Memorial Day

Today is the day that was established to honor those who died while serving our country. Can you identify your ancestors or cousins whom we would honor today? Although I am aware of some of my cousins, I cannot readily name them.

However, my genealogy program is a database. Thus, I should be able to use the program and create a list. Unfortunately, searching for this type of information in a database requires that data be entered accurately. And I can attest to the fact incomplete or missing data in my file will impact my ability to pull this information.

Knowing that my mom has a couple of 2nd cousins who died during World War II, I started trying to create a list of those who died during that war. My first step was to create a group. This feature is located under the command palette, whose icon is located in the upper right corner of RootsMagic 8.

Opening the list of commands, I scroll down to GROUPS. Since I want to create a group, I’m looking for the command to ‘Add, delete or modify the list of gorups’.

Clicking that choice opens the GROUPS window. This window shows my existing groups and has buttons to add (new), edit, delete or rename a group.

To create my group, I click on the NEW button. A window opens prompting me to enter a name for this group. For this example, I’m going to name my group ‘WWII Deaths’.

That opens a window titled RootsMagic Explorer that shows a list of everyone in my file with boxes for checkmarks to indicate group membership. Since I’m creating this group from scratch, I want to use the MARK button.

Clicking the MARK button opens a pull-down menu showing my choices. Since I’m wanting to create a list based on the death date and place, I want to use the ‘By Data Fields’ choice.

This opens a window that allows me to select data fields and create a ‘sentence’ defining my search. Sometimes figuring out this ‘sentence’ is trial and error. This is also where incomplete data can impact the results. For my first ‘trial’, I’m going to search for those people with a military fact who died between 7 Dec 1941 and 2 Sept 1945. I am using 7 Dec 1941 as my start date since that is the date in which the United States was attacked.

When I click the OK button, the software searches my file and finds 9 people that have a military fact who died during the specified time period.

To finish creating the group, I have to click on the OK button and then click on the SELECT button in the lower right corner of the window. If I forget to click SELECT, my group is not created. That closes the selection window and returns me to the group window, where I have to again click OK to close the window.

The easiest way to review my group is to use the INDEX on the side of the PEOPLE screen. The default for the Index is to SHOW EVERYONE.

When I click on the ‘Show Everyone’ box, a menu opens showing the groups I have created.

If I scroll down the list, I can locate my newly created WWII DEATHS group.

Selecting the WWII DEATHS group causes the index to display the members of this group.

Looking at that list, I have several people born before 1900 who were included on the list. I have two options to ‘clean up’ this list. One option is to look at each person in question, evaluate their information and then remove them from the list if they don’t meet my criteria.

For example, Lloyd William Barnes is on my list with a death date of 14 Dec 1941. He also has a military fact, but it is dated 1918.

Below his parents is the GROUP information. When I click on the word GROUPS, it opens a list of all of my groups on the right side of the person window.

Scrolling down, I can locate the WWII Deaths group and remove the check mark by that group and then close the person window. That removes him from the list of people in the group under the index.

I can continue working my way thru the group one person at a time, or I could edit my group and add a statement to help narrow the selection. In this case, I might add a statement requiring the birth date to be after 1900. To do this, I follow the same procedure used to open the GROUPS menu. Then I scroll down to locate my group, WWI Deaths.

This time, I want to click on the EDIT button. This opens the RootsMagic Explorer window where I can mark/unmark members in this group. Since I’m editing an existing group, I usually check UNMARK and select prior to going back in and editing my selection. This makes sure that those I don’t want in the group are removed. Once I’m back in the RootsMagic Explorer window, I select MARK and pick BY DATA FIELDs as before. My previous ‘sentence’ is still there. I only need to ADD to it. Thus, I’m gong to add a 4th line for the Birth Date is after 31 Dec 1899.

Clicking OK causes the program to search using my new criteria. Five people are now marked. This is where I need to remember to click SELECT after clicking the OK button.

Working my way thru these 5 people, I can verify that I have information entered for each of them about their death during World War II.

Using this process, I created groups for the Korean War, World War II, World War I and the Civil War.

