Sunday, November 11, 2012

FTMM-2 - Research Log, just a thought

Many of us struggle with how to keep a research log. I have posted about this before:

You can search this blog "research log" and will find additional entries.

I am working on a project in Family Tree Maker for the Mac (FTMM-2) and thought I would try something else. This project involves collaboration with a colleague of mine. This file, is part of a presentation, so my involvement with this file will end following the presentation. Also, this person is a PC user. So, how do I SHARE the Research Log. Understanding that some fields and data in FTMM-2 may not be transferable and is not in an Ancestry Member Tree, where this colleague is viewing the file.

What I have been doing, is sending a PDF file, of my Task List (To Do List) sharing what I have researched, need to research, or have completed.

For this project, I thought I would use the High Priority, as the highest or first items to be researched, such as Census Records.

As I go along, I may remember that I need to "look something else up", for a person, so I put that in the Medium Priority. When I complete a Task, I change that to the Lowest Priority.

What I also did, was to create a To Do List, based on the Shaky Leaf Hints. I put all of them in the Medium Category EXCEPT for hints that are from Ancestry Member Trees. I put them in the Lowest Priority. I won't be working on any of them, but my colleague may, in the future want to follow up on those connections.

It dawned on my, why not make this To Do List my Research Log. Where I searched, what I found or didn't find.

As an example, I was working on looking for Obituaries. So, I want to create a lost of those I want to look for obituaries and what I found. I'll start by generating a Custom List of only people who I have Death Information on. That would be the Date and Location.

Go to the Publish Workspace, People Collection, Custom Report. Once the Custom Report starts to generate, then clicked on Selected Individuals. Selecting the Death Fact, where the Place Is Not Blank.

The generated a list of 22 people who have some Death Information.

Note: this is a small file, specifically for this project

The report that is generated, included the Death Fact, (date, place, description), Burial Fact, and for another purpose, the Find-A-Grave fact that I created. Another clue here, is to have the Female Name include the Married Name. An option in the Items to Include menu and selecting the Name Fact at the bottom of the Fact window.

 With this report I can then begin my research.

My first place to look for Obituaries is on I added Genealogy Bank to my Favorite place to search in the Web Search Workspace. I have blogged about how to do that here.

One of the reasons for doing my searching from within FTMM-2 (and FTM2012) is the ease to looking at more details for that Person, but looking in the Lower Left Window or going to the People Workspace. I also am able to use the Web Clipping Option and Merging the data from this website.

Below is the mini-Pedigree Navigation bar, with my person selected. Some of the details for that person is in the Lower Left, as you can see, and I have Selected Genealogy Bank in the Web Search workspace.

Using Genealogy Bank searches I can work with the data, or note that there isn't an Obituary for that person.

In the People Workspace, Person Tab, Task Menu, I make an entry like:

Obituary on GenealogyBank


Obituary on GenealogyBank
Not on 1977 - today - 11 Nov 2012

The first example, I would make it Low Priority and Completed.

The second example, I would make it Low Priority but NOT completed.

The Date is important so that at some time in the future, we might want to go back to do another search on Genealogy Bank.

The reason for doing all of this, in this fashion (for me at least), is that My Research Log is a complete listing in the Plan Workspace. It can be filtered, sorted, etc. For Example: the To Do List for Obituaries from today.

The first couple of entries are completed, others were looked for but not found (including the date).

ff I were to sort by the Person's Name, I can see how I have searched, what I need to search, and what I found or didn't found. That is also available in the People Workspace, Person View, Task Tab.

This is working for me. but may be a different approach for others.


Copyright © 2012 by H R Worthington

Friday, November 9, 2012

Citing as you Go --- What about Email?

Just before Hurricane Sandy hit, my friend, YOUR Friend in Genealogy, Dear MYRTLE posted this Citing as you go. 

Spending time keeping my family safe, keeping warm, and trying to access the internet took up my time, but I did want to address this issue.

I have been working on a project that has used email more that I have used it in the past. In this case, this project is for a Presentation that I have been working on, BUT, for several reasons, decided to run the project with Family Tree Maker for the Mac (FTMM-2).

