Monday, April 24, 2017

How Do You Handle Female Names?

My friend Randy Seaver of Genea-Musings had a question about how he handles Female Names. I encourage you to read it.

It's been a while since I have blogged about this one, so here is my take on this subject.

The first thing to understand, for me, is the question of how to handle Unknown Names. My rule of thumb, in my database is the use of 5 Underscores [ _____ ]. If it's a female and I don't know the Given nor Birth Surname I enter it as [ _____ _____ ]. If there are other names for this person, like a married name, these 5 Underscores will be the Preferred Name.

My Index, in the People Workspace, Tree View, looks like this:

Yes, I have a lot of Unknown Names. and a lot of unknown Female Birth Surnames:

But, It works for me. For Example, I find a Find-A-Grave Memorial, where the Married name is provided. The husband is George McNaughten Vial and the memorial has for his wife Emma Frost Vial, I add the 5 underscores to the Preferred Name.

This is what the Person View looks like.

The memorial has her married name, and the Find-A-Grave citation is recorded for that Name Fact, but marked as the Alt Name Fact. The Preferred Name is with the 5 underscores.

When I find a Census Record that lists where the Parents were born, I want to capture that. It may be helpful when looking at other records. In this case, I use assume that the Surname for the Father to be the Surname of the person in the Census Record, for recording this. I realize that it may not be the actual surname, but I have not run into that "problem" yet. But I carry the Unknown Given Name and the Surname from the "child" in the Census Record. For the Mother, both the Given and Surname I handle the same way, with my Unknown Name strategy. This important thing is that I capture the birth location and Cite it.

  1. Does not interfere with Hints
  2. Does not interfere with Searching on websites
  3. Reminds me I need to find the Birth Surname
  4. and when others review my work, they help Fill In the Blanks

Copyright © 2017 by H R Worthington

Friday, April 14, 2017

What's YOUR Plan for FTM2017 ?

While we await the Software MacKiev team continue to test FTM2017, have you thought about Planning what are YOU might be doing to prepare for it's release ?

Used with permission from Software MacKiev

Actually, I thought I would share mine, based on what I have seen on the website.

  • Make an inventory of ALL of my Family Tree Maker FILES on my computer
  • Make an inventory of ALL of my Linked Ancestry Member Trees (AMT)
  • I have a Desktop and a Laptop so, on that 2nd item, Identify WHICH computer is linked to which Ancestry Member Tree
  • I have done this, but my inventory needs to be updated
  • Within the FILES, I need to identify what Version of Family Tree Maker last opened that file
  • For the older files, do I have THAT file in FTM2014.1 ?

So, getting the inventory of what I have to work with. EXCEL works for me. I have NOT done anything to these files at all, just gathering my inventory

When I open or close of my FILE, I do NOT just Exit or use the red X in the upper right to close the Program down. File Close, and File Exist.

  • Review the Inventory and MARK which FILES can be ARCHIVED, meaning I already have a Back Up AND it's in FTM2014.1 already
  • Inventory ALL of the BackUp files. Making a distinction between a manual BackUp and an Automatic BackUp. (the filename will include Auto Back Up, unless you removed that). The Automatic BackUp does not include Media Files
  • Open Each of your "new" working list in FTM2014.1, one at a time
  • Go to Tools, Compact AND BackUp that file, ALL check marks
  • Mine will be to an External Drive

Now, ARCHIVE ALL of those files you marked to be inventoried BUT those files that you have in FTM2014.1, Hopefully, to an external drive, JUST IN CASE.

  • In the Plan Workspace, use the Link to View the AMT from that Link
  • Check the number of Profiles between the File and the Tree
  • Check the number of Gallery Items in your Tree, and the number of Media Files in the Media Workspace

You can skip those steps if you do NOT have a Linked AMT. But you want to make sure that the File on your computer links to the Ancestry Member Tree.

Next, review, in the Plan Workspace, under "Start a new tree" and select Download a Tree from Ancestry. Check that list against your Inventory of Files (on your computer) and Trees (on Ancestry). See if you are missing any files. If you are missing a file, use the Export button, to download the Tree from Ancestry. MARK that file in your inventory. Suggest that you do something about that File LAST. I am guessing that you will have some clean up work to do.

