If you've not used Ancestral Sources before then you may find the "Introduction to Ancestral Sources" video helpful. This is available on the Ancestral Sources Videos Knowledge Base page.
Ancestral Sources will generate rich text source transcriptions allowing your source text to include tables, coloured text, fonts, etc. In addition it supports the new Family Historian 7 source templates, including the 'essentials' and 'advanced' collections. Ancestral Sources continues to support projects created in Family Historian 6 and earlier and includes additional features and improvements that will benefit users who don't upgrade to FH7 immediately.
What is Ancestral Sources?
Ancestral Sources is a very popular utility, created by Nick Walker, designed to be used in conjunction with Family Historian to allow faster, more convenient creation of Census, Birth, Baptism, Marriage, Death and Burial/Cremation records. Ancestral Sources makes adding source entries to Family Historian much quicker and easier to achieve. Simply enter the record details and allow Ancestral Sources to do all the hard work of creating Census, Birth, Baptism, Marriage, Death, Burial, Occupation linked via citations to sources and multimedia records.
Ancestral Sources pioneered a source-driven approach to entering data into Family Historian. Most of the information that is added to a family history file originates from one of just a few types of documents, namely birth, marriage and death certificates, church baptisms, marriages and burials, and census records. The concept of Ancestral Sources is that it allows the data from these source documents to be entered directly into the software, building up the family history data in a more intuitive approach than the usual methods used by genealogy applications. For example, typically entering a census household entry in a family history application requires multiple facts such as census, occupation, birth, etc. to be created for each individual, all linked back to a source via citations: a very time consuming exercise. Ancestral Sources makes this far easier and much quicker to achieve.
Ancestral Sources is highly recommended for all users of FH. The availability of Ancestral Sources is frequently cited as a key reason to use Family Historian over other genealogy applications that do not have similar functionality.
Census Source Conversion (new to v7.5)
Many of us have added hundreds of census source records in the past, perhaps with earlier versions of AS, and wish we'd been able to take advantage of the rich-text facilities that are now available in FH v7. There is now a new facility in Ancestral Sources to enable you to convert these old plain-text census transcriptions into rich-text. In addition, it is also possible to convert generic census sources into the FH v7 templated sources. If the plain-text transcriptions were formatted consistently, the conversion only takes a few seconds per source. For less structured transcriptions there are various tools available to make the conversion much easier. These processes are described in this video: Ancestral Sources - Census Source Conversion. Some of those who have helped to test v7.5 have reported great success. One said: "I've converted about 1050 censuses with the new version. It took only about 3 hours and it took that long only because I was using the comma separator. I can only imagine how long this would have taken by hand".
What's new in Ancestral Sources v7.5?
New Features and improvements
- There is a new facility to help to convert census sources created by earlier versions of Ancestral Sources using plain source text into rich text. It can also be used to convert generic census sources into templated sources.
- Added a new option for age columns in census templates to expect year and month of age to be specified. This option has been set for the 1921 England, Wales and Isle of Man census templates.
- When adding data to the census grid there is now a new toolbar and menu button that can be used to ‘fill down’ the data, in a similar way to Microsoft Excel. Simply highlight the first cell and then select down the column and click the fill down button and the data will be copied into each cell.
- When adding an image, on the Copy Image File dialogue there is an option for it to remember your response so that it doesn’t show again for the current project. This setting can be ‘turned off’ in the new ‘Project Settings’ screen. This was requested by Colin McDonald
- Colin McDonald requested a ‘Save & Close’ button on the Image Viewer which has now been added. The image viewer is designed to be kept open while adding an image and to help with transcription, but this option may be useful to those who choose not to use the Image Viewer screen for this purpose.
- Added a new ‘Fit to image width’ button to the Image Viewer and changed the increments for the zoom drop-down list.
- The source text setting ‘Blank line after titles’ can now also be used with rich text and not just plain autotext. This was requested by Colin McDonald.
- The ‘Project Computer References’ screen has now been replaced by a new ‘Project Settings’ screen which can be used to delete project specific settings more easily.
- I made a change to the main title in the autotext templates for baptisms after 1812 based on a suggestion from Richard Hyland.
- Improved the way the ‘keep focus’ works so it can focus on an individual who isn’t added to an entry.
- The image viewer will now hide the side panel if viewing an image that has already been added to this entry.
- If the image thumbnails or ‘Add/View Images’ are clicked on the main form when the image viewer is minimized, it will now be opened.
- Creating a hyperlink to individuals in source text will now be the default setting for new installations of AS.
- Changed the default setting for the source title name to be generated by Family Historian rather than Ancestral Sources when using templated sources.
- When adding a new child to parents, the surname wasn’t suggested if the parent selected was female. DJY reported this on the FHUG forums and the name should now be suggested when the parents are selected on the add child dialogue.
- I fixed a problem introduced in v7.4.4 where scrollbars were not displayed on the main screen source text box.
- Corrected a spelling mistake in the 1950 USA census template.
- Fixed a minor problem reported by Richard Andrews where adding a witness and then changing the case of their name wasn’t updated in the list box that displays the witnesses.
- Fixed an error that could occur when removing and then re-adding an individual to a census entry under certain circumstances. This was reported by David Cooper.
- Fixed a serious error reported by John Morrison that caused repository information to not always be saved.
- Fixed some scaling/resizing issues related to the rich text control.
- Fixed a typing mistake with a tooltip as reported by Neil Grantham
- Response was incorrectly spelt reponse on the image copy screen.
- Minimizing the image viewer now turns off ‘Always on Top’ to avoid some potential issues.
- Corrected a problem that can lead to the reload message box not being visible if the image viewer is set to ‘always on top’.
- If the reload message box appears when maximising a minimised main screen, the main screen will now open rather than staying minimised.
Visit the Ancestral Sources v7.5 Download page on the Knowledge Base site.
See also the Ancestral Sources Help Online and the Ancestral Sources Knowledge Base pages.
Thank you to Simon Orde at Calico Pie for all his support and encouragement in producing Ancestral Sources, Jane and Helen at the FHUG for all their technical expertise in getting the AS download, help and knowledge base online and everyone who has helped to test, report issues and make suggestions for improvements.