Friday, August 24, 2012

Do You Source Your Person's Name? Spouses? Parents?

Genea-Blogger, Randy Seaver posted this today:

Do You Source Your Person's Name? Spouses? Parents?

I would hope that you read his blog, and specifically this post. I had watched the same Webinar by Geoff, came away with a different question, but that's for another blog post.

Since I started my family research, I have cited every piece of data in my file. I should say try to. Much earlier versions of Family Tree Maker, we couldn't cite everything. (and I mean much earlier versions). As I have been cleaning up my database, I am cleaning this up as well. My Undocumented Fact Report is still long.

Anyway, Randy asked about Names, and Relationships. I'll add two additional Facts, to Cite or Not to Cite AND not to cite, Sex, and Person ID's.

Citing of Names:

As I research, names appear in the documents or records in many ways. I found it important for me, to record what i see and Cite my sources. It has paid off over time. For example:

You will see that I have found 6, actually 5, different ways for this name to appear in records. the 2nd item has 12 Citations associated with that name. You will see that the "preferred" name has NO citations. I have yet, to find a document that spells out his name completely. However, looking at the other 5 "name" facts, I can determine that the Preferred Name is correct. That zero (0) reminds me that it is an undocumented Fact, but I want that name to appear in Charts and Report as his default name.

Looking at that 2nd entry, selecting it and looking in the Citation list:

In the right hand panel, is that list of 12 Citations. Selecting any of those citations, you will find that the name is shown as is reflected in the Name Fact that is selected.

For example, the 1930 Census record has an Image linked to the Citation:

In this specific case. the name is listed there twice. Looking to the right, the age of the person would be the key. The 3rd line is the name as reported in the database. His father, the 1st line is listed the same way on his record.

This has helped me identify a number of people, based on how they were recorded in the various records. If I question the spelling of the name, I can check the Source, using the Citation and will see exactly what I recorded.

I did a study for a person with the name Ridgely Howard. That is how it was initially reported. After looking at a number of records, I found D. R. Howard, David Howard, David R Howard, and finally David Ridgely Howard. We they the same person, yes, but I did look at the citations a number of times to see what other information and relationships were in that record to help determine I had the right person.

How to reflect Relationships:

One of those tools was how to record relationships. Clearly the 1930 Census record (above) shows the Head of Household and the Son. So, how do I record that in FTM2012. First, here is what Ancestry showed me, before I looked at the Census Image itself.

How, that doesn't reflect relationships, but it does reflect the make up of the Household. I will highlight, from the Name: at the top part of that page, down to the age of the last person on the list. AND I will Print that page to right on it. I then hit CTRL+C, the Control Key and the letter C, to Copy that information. I return to FTM2012 and Paste (CTRL+V) that into the Residence Fact for 1930, NOTEs Tab.

I format or line up the information to make is clearer, then I return to the Census Image. From the Image, I pick up and write on the printed page, the Relationships, and other information that I capture from that Census Record by writing that on the printed page. I return to FTM2012 and type in the relationships next to the names. I will also record all other facts that I have determined or need for each record type.

His helps be set up or the way that I understand the relationships found in these documents. I am only using a Census Record for this example.

Note: If the household has a name that I don't have in my file, and the census record indicates that the person is "not family" I don't record that person. In one case, I did record a non-relative, as that person stayed with the family for several decades.

Having this data in the Notes for the fact, makes it very easy to help identify the relationships, and, in the case, the Source backs that relations up.

Citing Sex:

Is this important? To me it is, especially if the "name" could be Male or Female or the name, to me, does not lead me to the sex of the person. Of course, many records do not reflect sex, so I only cite the sex of the person when it is in the record.

Citing Person ID's:

I my file, I had assigned Reference ID for my Direct Line of Ancestors. That started many versions ago. The Citing was not important, nor did was have the ability to cite them. In FTM2012, those manually assigned Reference IDs are now PersonID's. Since I assigned them, I created a Citation to indicate that I assigned that Person ID #.

I have a "lock" or Marked as Private, the Person ID, as I don't want it displayed in the Ancestry Member Tree that is linked to this file. It is for my purposes.

The program generated Person ID's are NOT cited, as it is a program generated number.

This is what as worked for me.

 Thank you Randy !!!


Copyright © 2012 by H R Worthington


  1. This is great. Thanks for going into details. on sourcing names . Just what I needed today.

  2. Hi Russ. Glad you raised this issue. I now do pretty much the same with my One-Name Study file and frequently find individuals referred to in multiple ways. I have one person with 15 different names! Sometimes it happens as a result of transcription errors, sometimes from accent differences and often, of course, for married women. Giving all of the name references is key to having others check our work.

    As you may recall from past correspondence between us, there can be problems with merging individuals with multiple names in Family Tree Maker. Some of the names in the file being merged in can disappear. FTM people aware of it. My advice to others until they fix it is "just be careful".

  3. Paul,

    I'll just add, Back Up your files BEFORE any merging.

    Thank you,



Please post your comments here

Print Friendly