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Duplicate Citations

Have you ever thought about why someone blogs? I know I don’t think about that question when I’m reading other blogs.

I was asked about my blog recently and I think my answer surprised the person asking. Of course, I want to reach other family members thru my blog. That’s why I have posts dedicated to sharing pictures or transcribing records.

However, some of my posts are more for me than for others. Even though my narrative report posts might help other researchers, I post them because they make me work thru the facts and sources I have for an individual.

I’m currently working my way thru my 2nd great grandparents, whom I’ve had in my files for quite some time. Thus, some of my citations are older and deficient, leading to lots of work to bring those citations up to today’s standards.

My current project is Thurston Kennedy Wells (1821-1893).

Fixing the sentences is a relative easy task. The sources, however, are a different story. As would be the case with a wide variety of source types, some of my sources are used for multiple facts. In RootsMagic 7, that means finding all of the different places a source is used and either correcting each one individually or using the memorize/paste feature to copy the corrected source from one fact to another.

That tedious work is why I’m sitting here wishing for the features of RootsMagic 8. It is my understanding that in RM 8, I can change the information for a citation and that change will be made for every use of that citation. To verify that I am correct in my understanding of this new feature, I decided to try it out with Thurston Kennedy Wells in my RM8 database. (NOTE: First, my understanding about the ability to merge citations was wrong. Second, I am using a copy of my database and NOT my primary version since RM8 is still in preview.)

One of the sources that appears a couple of times is a reference to a civil war draft record. Not only do I have multiple citations, but I have two sources that refer to this one source.

After carefully studying these two sources, I believe they are the same source and thus wish to merge them. To do this in the current version (7.9.300.0 dated 11 Jun 2021) of RM8, I highlight the source that I want to keep and then click on the three vertical dots in the upper right corner of the sources window.

From that menu, I selected ‘Merge Sources’. The Select Source window opened and I located the duplicate source using the search function.

Making sure that I have the duplicate source highlighted, I click on the OK button at the bottom of the box. This opens a window comparing the primary and duplicate sources. In my case, they are not exactly the same. Thus, I need to proceed with caution, making sure (a) I want to merge them and (b) that the source I want to keep is in the pane on the left.

Once I have verified that everything is as I want it, I can click ‘Merge Dupblicates”. Now, I have one source with 25 citations. Some of these citations are not very informative and will require some extra work to correct. Since these citations are not for Thurston K. Wells, I am going to ignore them for now. At the bottom of the list are two citations for Thurston K. Wells. One is attached as a source for his name and the other is attached as a source for his draft fact.

Since these two citations should be the same, I am going to use the ability to edit the citation from the Sources screen so that the two instances for Thurston K. Wells match.

After looking at the two citations, I have concluded that I want to keep the bottom citation. Thus, I take a screen shot of the Citations Details for that citation.

With that image visible on my screen, I can fill in the Citation Details for the other Citations. Now, when I go back to Thurston Wells and look at the two uses of this source, they have been updated to newer standards and they are the same.

Ideally, I would like to be able to ‘merge’ these citations. However, being able to see the citations and edit them based on the source is easier than trying to find them attached to various facts.

In RootsMagic 8, there is the ability to ‘Merge Duplicate Citations’.

It is my understanding that this function will ONLY work if the citations match exactly — spacing, punctuation, etc. It also goes thru all citations and merges any/all duplicates found. I believe this is a task I will need to do when I first transfer my data over to RM8.

Out of curiosity, I ran this ‘Merge All Duplicate Citations’ function on my test database and it merged over 40,000 citations. (Be patient, this can take a while.)

Going back to my civil war draft source, I was curious as to which citations were merged.

My two citations for Thurston K. Wells were NOT merged since one has a period after the K and the other one does not. However, the 5 incorrect citations at the top were merged — even though they likely should not have been.

So what have I learned thru this experiment in RM8

  • I don’t want to use the Merge All Duplicate Citations feature unless I’m willing to admit that some citations will get merged that I don’t want merged.
  • It is easier to clean up citations in RM8 from the Sources screen than having to locate each use of a source for an individual in RM7.
  • I still have work to do getting the sources cleaned up for my report on Thurston Kennedy Wells.

2 thoughts on “Duplicate Citations

  1. Pingback: Friday’s Family History Finds | Empty Branches on the Family Tree

  2. Definitely bookmarking and saving this post! Thanks so much for the detailed instructions on how to use these features in RM8. I too need to go back and update sources/citations.

    Also, like you, while I love sharing family stories, often my blog posts are as much about working things out for myself than writing for others. I’m just happy when people find these posts interesting anyways 🙂

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