Friday, November 25, 2011

File Sharing and Brick Walls - Part 2 - Unknown Names

Continuing this series of File Sharing and Brick Walls - Part 1 - Import and wanting to help a colleague with a Brick Wall, the next step is to take a look at what is in this new file.

There are a couple of things that I want to do here:

  • Unknown Names

  • Place Name

  • Citations

 I have a way of handling Unknown Names. I use 5 Underscores, if I don't know a name, be it a given name or a surname. [ _____ _____] for example. Before I started to look at how to do this, I considered the input and the output. What really caught my eye was on the output. People want to help "fill in the blanks". The 5 underscores, from my experience, has helped with this.

The Place Names Authority in Family Tree Maker has a purpose, mostly to get the data consistent but is very helpful when using the Place Workspace, and the Map feature. 

In my own file, some times it is obvious that a Place Name is a historical place name, like St. Mary's Parish, Maryland. In this case, I generally will double enter data. Once with the Historical Place name that would be reflected in a document (source) that I am looking at, but I may also include the "current" place name that the Place Name Authority of Family Tree Maker would suggest. I do want to use the Mapping feature. There are resources that may help over lay the Historical Place Name with the Current Place Name.

In this specific case, I am not sure that this will be an issue.

For Citations, I want to see what is and what is not documented AND I want to be able to have a Citation on Every FACT that was included in this imported file. That isn't a feature to do this in FTM2012, but I will show how I did that in this case.

Going to the People Workspace, I wanted to Set the Home Person for this project. I entered Knapp, William in the "Find" field, and right clicked on that name and selected Set As Home Person. The advantage of this is for quickly being able to see any relationship between anyone in the file and this Home Person.

Looking at the Index (Left Hand Panel), here are a few people with our Surnames. C. Mary, Clara, and two Elizabeth's. I will now change them to make their surname _____.

I selected Clara, and entered "_____" (without the quotes) after "Clara" and moved to the next field. Below is the result of that. The Pedigree shows her with the 5 underscores, the Family View, the wife's surname has the same underscores. This is just a reminder that so far, we don't have the surname for this person.

What I did notice on Clara, was the letter "Y" in the Death Fact for her. There isn't a Death Date, nor Place. The Description field would normally be filled in with a more specific location, like "At Home" or the name of a hospital, an address, or a little more detail for where the death took place. If it was a Burial Fact, the Description might be for the name of a Cemetery.

So, what is this "Y" all about?

Looking at Roots Magic 4, there is an option to make a person as "living" when death information is not present. Or said differently, no check mark would indicate that the person had died. Below is a screen capture from Roots Magic 4.

That lack of a Check Mark, in that GEDCOM file, shows up as "Y" in the Death Description filed on import into FTM2012. Running a Custom Report in FTM2012, there were 49 people in this file with this indication. For now, I won't clean this up. Only pointing out A reason to Look carefully at your data before merging a file into your own file.

All of the Unknown Surnames have been updated as seen by the Index on the Left.

Lesson Learned: How do YOU handle Unknown Names?

Copyright © 2011 by H R Worthington

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