Tag Archives: Filter

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.



Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Filling In Dates for Civil Facts

I recently figured out that I have quite a few Civil Facts without dates. Places are great but they are most helpful when paired with a date. I found that most of the Source Citations that go with these Civil Facts are marriage and SSDI.

  1. Filter the list: Filter In>All Facts>Civil>Place>Is Not Blank.
  2. Customize View>Individual Facts>Civil
  3. Go to each person on filtered list and open the Source Citation for the cooresponding Civil Fact.
  4. Copy/paste the date.

For marriage records: Use the license date if provided, otherwise the marriage date.

For SSDI records: Use the date of issue, not the death date.

Tagged , , , , , , ,

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.



Tagged , , , ,

How To Increase Shaky Leaf Hits

You can greatly increase your Shaky Leaf hits if you add approximate birthdates for those individuals that are missing birthdates. Just go to the People Workspace > Tree tab and look down your Index. You can also run a Filter so that the Index only shows those without birthdates. It’s good to have some rules set up so that you are consistent. See my post “How To Estimate Birth Dates & Determine Deceased.”

To set up a Filter to show blank birthdates:

1. Include All

2. Filter OUT: Birth/Date > Is Not Blank


Tagged , , , , , , , ,

How To Add Cemetery Plots

I have gleaned a lot of info from FindaGrave and one bit that is very helpful, especially if you plan to visit a grave, is plot info. Up until recently I have been adding plot info in the Burial>Description line AFTER the name of the cemetery. I decided that it really should be a fact of it’s own so I created a custom fact called Plot. It added the field to my People Workspace>Tree View so that it is easy to enter the info when I have the FindaGrave window open and positioned on the left of FTM.

This will allow me to actually see the Plot which is hidden a good bit because it comes after the cemetery name. It is also wishful thinking in that hopefully FTM will start using this info when merging FindaGrave records.

Since I just started doing this I need to change all of my other records to match. I plan to use Filter to search for Burial>Description that contains “;”. I used a semi-colon to separate the Cemetery Name from the Plot so this should find them all. Then I will just go down the list in Tree View and change each one. This is brainless work that can be done while watching TV. Find a good show and go.

Tagged , , , , , , ,

How to use FindaGrave with Family Tree Maker (FTM)

I use FindaGrave.com quite a bit. When I first started using it about 3 years ago and I mainly used it to find memorials that matched the people in my database. Then I realized that you could link people together in FindaGrave and I started requesting links. This was a slow and tedious process and I wondered if it was really worth the time and effort until recently when they added the ‘Edits’ feature. You can now easily submit updated info and links for memorials. Now, why is this important?

1. It is free and it allows everyone to come together and submit info.

2. It is self correcting: if someone submits incorrect info either the memorial manager will correct it or someone else can correct it and they usually do.

3. You can request a volunteer to take a picture of a tombstone when it is clear across the country. Tombstones are valid source documentation and solidify other documentation when combined.

4. I can volunteer to take cemetery pics. This is a great way to give back to the genealogical community that has helped me so much over the years. I also do it as a service to my family and to the churches. I suggest that churches post a link on their web site so that members and their families can view the records (hopefully they will add info too). The new FindaGrave app on my smartphone makes getting those pics posted online a breeze!

Ok, there are my reasons for using FindaGrave. Are there some things I don’t like about it? Sure, there is always room for improvement but they seem to be working on it and now that Ancestry owns it I am sure the improvements will continue.

Why don’t I just use Ancestry.com to find FindaGrave sources. I do, but I have found that actually using/searching FindaGrave allows me to find entire families at a time because they often use the same cemetery or ones in the same area.

How do I use it with Family Tree Maker?

  1. Open Family Tree Maker and find a family to work on. Sometimes I filter my people to find those where the Death field isn’t empty but my FindaGrave ID field is blank (if you don’t have a FindaGrave ID field be sure to set one up). Remember that you can only search for dead people here – no living (at least we hope not).
  2. Open Internet Browser to the FindaGrave Search page (Hint: bookmark or add a link to your browser). I size the right side of my browser window so that when it opens I can still see all of the person’s Information Panel (Tree View) on the right-hand side.
  3. I do several searches to try and find people. If a search brings up too many results then I change/add data to narrow it down. If a search doesn’t bring up any results then I try another search. Be sure to use ‘Refine Last Search’ to save typing but also be sure to use ‘Begin New Search’ when starting a new search.
    1. First name, last name
    2. First initial, last name, death year
    3. First initial, last name, state (best guess based on birth loc or parent/spouse loc)
    4. Last name, death year, state
    5. Try 1-3 using middle name (especially common with southern folk)
    6. Try using the first 3 only in the last name as spelling variations can cause problems.
    7. Try using nicknames.
    8. Realize that the record just might not be in FindaGrave yet. If you know the cemetery where they are buried carefully search the cemetery in FindaGrave and then add a record and request a pic.

Searching for Women – of course we are special!

  • Women are usually found by their married surname instead of maiden name in FindaGrave.
  • You can try searching for the maiden name if you check the ‘Include maiden name(s) in my search’.
  • Remember that sometimes women marry again and then are found under the new husband’s surname OR sometimes they get divorced and are found under their maiden name.

When you find a good match:

  1. Copy/paste the dates and FindaGrave ID into FTM (Hint: Use CTRL C to copy and CTRL V to paste).
  2. Copy the places into FTM and remove the word ‘County’ and add commas as needed. Remember that you can easily select an entire place by clicking on the outside edge of a place field. This makes pasting in the same places a breeze.
  3. Copy/paste the cemetery name and plot info info Buried Description field.
  4. Now search FindaGrave for related family in the same cemetery/town/county/state by clicking the “Find all _Surname_ in:”
  5. If you have info in FTM that you can add to FindaGrave click the ‘Edit’ tab and submit corrections/additions. Be sure to only submit good solid info. (I will create another post on submitting corrections/additions to FindaGrave.)
  6. If there isn’t a tombstone pic for this person then you can click the ‘Request a Photo’ button.
  7. Be sure to source FindaGrave.

To date I have found 8,410 records. I was able to do a quick ‘not blank’ filter on my FindaGrave field to find how many FindaGrave IDs I had out of 30, 762 records. 27% isn’t too shabby and I keep pecking away at it.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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?

Tagged , , , , ,

How To Filter to Search FindaGrave

Ancestry now uses FindaGrave as source info. Sometimes it is helpful to search FindAGrave directly however to help fill in blanks, find family members, etc.

I have over 30,000 individuals in my database so I need to get that number down a bit. Here is my process. Oh, one thing I found helpful is to create a Fact to store the FindaGrave IDs. There is an alternative though as listed in #2.

1. Filter IN: Vital Facts > Death > Date > Is Not Blank

2. Filter OUT: All Facts > FindaGrave ID > Description > Is Not Blank (Alternative: Other > Source Information > Contains > Find A Grave Index (this is the wording used for Ancestry records from FindaGrave)

This may seem a bit backward at first but it works. Now, I really wish that FTM would save Filters to be re-used…

Tagged , ,