Category Archives: Sources

Resolving 2 Fact Dates

What do you do when you have two Facts with two different dates and no way to find out which is more accurate and both sources are credible? I try to only have a single Fact for Birth and Death per person – they are only born once and they only die once. Obviously Facts like Residence, Civil, Military will have multiple occurances per person. I observed that when I used Web Merge Facts of the same kind and date merged into one Fact. I also observed that there is a report under Publish>Person>Data Errors Report>Possible Duplicate Events. This lead me to believe that the program was designed for certain Facts to have only one occurrence although it also allows for multiple occurrences so that they can be saved and worked on.

Some researchers keep all of their Facts separate and I believe that they do this so that they can keep the Source Detail separate. I save my Source Detail under the Source Citation Text as in the following image (I added the 3 dashes and below) so that I have all the Details saved with the Source Citation and they always go whereever the Source Citation is used. It would be nice if this was automatic… It also allows me to mouse-over a Source Citation and view the Details whenever I need to see them. Saving the Details this way allows me to combine Facts without losing Details or becoming confused about which piece of a Fact came from which Source Citaton.

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Now back to resolving 2 Facts:

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Adding Description To Civil Facts

As I was working through and checking my SSDI Sources I have been adding Civil Facts when needed. I realized that there are also Civil Facts for many other Sources. I have decided to add a short description in each Civil Fact Description Field. The most common so far are SSDI and Marriage to which I will add “SSDI” and “Marriage” to each respective Description Field. I use Filter to find Civil Facts with any data and then change each one in People>Tree tab.

Yes, this is an extra step but I think it will help distinguish between Civil Facts when you aren’t able to see the Source Citations. It would be nice if this happened automatically but I’m not holding my breath. What do you think? Good idea or extraneous? I’m going to continue but I might possibly change my mind down the road.

Update: I have decided to change “SSDI” to “SSN issued” to more accurately reflect what the Civil Fact represents. I will probably add a description to all Residence Facts as well and will be on the lookout for other Facts that need a description as well.



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Fixing WWII Draft Reg Source Citation Facts

I have put in a request for Web Merge to utilize full dates when available as opposted to just a year. Here is an example. You can see the Residence Fact shows a year of 1942. If you look at the Citation Text field you will see a full date of 16 Feb 1942. That is the date I want to use because it will then sort in chronological order with other Facts  much better. In my opinion, more exact is always a better thing when it comes to dates.Screen Shot 2018-04-10 at 10.44.59 AM.png

Here is how I fixed my 125 Source Citations:

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How To Save Your Place When Working On Source Citations

I am slowly working through my SSDI Source Citations when time permits. Life happens so I need to save my place for when I return. I use the handy little app TextEdit that comes with my Mac to accomplish this. The key here is to combine the Citation Detail with the Citation Text, separated by “. ” and then you can paste that into the search field and the record will come up.

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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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Fixing SSDI Records

SSDI records have never merged properly to my way of thinking. Some records give a “Last Residence” and Web Merge puts this under the Death Fact instead of the Residence Fact. In actuality, someone may have resided in one place, but died in a completely different place. You could just leave it as a Death Fact but it may cause confusion later on.    I admit that I was guilty of this in the past but am making amends now. The reason I haven’t fixed it until now is that there are so many of them, 4,428, and it isn’t exactly a quick fix to do. Note that some older records do not have a Last Residence as part of the SSDI record but there is yet another reason to fix these records. Web Merge now provides a Civil Fact using the date-and-place-the-SSDI-was-issued which is useful info that should have been utilized a long time ago. I have figured out my “easiest fix” and am plodding through, hope it is helpful.

After going through the Web Merge you will want to check the Residence and Death Facts to see if you need to carefully merge-duplicate-facts or not. Double check the Death Fact to see if the Place you have in the Death Fact supported by at least one Source Citation. Sometimes I even need to check to see if the Place Name came from FindaGrave. If not then you may need to delete the Place entirely. It’s always best not to guess where someone died.

As a last to-do, I add the text “SSDICheced” in the Notes for the person so that I can use Filter to see which records I have fixed or not. Let me know if you would like to see a video on how to do that.


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Follow Web Search Provided Links For More Info

Sometimes when you do a Web Search there is a URL link provided. It pays to follow this link and capture any info that  you can. I recently did a Web Search for a marriage record. The Web Search window only showed the year and County/State of marriage. When I followed the link it provided a full date and a full location! I copy/paste the Web Search info into my Source Citation AND also the captured info from the link (separated by 3 dashes). (Note: I copy/paste into the Mac Text Edit program and replace all tabs with spaces and then paste into the Source Citation). Be sure to also capture and add the ‘full link URL’ because Web Search only provides a truncated version.

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Adding Hospital Info To Places

So, I have been working madly on my Places, trying to get them in ship shape. I noticed that I have lots of details in my Birth Fact Descriptions and I want to get them cleaned up as much as possible as well.

This takes a bit of sleuthing. Sometimes there are multiple Birth Sources with conflicting info. I usually trust that the Birth Record info is the most reliable to use that if possible. If there are other Sources then I try to prioritize them and figure out which one is the most likely.

Afterwards, when there is an alternate Birth Place WITH a Source I add the info in the Birth Fact Description like this: (or Jonesville, Smith County, Georgia, USA). ‘Or’ means that it is an alternate fact of lesser value.

If there is an alternate Birth Place WITHOUT a Source I add the info in the Birth Fact Description like this: (possibly Jonesville, Smith County, Georgia, USA). ‘Possibly’ means that it is an alternate fact without a Source. Many of these came from a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away… er, before I became more conscious of adding Sources.

If there is an alternate Birth Place that I-cannot-find-any-record-of (using google or GNIS) then I add it like this: (Whatever County?). The ‘?’ signifies that I searched for it but it is an unknown).

I am leaving birth info like: Born at home, Weighed 10 lbs (WOW!), etc., but I am trying to make sure that the info is entered in a consistent manner.

Here is a quick little video on how I am adding the Hospital Names (and Medical Center, etc) to the Place Field. The first advantage will be that I can go to Places and see all of the people that were born/died at a particular Hospital and if I visit said Hospital I can then request records for all of them at once. The second advantage is that I will be able to better standardize the Hospital Names. Be careful however, not to delete historical hospital names. I plan to add them at the end of the Place Detail like this: St John’s Hospital (was St John’s Medical Center until 1964)…


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Don’t Forget To Click This Button When Adding Marriage Records

Marriage records from Ancestry are funny. There are multiple field layouts for the many databases. The one thing that I always try to remember is that a marriage record is for two people so… when merging I need to make sure that I select either ‘Merge with existing spouse in your tree’, OR ‘Add this person as a new spouse in your tree’. This will copy the record to a shared marriage fact for both people. It doesn’t hurt to double check to make sure both received the record anyway. And I always copy/paste the Source Citation Detail in as well.

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Adding Info From FindaGrave Suggested Edits

I love receiving Suggested Edits via! It would be easy to just click and accept the suggestions, but there are two things I do before accepting them:

  1. I check those suggestions out thoroughly. I don’t want to add incorrect info to FindaGrave, or to my FTM tree.
  2. If the suggestions check out, I make sure to add those little nuggets of info into FTM and source them with the FindaGrave Source Citation.

If nothing else, they serve to make me focus on the particular record and possibly do a little work there.

If the suggestion differs from mine, I try to open a dialog with the person instead of just declining it and sometimes that means more info!

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