You have your Working Files and it's Media Folders all in one place and you know what you have. You have a BackUp of EACH of them, on that external drive that can be restored if needed. You should be good to go.

Now, if you still have some time left, do a spot check of File, Restore from BackUp. This would be a file and folder that you can delete. When you are offered what the File Name should be when you restore, I add -Restored at the end


The Back file will have everything but -Restored so all you have to do is to add that. That makes it easier to Delete File and the Media Folder. For me, I will Archive that as well to my Archive External Drive.

Now you can prioritize the order in which you want to bring these files into FTM2017.

Things to think about:

  • Make another BackUp and use  a SMALL file to test out the FamilySync™ feature
  • Look at the information in EACH of the Workspaces
    • Plan
    • People - Tree View
    • People - Person View
    • Places
    • Media
    • Media - by Category
    • Source
    • Citations
    • Publish
    • Publish - Saved Reports if you have them
    • Publish - Books, if you have created any
    • Look in the Help Menu for any NEW items in the Help Menu

Notice, I didn't say anything about New Features. What you are looking for is any problems in your File that you might have found during the new FamilySync™ feature. Remember, you have a BackUp..

  • Make ONE, small change, in that "test" file, maybe the real file and do a SyncNow
  • Review as you did before.

Think of this as a test file and don't panic. Remember, if you follow my suggestions, you have at least Two (2) Back Ups.

IF there is an issue, don't ask me, don't go to FaceBook, go IMMEDIATELY to

and let them know, EXACTLY what you did, what you saw, Verify in the Help, About Family Tree Maker and the Version number, include the last four numbers that you will see (FTM2014.1 .... 1510)

You could report a Bug on that website, you could have a Chat with them, but let Software MacKiev know that you have a problem. Posting those problem here or on Facebook is not the right place to get help.

This may look like a lot of work, and it is, but for me to plan this out, ahead of time will help me in the long run.

Because I teach creating and using Files and Trees, I have a lot on my list. Probably 25 or 30. At the End of this project, I will clean all of that up. Then I can get back to my research
Copyright © 2017 by H R Worthington

Monday, April 10, 2017

What to name Back Ups and SyncLogs ?

I have changed how I name my Back Up files and SyncLog files. I have a number of Family Tree Maker files and I Compact, Back Up and SyncNow several times a day, on one or more files.

I am now backing up to Dropbox from my Desktop PC, but had been from my Laptop. I keep the most recent Back Ups there, then about every month, I'll Move those files to my External Family Tree Maker drive.

In the Dropbox folder, there are two subfolders. One for Back Ups and the other for the SyncLogs. I ALWAYS Export the SyncLog to a PDF file, so that is where they go. I can do that now from both computer. 

If I have read the information correctly about FTM2017, then my Working files will also be in Dropbox.

I have my way of Naming the Family Tree Maker Files.  I have the basic filename, so I know which family that is. My main working file is "Master". I append that with the Version of Family Tree Maker AND the build number. For example: Master_2014_1-1510. With any updates, I go to the Select Tree, in the Upper Left of the Plan Workspace, and rename the tree there to the new / update that I may have installed. That command renames the file and media folder.

I have done this for a long time and archive them by the basic file name, to a basic filename folder on my External Drive. That lets me know what version of Family Tree Maker last worked on the file. Maybe it's over kill, but it is working. This "master file" I have had since Version 3.4, in the DOS days and have been very good to me.

Now, to the topic at hand. Up until now, I use the DEFAULT filename that Family Tree Maker gives me, that is YYYY-MM-DD, which is great. Not only do I know the file, the version of Family Tree Maker, The last 4 number of the Version Number (1510), but the DATE when the back up was done, for sorting purposes. I had just be adding a character after the DD.

My new policy is to add the 24 Hour (military) Time after the date. 2017-04-10-0001. or one minute after midnight.

So, when I do the Compact and Back Up utility, I see this. (2017-04-09-2345). The Custom directory points to Dropbox, FTM2014\Back_Ups

I check mark ALL of the options, and they are set by default that way, 

In File Explorer, its easy to MOVE the files from the Dropbox, Back Up folder to my External Drive and that filenames folder.

Oh, in case you are wondering, that External Drive is also backed up by my Cloud Back Up service.

The SyncLog is the same format. 

