Source Templates

This morning, I watched part of the Wacky Wednesday episode: The Source Is Gone and hope to finish it watching it later today. During this presentation, Cousin Russ discusses how he is rethinking how he cites memorials on Find A Grave.

During the presentation, Cousin Russ compared the suggested citation for a Find a Grave memorial to how he was citing the memorial in his software. This made me curious about my own citations and how they compare.

Below is the suggested citation for the memorial of my second great grandfather, Washington Marion Crawford.


When I looked at the footnote for the Find a Grave source in my software (RootsMagic), I found that the footnote was similar to the suggested footnote.


My footnote is ‘created’ using a template to enter the information.


The above template is a ‘custom’ template that I created. I often copy a built-in template and then customize the copy. I like using templates. They make it easy for me to remember to include the important elements in a citation. However, I had heard that templates don’t work well when data is exported – particularly via GedCom. This issue is discussed on the RootsMagic forum: ‘Templated Sources in GEDCOM and Data Exchange‘ and ‘Extreme Source Splitting and RM’s Source Templates‘.

To date, I have ignored the issue around how GEDCOM handles my sources created with the templates. Today, I decided to investigate what is happening to my sources when they are exported. One of the ways I export data on a regular basis is by uploading events and sources to Ancestry via RM’s TreeShare. Looking at the same citation on Ancestry, I discovered that whatever I put in Source Details is split from whatever is in the Master Source section of my template.


I also noticed that the words ‘created by’ or ‘photographed by’ were dropped. These words were not entered by me in the source details section of the template but part of the citation template.


Wondering how the citation would transfer using GEDCOM, I created a small GEDCOM file. I then imported that GEDCOM file into a different genealogy program: Legacy. Once I figured out how to view the source, I found that words ‘created by’ and ‘photographed by’ were also dropped.


After comparing the citation from the other software program to the citations from Find a Grave and from RootsMagic, I discovered that the order of the Source Details text in the Legacy footnote was in order entered in my template (top to bottom).

From this study of my citations and what happens during the export, I believe there are some things that I can do to improve the exported citations:

  • enter ‘created by’ and ‘photographed by’ in the Source Details instead of using the footnote template to add that text
  • change the order of the Source Details components in my Source Template to match the order that I would like the text to appear in a footnote

If I attempt either of the above changes, every individual in my RM program with a Find A Grave citation would be marked as ‘changed’ for TreeShare. Thus, I need to be willing to spend considerable time to make these changes and work thru the TreeShare list. At this point, I’m not going to make the changes to existing citations. However, I will likely create a new template to use for any new citations.



Yesterday, I stumbled on an Ancestry feature regarding sources. I was already aware that Ancestry places sources found on Ancestry at the top of the list of sources.



Sources that I have in RootsMagic and transfer via TreeShare to Ancestry are listed as Other Sources, below the Ancestry sources.


If I have added a lot of Ancestry sources to an individual, then I must scroll down to find these ‘Other Sources’.


What I didn’t know, was that by scrolling over the source and clicking on the ‘VIEW’ icon, it would open up the source showing the complete citation — and any details added to the citation. Since I have started transcribing documents into the ‘Detail text’ screen for a source, those transcriptions are being uploaded to Ancestry and viewable by clicking on that ‘VIEW’ icon.


So, when looking at someone else’s tree, SCROLL DOWN and see if they have any ‘OTHER SOURCES’ attached. If so, view the source to see if there is a transcription attached!

Relationships and TreeShare

I have slowly been working my way thru a ‘go-over’ of the descendants of my great-great grandparents. This process includes

  • Reviewing citations to make sure they are complete
  • Accepting Ancestry hints (often for sources I have already cited)
  • Adding new facts / citations as found

In the process of doing this review, I sometimes discover that I have a child with the wrong parents — particularly with a wrong mother. Yesterday, I made such a discovery. I had Effie Briles Flake as the mother of three sons: Leland, Clifford and August.


While working thru the shaky leaf hints for Effie’s husband, John L. Flake, I came across a 1900 census record that likely has a different mother for Leland and Clifford.


Unfortunately, I hadn’t paid attention to my own research when I indicated that the mother of J. Leland and Clifford was Effie Flake. I have a marriage record for J L Flake and Effie Briles dated 16 Jun 1905. By analyzing both the census record and the marriage record, it is obvious that Effie is not the mother of J. Leland and Clifford Flake.

Thus, I added Annie as a wife for John L Flake with a marriage date of around 1894. I then changed the parents for J. Leland and Clifford W to John and Annie Flake. I also added the daughter Lola to this family group.  This left Effie as the mother of August Flake.


Since all of the relationship changes were done in RootsMagic, I’m wondering how the relationships will get changed with TreeShare. When I looked at the TreeShare for Clifford, I discovered that I could add the new mother, Annie, and remove the incorrect mothe, Effie J Briles.


So I used TreeShare to add Annie to my Ancestry tree. After adding Annie to Ancestry, I discovered that Annie was listed as Clifford’s mother. Thus, I only need to delete Effie as his mother to correct the relationship.


Unfortunately, TreeShare only has the option to ‘Add as new mother’ on the Ancestry side. Thus, I can’t use TreeShare to remove Effie as the mother. I had to switch to the father, John Flake, to see both mothers and the children.


After switching to Effie J. Briles, I pulled down the Edit menu to access the Edit Relationships menu for Effie Briles Flake


After clicking the X to remove J Leland Flake and Clifford W Flake as children of Effie J Briles, the families now match between RM and Ancestry.


From this, I have learned that I have to edit relationships on both RootsMagic and Ancestry instead of relying on TreeShare.

NOTE: I only work from RootsMagic to Ancestry. Thus, it is possible that TreeShare would be able to update a relationship for someone that works from Ancestry to RootsMagic. I have not tested that scenario.