Have you ever looked at a chart or table someone else created to display their genealogy data in a different way and wondered what your own data might look like? For many people, this happened when Paul Hawthorne created a pedigree worksheet color coded by birth location.
Basically, she used the numbers on an ahnentafel chart to create a spreadsheet. Then, she color coded each person based six levels of research progress.
Using her blog as a guide, I decided to see what my research progress looked like. Even though there is no ‘fine line’ dividing some of these levels from another, I simplified my levels to the following:
Level 0 – No Information – no color
Level 1 – Names Only – pink
Level 2 – Vitals – orange
Level 3 – Family / Census – purple
Level 4 – Between the Dash – blue
Level 5 – Exhaustive Research – torquoise
Level 6 – Biography – green
Below is my color coded ahnentafel using the above levels.
This chart helps me see where I need to do more research. The following images turn the numbers of my 7th generation into names.
I wasn’t surprised by my results. However, this visualization will help identify future research goals.
Have you ever wondered whether you are named after someone? Are your siblings named after someone? For me and my brothers, I have not found any evidence that we are named after other family members. Even though we aren’t carrying any family names, my great nieces and nephew were named after family members — and their parents are sharing the family stories with these young children!
As I look at my pedigree, I do see several lines where it appears that names have been passed down. In my Crandall line, Sarah Adell Crandall’s middle names is passed down thru several generations. Thus, this name might (or might not) be a clue to previous generations.
In my Mentzer line, there are two generations of Phillip Mentzers. The name is then passed on to a grandson and a great grandson. Also common in this family line is the middle name, Andrew.
In my Briles line, the given names of John, Frederick, George and Noah are popular. The names, John and Frederick, go back to early Briles families in Randolph County, North Carolina. Investigation of the Noah Briles’ in my files reveals that many with this given name are descendants of Noah Rush. Thus, they may have been named after this grandfather. However, there is at least one Noah Briles who is not a descendant of Noah Rush.
In my Crawford line, there is little evidence that a family name was passed down as I follow the line back to my 2nd great grandfather. My great-grandfather, Judson Foster Crawford, gets his middle name from his mother’s Foster line. However, the given name Judson is unique. Judson’s father, Washington Marion Crawford’s name is also unique. I’m guessing that he may have been named after President George Washington. However, that is just a guest on my part. Washington Marion Crawford did name his youngest son after his father, Nelson G. Crawford. This has caused me to wonder whether there is a Nelson Crawford further back on my Crawford line.
Even though most of my lines do not have a name repeated generation after generation, my Currey line is the exception.
I believe I have four generations of men named Hiram M. Currey. I have to say ‘believe’ because two of the generations just disappear leaving few records connecting them to any children. Thus, I have bits and pieces of evidence that alone do not connect these generations. These pieces of evidence are like a jigsaw puzzle. When put together, these pieces of evidence supports this lineage.
Even though my 5 generation pedigree doesn’t indicate that any naming convention was used, I still refer back to those conventions in hopes that my ancestors followed a convention. For more information on naming conventions, see the following:
I’ve been asked to explain how I name my sources in RootsMagic. I’m sharing my method as an example. I’ve never actually written out my ‘naming’ practices.
However, I have heard the genealogist, Cousin Russ, talk about how he maintains a file of instructions that contains his naming practices. His blog post FTM2012 and AMT – File Naming and Captions discusses some of his naming practices.
Most of my file naming conventions go back to having been the technology coordinator in the local high school for quite a few years. When schools first introduced computers and their accompanying networks, students shared computers. Thus, a major challenge was helping students learn where their files were stored and how to organize them. Another challenge was helping everyone learn to give their file a name versus letting the computer name it.
These experiences along with my personal experience with file names have impacted how I name things in RootsMagic. Basically, my naming conventions take into account the following factors:
sorting — how does the computer’s alphabetical sorting impact the sorting based on the naming convention I’ve chosen
grouping — how can I use names to group likes things together in a list
RootsMagic 8 introduces a very powerful search function that will help compensate for not using a naming convention. For me, the power of this search feature will be in its ability to sort thru lots of items to quickly locate the one I want.
My willingness to follow a naming pattern has helped me to quickly scroll thru a list of items to find exactly what I’m looking for.
