Category Archives: Web Search

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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Merging 2 Facts with Different Description Fields

When you find that you have 2 Facts that need to be merged, but they both have a different Description Field you can combine them after you do a little manual copy and paste. Choose one of the Descriptions, it doesn’t matter which one, then copy/paste it into the other Fact’s Description Field and separate them with a semicolon. Now you can R-Click on one fact and do a “Merge Duplicate Facts”. Nice and tidy.

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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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Fixing US Dept of Veterans Affairs BIRLS Facts

When I do a Web Merge of US Dept of Veterans Affairs BIRLS it usually creates 2 Facts. One is a Military Fact and it uses the Enlistment Date but “Enlistment Date” does not appear anywhere in the Fact Details. The 2nd is uses the Release Date but again, the Fact does not properly reflect where the info comes from. This Fact also merges as “Unspecified Fact”. To make my Facts as clear as possible I add “Enlistment Date 1” and “Release Date 1” to the Fact Details. I also change Unspecified Fact to Military Fact. I hope that Ancestry and FTM will improve the merge/mapping of this Fact in the future.

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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 A Previous Spouse From Marriage Record

As a bonus to finding a marriage record, you sometimes also get the woman’s previous marriage surname.

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Adding Spouse From FindaGrave

Sometimes you find a person’s spouse on FindaGrave that you didn’t have before. Here is one way to merge a spouse easily. The key is adding the birth and death dates from FaG into FTM BEFORE doing a Web Search. The closer the dates match, the more likely you will be to find the record. Of course, you don’t want to overwrite any existing dates that you might have already – unless they are just estimates.

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Don’t Forget To Grab The Link

Sometimes when merging records a record will show a link at the bottom. This usually happens for records that fall outside of the Ancestry realm. The link that appears isn’t complete though, and in order to find the record outside of Ancestry, the full link will be needed. To get ‘the whole taco’ click on the link and then R-Click and Copy. Now you can paste that info into your record along with the other details and have a much more complete documentation.


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Ancestry Has Updated FindaGrave Database

I subscribe to a great blog by Randall J. Seaver called Genea-Musings. He just happens to be a cousin-by-marriage which is kinda cool too. He posts when Ancestry updates their databases so that we can check them if needed. This is a great service! Be sure to check out his blog for a list of all the updated databases. Since I work a lot with FindaGrave I watch for that database to be updated so that I can update mine too.

Here’s the skinny. New FindaGrave records do not show up on Ancestry until they update the database. That means that when I add a new memorial they aren’t automatically added to Ancestry and I won’t be able to see them on Ancestry, or use Web Merge until they update the database. That’s one of the main reasons you can search for a FindaGrave Memorial and not be able to find it.

When I add a new FindaGrave Memorial I add the following to my Findagrave Memorial # fact field in FTM after the actual FindaGrave number like this:

1234567 (manage 26 Feb 2017)

This tells me that I manage that particular memorial and the date that I added it. Be sure to use the current date of course.

Now, when Ancestry updates their FindaGrave database, I use Filter to search for the year in the Findagrave Memorial fact field and wha la! – a list of the memorials that I need to do a Web Merge for.

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