Although the SyncLog and Back Ups are in different folders, the date and time to both will be within a couple of minutes of one another so I can recover pretty quickly if something happens.

My SyncLog folder is kinda empty at the moment, but I will be ready when FTM2017 rolls out.

Just how I "do stuff"

Copyright © 2017 by H R Worthington

Sunday, April 9, 2017

The case of the UnKnown Spouse

Some times you will see, in a People Workspace, Person View the term "[unknown spouse]

Just above the Marriage Date is that [unknown spouse] entry.

In this case, there was a gentleman with no children, NO Spouse entered. The key is that there is that marriage date.

The above is in People Workspace, TreeView

This is different from an "unknown" spouse if you have a Spouse with a Child.

Clicking on the Person menu, select Attach/Detach option and DETACH

Put a check mark in the Unknown Spouse "name". You need to watch IF there are Children.

In the case of one spouse and a child, without a Marriage Date, that "unknown spouse" may appear in the Person View, but nothing to Detach.

For my screen capture example, putting a Check Mark RESOLVED that Unknown Spouse, but the Tree View did NOT Change.

I have not found an easy way to find these "unknown spouse" entries, but they usually come from a Merge.

I found this one, by running a Marriage Report, Sorted by Wife, then looked for a Marriage Date at the Bottom of the list.

There is a Caution Here. That is the Marriage DATE will be removed. So, BACK UP your file before you do this OR, If you don't like the results, immediately do a Edit, UnDo

Copyright © 2017 by H R Worthington

Citation for Personal or First Hand Knowledge

A Question on Facebook caused me to write the blog post. How to Cite information about First Hand or Personal Knowledge

Evidence Explained

Citing History Sources from Artifacts to Cyberspace
Third Edition
by Elizabeth Shown Mill
Genealogical Publishing Company
Baltimore, Maryland

There is an awesome website to visit

Evidence Explained

Is a must have book at your fingertips. The inside cover and following pages are Must Reads, followed by Chapter 1 and Chapter 2. The rest of the book is the icing on the cake.

Page 49 would be the first stop, then proceeding to pages 153-155.

I break it down to What am I looking at and Where did I get it from? But, you say, that doesn't apply. I suggest it does. You told me a story and I want to record it in my database. BUT, I need to include in my Citation something about the relationship between you and the story you are telling.

I hope you realize that all of my citations use the Source Template Feature. I want to have my citations as close as possible to EvidenceExplained. I say as close as possible because of the way Family Tree Maker, back in FTM2010, implemented this feature. The citations are close, The information is there, but may not be in the exact order that is the standard.

The hardest part is to select the right Source Template. We are talking about Personal or First Hand Knowledge. So the Keyword (3 characters) are FIR or PER. In this case I entered FIR, was presented with First Hand Knowledge. The Left Side are the fields to be entered.

  • Individual surname
  • Individual forename(s)
  • Individual address
  • Individual location
  • Information type
It should be noted, and the hints will tell you, that the Address will not be included in the Reference Note (citation)

You "fill in the blanks" and click OK,

We have defined What am I looking at, and where did I get it.

A new window will open for the citation. Now for the Citation Details. Simply, for this case, "the son of Shirley U Hubbard, attended Mrs. Hubbard's burial on 27 April 1966", is what I put. I know who gave me the information that is in the Source Template, based on that person's personal or first hand knowledge.

Notice that you are given hints as to what is to go into that field.

The Citation Text, in the above is not seen, but I put in
entered 09 Apr 2017
Notice that the two check boxes, Include in reference note, Citation test, and Web address, are removed. I always make a note in the Citation text for my information. I do not include that or the full web address, if I have one, in the Reference note.

The relationship is there, that the informant was at the burial of that same person and the date of the event.

The citation screen looks like this

The reference note is as close to Evidence Explained as I can get it.
[Informant Last Name, First Name], [Town, State, Zip], firsthand knowledge; the son of Shirley U Hubbard, attended Mrs. Hubbard's burial on 27 April 1966.
The Name Fact, Shirley U Hubbard, the Burial Date, the Burial Fact would be linked to this Citation. I would also Cite the Informant's Name Fact as well. Both would have an entry in the Research Log for both.
Copyright © 2017 by H R Worthington

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