To start with, the source templates that I’ve created are at the top of the list of source templates. When I first converted my Master Genealogist data to RootsMagic, it created source templates whose names started with _TMG_. These source templates appear ABOVE the built in source templates.
Thus, I knew that placing the underscore at the start of the name would place the name towards the top of the list. When I converted to RootsMagic, I also started using Elizabeth Shown Mills’ book, Evidence Explained, as a guide for building my sources. Since I was creating my templates based on Evidence Explained, I elected to begin the names for these source templates with _EE_. The next part of the name refers to the type of record. This portion of the name is usually the same as the name for the template I copied from.
When it comes to source templates, I learned one thing the HARD way. When one drags a person from one RootsMagic file to another, the source templates used for that person are also ‘drug’ from the first file to the next. Thus, one can end up with lots of duplicate source templates and no ‘easy’ button to merge them. This happened to me and I had quite a few census and newspaper source templates in my list.
There is a set of SQL instructions that will merge these ‘duplicate’ source templates. I finally got up the courage to run these instructions and it quickly merged most of my duplicates. However, I was left with a few duplicates and could not figure out the difference between two source templates. Thus, I renamed one as ‘BAD’ so that I would not use it for future sources. At some point, I will revisit this to see if I can spot the difference and get them merged.
When it comes to my sources, I begin the name with the type of source followed by a dash. For many sources, I will follow that dash with the abbreviation for the state where the record is found. Then I follow the state’s abbreviation with information about the source that sets it apart from similar sources. If the record comes from an online site, I often end the name with the name of the site followed by the letters EE. Those letters, EE, at the end of the source name tell me at a glance that this source is based on Evidence Explained and not a source created years ago before I started following these standards.
Birth-AZ 1880-1935 Ancestry EE
Birth-IA Index 1800-1999 Ancestry EE
Book-MO History Davies Gentry Counties Archives.org EE
Cem-IA Graveston Index Ancestry EE
Death MA 1841-1915 Ancestry EE
Death MA 1841-1915 FamilySearch EE
Deed-IN Warren 1827-1901 FamilySearch EE
Directory-CA Long Beach 1933 Ancestry EE
Draft-WWII Young Men 1940-1947 Ancestry EE
History-IA Northwest pioneers (note the lack of EE — this source was likely created in Master Genealogist)
Marriage-AZ 1865-1972 Ancestry EE
Military- WWII Navy Muster Rolls 1938-1949 Ancestry EE
News-KS Dodge City Daily GLobe D418 KSHS EE (D418 is the microfilm number at the Kansas State HIstorical Society)
News-KS Dodge City Globe (Dodge City, KS) Newspapers.com EE (I added the location to my naming process within the last few years.)
News-KS Hays Daily News Genealogy Bank EE
News-Dayton Herald (Dayton, OH) Newspaepers.com EE
Probate-KS Ford County EE
Probate-KS Wills and Probate Records 1803-1987 Ancestry EE
Tax-KY Fleming 1798-1875 FamilySearch EE
Vital-VT Records 1720-1908 Ancestry.com EE
Will-KY Fleming County Book H FamilySearch EE
When it comes to census records, I lump by county. Thus, my naming convention for census records follows the dash with the year of the census. The year is followed by the state abbreviation and then the county name. The source of the census record and EE complete more recent citations. Earlier citations were likely created when viewing microfilm of the census. Thus, they don’t have the source or EE. Examples would include:
Census-1860 IA Buchanan County Ancestry EE
Census-1857 KS Atchison
Census-1860 IL Douglas Bk
Census-1860 IL Knox County Ancestry EE
Census-1885 IA Wapello County Ancestry EE
Census=KS Counties 1953-1979 Ancestry EE
Prior to my transition to RootsMagic, I didn’t have images attached to events. After the transition, I started downloading images and attaching those images to sources. When I started naming these images, I followed a pattern based on the following:
The first set of YYYY referred to the year of birth. The second set of YYYY referred to the year of the event. My thinking was that this would put all images for a person together and that these images would then sort in chronological order.
I soon discovered that this naming pattern did not work for me. Instead I started using folders and subfolders to help organize my images. I have a folder for each of my surname lines. As I discover a new line, I add a new folder. This folder uses the surname for its name.
Within these surname folders, I have folders for the various people with that surname. Each folder name starts with the person’s birth year followed by their surname and then their given name. By starting the folder name with the birth year, the folders will sort in chronological order.