Korean War Deaths

  • John Frederick Christy

World War II Deaths

World War I Deaths

  • None

Civil War Deaths

  • John Nelson Ralston
  • John Wesley Roberts

While creating these groups is the easiest way I know of to identify these cousins deserving to be honored this Memorial Day. However, this method is not perfect. (Remember, it depends on the completeness and accuracy of my data.) Since I remembered writing about a service member who died when his plane crashed, I expected him to be on my list. And, he is NOT.

My blog post, Plane Down, identifies him as 2nd Lieutenant Gene Marion Ashmore.

Checking what information I have for Gene Marion Ashmore, I can verify that he has a military fact. However, his death date is outside of the dates I used for my search. It is a few days AFTER the official end of World War II. Thus, the computer did not add his name to my group of WWII Deaths.

Since I would like to be able to include him in my list of WWII veterans to be honored on Memorial Day, I can manually add him to the list. If I click on GROUPS (below his parents) and then scroll down my list of groups, I can locate the ‘WWII Deaths’ group.

When I return to the index and select the WWI Deaths group, I can verify that he has been added.

As my database grows, I will either need to remember to update these lists as I identify a veteran or use the GROUPS menu to edit the group.

How about you? Can you identify people in your tree to be honored on Memorial Day?

On This Day

Have you ever looked up what happened on a date for a significant family event? I’ve never done this before, but a quick Google search reveals several sites that provide this type of information.

So what happened on today, May 28th? Below are a few events occurring on May 28th

  • 1533 – Archbishop of Canterbury declared marriage of King Henry VIII to Anne Boleyn to be valid
  • 1754 – French and Indian War – first engagement involved the Virginia militia under Col. George Washington
  • 1830 – President Andrew Jackson signed the Indian Removal Act which forcibly relocated native Americans
  • 1893 – John Muir organized the Sierra Club in San Francisco
  • 1934 – Dionne quints were born in Canada
  • 1936 Alan Turing submitted a paper on computable numbers
  • 1937 – Volkswagen company was founded
  • 1940 – WWII – Belgium surrendered to Nazi Germany to end the Battle of Belgium
  • 1999 – Leonardo da Vinci’s masterpiece, The Last Supper, put back on display after being restored

So, were you aware that your genealogy program could generate this information? I wasn’t.

I was going to create a group with event dates that included May 28 and then print such a list. While looking for a report to print the list, I discovered the “On This Day’ report in RootsMagic 8.

Since the PUBLISH menu shows the most recent report types that I’ve used, the ‘On This Day’ report does not appear on the page.

Thus, I have to click on the ‘All Reports and Charts’ to see the entire list of available reports.

When I click on the ‘On This Day List’ I can select the month and day and type of events for the report.

Below are excerpts from a report for the date of May 28.

Family Events

Famous Births

Famous Deaths

Famous Events

This report in RootsMagic contains much more information than I could ever put together from the various web sites. Thus, I’m glad I discovered this report!

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun

It’s Saturday Night – 

time for more Genealogy Fun! 

Your mission, should you decide to accept it (cue the Mission Impossible music here) is to:

1) Go into your Genealogy Management Program (GMP; either software on your computer, or an online family tree) and figure out how to Count how many surnames you have in your family tree database.

2)  Tell us which GMP you’re using and how you did this task.

3)  Tell us how many surnames are in your database and, if possible, which Surname has the most entries.  If this excites you, tell us which surnames are in the top 5!  Or 10!!  Or 20!!!

Well, I have to admit that I would likely have not completed this task if Randy Seaver wasn’t using the same software. Thus, I was able to ‘cheat’ off of his post to figure out how to do this.

I am a RootsMagic 8 user. My first attempt at using the Surname Statistics report was with the ‘Surname (Alphabetical)’ setting. If printed, that would produce a 90 page report!

Running the report with the ‘Frequency of Surname’ sorting option still produces the same information in a different order. Leaving out those individuals yet to have a surname added, the following are my top surnames:

  • Crawford – 1482
  • Ricketts – 921
  • Foster – 422
  • Briles – 397
  • Curry – 336
  • Wells – 285
  • Thompson – 268
  • Hammond – 263
  • Mentzer – 203
  • Sellers – 195 (Not an ancestral line)
  • Smith – 185
  • Currey – 181
  • Young – 158
  • Broyles – 140
  • Ralston – 131
  • Jones – 126
  • Burke – 126
  • Rush – 119
  • Hutchinson – 118
  • Allen – 116
  • Christy – 109
  • Crandall – 102

Did you notice the similar surnames in the list? Since the name is spelled differently, names like Curry/Currey and Briles/Broyles appear in the list twice. To help identify other names with duplicate spellings, I exported the report to Excel.

