* Introducing myself and a little (or maybe big) question

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Gardengirl
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Introducing myself and a little (or maybe big) question

Post by Gardengirl » 03 Aug 2020 19:51

Good evening, everyone,

I thought I should jump in and introduce myself as I can feel a string of beginner questions coming on!

I am a refugee from Family Tree Maker which I have had for about 6 months and am continually frustrated by its idiosyncrasies and glitches. Family Historian was recommended on another forum that I use and so far I think it is going to be easier to use than FTM. I have just downloaded the free trial of V6.2 a couple of days ago and have already spent a few hours exploring, reading help pages and watching videos.

Now, my first question is to ask for your advice and recommendations about how to make the transfer. I don't mean how to do the GEDCOM bit, I'm fine with that. It's more about which way to tackle it.

At the moment I have two trees. About 200 people on my husbands tree and about 450 on my side. To get myself started I decided to rebuild my husband's tree from scratch in FH so I could start to learn the processes without messing up my existing trees.

Now that I'm feeling a bit more confident, I am wondering which would be easier, to continue rebuilding from scratch and making sure every source and citation make sense (sounds like a big task!) OR to import the whole tree from FTM and work my way though checking and fixing things as I go. The biggest area of errors is the way FTM synced to Ancestry has done the sources and citations. I have a rather fragile understanding of what they should be like and this was my biggest problem with FTM. The way I have been able to add sources in FH makes much more sense to me so I would eventually like both my trees to have a set of sources and citations that are consistent and easy to understand.

Sorry for the rather long first post. I shall look forward to hearing your thoughts on the best way to proceed.

Thank you
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Re: Introducing myself and a little (or maybe big) question

Post by tatewise » 03 Aug 2020 21:26

Good evening and welcome to the FHUG.

There are pros and cons to importing the GEDCOM from FTM versus rebuilding from scratch.

The FTM GEDCOM has some problems when imported into FH such as the Source Citations you mention.
For details see Knowledge Base > Import from Family Tree Maker (FTM).

So it may be better to rebuild from scratch.
I would recommend combining both your family trees into one Project.
That avoids duplicating your own records and children and grandchildren, while producing single branch diagrams and reports is still straightforward.

There are alternative ways to create Source Citations and enter your data.
See the advice in Knowledge Base > Recording Facts and Sources.
In particular, check out what we call Method 1 versus Method 2.
Method 1 is probably most popular for such as BMD Certificates and Census records, where each individual document or census household is a separate Source record.
A useful free companion program is Ancestral Sources which helps keep your Source Citations consistent and reduces some of the repetitive FH data entry. See Knowledge Base > Ancestral Sources for details.

Checkout Knowledge Base > Key Features for Newcomers that introduces most of the above topics and others such as Plugins that are the one power feature not supported by the FH free trial.

Having reviewed the above articles you will no doubt have even more questions. :D
Mike Tate ~ researching the Tate and Scott family history ~ tatewise ancestry

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Mark1834
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Re: Introducing myself and a little (or maybe big) question

Post by Mark1834 » 03 Aug 2020 22:07

Welcome to Family Historian! I made the transition from FTM 2012 to FH about 2½ years ago, and had more or less what you have now - two trees of a few hundred individuals each, both linked to Ancestry via their automatic synchronisation. I still keep them separate, as they are history trees for myself and my wife, with no overlap as we grew up hundreds of miles apart. I see that Mike has already given you a good overview of what's available, so I'll just comment on my own experiences...

I found the treatment of sources the most significant difference between FTM and FH. FTM is very much written around source "lumping" (so for example the 1851 census is a single source, and each household entry can be taken as a separate citation). FH by contrast steers users to source "splitting" (where to use the same example, each citation to the 1851 census is a completely separate source independent of all other references to the same census). My instinct is still to prefer the FTM approach, as this is closer to normal database structures that I used in the day job for literally decades, but I have learned to do it the FH way. Perhaps others have structured things differently, but my experience with lumping in FH is that it only really works for those sources where the citation is a short text description (such as a GRO index entry) with no associated media.

Unfortunately, there is no easy or automatic way to convert FTM "lumped" sources to FH "split" ones. I ended up writing a script in a separate programming language (Python) that actually did quite a good job at splitting things out, but it was highly tailored to my database and needs a reasonable level of IT literacy to run confidently.

If I hadn't had access to the splitting script, I think I would have worked with the FTM imports as they were, as the basic family structures transfer very reliably, and gradually worked through converting sources as I went along. Hopefully others can comment on how they handled the transition, but you will want to convert them, as FH reports can look fairly horrible with complex lumped sources (masses of duplication).

Ancestral Sources is certainly a popular app on this forum, but I must admit I've tried it and it isn't a good fit for my way of working, but try it and make up your own mind.

Hope that helps - this is an active forum with plenty of people willing to chip in and help, so carry on asking....!
Mark Draper

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Re: Introducing myself and a little (or maybe big) question

Post by Gardengirl » 03 Aug 2020 22:09

Thank you, both. I have read some of those articles but, as I get more experience, I think I will need to re-read them a few times to really understand what I am reading. It’s quite difficult when you don’t know what some of the words mean when you first start.