What was important to me, was to have the 'data' from the Email's within FTMM-2, as the presentation will be run from my Mac. I wanted the content of these emails with me, and not relying on my email account to access the data. I also wanted to Cite information that might be of use in the file, to compliment or dispute or help resolve issues that are addressed in the email.

The data in the file is all mine, completely documented, but the start of the file came through email and a document attached to one of the emails. Each piece of data that came from that attachment is cited, and since it was attached to an email, I wanted to Cite the emails as well as to have the cited emails in the file.

The screen captures are from FTMM-2, so they may look a little different from the normal screen captures.

I also wanted them to be in the Evidence Explained !! format when End Notes are generated.

The appropriate Template is found by going to the Sources Workspace, clicking on Add (right side of the screen, just below the Workspace menu bar, selecting New when the Add Source Citation screen opens, and enter EMA (for email) as the Keyword. That will offer the Personal E-mail template.

It Source Template: (Personal E-mail) has the following fields to be filled out:
  • Collection
  • Researcher Surname
  • Researcher Forename(s)
  • Researcher E-mail Address
  • Researcher Address
  • Researcher Address
  • Writer Surname
  • Writer Forename(s)
  • Writer Address
  • Writer Location
  • Writer Contact
  • Recipient Surname
  • Recipient  Forenme(s)
  • Comments
Because this is live data, and I prefer not to include the details that are in the various fields, it will explain what the terms mean to me.

Collection: I used the name of the Project as the Collection Name. It could be a Surname, but for this, I named the collection with a Project Name.

The Researcher is me, the "Writer" is the person who sent me the email. If multiple people were involved with emails, the collection would remain the same, but the Writer would be different. The Recipient, would be me as well.

All of the contact information is in the Source Screen.

What I chose to do, was to create Citations for the Subject Line of the Email. This includes any Replies to that subject line.. That is the Citation Detail entery. The Citation Text, I used "thread started" with the date.

The resulting Reference Notes (End Notes for reports) are clear.

The Source, is the Email Template entry, and the various Email's are the Citations in the Center Panel. There are links to each Fact that I picked up in that Email. In this specific case, it is the Attachment to an Email, so a number of Facts are linked to that document.

Again, because of the nature of the data, the Reference Note is not very easy to read. But, the information is correct and in the Evidence Explained!! format.

Each of the email (threads, first message and the replies) are listed by the Subject line of the email.

The next piece that is important to me, is the Text of these email threads. It was a matter of Copying the Text of each Email, Header information included (header information would include the email addresses and the date time of the email) as well as the text.

Below is what that looks like.

This example has the Subject and the date the thread of emails started, and in the Notes Tab for that Citation is the text of the first and follow up emails with that subject line.

Most of the emails do not have links to any Facts, but several do. For example: The Name fact, in many cases, were spelled differently. Several of these emails helped identify why the name was different. A specific example was that a Census Record "assumed" that two children carried the head of household's surname. When in fact, the head of household was NOT these two children. I have to rely on the family Expert, who had different sources and access to sources that are not online. The family expert has documented for me, the correct surname for these two children.

This conflict of surnames, is a To Do or Task List item for these two children for ME to find the appropriate documentation IF they exist online some where.

This is how I Cite as I go, with Email as the Source of some of the data in my file.


Copyright © 2012 by H R Worthington

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Consistency Check Reminders

One of the Blogs that I follow is that created by Tamura Jones, Modern Software Experience. Today his blog was on Consistency Check Reminders. I hadn't thought about that as a topic of this blog, but I agree with Tamura on what he wrote. Our genealogy software should provide us with options on this topic, as well as the Back Up mention at the end of the article.

Back Ups:

Family Tree Maker has always provided us with Back Up features. But Tamura went further then having a feature available, but reminders or user options to have the Back Up's performed.  FTM2012 does have options for us, plus offers us a Back Up reminder when preparing to perform some tasks within the program.

For example: the Tools, Compact File utility does offer a Back Up window / reminder before the compacting of the file is performed. Going to the Tools menu and selecting Compact File, this window will open.

