Category Archives: Media

Using Media Details to Transcribe Obit

When I run up on an obit or newspaper article on FindaGrave or elsewhere, I add it into FTM. When time permits I transcribe the image into text so that it can be searched, copied, and pasted. There is a very handy little area in FTM called Media Details that allows me to view the image, resize it so that I can easily read it to transcribe, and then type right beside the image without having to switch between programs like Text Edit (which is very helpful for many other things but I would rather eliminate the switching if possible).

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Create a Family Tree Chart with Background

Today on Family Tree Maker – Mac Version there was a post requesting help to create a chart and it gave me the opportunity to play around with Chart options. Using  Publish>Charts>Vertical Pedigree Chart>Options>Insert Image>Background I came up with a couple of options that were similar to what she was looking for …

  1. Vertical Pedigree Chart with Background – no pics:

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2. Vertical Pedigree Chart – with pics:

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It seems that just about all of the ‘Charts’ allow for using pics which is great except that some of the features for pics don’t seem to be working properly yet. For the chart above I would like to make the thumbnails bigger but changing the size only seems to adjust the text box size instead of the thumbnail size. Switching to Photo instead of Thumbnail doesn’t seem to make a difference either. And, I would also like to have the pics on the top but that doesn’t seem to be functioning in this version. If anyone can confirm (using FTM-2017-Update) please let me know and I will report it.

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Saving A Second Picture From FindaGrave

FindaGrave often has both tombstone pics and person pics. Sometimes they even have more than one person pic. It’s nice to grab them all and place them in the FindaGrave Source Citation. This will reference them properly and they will be accessible everywhere that Source Citation is added.

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Missing Media-You May Need to Download

When you find that you have missing Media (Media > Find Missing Media), your first reaction might be to click to search manually. Before spending a lot of time looking for a Media image that may not exist I suggest trying something else first. Once again, slow and intermittant Internet connections may be to blame. I do a screen print of my Find Missing Media screen and then navigate to each person in question. Then I find and open the Source Citation. On the Media tab click the ‘Download Image If Available’ button. Hopefully, the image will download without issue. If downloaded, the new Media image will replace the missing Media so there isn’t any searching, renaming, or anything else to do – sweet!

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Adding Missing Source Citation Media

Are you missing media?

Sometimes, for whatever reason, Media images don’t download when a merge is completed with Ancestry. It could be that the server is busy on their end, or possibly, and more likely it is our Internet connection. Hopefully, FTM will bring back the global ‘download missing media’ which is not to be confused with ‘find missing media’. Here is an easy fix for now although it takes a bit of dilegence.

Keep in mind that each and every Source Citation won’t necessarily have Media to download. After I check and this is the case, I add a small note at the bottom of the Citation Text for future reference: [no image].

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Adding Photo from FindaGrave

Tip: Be sure to add Photos into the Source Citation Media instead of the Fact Media. This will ensure that the photo is placed wherever the Source Citation is placed and more importantly links it with a Source.

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How To Download FindaGrave Tombstone Pics

Tombstone pics are a great way to document your family (keep in mind that the info came from relatives and, since they are people, they don’t always get the info correct.) To snag that pic be sure to click on it to open it full view. You can click and save the pics as they appear on the memorial page or even on the photos page but they probably won’t be as large as when you click and open the individual pics. Make sure to add metadata info to your pic of where you got it. Something like #1234567 would be great. I usually give it a filename like this: SMITH, Joe (tombstone). Do you have any hints for tombstone pics?

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How FTM Sorts Media

Here is a hint to help when you are working with Media. When in the Media Workspace the files are sorted by Filename, not by Caption name. This can make a big difference if you are searching for a record, especially if the Filename differs from the Caption.


Note that Census records are actually sorted by first name instead of last because the Filenames are created like this: 1880 United States Federal Census – Thomas A HARMESON.jpeg. The first letter that makes this record different from the other 1880 census records is ‘T’ for ‘Thomas’.

