Friday, January 19, 2018

Ancestry Hints: Public vs Private Tree

I'm writing in response to Russ Worthington's comment on the Genea-Musing's blog post,
When Did Last Index Ancestry Member Trees? In the comment, Russ brings up the issue of hints not showing. Since I haven't noticed an issue with 'missing' hints on my un-indexed tree, Russ's post made me question whether I was indeed missing hints. However, I did notice one difference between my tree and Russ's experiment. I work with a public tree and Russ' test was with a private tree.

Thus, I wanted to know whether public trees produced hints when the tree lacked Ancestry sources. Thus, I needed a public tree (small) without Ancestry sources. Since I've been searching for Judson Crawford to see if my tree was indexed, I decided to create a small public tree on Ancestry for Judson Crawford, his wife, children and parents. 

My first attempt at creating the tree was to drag Judson and his family into a new tree. When I tried to use TreeShare with this new tree, I did not get the option to upload the tree. Instead this small tree was connecting to my large tree on Ancestry.

For my second attempt, I created a Gedcom for Judson and his family. I then imported that gedcom into a new RootsMagic file. Again, I couldn't use TreeShare to upload this tree to Ancestry. 

On the third try, I uploaded the previously created Gedcom to Ancestry. I then used TreeShare to download that tree into RootsMagic. [JudsonTrial2]

Lightbulbs started appearing in the RootsMagic tree shortly after the download completed.

On Ancestry, those same individuals with light bulbs in RootsMagic had hints in Ancestry.

Based on this experience, I would conclude that there might be a difference between private and public trees in the way hints are populated. Unfortunately, the public/private tree status was not the only variable in our two experiments. Russ uploaded his data from his software to Ancestry and I downloaded my experimental tree from Ancestry to my software. In addition, I'm using RootsMagic while Russ is using FamilyTree Maker. 

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Narrative Report Success!

Thanks to the help of users on the RootsMagic Discussion Forum, I have figured out some of my issues with my narrative report and learned a formatting trick.

One of my issues was with the first letter of a few sentences not being capitalized. When I looked at the sentence structure for these facts, I discovered that the 'person' field wasn't capitalized in the template:
[person] lived< [PlaceDetails:Plain]>< [Place]>< [Date]>.
When I capitalized the 'Person' field, then the sentence began with a capital letter in the narrative report.

According to the forum discussion, the capitalization of the 'person' field should not affect the sentences. Thus, I didn't go thru my various fact types and change all of the [person] fields to [Person]. I'm guessing that I did something to the sentence structure for these few sentences that kept them from formatting correctly. Since my 'work-around' (capitalizing the 'person' field in the template) is working, I'm not going to worry about the 'why' for now.

Another of my issues was spacing between sentences. In most cases, the report was putting one space between the superscripted footnote number and the start of the next sentence. However, in some cases, it was putting two spaces. I verified this inconsistency by opening the report in Word and using the OPTION to DISPLAY the formatting marks (spaces, paragraph returns, etc.). Once I verified the existence of the extra space, I was able to look at the sentence structure for that particular fact. I discovered that in the process of customizing the sentence structure, I had inadvertantly put in a blank space at the beginning of the sentence.

The formatting trick that I learned involved the creation of paragraphs. I played around with adding carriage returns to the beginning of a sentence where I wanted a new paragraph. This method worked but when there are a lot of facts, it would be difficult to figure out where these returns were without studying a narrative report.

Thus, I decided to try using the Paragraph fact type. I created a new fact type called Paragraph. For now, I have only selected to use this fact in Gedcom and Narrative Reports.

Once I had the fact type created, I just had to create Paragraph facts with sort dates to place the paragraph return where desired in the list of facts.
For me, the addition of blank space in my list of facts is a visual reminder of where the paragraphs are breaking. After inserting the paragraph facts, I was able to print a narrative report, save it as an RTF file, open in Word, copy and paste into my Family Tales Blog.

Eugene David Crawford

Monday, January 1, 2018

Narrative Report Questions

As a former user of The Master Genealogist, I expect my current genealogy software to take the sentences created by each event and build a narration for an individual's life. Unfortunately, I still have a lot to learn about the way RootsMagic builds the narrative report.

Thanks to information posted in the RootsMagic Community Forum, I did figure out how to create paragraphs (i.e. some white space). I elected to customize the sentence where I wanted a new paragraph by adding two carriage returns at the beginning of the sentence. Those two carriage returns create a blank line before the sentence.

