Tag Archives: Sources

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 , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Missing Media-You May Need to Download

When you find that you have missing Media (Media > Find Missing Media), your first reaction might be to click to search manually. Before spending a lot of time looking for a Media image that may not exist I suggest trying something else first. Once again, slow and intermittant Internet connections may be to blame. I do a screen print of my Find Missing Media screen and then navigate to each person in question. Then I find and open the Source Citation. On the Media tab click the ‘Download Image If Available’ button. Hopefully, the image will download without issue. If downloaded, the new Media image will replace the missing Media so there isn’t any searching, renaming, or anything else to do – sweet!

Tagged , , , ,

Why Nicknames are Important

Searching Ancestry for records can be frustrating, especially if you know there is a record but you just can’t locate it. Adding a nickname to the front of the First Name field before searching can be very helpful. I always add nicknames to my database whenever I see them (especially census records) for this reason. If there is more than one nickname I separate with a backslash i.e., Tip\Top. Some people do go by their initials but be careful not to automatically add initials from tombstones. Those initials might just be how they did the tombstone and not what they actually went by. In those cases look for more corroborating sources. Yes, if they went by their middle name I think that counts too. I wish that FindaGrave would allow middle names as nicknames and  I have submitted a suggestion.

Nicknames are also a personal detail about a person which is nice to have. Some nicknames are really interesting. We have relatives that went by ‘Jinx’, ‘Chicken’, ‘Bam’, ‘Pig’, ‘Queen’, ‘Glee’, ‘Wigg’, ‘Pink’, ‘Dump’, ‘Lightning’, ‘Oddie’, to name a few. Here is a tip so that you can see all of your Nicknames at one time: Edit > Manage Facts > Also Known As > Data Options. This list isn’t printable – yet. I think they are working on that for a future version.

I add Nicknames to the AKA field and source them just like any other record. Be careful when doing web merges and mark nicknames as Alternate. Then follow up by copying the source to the AKA field and merge the two Name Facts (I think I did another video on that before and will double check).

Using nicknames can help find records but be sure to always search several ways before giving up. For marriage records also be sure to search by both the husband and the wife.

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 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.

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

How To Reduce The Number of Images

I noticed that my disk drive space has decreased significantly. Yikes! What have I done now? Well, I have been working on my Census before 1880. I was saving each record individually and each one had an image saved with it. That is a lot of images, which take up a lot of space. I have decided that instead of saving each one separately as I have been doing, I will merge all individuals for each record. Then I will be able to delete the extra images and save disk space on my hard drive. This is a time consuming task especially since they had soooo many kids back then.

In the future I plan to add the image for the Head of Household but when I add the other household members I will not download the image. There is an ‘Items To Merge – Media’ check box at the end of each merge that needs to be unchecked if you don’t want to download the image. Then I will go to Sources and use ‘Replace’ to merge everyone into the Head of Household record.

Yay! More disk space coming up.

Tagged , , , , , , , ,

How To View Sources

When I am working with Sources I sometimes need to see the entire line of a Source. Individual names appear at the end of Sources and many times that is exactly the info I need to see. I have discovered that if you move the entire FTM window by grabbing the title bar at the top and moving it to the left that I can then select the side of the screen and drag it out to the right thereby exposing the entire row of Source information. This is especially helpful when Replacing Sources because that screen opens in a collapsed view and makes it very difficult to find the record you are looking for.

Tagged , , , , ,

How To Clean Up Repositories

According to the FTM Mac 3 Companion Guide “A repository is the location where an original source exists. This could be a library, archive, county courthouse, or cousin’s home.” From other gleanings a Repository should be a location where Documents are housed.

Initially I thought that my Person Sources (people that have shared info with me) should go in Repositories. I added their names and contact info and then figured out that this really wasn’t a good idea because the contact info is published and to my knowledge there isn’t a way to privatize repositories.

So… Here’s what I did for each one:

  1. Copied all the contact info over to a text file to hold it temporarily. I definitely don’t want to lose that info!
  2. Clicked on the Usage button to which Sources they were attached too. I did a Screen Print using SHFT CTRL 4 to save that info.
  3. Closed the Repository window and opened the Sources tab. Locate each of the Sources on the Screen Print and detach the Repository from the Source.
  4. After you have unattached the Repository from all of the Sources, reopen Manage Repository and check the usage again.
  5. Delete the Repository.
  6. Continue through all Repositories.

This should leave a nice clean list. Spring cleaning early!


Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

How To Move a Source Citation from One Source Group to Another Source Group

Today I read a post about MyGenealogy.com being read-only now. I had heard this before but I decided to look at my sources to see if any were from this defunct site and decide what to do with them.

Several years back I sourced by using web site addresses. Although these are important, even more important are the people that post the info on the web for all to see. Even people are hard to keep track of these days with email addies changing and people moving around all the time. I do like to try and put a name in with my sources though so that I can try to contact them if I run into anything that might help their efforts or questions, etc.

So… I found some records under a Source Group I have called Internet (a work in progress). I wanted to move about 5 of them to a new Source Group.

1. I created the new Source Group “Person: Jane Doe”.

2. Then moved to the Source Group that had the Citations that I wanted to move and selected one.

3. On the right-hand side of the Source tab, under Source Citation Information I clicked the up/down arrow next to Source Title.

4. Up popped a list of all my Source Groups. Unfortunately, they aren’t in alphabetical order and I am still tring to figure out exactly what order they are in. If you figure this out by-all-means let me know please!

5. I selected the Source Group and viola, it moved just like I needed.

Is there an easier way to accomplish the same thing? I already tried copy/replace but those didn’t work as wished.

Dear Ancestry.com, Please alphabetize the Source Citation Title List!

Tagged , , , , , , ,