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…

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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.

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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 To Change Out Defunct Sources

My apologies for the extended absence. I have a great post that I will put up soon.

I have found that many of the numerous web sites that I sourced in my 25+ years of genealogy have gone defunct – they simply no longer exist. Most of these are ones that were done by other genealogists. That is disconcerting because I want my data to be sourced well. These sources are probably be called “soft” sources and since they can easily disappear from the web at any time. I have decided to change them out for more permanent source options. I went to the Source Workspace and then found my “Internet” sources in the Source List. Then I look through the Source Citations and when I find one I want to change out I double click the “Link” for the person. This takes me to the People Workspace and highlights the Fact in question. Hopefully there is a Shaky Leaf and if so I click on it and look for a FindaGrave Source. If I find one I merge and then go back to the Source Citation and delete it. Repeat as needed. You may wish to save the web site and name of the person somewhere in your notes before you delete the Source entirely.

FindaGrave is a much more permanent source that gives Facts for Birth, Death, Marriage, and Burial, especially if it provides a picture of the tombstone. It isn’t as good as actual documents but it will do.

Remember to only merge with the person you are working on even if it lists the mother, father, spouse, children as covered in a previous post. Also look for other good Sources while you are hunting around.

If you don’t find a Shaky Leaf or a FindaGrave Source then you will want to just look for good Sources that will replace those Facts that you want to replace.

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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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