Placing the cursor in that box will start the back up process. WE, the user, should take advantage of that.

We also have options on WHERE to put that back up. The Default is in the SAME folder where the Family File is located. Usually in My Documents, under Family Tree Maker. I do NOT put my Back Ups on the SAME Hard Drive where my Family File is located.

I put my Back Up's in a Custom Directory, on an External Drive. (my "J" drive)

We also have options in what we want to include in the Back Up. I always Back Up every thing. I am NOT concerned about disk space. I want to ensure that I can recover any problem with the file quickly and easily.

OH, I also run a Restore from Back Up, once a month, to make sure that the Back Up works.

If you look at the filename of the Back Up (FTMB), you will see that it included the DATE of the Back Up. It makes it very easy to see the most recent file to restore.

There are other operations, that may impact the entire file, where the Back Option is offered. I take advantage of that when offered.

Taking Tamura's statements to heart, FTM2012 also provides us with the Option to Back Up the file automatically, when we close the file, without actually having to do any mouse clicks. That option is in the Tools, Options menu, General Tab.

Putting a check mark in that box, which is the default setting, will cause the program to create a back up of the family file. Using the Automatic Back Up feature, will put a Back Up in the SAME folder as the family file and it will NOT include images. So, the size of this back up will be smaller the the Back Up mentioned earlier.


The major thrust of Tamura's article, by my reading, was our ability to make our data consistent.

FTM2012 provide two versions or help in this area. 1) during Data Entry, and 2) a report, in this case the Data Error Report.

The Tools, Options menu has a Warnings Tab.

We have options on what data we want to have a Warning Screen appear, or not appear.
  • Double Dates
  • Title in Name fact
  • One or two digit years
  • Text in quotes (nickname) in the name fact
  • Copy media files to media folder
  • Auto populate Smart Stories
I keep all by the One or two digit years in the PROMPT ME mode. So, during data entry, if I were to put the nick name of a person, in quotes, into the Name Fact, I'll receive a warning, and cause me to confirm this is what I intended to do. I put a nick name into the AKA (Also Known As) Fact, so I want to be reminded that I have done something that would not be consistent with my data entry for the nick name.

IF I enter a 2 digit year, I will be warned to enter a 4 digit year.

For example: I entered 06/06/12 into the Date field. There is a Warning ICON on the Right of the Date field. It took my 12 to mean 12 AD, instead of 2012.

The warning says "Error: The data you entered has an ambiguous year" message.

Below the previous Waring screen are three more options:
  • Show alerts for unlikely birth, death and marriage dates
  • Show unrecognized place name indicators
  • Show informational alerts (i.e., changed name, changed home person...)
I find these very helpful. There are proactive warnings on data entry. They will appear as pop-up windows, or an ICON for the Place Name indicators. (will show shortly)

There is a Data Entry Report in the Publish Workspace.

The Person Reports and select the Data Error Report. Once the report is generating the Items to Include where the below window will open.

We have plenty of options of what we want in the report. I use this report frequently, but normally focus on certain bits of information at a time. For example, the Children being out of order.

So, in my mind, we have the proactive Warning messages during data entry, then a report to work from.

Place Name Consistency

This has always been a concern of mine. However, until FTM2012 (704), the struggle has been around Historical Place Names. That update has resolved that for me. I can visually see my "current" Place Names and the Historical Place Names at a glance.

For example: All Hallows Parish, is a historical place name, while the All Hallows Church Cemetery is in the town of Birdsville. The Cemeteries and the Plantation are in Annapolis, Anne Arundel County, Maryland.

The ICON with the Check Mark, is the visual indication that these place names have yet to be resolved. In each of these cases, I am researching what the place name should be. Upper Burlington County, New Jersey, doesn't currently exist. So, I need to view the DATES of the events that took place in Upper Burlington County, New Jersey to see if it is a historical name based on that time frame.

 If I understand the trust of Tamura's article, for me, FTM2012 offers me the features we described in his article.


Copyright © 2012 by H R Worthington

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