Tools for using family tree/SearchEdit This Page
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This page is designed to allow users to share helpful hints they use while working in Familysearch or Family tree.
Links to Family Tree training videos and lesson
If you click Get Help and then choose Learning Center you come to all the training videos, but then you have to search for Family Tree, Family Tree training, or Family Tree curriculum to get the videos. Here is a wiki site that lists all of these. It is easier to choose what you want to learn about.
familysearch.org/learn/wiki/en/Training_for_FamilySearch_Family_Tree The following includes a link to the training Family Search Family Tree missionaries use. It is maintained by one of those missionaries and is not an official church site.
This blog explains ways to correct common mistakes
FamilySearch Person Centric System introduces a Modern Linking Model.
FamilySearch is a person centric system. Each person listed in the indexed historical records collections has their own unique persistant archial link (URL) or person source and hense thier own unique web page. Linking a person source, or page, from the historical records to a conclusion person in the Family Tree is the manner by which a researcher tells the system that the two people are the same. This system allows FamilySearch to account for each individual recorded in the records more accurately than does the ambiguous linking of images, which may contain many unspecified indivuals.
Each historical records person source is stored in the GedcomX data model which gives it deep internal awareness of it's person's data and relationships. It knows what vital data is present on the record and what that data means. It knows what relationships to other persons it's person has on the record and what those relationships mean. It knows what record (ex a census household record) it's person is found on, what image(s) that record is found on, and what collection the image is part of. In other words, if you link the person source in historical records to the Family Tree person you are simultaneously linking the record, the image, if available, and the collection since these are all associated with each other.
Historically computing systems and data models could not support such internal knowledge and many genealogists are used to creating one source for a record or image and then attaching it to multiple individuals. Since one page might contain from five to one hundred people, many might have the same source. If that old process is still followed in today's advanced system the resaercher would be telling the system that the single person source in historical records is the same person as all the persons in Family Tree to which it is attached. That would represent the addition of incorrect information to the Family Tree and should not be done. Please attach each person in the records to the proper corresponding person in the Family Tree.
This data model will enable the delivery of very helpful genealogical tools in the Family Search system. For example, with proper linking of persons in the records to persons in the Family Tree FamilySearch will be able to provide tools that:
• Suggest that you link other individuals in the same record to corresponding relatives of the ancestor. So you extract all the info from a record.
• Include a link in familysearch.org next to each name in a record that takes you to the corresponding ancestor in FamilyTree.
• Indicate who in a record or submitted tree still needs to be linked into FamilyTree.
• Optionally filter out linked-in individuals from search results for records (i.e., in order for users to be able to focus on new information that hasn't already been assimilated into the tree yet).
• Automatically know which conclusion types the source satisfies for a given ancestor (as well as what values it has for each conclusion type!)
• Display in the source list a summary of what each individual-linked source says about the ancestor.
• Show what all the "individual" sources say about a particular conclusion (e.g., birth event).
Most of these helpful features aren't possible if the people in the records are incorrectly linked to the people in the tree that aren't them.
The above explanation is true only for FamilySearch, or 3rd party records, that are encoded in the new GedcomX data standard. At present (Oct 17 2013) only FamilySearch uses this model, but there is significant interest from other record keeping organizations. Source links created to external images, documents, etc that are NOT encoded in GedcomX will not have any of the rich internal knowledge. They consist of largely a URL, whatever titles and citation infor the user provides and little more. These external sources may need to be linked to multiple persons in the old manner.
1. From the main page search form conduct a search of Records, or from the person page in Family Tree, click on the Search Records button. Choose a record from the search results. If there is only one name indexed in that source proceed as normal. (Click on Attach to My Tree and attach the record to your ancestor.) There may also be a father, mother, spouse, or child or other relative indexed in blue on the page. Click on the blue name link for one of those other people. Now the page will change to show the title of the person source with their name in it. Now click on Attach to My Tree and attach this record to the individual. So attach the father to the father, mother to mother, child to child, etc. Note that records for spouses can be attached to the marriage record which is a layer deeper than the person page, however this is not necessary for FamilySearch records since each person record knows about the persons present on it and what events it provides evidence for. If you need to attach non-FamilySearch reords to an event, click on Edit Couple to find this layer.