This allowed me to see that I have 3577 unique surnames in my list and to sort them alphabetically. Once sorted I can visually browse to list to locate other similarly spelled surnames.

  • Andersen / Anderson
  • Barnhard / Barnhart
  • Barret / Barrett
  • Beall / Beals
  • Beattie, Beatty / Beaty
  • Beckerdike / Beckerdite
  • Beer / Beere / Berrs
  • etc.

Browsing this alphabetical list also revealed what is likely a misspelling: Crawrford.

Thank you Randy for this challenge to look at our data differently!

Place Abbreviations

Do you use standardized place names in your genealogy files? If so, do you ever get tired of narrative reports repeating the name of the country over and over? Because my ancestral line is so deeply rooted in the United States, I can only speak from a U.S. perspective. In my experience, the only time I’ve added the words ‘United States’ to and address is within my genealogy program. Thus, I get tired of the repetitive use of the full standardized name in narrative reports.

For example, the majority of my life has been spent in Seneca, Kansas. Thus, entries for events in my life during my time in Seneca would utilize the standardized place name of ‘Seneca, Nemaha, Kansas, United States.’ That’s a huge ‘mouthful’ to appear repeatedly in a narrative report when most people would recognize that ‘Seneca, Kansas’ is the same place as ‘Seneca, Nemaha, Kansas, United States’.

Another issue I have with standardized place names is that the standardization drops the word ‘county’. For example, if I was wanting to cite a tax record for myself, the standardized place for that record would be ‘Nemaha, Kansas, United States.’ In this example, I would prefer to just say ‘Nemaha County, Kansas’.

I would also prefer to use the word ‘county’ when the name of the city and the name of the county are the same. For example, the standardized place name for the city of Los Angeles is ‘Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California, United States. I would prefer to use ‘Los Angeles, Los Angeles County, California’ so that I know for certain that the place is the city and not the county.

Well, I recently discovered that I can incorporate my desired method of naming places while still using standardized place names in my RootsMagic software. This is possible thru the use of a Place Abbreviation. Since most of my current research involves Warren County, Indiana, that is where I’ve started working with this abbreviation field.

Because I’ve never used the ‘Abbrev’ field before, my places don’t have data in that field. Starting with the places I’m currently researching, I’m slowly adding abbreviations. For example:

  • Pike Township, Warren, Indiana, United States will be abbreviated Pike Township, Warren County, Indiana
  • West Lebanon, Warren, Indiana, United States will be abbreviated West Lebanon, Indiana
  • Warren, Indiana, United States will be abbreviated Warren County, Indiana

Once I have the abbreviation entered for a place, I can then modify the sentence structure to use the abbreviation instead of the standardized name. For example, my land entry fact uses the following sentence template.

[Person] land entry papers <[Desc]> <[Date]> <[Place]>.

For Nelson Crawford, this produces the following sentence:

Nelson Garret Crawford file land entry papers for the South East quarter of section nineteen in Township twenty three North of Range Nine West on 1 February 1851 in Crawfordsville, Montgomery, Indiana, United States.

I can force the use of the place abbreviation by adding ‘:abbrev’ to the place field. Below is an example of that change.

[Person] land entry papers <[Desc]> <[Date]> <[Place:abbrev]>.

This change in the sentence template is reflected in the preview section of the Edit Sentence window.

If I want to use the abbreviation every time a specific fact is used, I can modify the fact template to make that change. To access my list of fact templates, I have to use the ‘Command Palette’ (icon looks like a paint palette in the upper right corner of the screen). Scrolling down the list of commands, I click on Fact Types to open the list.

From my list of fact types, I locate the one I wish to change.

Clicking the edit button allows me to change the Fact setup. However, to change the sentence template, I have to edit the role where the sentence is used.

When I click to edit a role, I can then add ‘:abbrev’ to the Place in the sentence template.

Clickinig the OK button changes the sentence template for the role.