Now, I need to figure out how to resolve several other issues:
  • The first letter is not capitalized for some sentences (see second paragraph above)
  • In many cases, there doesn't appear to be a space between the superscript at the end of one sentence and the first letter of the next sentence.
Hopefully, the forum will help me figure out how to resolve these issues.

Measuring 2018 Goals

During the last few years of my career in teaching, I was required to write SMART Goals. Even though I did not excel at writing those goals, I think about the acronym (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound) when considering genealogy goals. Although I haven't written my 2018 genealogy goals in true SMART goal fashion, I have broken a broad goal of 'researching my family history' into smaller more specific tasks. With these smaller goals, I will be able to check them off within the next year (hopefully).

Although I'm always working on my broad 'research my family history goal', I hope to be better at being able to 'measure' my progress in 2018. Thus, I need to establish my 'baseline' or beginning stats for 2018.

  • 11,269 People
  • 3,744 Families
  • 29,407 Events
  • 3,215 Sources
  • 39,752 Citations
  • 11,257 People
  • 2,095 Photos
  • 99 Stories
  • 1,753 Records
  • 1,105 People with Hints
  • 8,151 Total Hints
  • 6,541 Record Hints
  • 662 Photo Hints
  • 79 Story Hints
Exhibits Folder
  • 62.8 GB
  • 21,757 Files
  • 844 Folders
Ancestry Tree Media Folder
  • 234 Files
DNA - Ancestry
  • 98 Shared Matches (current unresolved issue with mom's side of tree and matches)
  • 404 Starred Matches
  • 1000+ 4th cousins or closer
  • 906 Pages of matches
  • 17 Circles (but only 16 listed when viewing all)
    • James Barr Ralston
    • Nancy Jane McCormick
    • Richard Foster
    • Rachel Browning
    • David Franklin Ralston
    • Jason Hammond
    • Rachel Hale
    • Horatio Hammond
    • William G. Harding
    • Albert Hutchinson
    • Richmond Fisk Hammond
    • Julia Harding
    • William Harding
    • Dr. Edward Ostrander
    • Zebulon Foster
    • Caroline Ostrander
Blog Entries

2017 - What Did I Accomplish?

While thinking about my goals for 2018, I started thinking about what I've accomplished during 2017. Since I didn't record statistics from my tree, I can't 'brag' about the number of ancestors added. However, I have learned a lot during 2017.

In January, I learned all about Bullet Journaling thanks to a Wacky Wednesday hangout sponsored by DearMyrtle. Even though I had tried various planners during my career, I failed to consistently use a planner. I wasn't even good at checking Google calendar, let alone getting everything into an online calendar. However, I did create and use a bullet journal for 2017 and have started one for 2018!

During the spring of 2017, I applied to become a beta tester for RootsMagic's tree share feature. Around the middle of May, I was accepted as a beta tester and spent the next month working with uploading segments of my tree to Ancestry and playing with the various features to help RootsMagic find and fix errors. When the software update was released, I uploaded my tree from RootsMagic to Ancestry. During the summer, most of my 'genealogy work' involved working thru the TreeShare issues and figuring out my workflow. Unfortunately, this involved uploading my RM data several times (and creating multiple Ancestry trees). By late August, I had a TreeShare working between my RootsMagic data and Ancestry. Unfortunately, it took me another couple of months to discover that my tree, Heartland Genealogy, wasn't being indexed and then to figure out why Ancestry wasn't indexing my tree.

In late May, I also participated in a Visual Phasing course by Blaine Bettinger. Although I'm no expert at visual phasing, it is a tool that will hopefully help me incorporate DNA results as a genealogy source.

Another tool that I've added to my 'genealogy toolbox' during 2017 was the app, iScanner (Android version). For the past couple of years, I've played around with several scanning apps but am now exclusively using iScanner. This app allows me to draw the 'box' around the photo or page. Since I can 'add' images to a scan, I can create a 'set' of images for a source. The app allows me to export those images as individual jpegs or as a single pdf file. By scanning a title page as the first image, I can easily identify the content and create a source citation for the scans. The iScanner app has proven very useful while researching at libraries and archives. I did have to purchase the full app to take advantage of all of these features -- but it was worth it.