See Using the Source Box Master Copies for a suggestion as to how to create one record for each person in a source record that is not indexed.
Assorted Good Ideas
How to Start a Tree without Using Living Relatives
there is nothing wrong with starting a tree with yourself or your parents. Noone but you will see any living people you enter into the tree. However if you prefer to start with members of your family who are deceased there is a way to do this. Go to the Person dropdown list and at the bottom is "Add unconnected Person". You could do this for each of your grandparents. Then bookmark the page where they come up. Once you have visited each page, they will come up in the person drop down list without your having to use your bookmarks.
Searching for Duplicates
Possible duplicates only shows 3 star matches and above. And when we submit names for ordinances only 4 star and above are considered. Sometimes records with exact matches do not show up in the duplicates. One factor that can cause this is that one record does not have standardized dates and or locations.
This is a very complicated issue. In new FamilySearch many more possible duplicates were displayed and the result was that a significant amout of incorrect combining created numerous "hidden records" and much confusion. FamilyTree is trying to avoid merges poor quality merges between well sourced individuals and ones that don't have enough information to determine if they are truly the same individual.
Depending on where you start ( the specific record), you may see different results in the duplicates page. This is because different information is used as the basis for the search. Sometimes duplicate records are missed. If you strongly believe there may be a duplicate record, Here is an alternate way to search.
1. Use the find function to search for individuals in the tree - using this function you can add or change information such as birth location etc. This allows a much wider view of possible duplicates.
2. Examine each record you find and determine which ones you believe are really duplicate records. Write down the ID's of each duplicate.
3. Use the possible duplicate screen but then the merge by ID function to combine the duplicate records.
The above procedure will allow you more choice in your search but you must be very careful in your search. For example, 6 people with the same name were born in the same small town in England within a 6 year period. One of them is the spouse of your ancestor but you cannot be sure which one. Two of them actually have the same parents names. It would be incorrect to merge these records. Just because they are close in time and location does not mean they are the same individuals and sometimes records have been linked incorrectly in the past so they might show the same spouses. One way to tease records apart is to look at the individuals in new.familysearch.org
Useful Keystrokes While Entering Data or MERGING
1. Hit the space bar after a date or place entry to get the standards library (Note if you don't standardize dates and places, FamilyTree can't put them in order. For instance,it can't organize children into the correct birth order if dates aren't standard.
2. Refresh the screen if you didn't get what you expected. It is probably cached to make the system run smoother.
3. Use two screens/windows/tabs to go back and forth between the tree and records
4. Right click on the "hints" so they open in a new window. You can also right click on a child or spouse's name to get to their personal page in another window. This allows you to make sure the relationships and information are correct especially when you MERGE.
Tips for organizing temple work
You can sort the temple list at the top of the page next to the legend is the "sort by date" and a drop down arrow that allows you to sort by name. Unfortunately it sorts by given name and not surname. But it is better than no sort at all. The other thing that is available is cntrl-F which will allow you to search for any name in the list. This can be useful if you are trying to find a single record.
Save a copy of your Family Ordinance Requests. Then put them in folders by who you sent them to. Then when you know the work is complete, you can delete the file.
Create a folder in your source box of ordinances that will be available at a certain date. See the instructions under "Uses for source box: Future Temple Ordinances/Wait List.
Ways to Use Google Docs or other cloud programs in your work
You can download this tool which allows sourcing from non-FS Internet sites, taking the information from books, Ancestry.com, the Pioneer Overland travel database, wikipedia, findagrave, and on and on. Visit the site below. Drag the applet to your bookmarks toolbar. When you find a site you want to connect, make sure FamilySearch is open and click the button. Tree Connect creates a Source template amd fills it in automatically http://recordseek.com/
Create a google doc to use wherever you have access to a computer. Use this to record what you have done researching an ancestor. You can include: where you have looked, what failed to yield results, what you found, what other places you should search, or what you need to do. You could organize your document using those titles or by surname. In fact, you might want to create a seperate document for each surname. You could then go to source box, and create a folder possibly named tools. Use the create a source to link your google doc to the source box in that folder. If you wanted you could then attach a page with a surname to a family. Then others would know what you have already tried.