When using the :abbrev setting, one needs to remember the following:

  • Changing the sentence template for an individual fact only changes the template for that specific event and does not affect other similar events for that individual OR for any other person in the data base.
  • Changing the sentence template for a fact type role affects every use of that fact/role throughout the database. This is considered a ‘global’ change.
  • Adding the :abbrev field only works IF the place has an abbreviation entered.

Now, that I’ve discovered this capability, I will be slowly modifying [Place] to [Place:abbrev].


Have you ever received a message from someone asking how you might be related to their parent or grandfather? Such a message was in my Ancestry inbox recently. The writer wished to know my relationship to Alvin Lambert.

Since Lambert isn’t one of my common surnames, I needed to search my RootsMagic database to first see if I had such a person in my file and then figure out our relationship. To start this process, I typed in the Lambert surname in the search box for the RM index.

Having located Alvin Lambert in my database, I just have to highlight him on the people screen and it will tell me how we are related. I simply have to look below his name and dates in the individual area of the screen.

The relationship shown on this screen is to the person identified as the ‘Root’ person in the settings.

Sometimes, I might wish to calculate the relationship with someone other than the root person. To do that, I have to use the Relationship Calculator tool. This tool is accessed via the Command Palette. The icon for the command palette looks like a paint palette and is in the upper right corner of RootsMagic 8.

Clicking on the icon opens a list of tasks. Scrolling to the Rs, I located the Relationship Calculator tool. and clicked to open it.

The tool opens with the name of the highlighted person in the Select Person 1 slot. (Note: This can be changed by clicking on the ‘Select Person 1’ button and then selecting the desired person from the list of people.)

To answer the question as to how two people are related I need to select person 2. Thus, I click on the ‘Select Person 2’ button and type in my last name and then first name of the person I want to use as person 2.

Once I have both people selected, I just click on the ‘Calculate’ button in the bottom right corner of the window.

The program then figures out the relationship between person 1 and person 2.

Sometimes, I might wish to generate a report showing the HOW of a relationship. For this task, RootsMagic 8 has a built-in report called ‘Relationship Chart’. To get to this report, I go to Publish and then click on All Reports and Charts.

With the list of all of the available reports open, I scroll to the Rs to locate RELATIONSHIP CHART.

When the report opens, the currently highlighted person on the people screen will be listed as ‘Person 1’. If that is who I want in that position, I simply select person 2 and modify any of the other settings.

When the ‘Generate Report’ button is clicked, a report is displayed showing the lines from both individuals back to a common ancestor.

For those with trees on Ancestry, it is possible to determine the relationship between the home person in the tree and another individual in the tree.

Since I’m already configured as the home person in my tree, I simply had to locate Alvin Lambert in my tree and open his profile page.

When I click on the relationship, a ‘report’ opens showing the ancestry of the person back to a common ancestor and then down to me.

No matter which way I create this report, the accuracy of this report is dependent on the accuracy of my tree.


As we have just “celebrated” another COVID new year, I’m fairly certain that we are all suffering from what the doctors at the University of Kansas Medical System have idenfied as CWS (pronounced COWS), or Covid Weariness Syndrome. As we march into January with more negative Covid news, have you wondered how the 1918 Influenza pandemic impacted your ancestors or distant cousins?

Since my grandmother lost her 7 month old son, Kenny, in 1919, I often wondered whether he was a victim of influenza. Since Kenneth Briles was admitted into a Kansas City Hospital prior to his death, his death certificate is available online. And that death certificate eliminates influenza as a possible cause of Kenny’s death. Instead, it indicates that Kenny’s cause of death was pyelo-nephritis with Dyspepsia as an underlying cause. Google helped me figure out that Kenny had an infection in his kidneys which caused his death. The underlying cause of Dyspepsia may have been E coli. How Kenny ingested the bacteria will never be known.

Since Kenny’s death was not from influenza, I forgot about the possibility that I had relatives die from influenza. That was until I encountered the obituary of Theodore Basil Christy. According to his obituary, Theodore died from pneumonia caused by influenza.

Burial of Basil Christy

Took Place Thursday Morning at Hills Church

The funeral of Basil Christy, a well-known farmer in the south west part of the county took place Thursday morning at Hill’s church and was very largely attended.
Mr. Christy’s death followed an attack of pneumonia, the result of Influenza and was a shock to the entire neighborhood, he being a man highly respected in the community and wherever known. He is survived by a wife and children and also by several brothers and sisters.
He was a member of the Baptist church his membership being at the Hill’s church.