In 2016, I learned how to link a person in RootsMagic to the FamilySearch Family Tree. I've slowly been learning to use all of the resources available on FamilySearch and am very thankful for their efforts to digitize the microfilm. As I research from home, I keep a 'to-do' list for resources only available at Family History Libraries or affiliate libraries. I am thankful that the Topeka Shawnee County Public Library and the Midwest Genealogy Center are nearby affiliate libraries.

During 2017, I also started attending several study groups sponsored by various regional genealogical societies:
Besides traveling to attend the study groups, I also am thankful for a variety of ways I can connect with other researchers from home.
As I sit in my nice warm office while it is still below zero outside, I'm very thankful for all of my genealogy 'friends' who have helped me develop new skills on this journey!

Sunday, December 31, 2017

2018 Genealogy Goals

This week's 'Saturday Night Genealogy Fun' challenge was to create at least one genealogy goal for 2018. Thanks to DearMyrtle's Wacky Wednesday on Bullet Journaling, one of my goals for 2017 was to learn to use a Bullet Journal. I can truly say that I've accomplished that goal since I've been planning my 'journal' for 2018.

In the process of that planning, I've written several goals in my genealogy journal. Knowing that I need specific goals that I can check off (i.e. SMART goals), I have broken them down into smaller steps. Below are some of  my broader goals:
  • Get my tree indexed on Ancestry!
  • Reduce number of shaky leaves on Ancestry
  • Use RootsMagic's link to FamilySearch to add sources for my direct line ancestors
  • Connect with cousins on Facebook by sharing family photos
  • Blog about my ancestors 
  • SCAN -- I still have some photo albums to scan
  • Clean up files (sadly I have duplicates of some photos and others that need re-scanned)
  • DNA -- update my spreadsheet of matches
  • Finish doing visual phasing with my brother's DNA results and then hopefully add a cousin or two 
  • Attend a genealogy conference 
  • Participate in genealogy study groups and round-tables
Perhaps I need to add a goal of tracking my progress!

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

RootsMagic Source List Bloat

My list of sources has a LOT of duplicates. The vast majority of these duplicated sources are coming from Ancestry.

When it comes to census records, it appears that citations from Ancestry 'lump' all records for a census year into one citation. As shown above, the citation is for the 1930 census. Specific details (such as the county and state) become part of the citation details.

If Ancestry is lumping citations, then why am I getting multiple citations for the same census year? If I'm counting correctly, I have 27 citations for the 1940 census. My theory is that I have a separate citation for each time I have a 1940 residence event in my RootsMagic tree.

To verify this, I decided to work with John Frederick Mentzer. Since I've already worked with this family, I know that I should find him living in Woodson County, Kansas in 1940. His Ancestry screen shows that I don't have any Ancestry sources attached to him and currently have 11 hints.

Since none of those hints are for the 1940 census, I did a search for him in the census.

The detail screen for the 1940 census in Woodson County Kansas helps me verify that this census record is for the John F Mentzer in my database

From the Detail Screen, I can click on Save to get to the option to save this record to John Frederick Mentzer in my tree.

Since I haven't changed my current 'census' event for 1940 to a residence event, Ancestry is prompting me to add a new event. I go ahead and accept the suggestion knowing that I probably need to delete my census event for John Mentzer in RootsMagic.

After clicking "Save to Your Tree" the record is saved to John Mentzer's fact screen on Ancestry. Since this is an Ancestry source, it is appearing in the 'Ancestry' section above the 'Other Sources'

Now that I have a new event on Ancestry (with an attached Ancestry source), I need to transfer that event to RootsMagic via TreeShare. On the TreeShare screen, I have two new residence events in Ancestry: 1935 and 1940.

I elected to add these two events to RootsMagic:

Once the transfer is complete, the two events have been added. Ancestry's citation for the 1940 census is listed as the source.

Now the question: how may 1940 census sources are in my source list? This time, I found 28 references to the 1940 census in my source list. I added 2 events referencing the 1940 census. Based on my original theory, the number of entries for the 1940 census should have increased by 2 to 29. Since it only increased by 1, my new theory is that the duplication of the source is tied to individuals and not to events.

Since I've verified that this bloat is related to TreeShare, I'm wondering:

  • Can I merge these sources?
  • Am I processing these sources incorrectly and thus creating the duplication?
  • Or, is this a TreeShare issue?
There is a discussion on the RootsMagic forum for a related issue: duplication of media files. User mjashby is dealing with the issue of duplicated media by using RootsMagic 'memorize' button to copy/past the source from one family member to another.