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RM8 Citations Revisited

Does working with sources in RootsMagic confuse you? I know it took me a while to figure out the ‘Master Source’ vs the ‘Source Details’ aspects of a source in RootsMagic 7 (RM7). And now that I’m comfortable with that terminology and their uses, the terminology changes slightly in RootsMagic 8 (RM8). The term ‘Source Details’ has been replaced with the term ‘Citation’.

In RM7, I often copied and pasted a source (including the details) from one person or fact to another. For example, I would copy/paste a source for Find a Grave from the burial fact to the birth and death facts. I also did this with census records, copying and pasting the source from the fact for the head of household to the similar fact for everyone living in the household.

In RM7, if I made a change to one copy of a source, my change was not made to all copies. I recently added two source detail fields to my source template for online census records: Image# and ImageTotal. As I’ve been reviewing the data I have for my second great-grandparents, I’ve been updating their census sources. That means that I have to either copy/paste the newly updated record to the other members of the household and delete the original source or go into the source for each household member and add this additional information.

This is where the changes in RM8 are powerful. Instead of having to make the change for every time I used the source, I can make the change in the citation (formerly called Source Details) and that change will be ‘copied’ to all events using the source.

Unfortunately, the ‘Source Details’ from RM7 import as individual Citations in RM8. For larger files, this creates a LOT of citations – and a LOT of work to merge the duplicates. During the RM8 preview, I wrote about this issue in the post, RM8 Citations.

Since I consider this change in the way RM handles source information to be a major upgrade, I want to take advantage of it. However, this means that I have to get those duplicate citations merged. The sources page tells me how many citations I have attached to a particular source. As I scroll thru my list, I find that my Find a Grave source has over 11,000 citations associated with it.

Thus, merging these citation individual will be a daunting task. Since there is a ‘MERGE ALL’ function, I started digging to see what fields are used for comparison for this merge. I found the following information in a comment by Renee on a July 8 post in the RootsMagic 8 Preview group on FB. (Note: I’m trying to confirm that this list is still accurate.)

Based on my experience with merging of Repositories and the above information posted by Renee, I decided to run a test of the ‘Merge All’ function.

I crated a new file and ran the merge all function on this new file. Then I looked at some sources to see what happened with the citations. I found that a lot of the duplicates were merged. However, I also found that some weren’t merged if there was a slight difference in the citation.

This experimentation showed me that the conditions the software sets for the merge are pretty exacting. Thus, I decided to go ahead and merge my citations — after backing up my file first.

To document the merge, I went to the Home page and recorded 76,574 citations.

I also took a screen shot of a random area of my list of citations — the 1900 Kansas census sources.

I then took a screen shot of one of those census sources that had quite a few citations attached to it – the 1900 Republic County, Kansas record.

Then, I clicked on the 3 vertical dots in the upper right of the SOURCES section to open the menu. On that menu, I selected MERGE ALL DUPLICATE CITATIONS and waited.

Once the merge was finished, I rechecked my number of citations and it was down to 21,349. That’s over 55,000 citations that were merged. Even with the best of intentions, I would not tackle that on my own.

Then I looked at the same sections of my sources lists to see what happened. This screen also showed a significant drop in the number of citations associated with a source.

Republic County went from 22 citations to 2 citations.

Looking at some of the other lists of citations for the 1900 Kansas census, I found some examples of citations that were not merged.

Several of the citations listed for Ford County could be merged. However, they are slightly different. This slight difference kept them from being merged by the ‘Merge All Citations’ tool.

This ‘Merge All’ tool is powerful. However, it requires a knowledge of how sources and source details were created in RM7. A preview user reported that it merged all of her directory citations because the only difference was the image file. Since the image file was not one of the items considered at the time, those citations got merged when they should not have been.

Thus, this ‘Merge All Citations’ tool should be used with caution — an only after backing up ones file.

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