“Burial of Basil Christy,” The Tipton Daily Tribune (Tipton, IN), 17 October 1918, page 1; digital image, ( : viewed online 27 December 2021).

This obituary was the first piece of information indicating that any of my cousins had died from influenza. However, I haven’t seriously looked thru my file to see if there are others. Even though I likely won’t deviate from my current research tasks, I wanted to figure out who I had in my file who died during the influenza epidemic that began in 1918. According to Wikipedia, there were four waves during this epidemic with the majority of deaths occurring in 1918 and 1919. To figure out who my potential victims of influenza might be, I created a group in my RootsMagic program.

Thus, I clicked on the icon that looks like a paint palette in the upper right corner of the program to open the Command Palette. Scrolling down the list of commands, I located the one allowing me to add or modify groups..

On the GROUP window, I clicked on the NEW button to begin the creation of the group.

Then I entered a name for my group. In this case, I’m naming the group, Influenza.

When I click on the OK button, the window changes allowing me to hand pick members for the group from everyone in my file or to use the MARK feature to let the program pick them. Since I don’t know who should be in this group, I’m gong to click on MARK and let the computer select based on the death information I have in my file.

When I click on the MARK button, a menu opens offering me several choices. For this group, I want to select them by their death date. Thus, I’m going to use ‘By Data Field’.

Now, I enter the ‘argument’ I want the computer to use to search my genealogy file. If I want to include all 4 waves of the epidemic, I need to include dates for 1918, 1919 and the first half of 1920. Thus, I could use the following argument.

However, if I’m only concerned about the deaths during 1918 and 1919, then I can use an OR statement to pick both years.

When I click on the OK button, the computer will search thru my file and return a list of those people for whom the argument would be true. When I used death date contains 1918 or 1919, I got 114 people. In order to save this group, I have to remember to click the SELECT button.

To view the list of group members, I can use the INDEX on the people screen. If I pull down the upside down carrot by SHOW EVERYONE I can find my Influenza group in my list of groups.

When I click on the group, the list of people changes to just those in my group.

Now I have a list of people who may have died from Influenza. Some day when I’m either extremely ambitious or extremely curious, I can work my way thru this list to see if any of them actually succumbed to influenza.

RM8 Problem List

Did you see the blog post, End of the Year Tune Up for Your Family Tree? This post discusses how to identify problems with genealogy data using Family Tree Maker.

Like FamilyTree Maker, RootsMagic 8 includes the ability to create reports listing individuals with identified problems.

  • Individuals without sex entered
  • Proper Order of Events
  • Birth before parent’s marriage
  • Age at death should be less than ____ (default is 100)
  • Age at marriage should be between _____ and _____ (default is between 14 and 70)
  • Father’s age should be between _____ and _____ (default is between 14 and 70)
  • Mother’s age should be between _____ and _____ (default is between 14 and 50)
  • Birth before parent’s birth
  • Birth after father’s death
  • Birth after mother’s death

The program also uses a red exclamation mark icon for individuals with any of the above problems. The appears to the right of their name on the family or pedigree screens.

Clicking on the exclamation mark, one can open the ‘Problem List’ window to get details on the problem.

To figure out where I made my mistake, I opened Robert Thompson. I have his birth date recorded as ‘about 1839’ with a 1940 census record as the source. The details for the 1940 census record shows a family composed of Robert Thompson age 51 (father), Ruby Thompson, age 31 (mother) and Robert Thompson, age 1. In this case, it looks like I made a typing error and that the birth should be abt 1939.

After I correct the birthdate and close the individual window, the red exclamation mark disappears from Robert Thompson (#13007)

Since migrating to RM8, I’ve just been fixing the problems as I stumble across them while researching my tree. However, DiAnn Iamarino suggests a more proactive approach in her blog post, End of the Year Tune Up for Your Family Tree. This proactive approach requires me to create lists of problems in my database and then work my way down the list to fix the problems.

To create a list of problems, I need to use the command palette. The icon for the command palette is in the upper right corner of my RootsMagic 8 screen.

When I click on the command palette icon, a window opens showing a list of various commands. Scrolling down the list, I find Problem List.

Clicking on the Problem List command opens the Problem Options window.