Links to other sites
Create another google doc that has links to sites you frequently use or that you don't have time to read now. Bookmarks would also do this. However google docs can be shared with other family members or even be made public to all users.
Uses for Sourcebox
Both of the above uses involve Google Doc's however if you are not familiar with Google Doc use many of the same things and more can be done by creating your own sources in your Sourcebox and using folders to organize the types of sources is great. (Note currently you are limited to 50 folders and there no sub-folders)
You can use the notes section of a source similar to a google doc. I will advise however because of the open edit nature of sources attached to persons anyone could edit your notes so if you want to share the research log I would use an online document like a google doc or a blog. However for personal use just leaving it in your sourcebox unattached to someone is great. (Though discussions might be even better than sources for this use see below)
Recording Useful Links
In addtion you can create a folder and create sources for links to useful sites like findagrave.com, mocavo.com or createfan.com. By having these as source links in your sourcebox it acts like a favorites bar but the same favorites are on any computer you use as long as you are logged into Family Search and go to your sourcebox.
I create a source and keep it in my sourcebox for any "hard to find" place on FS
I added a folder "_Useful Links" (The underscore is so it sorts to the top of the folder list)
I generally open a tab in my browser that is my sourcebox because I have links to lots of tools, saved searches and a host of other things there. While I think having MY Cases in the place you stated is good having it in the sourcebox link has one advantage, it opens in a new window/tab
Much like the useful links you can use the URL (web address line) of any search results you perform on most any search engine to perform the search over again at a later date without having to remember what parameters you used. Just copy the address line from the search results as the link and create a source for it. Store these sources in a folder for saved searches. You can even record your results in the notes field of the source each time you use it. This can be very useful for those searches that produce very few results so that you can repeat them every so often as new stuff is added all the time. You can even do that with searches here on FamilySearch. (Though some search results require you to login)
To Do Lists.
If you are having trouble remembering where you were or you find something you simply don't have time to complete you can create a source in your sourcebox and use the notes for to do items. Other uses of this same type are to record link to a microfilm description you may want to order. Or copy the link to a person who you may want to do some work on. (The history navigation works for this too but you might not remember who it was when you look at the list).
Due to the open edit nature of sources that are created by users and even the notes fields on FamilySearch supplied sources it is probably good to make a copy of a source before you attach it to an ancestor because it is difficult to track when someone else may have made an edit to a source. Leave these clean copies unattached in a folder.
Future Temple Ordinances/ Wait List
You may have people for whom you could do ordinance work when they will have been dead 110 years or one year for near relatives If you have ancestors that you are aware of that are approaching significant dates this you can set up a folder in your source box labeled something like "Wait List"
Then you can create a source out of the URL to their person page. You can title the source with a Date to take action. Then whenever you are in family search you can review the wait list folder and determine if any of these ancestor's dates have come to pass.
Master Sources and Good Sourcing Ettiquette
See FamilySearch Person Centric System introduces a Modern Linking Model. above if all names on a source record are indexed. If all names are not indexed on the source you should keep a "Master" source unattached. Store it in your source box and copy it editing it for the individual person and then attach it to only one person or if the source is for a couple to the couple relationship. Be careful editing or using others sources. You should not copy a source and change the note to make it apply to your ancestor. Notes on the source record apply to all individuals who have that source attached. The individual who created the source may not realize that you have changed the source on their ancestor to talk about your ancestor.
As you can see anything you can link to can be made into a source and the notes field can be very helpful for keeping track of the reasons for things.
Use of Discussions
Due to the open edit nature of sources I find that using discussions for things can have a better effect because only a data admin or the originator of a discussion can remove them from a person and only a data admin or the poster of comments can edit any information in the individual comments. FamilySearch has stated that discussions were not meant to be permanent records and were expected to be removed over time however until such useful tools as research logs and other less open edit features can be added I see them as a good place to hold items that help back up Sources, etc. Here are some suggestions of discussions that I like to put on my ancestors by default.
