded to the last version after saving a copy of the installer as described above, be sure to save a new copy of the latest installer and replace any earlier versions you have saved. TMG has not used "update" installers for many years – each update is installed with a full installer that installs the whole program.

If you are using a version earlier than TMG 9 I recommend you now upgrade to the current version while that opportunity remains. It has a number of helpful new features and includes a number of bug fixes. Further, it seems likely that as other developers provide direct import capability your transfer is likely to be most successful when working from the latest version of TMG. The installers for the US and UK editions can be downloaded from the links above. There are at last report one source of ID numbers, which are required to use TMG 9 past the 30-day free trial:

If you have not already done so, now is a good time to add a Backup button to your custom toolbar so you can create a backup with a single click of the button after you have entered more data that you would like to re-enter. See my article on Using Toolbars for information on how to do this.

By taking these steps you should be able to continue to use TMG for a considerable number of years if you choose to. If you choose to transfer to another program these steps should keep your TMG installation in good health until you find and adopt a suitable replacement. The next section discusses some considerations involved in making such a transfer.

Transferring to Another Program

There are two principal issues involved in transferring one's data from TMG to another program, as discussed below:

The extent to which limitations such as these would impact you depends on exactly how you use TMG, and how many of TMG's features you have used and which you regard as essential. If you are considering moving to another program, try several and see if features you think are important are offered.

Those seeking help in understanding the issues with various alternate programs, and potential solutions, my find it helpful to join the TMG-Refugees list on RootsWeb. You can view the list Archives to see if it might be helpful.

I urge TMG users to not make any rash choices.

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