If desired, I could place a check mark by several problems (or all problems) and create a report. However, I will find it easier if I only tackle one problem at a time. To start with, I’m going to tackle the problem I had with Robert Thompson — his birth date was prior to the birth date of his parents. Clicking on OK causes RootsMagic 8 to search my database and produce a list.

If I click the ‘Edit Person’ button, a window opens showing that individual. When I look at Jennie Burke’s information, I find that I have her mother’s Find a Grave record cited for Jennie’s birth and death’. The dates, I have recorded for Jennie match the dates copied into the details for the citaiton.

Thus, I need to check her parents to see if I have their birth dates correct. Since I can’t get to the parents of Jennie Burke without closing the Problem list, I have several choices

  • Close the problem list, locate Jennie Burk in my file and resolve the problem. Then, go back and re-create the problem list.
  • Print the list and work my way thru the printed list to correct the problems
  • Add fixing the issue with Jenni’s birthdate to my task list, work my way down the list of problems to add each one to my task list. Then I can use the task list as a guide to work my way thru these problems.

If I click on the Add to Task List button, the ADD TASK window opens.

I’ll be honest. I am not going to use the Add to Task List button. For me, the task list sounds like a great tool, but in reality, I don’t refer back to my list of tasks and update it when a task is completed. I also don’t look back at this list to see what I should be doing. Thus, adding these problems to a task list just postpones fixing the problem.

Since I may need to access the family screen to identify and/or fix these problems, I’m going to print my list and work my way thru the printed list. I am also going to work with one problem type at a time.

Now, I have another goal to complete yet this year: a tune-up of my RootsMagic database.

Descendancy Reports

Do you research the descendants of your ancestors? Over the years, I’ve learned that the more I know about the children of an ancestor and the families of those children, the easier it is to locate information about the ancestor. Thus, my genealogy file contains information on a lot of descendants. And that research has paid off in terms of identifying DNA matches.

Thus, some of my goals for 2021 were to research the descendants of my 6th great grandfathers on my father’s side of my tree.

Most of this ‘research’ was simply going thru the Ancestry hints for the descendants. At times, I searched for other records to help document the lives of these cousins. This time consuming research resulted in a blog post listing these descendants.

Thanks to my genealogy software, creating those reports is relatively simple. With the release of RootsMagic 8, those reports have changed slightly. The Descendant list report has several different formats available.

  • Name (birth date – death date)
  • Name/Birth/Death in columns
  • Name/BMD Date/Place
  • Name (birth year-death year)
  • Name/BMD Date/Place wordwrap

My favorite version is the wordwrap version. I like this version because it has more information in a format that makes the family levels easy to visualize.

Unfortunately, this format creates challenges when I try to copy/paste the information from one of these reports into a blog post.

I haven’t tried to copy/paste a columns report, but I think it would be even more of a challenge to create a blog post using this format.

That leaves three formats with varying levels of information: years, dates and dates with places.

Name (Birth year – Death year)
Name (birth date – death date)
Name/BMD Date / Place

Since I believe that knowing the place in relation to a date is important, I will likely use the Name/BMD Date/Place format for future descendancy list reports. As I work thru my goal to complete these descendancy reports, I know that the research involved is valuable but I question the value of posting these reports. What about you, reader, have you ever connected with a cousin thru a descendancy report?

RM and the FamilySearch Tree

Have you thought about what happens to all of the work you’ve put into the research of your family after you are gone? Are you one of those lucky ones who have someone younger willing to take it over?

Unfortunately, I don’t believe I will be so fortunate. Thus, I have sought out ways to share my research. I’ve distributed narrative reports to the societies where my ancestors lived, published my work on a web site, shared my work via gedcom, maintain a public tree on Ancestry and now blog about my findings.

Since I was not actively doing research for quite a few years prior to my retirement, I was not aware of the FamilySearch tree until I started using RootsMagic. Thus, for the past five years, I have been learning more about the FS tree and the FS site in general. Even though I have read or heard all of the comments about others changing one’s ancestors, I appreciate the collaborative aspect of the tree.

Recently, Elizabeth Shown Mills shared the FB post, Why do I support the FamilySearch FamilyTree?

Then on Nov. 17th, Randy Seaver posted the following on his blog: Dear Randy: Should I Use FamilySearch Family Tree as My Maine Genealogy Database?

