Category Archives: Sources

What to do when Shaky Leaf gives 2 records for 1 person

Even with the best search techniques it is possible to miss finding a person in the spelling could be a touch off, the place the next state over, the date incorrect. Ideally there should be only one record per individual unless there is a cenotaph. (This is one of the things I love about FindaGrave -one record per person means that there are many people contributing to a single record instead of each person working independently and many records existing separately.) So duplicates do exist, BUT, we can help reduce the number of duplicates by reporting them to be merged.

Here is a screen shot of a Shaky Leaf Search for Croner Meletus Hess (my 3rd cousin 3x removed) that shows two records existing in

Screen Shot 2016-04-24 at 5.54.24 PM

I clicked on each one and then clicked on ‘Go To Website’. This opened both pages up in Safari and I can CAREFULLY compare them to MAKE SURE that they are the same person.

I then open Mail and create a new email msg to with subject: Please combine two memorials. I then copy/paste the URL for each onto separate lines in the email and send it.

Next I want to record BOTH memorial numbers in my custom FindaGrave Memorial ID fact field separated with a semicolon. That way I can search for records that have a semicolon and make sure they were combined.

I glean all of the info that I can from both the memorials and add it into my FTM record.

Next I want to go ahead and source one of the Shaky Leaf FindaGrave records. I usually pick the oldest record or which one has the most accurate info. I will do a separate post on how I Create a Source for with a video.

Tagged , ,

Where is that FindaGrave record on

Adding a brand new record is kind of like finding cookies in the cookie jar! Frustration can turn into reward when you do a thorough search for an individual and can’t find even a close match. Now you get to add a brand new record yourself. Fun!

Fast forward a bit. I am currently working on documenting all of my records using Shaky Leaves. Sometimes the Shaky Leaf doesn’t show a FindaGrave record. I know there is one because I store the unique memorial numbers in a custom fact field for easy reference. I discovered the reason why by reading great blogs, like It turns out that Ancestry Updates their databases periodically. So that means that although I have added the record to, it won’t show up at until they update their records. Ah yes, the hurry up and wait. I now mark my FindaGrave memorial numbers with the date I added them so that I can match them up with the Ancestry Updated Databases and see just when I can document that source.

Tagged , ,

How many FindaGrave Matches Do You Have?

I have been a member of for about 5 years now. I created a Fact to hold FaG Memorial #s and saved the numbers for each match I found. In the beginning I didn’t worry about documenting FindaGrave and I’m kinda glad I didn’t cuz then Ancestry purchased FindaGrave and added their records to This meant that I could use Shaky Leaves to find FindaGrave records and add them easily. The only problem? I have 10,289 records to document! I really didn’t realize how many I had found but was thrilled, and I have been working hard, using Shaky Leaves to document each one. I have about 1,000 left to do. And yes, I do each one separately so that there is a record for each individual. While I am at it, I am also merging birth/death/ssn records. I am overlooking census records for now but will come back to them later. I am focusing on individual records right now.

How many FindaGrave matches have you found?

Tagged , , , ,

Dear Ancestry – Drag and Drop

Dear Ancestry, It sure would be nice and save a LOT of time if we could just use drag and drop to move things around like source citations, etc.

Dear Ancestry – Select Multiple Facts

Dear, It sure would be nice to be able to select multiple facts for an indiviual at the same time when adding Source Citations.

