Thursday, June 21, 2012

FTM2012 Reserach Notes

Something that I have not done before, that is to watch the Video's that offers and can be found on  Facebook.

I just watched this offering: LIVE: Keeping Track of All That Research: Using Notes in FTM and Trees

I found that Crista Cowan does a far better job at documenting her research notes then what I do. I would RECOMMEND that you watch that video.

I just have a couple of comments, not against what she offered, but the use of some of the features in Family Tree Maker that I use that is Different then what Crista uses.

There are a couple of options in Family Tree Maker that she doesn't use, that I do. That's not right nor wrong, but different.

1) Person Notes and Research Notes

2) Timeline Feature

3) ToDo / Task List

There are a number of "Notes" in FTM2012. Person Notes, Research Noes, Fact Notes, and Media Notes. What the video used, from the best that I can tell, is the Person Notes. The Person Notes are on the People Workspace, Person View, lower left.

The first NOTES ICON is the Person Notes, while the Second ICON (that is hi-lighted with the hover message "Research note").

This question is, Which one would I use? I would enter the data into this second ICON and not the Person Notes (first ICON). I use the Person Notes for Stories, not my research notes. However, Crista's notion of a quick biography makes some sense. I am not sure that I want to change, but I REALLY like what she did in this presentation.

The second item that I would use, that was not in the video is the TimeLine feature. I have blogged about that in the past, and how it helped me identify a research problem.

Viewing a Time Line


I would use the Timeline feature to review what was going on in a person life, then add the Family History to that Timeline. That 2nd link pointed what is showed me.

As for missing Census records, the positive results, would be in the Fact page for the Residence Fact. Below, it is obvious to me, that I need the 1910 Census.

Please don't get me wrong, I really liked what Crista did in the video, and it gave me something to thing about. Each of us needs to figure out what works for use, as Crista mentioned a couple of times.

The Task List for the person, is where I would put the ToDo items that she pointed out. In fact, it could be in both places, but I RELY on the ToDo list. Reason: I don't have to search for it, Its on the Plan Workspace, a reminder every time I open the program, and it's listed by person. I didn't even have to look, as here is the ToDo list

Lesson Learned: Actually, in watching this YouTube, I learned something new. I have talked about the use of FACT Notes, but had NOT looked at the Notes ICON on the People Workspace, Family View, Right Hand Panel, Notes ICON since I started to use the Fact Notes. The third ICON is ALL of the Notes (Person and Fact) for that person. The notes are labeled. This example is the Person notes, as can be seen above.

Scrolling down that column, are the other notes. The top of the image (below) are notes from the Find-A-Grave Fact notes, and below is the Notes for 1920 Residence Fact Notes.

Based on the Video, both ways of using Research Notes would work. The way I do them, and the way that was suggested by Crista.

I have mentioned before, Check the Output. When and how do you want to present this information.

In the Publish Workspace, Person Collection, Notes we have control over what notes we can include in a report.


Copyright © 2012 by H R Worthington


  1. Hi Russ,

    The other thing that I might do is to put the notes relative to a birth date in a Note for the Birth Fact rather than in General Notes. If necessary, a summary or proof argument could be included then.

    1. Randy,

      Agreed. I am using Fact Notes more and more.

      Thank you,


  2. My head is spinning with all these different Notes fields..!

    1. Jay,

      We have lots of options. Having gone from very few Note fields to many, I have changed how I use them. I am cleaning up my database to take advantage of the new fields and reports that we do have.

      Good luck and Thank you for your comments.


  3. This is great, Russ! My system was created using another software program and it just migrated with me when I upgraded to Family Tree Maker several years ago. I didn't want to have to spend a lot of time updating things and moving them around. The tools are certainly all there in FTM to do what works for you. The key is to do something. Thanks for making me think a little bit more, too!

    1. Crista,

      I agree, do something.

      I am taking 2012 to clean up my file. I have been using Family Tree Maker Version 3.4, so I figured it was to clean the file up, to take advantage of all of the features. Not that I haven't been done that over time, but the Template Feature is my focus, but also to take advantage of the Notes feature.

      Thank you for you comments.


      ps Now if I can get YouTube to tell me you have put a new video online

    2. I do the LIVE events every Tuesday and Thursday at 1p Eastern. The archived video is usually uploaded to YouTube within a few hours.

    3. Crista,

      Thank you. I watch when I can, and I follow you on FB and Twitter.

      Thank you,


  4. I've had the same reaction to several of Crista's videos lately. And I finally feel like I have a system that works for me. I'm using the Person notes feature, mostly like Crista describes and then using Fact notes as you and Randy talk about here, to capture thoughts/arguments to prove/disprove a particular fact.

    I think there is one advantage (or disadvantage, depending on your point of view) to Person notes over Research notes. Person notes will sync to your Ancestry tree, but I don't think that Research notes will.

    As you say, check the output. Depending on what you want, this could influence which type of note you use.

    1. Michael,

      I use the Person notes to try to "tell the story" of the person. I view the Fact Notes and research notes more for me, then a reader of my AMT.

      Also, the real issue may be, where the user does the most work. In FTM2012 or on an AMT.

      Thank you,



Please post your comments here

Print Friendly