My Crawford folder is an example of how this works — especially where I’m researching several different Crawford lines
My current practice is to base the file name on the following pattern
YYYY-Type of Record-State Abbreviation-County-Surname-GivenName
Naming these files is where I sometimes get lax in following the pattern. The one portion of the pattern that I have adhered to since adopting this system is to begin the file name with the year of the event. This places the files in the folder in chronological order when sorted by file name.
When adding the image to a source or fact in RootsMagic, I’ve adopted a similar naming pattern for the caption — it starts with the year of the event followed by the type of document.
As I’ve worked thru writing this blog, I’ve discovered quite a few places where I should go back and rename sources, folders and even files.
From my viewpoint, the issue isn’t whether you have adopted a naming pattern for source templates, sources, images or captions. Instead, the issue is whether you can locate the desired template, source, or image when needed. No matter what you decide, it has to fit your way of doing things.
Do you remember writing that research paper when you had to create footnotes and a bibliography? Did all those commas and periods cause you headaches? Or are you young enough that you just used sites like Easy Bib to do it for you?
When it comes to creating those footnotes and that bibliography for our genealogy records, I think we are all looking for that ‘easy’ button. For some, that button might be using the ability to create ‘free form’ citations to copy/paste citation information from Ancestry. For example, the Ancestry source, Indiana, U.S. Select Marriages Index, 1748-1993, has source information that could be copied into genealogy software.
I have not adopted this method of citing the sources of the information in my file for several reasons:
sometimes, I want more information than copying/pasting provides
sometimes, the source does not provide the copy/paste option
I don’t want to have to create the footnote from scratch.
However, I do want an ‘easy’ way to do this. Thus, I use what might be called
In RootsMagic, what I call ‘cheat sheets’ are source templates. These built-in source templates cover a wide variety of potential sources.
Each of these templates has their own set of fields that are put together to form the footnote and the bibliography. Thus, I don’t have to remember the order for the fields in a footnote or the punctuation.
There are plenty of these source templates. Many of them are based on various standards for sourcing genealogical information. The 2013 “Sources” lesson by the Central Alberta RootsMagic Users explains the various references these templates are based on.
These built-in ‘cheat sheets’ work well unless or until one wants to modify a template. When that happens, one learns that these templates cannot be edited. Nor is it currently possible to switch an existing source to a different template.
Once I discovered this inability to modify a template, I started creating my own templates – by copying an original template, naming my copy and making desired modifications. For example, I copied the ‘Census, U.S. Federal (Online Images) template.
When I save the copy of the template, I use a naming standard for the templates. The templates that I’ve ‘created’ all have names that start with ‘_EE_’ That places these templates at the top of my list of templates. Thus, my copy of the census template is named _EE_Census, U.S. Federal (Online images).
Since I can edit these copies, I’ve added information about the image number and total number of images to the template. When working with these templates in RootsMagic 7, there are two sections: Master Source and Source Details.
Thus the template provides prompts for the types of information I need to add for the source. If I have already created the source, the top portion of the window (yellow in my case) will already be completed, I just have to fill in the bottom portion (green).
When I am working with a source that isn’t already in my RootsMagic 7 database, I click on the ‘Add New Source’ button. This opens a window to ‘Select Source Type’ which is a list of available source templates.
The type of source I’m working with will determine which template I select. Sticking with an online census records as the source, I would locate my template for online census records. This would open an ‘Edit Source’ window.
This window prompts me for the various fields needed to create the footnote and bibliography entry. In the light gray are hints for what might be entered in that box. In the example shown, both the Master Source and the Source Details portion of the screen is shown. Occasionally, when creating a new source, this window will only show the yellow, “Master Source,” portion of the screen until after the source is created. At that point, selecting the source will open the window to enter the ‘Source Details’ information.
So, how does this work in RootsMagic 8?
After working with the RootsMagic 8 preview, I believe it works in a similar manner — with one exception. The term, CITATION, is being used instead of the ‘Source Details’ terminology.
If I look at the record for Elisha Vance Briggs, I can see that there is a pen icon to the right of his 1880 residence fact. Clicking on that fact places the information for that fact on the right side of the window. Under sources, it shows a citation for ‘Census-1880 IN Warren Coun…’.