I readily admit that I’m a novice user of the FamilySearch FamilyTree. At times, I have struggled with adding information to the site. Thus, I rely on the RootsMagic interface with the FamilySearch tree.

When I’m researching descendants, I use the connection between RootsMagic and the FS tree to add spouses and children. For example, I have Francis N Goudy in my RM file but not a spouse or children.

The FS tree has a spouse and four children.

Since I want to document this family, I want their names and dates in my RM file. When I click on the blue FS icon to the right of Francis N Goudy’s name in RootsMagic, a drop-down menu appears where I can click on FamilySearch.

Clicking on FamilySearch from the drop-down menu opens a window comparing what I have in my RootsMagic fild with what is on the FamilySearch FamilyTree.

Not only does this window show me that there are several census records and marriage records that I need to find, but it also identifies the spouse and children of Francis N. Goudy. It is this family information that I want to capture from FamilySearch.

To add an individual from FamilySearch to my RM tree, I click on the icon to the left of their name. This opens a window askinig me to confirm adding the person to my RM file.

Once I have the spouse and children added to my RM file, I then use RM’s TreeShare to add them to my Ancestry Tree. Now, I can research the family adding facts and events. By already having the family names in my database, I can more easily analyze records to see if they apply to this family. I realize that I am assuming the family on FS is correct. Since I work with one family at a time to document the events of their lives, I am willing to take the risk that some of the information on FS might be incorrect knowing that I can always delete them from my RM file. Besides the convenience of adding facts and sources, I like the fact that these new family members are already linked to the FS tree.

After working thru the Ancestry hints, I now have residence facts in my RM file.

I can also compare sources. In the case of Francis Nelson Goudy, someone has already added quite a few sources.

If I have a source that isn’t on the FS side, I can check the source and follow the prompts to add it to FamilySearch.

I struggle with this part a little. The window asks if I want to attach the source to the Name, Gender, Birth, Christening, Death, Burial or Family fields In the case of this source for the marriage, I am checking the Name and Family fields. However, when adding a census source, I only check the Name field.

The next window asks for a ‘reason’ to attach the source. This is another struggle for me. I don’t know if the reasons I enter are sufficient.

Once I have entered a reason and clicked the Attach button, the source appears in the list of sources on the right. If I click on the ‘i’ a window opens showing me the citation and the reason I entered.

I rarely edit or merge on the FS Tree. Before undertaking such a task, I make sure I have added sources to support the action I am taking.

Anyone wanting additional information about using the FamilySearch Tree with RootsMagic should check out Family History Fanatics video: RootsMagic 8: How to Sync Ancestry and FamilySearch Family Trees.

Old Research

Have you been researching your family for several years? Do you happen to have old handwritten notes. I have to admit that I have such records and sometimes even run across source citations that are likely from my PAF days.

As I was researching the descendants of William and Polly (Evans) Thompson, I ran across some of those old notes. One was a note was for a marriage source for three of William’s children.

Even though this was an OLD note, it did give me information to locate my notes:

Instead of having this separate NOTE fact, I want to attach this source to the marriage fact. Since I didn’t do a good job of recording the information about this book, I need more information to create the citation. Fortunately, I do have enough information to locate the book in World Cat.

This allowed me to create a citation and attach it to the marriage fact for the three couples.

Daughters of the American Revolution Iowa Society, Elizabeth Ross Chapter (Ottumwa, Iowa), Marriage Records of Wapello County, Ottumwa, Iowa (Iowa: Iowa DAR, maybe 194), pages 35, 103, 104.

And, I can now delete the NOTE fact found attached to each of the people mentioned in the source.

In the past, I’ve just corrected these NOTE facts as I’ve encountered them. However, RootsMagic provides a report that would allow me to find those notes and thus update them. That report is the FACT LIST report. In the settings for this report, I simply need to select the NOTE Fact Type.

If I leave the ‘Include’ set to EVERYONE, I get a report over 25 pages in length. However, I can use my marked groups to create a report for a section of my file. For example, the image above shows the settings to create the report using the group that contains the descendants of William and Polly Thompson. Thus, I get a more manageable list of notes to update.

Getting all of these notes cleaned up will take quite a bit of time. Perhaps this needs to be one of my goals for 2022.