Tag Archives: Death

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.

Screen Shot 2018-04-18 at 9.25.47 AM.png

Now back to resolving 2 Facts:

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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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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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Maintaining Estimated Death Facts

What does adding estimated death dates do for me? If a person is marked as deceased then it won’t be privatized online. This means that others will be able to view info for this person. It also gives me a list of people to search for death certificates and FindaGrave records.

Here is my Citation Text for Estimated Death:

– If ‘birth year’ < ‘current year’ – 110, then deceased
– Example: If born 1909+, is less than, 2018-110=1908 = no, then living
– Example: If born 1907-, less than, 2018-110=1908 = yes, then deceased

– Unlink when other source citations are found for Death Fact. There should only be Deceased in Death Fact.

When a source citation is found that provides a more accurate death date the estimated date is no longer needed. As part of my maintenance I go through my list of Death Source Citations and delete those that I forgot when adding other Source Citations.

(also see Estimated Birth Facts)

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How To Glean Death Certs from Missouri Digital Heritage

Today I am gleaning Death Certificates from the Missouri Ditial Heritage web site:


I created a video to show you my process. This is my first video so keep that in mind. Please give me a thumbs up if you find it helpful.



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How To Convert Social Security Death Records

I have been re-merging all of my Social Security (SS) Death Records recently so that all of my records are listed together, under one Source, in the Sources Workspace. This is a continuation of my conversion to Family Tree Maker from PAF. Right now I have one Source with all of the records I searched (my-SS-Source) and I also have a second Source with all of the records that I have merged from Ancestry.com.

This basically consists of:

  1. Backup before proceeding!
  2. Going to the Sources Workspace.
  3. Selecting my-SS-Source (see above).
  4. Selecting a citation (more on that in a minute).
  5. Double-clicking a fact for that citation – this will open the People Workspace.
  6. Clicking the shaky leaf (if there is one – as I said, more on that in a minute).
  7. Finding the Social Security record for that person and merging.
  8. Go back to the People Workspace and double check that the merge was successful.
  9. Go back to my-SS-Source and delete the citation.

The record will now show up in the Ancestry Sources (see previous post on My/Their Sources) all in one place. It will take me quite awhile to complete this task because I have ~1,500 Social Security Death records to merge – after merging several hundred already.

Is this worthwhile? Yes, because I have found some new info when merging and, more importantly, I can see all my records together in one place. However let’s discuss the issue that I mentioned above…

Regarding #4/6: As of the lasted update to FTM Mac (v., the Web Search ‘New Search’ button seems to only work on records that have shaky leaves. If a person does not have a shaky leaf then you can still search for the records but you must fill out the form manually. So… Right now I am only merging records with shaky leafs. I plan to do several every time I work in FTM and will go through and merge the others manually afterwards. But, hopefully a new version will come out and resolve this issue before I even get there.

Dear Ancestry, Please fix the ‘New Search’ button so that it automatically populates a person’s info to make searching for records easier – with or without a shaky leaf!

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How To Search for Death Records – Women

Sometimes Ancestry seems to have a hard time finding death records – especially for women. I have found a couple of little tricks that have helped me immensely.

  1. Edit your search and add her married name as the surname. Keep in mind that she may have remarried, divorced, or taken her maiden surname back. You can also add all of her surnames separated-by-spaces and see what comes up.
  2. Add a nickname to the beginning of the first name field. If this was the name they went by, then it may be what was on their death record and also on their tombstone as well.

Hope that helps. Do you have any tricks like these?

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How To Estimate Birth Dates & Determine Deceased

Today I updated my Birth Dates. I do this every so often (probably about twice /year). In People>Tree view I ran a filter and included all individuals, next I excluded those whose birth date existed. This left me with a filtered list of individuals without birth dates. I then went down the list and for each individual I checked to see if there was a birth date for their spouse. If so, then I subtracted 2 years for males or added 2 years for females. I made sure to include the prefix ‘abt’ so that I will know that it was an estimation. If there isn’t a spouse then looked at the birth dates for the mother or father. I generally go with the mother’s birthdate and add 20 years. Be sure to look for a marriage date as generally children are born after the marriage date. For siblings I just add 2 years for each as this is a general rule for birth order.

Why do I do this? First, it gives me a general timeframe in which to look for a person. Second, it helps me determine individuals that should be deceased so that I can search for sources. It also allows me to create a more accurate list of individuals to post online – I really don’t want to post records of deceased but I do want to post on as many records as possible.

To mark individuals as deceased I mark the death date field for all individuals that were born 110 years before the current year (i.e. 2015) as ‘Deceased’. So if I am looking at someone that was born about 1905 or before then I can be reasonably sure that they are deceased (I don’t think there are many 110 year olds out there) and can mark them as ‘Deceased’. I can then filter to search for deceased to search for sources easily.

Does this make sense to you? Do you estimate dates? What are your reasons?

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