Help Us Find:
Post a description of the discussion as a place for people to talk about information or even physical items that are of interest about the ancestor but have to date not been located. Then use comments for the items you want to look for.
Post a description of the discussion as a way to record what search activities and results you've performed on this ancestor. Add a new comment about your search and results. Start by recording the results of a duplicates search.
Attached Source Notes:
Post a description of the discussion as a way to record notes about sources that can not be inadvertantly removed by others edits. Then [bracket] the source name in a comment and add your notes here often giving even more detailed description. This also serves as a buffer against someone detaching a source and an indicator to look for it in the change log.
Using Stories and Photos/Documents
Editing Pdf Files ====
Cutepfd.com has a free online editor that allows you to rotate pages in a pdf file individually. So if some pages were scanned correctly, but a few turned to the side, you can fix the problem here. It opens online in Chrome. You can edit the pdf online and save it back to your computer there. At this moment it does not open in firefox.
Using Stories for some of the features of research logs or even for recording personal interviews (either formal or memories) are also a great way to document an ancestor. Future enhancements of FamilySearch will allow these stories to become sources as well.
Help Us Connect:
One way to help facilitate collaboration is to add a "Surname Story" and tag as many ancestors as possible in that story. Add a brief blurb about how you found out about them. Start the story off with something like the following
"Hello This story is a simple collection of the people in my ancestry of the surname xyz and how I learned about them. This story serves as a focal point for members of this extended family in order to foster collaboration among the descendants. I have come across a variety of research materials that cross many family lines. I have attached sources to individuals as referenced in them however there are many more individuals that may be of value to other family lines. I am listing these sources here along with the individuals to whom I attached them. Feel free to copy any of these sources to your source box and review and create sources from the referenced material as needed for your ancestors
"XYZ Family genealogy published 1888" Attached to herman xyz (PID) Files located at Dropbox
"def Town Records 1658-1788" Attached to maybell def (PID) "
Please feel free to comment about any of the individuals listed or if you have information about persons who should be added. I have listed and tagged each of the names with a small commentary on how I learned about them. Comments of significant interest will be edited into the story by me. Please contribute any significant facts about any of these individuals to their individual pages and or memories. Additionally if any of the persons tagged in this story need to be merged with another Family Tree ID please tag the surviving person in this story and leave a comment"
You can upload photos(or other images including documents) as further evidence of your ancestors. You can even organize these images into albums and attach them to stories or tag them to people. If you have a document in a foreign language, you can upload a scanned copy as a photo. Then link the translation as a story.
Choosing whether to label an item as a photo or document
Some people prefer to scan documents, death certificates, and grave markers as .jpg files instead of .pdf files. This gives additional flexibility to highlight the names referenced in the document. For example in a Last Will and Testament, there are often multiple people listed. This method allows you to easily find which people are already linked in the document.
You can also do the same thing for photos of certificates and grave markers. Upload them as “documents” rather than “photos” so you can highlight the names. This also helps when reviewing vital information for a person. One rule is if it has words, it is a document; if not it is a photo.
To change a photo to a document, go to the photo page then select the circle with the italic “i” under people, albums, stores details and event. Highlight the check box indicating the image is a document not a photo. It is then placed in your documents album not your photos album.
On the other hand multipage documents may work better as a pdf. You can still tag names as you would faces.
Create Traceable Family Lines
Put together 5 generation pedigree indexes as documents Then tag your direct line ancestors in each document. Every 5 generations an ancestor will appear in both pedigrees allowing you to bridge the link between them. Put these pedigrees in into a single album called my tree.
Name your tags differently as well:
Name (b.Year) [pi.#]
pi# is the first pedigree index that they appear in
So whenever I need to trace back a line I just go to the document find the person tagged with an earlier pi# and use the tree link off that tag. that person will give me a link to the next pedigree chart and so on and so on. That allows you to jump multiple generations and view a pedigree chart at the same time. When you go to the tree view of that person its a direct line ancestor and you can see descendants on the left.
- This page was last modified on 10 September 2014, at 16:10.
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