Hint: if you are going through the list and updating records like I have been, it can be hard to keep track of your where you are on the list if you change a Filename because FTM auto sorts the thumbnails. BUT, I have found that I can find the spot where I stopped if I change from Detail View to Collection View and click on the bottom-left thumbnail.

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How To Reduce The Number of Images

I noticed that my disk drive space has decreased significantly. Yikes! What have I done now? Well, I have been working on my Census before 1880. I was saving each record individually and each one had an image saved with it. That is a lot of images, which take up a lot of space. I have decided that instead of saving each one separately as I have been doing, I will merge all individuals for each record. Then I will be able to delete the extra images and save disk space on my hard drive. This is a time consuming task especially since they had soooo many kids back then.

In the future I plan to add the image for the Head of Household but when I add the other household members I will not download the image. There is an ‘Items To Merge – Media’ check box at the end of each merge that needs to be unchecked if you don’t want to download the image. Then I will go to Sources and use ‘Replace’ to merge everyone into the Head of Household record.

Yay! More disk space coming up.

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How To Take Pictures of Tombstones (Updated)

Pictures of tombstones are a wonderful because they preserve the info indefinitely. Tombstones are worn away a bit each and every day and eventually become unreadable or even destroyed. I volunteer for and visit local cemeteries as often as time/weather permit. You should try it. It gets you out and about for a bit of fresh air and exercise as well as helping other genealogists that live across the country and cannot visit their families graves. When I go I try to canvas an entire cemetery instead of just those that I am looking for. Usually a lot of the pics have already been taken so you only need to work on those that aren’t added already or don’t have pics.

Here are some tips:

  1. Plan the time-of-day you will visit. You don’t want the sun shining in your camera – behind or overhead is best. The direction that most of the graves face is also a factor.
  2. Things to take with you:
    1. Smartphone with FindaGrave App.
    2. Whisk broom for sweeping off pebbles, leaves and the like.
    3. Small shears for cutting back grass from edges.
    4. Gloves if you like.
    5. Hat or sunshade.
    6. Sunscreen if needed.
    7. Large sheets of paper for making rubbings – only if allowed.
    8. Chalk for rubbing on top of the paper – only if allowed. Some graves are crumbly and even this method can damage them. It is wise to get permission.
  3. Be careful!
    1. Some cemeteries are a bit ‘squishy’. I try not to walk on the actual graves if possible.
    2. Here in Georgia there are wild pigs in the woods and one must always be on the lookout.
    3. Leaves make good hiding places for snakes so if there are a lot of leaves you will want to come back in the winter or with a leaf blower.
  4. Plan! Take an overall look at the cemetery and make a plan. Start in a corner and work your way around. Many times I have had to stop working and it is nice when you can return and start right where you left off.
  5. Taking pictures:
    1. Clean up by trimming any grass, removing gravel, etc. Be careful not to remove any rocks/pebbles that were intensionally placed. Many people leave a pebble when they visit.
    2. Set any flowers that obscure writing to the side – be sure to replace them exactly as they were!
    3. Get as close as you can to the tombstone or zoom in. You want to get a good clear shot so that the entire tombstone is in the picture. Remember those family pics where the head was cut off in the pic? Same thing applies here. People want to see the entire tombstone. If the writing isn’t close enough then take another close-up shot of just the writing. If there is a plot or a family plot it is nice to take a pic of that too.
    4. Squat down so that you are level with the writing.
    5. If one person is still living you can protect their privacy by only taking a pic of the deceased person’s half.
    6. If a tombstone is illegible and you have permission, make a rubbing.
    7. Make note of husband/wife/family names so that you can link them up later. Also note anything of interest. If a tombstone is hard to read, write the info down.
  6. If you leave before you are finished make a note of your stopping place. Usually the names of the graves on either side suffice but noting large trees, bushes, etc. help too.

Happy hunting!

Update: FindaGrave also has some info on the subject on their FAQs page see the Cemetery Preservation links.

Here is a link to what looks like a great book on the subject at Google Books.

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