Clicking on the green > to the right of the citation name will open the ‘Edit Citation’ window.
This window is prompting for the same set of information what was entered as ‘Source Details’ in RootsMagic 7. The major difference that I see is that I cannot modify the ‘Master Source’ from this screen in RootsMagic 8 while I was able to make a modification in RootsMagic 7. I am sure this is by design since it will prevent me from ‘messing up’ a source. Since I know that I have used this ability to edit the ‘Master Source’ while entering the ‘Details,’ I will have to train myself to study to footnote at the bottom of the screen. If the footnote has back to back commas, or appears to be missing information, that will be a clue that I need to go edit the Master Source.
To edit the Master Source, I will need to switch to the ‘Sources screen’.
On this screen, I need to find the desired source. In the example, the source name is Census-1880 IN Warren County. To locate that particular source, I can scroll down or I can use the search box. One search option would be to start typing in the name of the source.
Another way to search would be to enter the name of the county in the search box. This is quicker to type in – but yields a longer list of results.
Either way, I need to locate the desired source in the list and click on it. That will show the information for the source in the ‘Edit Source’ portion of the screen on the right.
Any change I make here will affect every use of this source. In this example, that would be 21 citations.
Thus, it is essential to understand which fields are ‘universal’ for the source and which fields are ‘specific’ for the citations. To understand the difference, one has to go back to the source template.
A study of the list of fields for the source indicates that some have a ‘Y’ in the citation column while other fields are missing the ‘Y’. Any field with a ‘Y’ is NOT part of the master source. Instead it forms the ‘Details’ or ‘Citation’ portion of the source. Since I work with my own templates, I can click on the EDIT button.
Clicking on a field and then clicking on the Edit Field button opens the ‘Source Template Field’ window.
This window appears to be the same in RM8 as in RM7. In the above image, the field is for the page number of a census record. I have a check mark for ‘This field is a source detail field’ since I don’t want that piece of information in my Master Source. That little check mark is what causes the ‘X’ in the ‘D’ column of the Source Template image above or the ‘Y’ in the Citation column in the Source Templates image above that.
I have found that understanding source templates and how they help create sources has helped me understand the way RootsMagic 8 handles sources and citations.
As I’m working on a narrative report for Angelina Jane Burke Currey, one of my 2nd great grandmothers, I’ve discovered several data clean-up issues. I’ve already tackled the shared fact issue by converting the shared land and court facts to individual facts. Today, I was working on improving the citations for some of those land and court facts.
One of those facts is the court case that originated on 5 May 1876 in Platte County, Missouri. This case is recorded in the Register of Deeds office in Deed Record Vol. 6 on page 598.
Weston Mo. May 5th 1876
We have this day instituted suit in the Weston Court of Common Pleas for Platte County Mo in the name of Guilford Hornbuckle and Sarah E. Hornbuckle, his wife & Hiram Currey & Angelina Currey, his wife, plaintiffs against John M. Burke & Milton E. Burke, Defendants for the July term 1876, thereof, for the purpose of compelling the execution of a trust & fees partion of the east half of the south west quarter of section thirty four (34) township fifty four (54) range thirty six (36) in Platte Co., Mo. Guilford Hornbuckle Sarah E. Hornbuckle Hiram Currey Angelina Currey By Doniphan & [Cohem] Attys Filed for record, at 6 P.M. May 5, 1876 R L Wallen Recorder of deeds
Because the sisters, Angelina Currey and Sarah Hornbuckle, are suing their brothers, John Burke and Milton Burke, I’ve always assumed this suit was over their mother’s property. Thus, I’ve also assumed that this was an indication that their mother, Elizabeth Burke, had died prior to May 1876.
Curious as to where this portion of section 34, township 54 of range 36 was on a map, I used the First Land Owner’s Project ($) to locate the section on a map.
When I scrolled in to view section 34, I discovered that the first land owner of this section was Alfred Kirkpatrick. Alfred Kirkpatrick was the husband of Mahala Bland. Mahala was the sister to Elizabeth Bland Burke, mother of Angelina, Sarah, John and Milton. Thus, Alfred Kirkpatrick was their uncle.
If I scroll out just a bit, I find that Elizabeth’s husband, Henry Burke, was a first land owner in section 27.
These maps along with the original deed record raise some questions:
What happened to the land Henry Burke owned in section 27?
