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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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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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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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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Counties, Boroughs & Parishes

Did You Know:

The U.S. state of Alaska is divided into 19 organized boroughs and one “Unorganized Borough“. Alaska and Louisiana are the only states that do not call their first-order administrative subdivisions counties (Louisiana uses parishes instead).[1]


FYI: I have had success entering ‘Parish’ in place of ‘County’ for Louisiana but have NOT had success entering ‘Borough’ for ‘County’ for Alaska in FTM.

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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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Are You Missing Details?

Having your family tree in software on your computer is a good way to safe guard it – as long as you do proper backups. Having it online in Ancestry is probably fine if you back that up by downloading as well. But if you don’t have your subscription to Ancestry any more are you going to miss details? I’m talking about Source Citation details.

In the video below I am filling in some missing details. It is important to be able to refer back to these details sometimes, especially when comparing records. This is the info that Ancestry pays people to transcribe and it’s really what you are paying for. Sometimes records are very hard to read so don’t think that you will be able to just-read-them-later either. I like to paste them into Text Editor to help me easily change the tabs to spaces before pasting into FTM. Be sure to grab those details!

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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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The new FTM 2017 Mac Update now allows us to enter ‘Township’. This is great news!

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Adding County to Place Names

I am now using FTM 2017 Mac Update version.

Has anyone else noticed that Place Names now use ‘County’? I think that the PC version already uses ‘County’ in their place names so this is probably an upgrade for the Mac version to make both versions work the same. I am working through mine and updating all 11,667 of them – whew! Anyhow, is it my imagination, or have they added a lot of GPS coordinates? Should there actually be GPS coordinates for states and counties? If so, how is that determined?

This is for resolved place names with the green check mark. Try changing one that is resolved like: Atlanta, Fulton, Georgia, USA to Atlanta Fulton County, Georgia, USA.
This will be great for merging records because it will eliminate the extra step of have been having to remove the word ‘County’ to resolve the place. And, I think it makes place names clearer. Only problem is, it will be a good bit of work to get there.
The big question: Is it worth the bother? By standardizing all of the place names the hierarchy will allow me to see everyone that is in a particular place. I will know everyone that is buried in a particular cemetery and I will be able to visit a town and know everyone that I need to search for records. So, I say, yes, it is worth the bother.
Ok, I think I have this figured out. I am going down my list of Places. For each one I am adding the word ‘County’ in the appropriate place. Then I go to the Location: GPS Coordinates, select and cut them [CTRL X]. If the green checkmark remains then the place is following the Local Authority. If a red checkmark comes up then I need to resolve the place (you can always paste the GPS coordinates back in if needed [CTRL P]). This is working for me and all Places are falling into the correct hierarchy. Anyone come up with a better solution?
Be sure to backup before you start changing all of your place names. Also, if you have done work saving specific GPS Coordinates you will want to proceed carefully. Copy them before deleting.
Update #1: It seems to me that using County in Place Names actually reduces the number of unresolved places. This is a good thing. One thing that bothers me though is that I still have some places that don’t seem to be showing on the map correctly after ‘County’ is added to the Place Name. Hmm…
Update #2 – 8 Mar 2018: I contacted Help Chat and asked them about Places. I was told that Resolved Places should all have a green check mark and GPS coordinates. I was also told that there is no way to tell the difference between Places that I have entered GPS coordinates and then Ignored, verses those that the system entered.
Update #3 – 15 Mar 2018: This is incorrect information. There is a different marker for Ignored Places. I don’t seem to have any of those after the Update. I believe the ones that ask me to ‘Overwrite Coordinates’ were possibly the Ignored from the previous version. I am working with Help on this and will update.
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[Source: Facebook – John Fassbender]
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