How To Organize Page Numbers in Source Citations

I often have multiple Source Citations for a Source that are listed with page numbers (especially true for Books). I like to have them ordered page 1, 2, 3, etc, but because Source Citations are sorted automatically by FTM after page 9 it gets a bit crazy and page 10 will appear under page 1 because the program sees and sorts the 1 first. To avoid this problem simply add a zero in front of pages 1-9 like this: 01, 02, 03 … 09, 10, 11… If you have pages in the hundreds or thousands just add 2 or 3 zeros accordingly: 001, 002, 003 … 099, 100, 101… or 0001, 0002, 0003 … 0999, 1000, 1001…

Tagged , , , ,

How To Clean Up Census Citations – Step 1

Since the US Census is the backbone of my documentation I really want to have it done right! In a previous post I told you how I discovered that I had oodles of census images taking up a lot of valuable disk space. I have now figured out a method for combining the Citations into one, cleaning up the Media Workspace, and deleting the extra images. Your task may not be nearly as lengthy as mine. Remember that I have 31,000+ records which is a large database. I am also still converting info from my old PAF program into FTM so a lot of the records are old and named incorrectly. Another factor is that Ancestry changed the way they named Source Citations and downloaded images – which is a good thing but it means that I need to clean up the old stuff too. The 1850, 1860, and 1870 census do not provide relationships and therefore each record for each person is downloaded separately and then needs to be merged into one record. You could keep them separated but I find it very helpful to merge them, here’s why:

  • It takes up less space in FTM and so the program runs faster.
  • It takes up less space on your hard drive storing the Media images for each person.
  • It is very difficult to see if you have everyone in a household – the names appear at the end of the citations and are sorted by first name instead of by last name so they don’t necessarily appear altogether.
  • It allows you to quickly see who the Related-Head-of-Household is and how many related-people were in the household.

I’m currently working on the 1870 Census so we will start there.

Step 1 – Combine Source Citations for Related-Heads-of-Household

  1. In FTM go to the Sources Workspace. Navigate to the ‘1870 United States Federal Census’ and select it. Drag the arrow next to Source Groups to close the left Source Groups window. This gives you maximum viewing space.
  2. Go to the topmost Source Citation. Double-click to open it. Click on the link at the bottom ‘View Source Online’. Your browser will open the cooresponding Ancestry file.
  3. Note the name of the top person that is related to you. This will be your Related-Head-Of-Household (RHOH). Copy the Names/Ages info.
  4. Switch back to FTM. Go down the Source Citations and find the name that you noted above. Double-click to open that Source Citation.
  5. Under ‘Citation Text’ and after ‘Record for _____’ press Return and then type ‘- – -‘. The three dashes help separate the info for easier viewing. Next, paste in the names/ages info from the Ancestry page. Press OK to save.
  6. Reopen the Source Citation again. Double click after each name to select the space and hit delete. This will move the age up on the same line as the name and removes the extra spaces. Note any family relationships to the HOH: (mother), (brother), (niece), (unrelated). If Press OK to save. Now we have our HOH Source Citation with all of the family members listed and their relationships.
  7. Switch back to your browser and back-highlight the next person down from HOH. Switch back to FTM and find their Source Citation. R-click on them and select ‘Replace Source Citation’. When the next window comes up you will need to click and drag the right-side to to see the names at the end. When you find the HOH select it and then REPLACE. The person’s facts will now appear under the RHOH.
  8. Continue replacing citations until all of the people are listed under the RHOH.
  9. Double check to make sure all people in the household are listed. Count all of the people that have been merged and compare to the Ancestry record. Sometimes it’s even wise to compare the names. So that I know which records have been checked I add the number of people in the household in parenthesis after the dashes: – – – (9). If there are unrelated I put the count of related + unrelated: – – – (9+2 unrelated). The key is that first number matches the number of people that you have attached to the citation.
  10. Continue for all citations.

This is the method that I will use from now on when merging 1850, 1860, 1870 census records. Here are my new rules for these census records:

  1. Merge the Related Head of Household first with media, then merge the other people in the household WITHOUT MEDIA!
  2. Always copy/paste the names/ages of the Household members and clean it up.
  3. Always replace all household members into the Head of Household record.
  4. Always double check the number of people that have been merged and add that number after – – -.

It seems like a lot of work but it sure makes a difference. I found people that were connected to the wrong household, people that were missing, and people that I thought were unconnected that actually were. It won’t be nearly as time consuming if I keep up with it as I go.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,