Why are Henry and Elizabeth’s children fighting over a portion of the land originally owned by Alfred Kirkpatrick?
What is the ‘trust’ mentioned in the deed record?
Perhaps finding the answers to these questions will help fill in Elizabeth’s life after 1860 and help establish a death date.
As I’m working to clean-up my RootsMagic 7 file while previewing RootsMagic 8, I’m also discovering issues with the data in my file that I didn’t even know were issues. These issues were pointed out in the YouTube video, Cleaning Your Family Tree in RootsMagic.
About 13 minutes into the video, he discusses ‘Facts with Text Dates’. I had no idea this could be an issue! I ran the Fact List Report selecting the option “Facts with Text Dates”.
When I printed that report, I had FOUR pages of issues.
dates enclosed in <> brackets, ex: <1877>
the word ‘deceased’ (or variations) entered as a death date
the word ‘unknown’ entered for the birth or death date
places or names entered in the death field
I’ll own the typos and possibly the names/places entered in the date fields. However, I think most of these other issues were created when I imported individuals from FamilySearch. Now that I know this can be an issue, I also know to look for it when I do such an import.
To work my way thru these 4 pages of issues, I decided to see if I could create a ‘marked group’ for a majority of the people on this list. Since many of the dates on this list contain <>, deceased, or unknown, I decided to create a marked group based on people having a fact containing those items.
Now that I have this marked group, I can work my way thru the list to edit the events.
When I’m finished working my way thru this marked group, I can re-create the report to see what I have left and work my way thru them until all of these dates are corrected.
While searching Newspapers.com for ‘Marion Crawford,’ I came across the following G.A.R. article.
We are under obligations to Mr. J. L. Slaven for the names of the members of Lewis Post, of this city, who contemplate attending the encampment at St. Louis. Thos of the Post who attend will leave this city on Sunday, September, 25th. So far as is known at present the following members will attend.
H. Juneau Dr. D. D. Rose N. P. Laughton W. J. Howard Marion Crawford Wm. Tilghman P. R. Hobble C. C. Routzhan J. L. Slaven Col. J. H. Straughn
The above list not only mentions Marion Crawford but his brother-in-law, Dr. Daniel Rose. Further information about Marion Crawford’s attendance at the encampment have not been found. Many newspapers contain an extensive account of the encampment.
This YouTube video provides a brief history of the G.A.R. in St. Louis
While working thru what my process will be to add a source to an event in the preview of RootsMagic 8, I discovered that I have the same source in my database twice. I made this discovery when I searched my list of sources for ‘journal and’.
If I click on the three dots in the upper right of the Sources section of the screen, it reveals the option to “Merge Sources” [NOTE: Always look under those three dots when trying to figure out how to do something.]
Before starting the merge, I need to make sure the source I want to keep is highlighted. When I click on ‘Merge Sources’ a window opens prompting me to ‘Select Source’.
Again, I use the search box to look for ‘journal and’ to narrow the list. From trial and error, I learned that
the highlighted source in the Sources window is my first source
the ‘Select Source’ window wants me to select the 2nd source
Since the source whose name begins with ‘News-IN Journal’ is the source I want to keep, I need to switch the highlighting to the source whose name begins with “News-IN Lafayette.”
Once I have this second source highlighted, I can click on the OK button. This will open a screen comparing the two sources.
This screen is a ‘fail safe’ screen. The source on the left is the one that will be kept and the source on the right is the one that will disappear after a merge. By showing the two sources side by side, one can compare the information and then make a decision.
Cancel when one decides the two sources are not the same
Swap when one decides that they would prefer the source on the right be the one that is kept.
Merge Duplicates when one decides the two sources do need to be merged with the source on the left surviving.
I clicked on the ‘Merge Duplicates’ button and my screen switched to the citations screen for the surviving source.
If I click the green < to the left of the word Citations, the screen switches to the sources screen showing the surviving source.
On this screen I can see that there is a total of 37 citations for this source which is the combination of the 27 citations from the source that was kept and the 10 citations from the source that was not kept.
I’m sure that these notes will come in handy when I start actively using RootsMagic 8 and find more duplicate sources.
I recently wrote about my process to handle Ancestry Hints in RM 7. Since I am previewing RootsMagic 8, I thought it would help me to write out the process for adding sources from the RootsMagic side.
Since I recently found an obituary on Newspapers.com for a cousin, I thought that I’d try adding that obituary to my RM8 trial database. Since this database was recently created from my RM7 file, it should contain the my source for the Journal and Courier (Lafayette, IN) newspaper.
The obituary is for Mark A. Crudge.
Locate Mark Crudge in file by clicking on the person icon.
I’m used to clicking on the list and starting to type the name to move to that section of the list. This method does not currently work.
I could scroll thru my list, but it faster to enter the surname in the search box. As I type, the list narrows down to surnames beginning with the letters I’ve typed.
Since I don’t find Mark Crudge in my list, he will need added. Thus, I click on his father, Marion Jene Crudge and switch to the family view.
I then click on the “+ Add Child” link to open a window to add Mark Crudge as a child of Marion Jene Crudge.
I use the information in the obituary to fill in the birth and death dates for Mark Crudge and then click OK to add him to the family.
I now have Mark Crudge listed as a child of Marion Jene Crudge and a window open to add information about Mark. This is where I need to add the obituary as a source.
Since I can use the obituary as a source for Mark’s death, I click on the death fact. On the right side of the window, there is a section for sources. Since I already have a lot of sources in my file, I would first check to see if the source exists. Thus, I would click on ‘Cite Existing Source’.
That opens up a window for me to select the source. In RM7, I would have clicked on the list and started typing ‘News-IN J’ since that is the pattern I used to name my newspaper sources. Since RM8 works differently, I need to use the search box. So, I start typing the same in the search box and my source is listed.
If unsure, I could use RM8’s super ability to search and type in the name of the paper. (Journal and Courier, in this example) When I do this, I discover that I have two sources — likely the same that I will need to see if I can merge.
Since the first one uses my desired naming pattern, I click on it and then click the NEXT button. That opens the ‘Add Citation’ window.
I enter the information from my source using the tab key to move to the next field — until the remaining fields are not visible on the screen. At that point, I must the the scroll function to get to the end of the screen.
Scrolling down on the citation, I can locate the green > link to add the detail.
This is where I add notes for the citation. This could be as simple as copying the ‘record’ information from Ancestry to transcribing a record or obituary. In this case, I transcribed the obituary.
I can click the < arrow at the top of the window to return to the citation.
In RootsMagic 7, my next step would be to add the image to the citation. Unfortunately, I don’t see a way to add an image to the actual citation from this screen. So, I click on OK to save the citation.
When I click the OK button to close the citation to get back to the edit person screen. This screen has the ability to add an image to the death fact.
However, I would rather have the image attached to the citation. And, I discovered how by chance. Once the citation is created, I can go back to the citation and now the ability to add the image is available.
Clicking on the ‘Add Media’ link I can browse to my file and enter a caption.
Now that I have the obituary citation attached to the death fact, I want to also attach it to his birth fact. Thus, I click on the birth. I now have 3 choices: Add new source, cite existing source and paste citation. Ideally, I would like to ‘paste the citation.’ This means that I need to go back and figure out how to ‘memorize’ the citation. Going back to the death fact and the citation, there is no obvious ‘memorize’ link. However, scrolling over the various icons reveals the icon that looks like two pieces of paper are for memorizing the citation.
After clicking on the ‘memorize citation’ icon, I migrated back to the birth fact to paste the citation. Clicking to paste the citation opens a ‘Paste Memorized Citation’ window.
Unsure of what the difference is between ‘re-use’ and ‘paste’, I posted a question to the Facebook group and thanks to the answer there, I think I have this figured out.
Select ‘Re-use the memorized citation’ when you want an exact copy. This is what I would use for the obituary when adding the citation to the various events (think birth, death, burial, marriage, residence of survivors)
Select ‘Paste a copy of the memorized citation’ when I want to to make a small change in the citation. I can see this being helpful when citing various sections of a county history where I would change the page number with each individual citation.
Thus, I selected to ‘re-use’ the citation. When I go to sources and locate the citation, I find that it has been used 3 times.
Clicking on the > to the right of ‘Used 3’, the right column changes to show the times the citation was used.
I have successfully added Mark Crudge to my file and added source citations for his birth and death dates based on his obituary. By writing out the process, I have a better understanding of how this works and also will have notes for future reference.