And PlugIns are a whole new world - no idea yet what that means :oops:

Mark, your reply came while I was writing but thank you for your experience. A bit out of my depth at the moment but it’s all a learning curve :D
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Re: Introducing myself and a little (or maybe big) question

Post by Gowermick » 04 Aug 2020 05:35

Mark1834 wrote:
03 Aug 2020 22:07
I still keep them separate, as they are history trees for myself and my wife, with no overlap as we grew up hundreds of miles apart.
Growing up miles apart is making the assumption that your ancestors did the same, and never co-existed somewhere, which I very much doubt! They may even have intermarried at some point in the distant past.

Although my immediate family began in East London and Essex, I quickly found ancestors in Wiltshire, Suffolk, East and West Yorkshire, Lancashire, Scotland and Ireland to name but a few.

For me, one combined tree is the way to go. In any case, it is simpler to split a tree when needed, than to combine two trees.
Mike Loney

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Re: Introducing myself and a little (or maybe big) question

Post by Mark1834 » 04 Aug 2020 09:16

In my case, I'm completely confident they are independent trees for all practical purposes (London, Midlands, East Anglia verses Dorset, Wiltshire, Gloucestershire and West Country) but I agree that if there is any prospect of a combined tree being needed in the future, now is probably the time to do it. It is possible to combine two trees in FH, but it is not a simple process, with plenty of check steps required and the bigger the individual trees get, the more chances there are of something going wrong.

A "plug-in" is simply an extra piece of software that gives additional capabilities within FH for processing your data. Some are supplied with the full commercial version of the program, but in principle anybody can write one. Calico Pie (the authors of FH) maintain a "plug-in store", and several public-spirited members of this forum contribute plug-ins that are free for anybody to download and use. They can be on your "to do" learning list, but nowhere near the top... :).
Mark Draper

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Gardengirl
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Re: Introducing myself and a little (or maybe big) question

Post by Gardengirl » 04 Aug 2020 09:21

Mark1834 wrote:
04 Aug 2020 09:16
They can be on your "to do" learning list, but nowhere near the top... :).
That's reassuring! :lol:
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Re: Introducing myself and a little (or maybe big) question

Post by Gowermick » 04 Aug 2020 09:48

Gardengirl,
Don't get too excited, as the Trial Verson does not support Plugins. You'll need the full version for that :o
Mike Loney

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Re: Introducing myself and a little (or maybe big) question

Post by Gardengirl » 04 Aug 2020 10:00

It's OK, I can contain my excitement! Not sure my brain is ready for Plug Ins yet. Although maybe a Plug In for my brain might be just what I need :lol:
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Re: Introducing myself and a little (or maybe big) question

Post by Gardengirl » 04 Aug 2020 19:40

So now, my next question...

Like many people I don't have a clear grasp of sources and citations but in my new FH practice tree I started creating a new source for each census return then linking it to every family member in that household.

The format I decided on is
Title -1881 census RG.... Piece..... Name of head of household
Type - Census return
Publication - web address of source image
Repository - Ancestry.com

So now, this evening, I thought I would try using that idea on the tree that I have migrated from FTM. I chose the first person to work on and opened her sources, found one for 1881 and edited it to match what I had been doing on the practice tree.

BUT then I realised that the way they have arrived from FTM means that this personalised source for my Mary Anne Barber is now attached to 41 citations! So what do I do? I have read the knowledge base about Method 1 and Method 2 but it hasn't really made sense yet. I want my sources to show exactly where that piece of information came from, not just a generic '1881 census Ancestry.com' reference.

Before I gave up with FTM I spend HOURS editing my sources so that I had a list that made sense but it doesn't look as if all the information has transferred over.

This is the list as it arrived from FTM with the one I have just edited highlighted
FH sources 1.JPG
FH sources 1.JPG (56.19 KiB) Viewed 1802 times
And this shows the format that I chose for the source details
Image

I hope this makes some kind of sense. Please help me to understand how I should proceed now - preferably in as simple a way as possible.
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Re: Introducing myself and a little (or maybe big) question

Post by Gardengirl » 04 Aug 2020 19:41

Oh, oops, should I have started a new thread in a different section? :oops:
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Re: Introducing myself and a little (or maybe big) question

Post by tatewise » 04 Aug 2020 20:46

Strictly speaking - Yes - but do that next time.

You must repeat what you did in your practice tree, and create a Method 1 Source record for each Census household, and add a Citation for each person.

Eventually you will delete the imported Method 2 Source records from FTM as they will be redundant.

BTW:
Before going too far, experiment with Ancestral Sources (AS) that ensures the Title, Type, etc, are used consistently.
But just like FH it is customisable in many ways.

You may have noticed that FH is quite tediously repetitive when adding Citations. AS reduces that significantly.
Also, considering Census records, it is popular to add a Citation to the Birth event based on the Age & Place of Birth.
Similarly for each Occupation attribute as recorded in the Census. AS does all that for you automatically.

And don't forget to add a Media image of the Census page downloaded from Ancestry.
Mike Tate ~ researching the Tate and Scott family history ~ tatewise ancestry

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Re: Introducing myself and a little (or maybe big) question

Post by Gardengirl » 04 Aug 2020 21:13

Thanks, Mike. That makes sense and I'll know I'm going in the right direction. I'll get the paid version soon then I can look at Ancestral Sources.
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Re: Introducing myself and a little (or maybe big) question

Post by tatewise » 04 Aug 2020 21:39

You don't need to purchase FH to use AS.
It is a free companion program you can download and install separately.
See Knowledge Base > Ancestral Sources Installation Guide, etc.

There is a Plugin (which needs a purchased FH) that helps with invoking AS but that is not essential.
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Re: Introducing myself and a little (or maybe big) question

Post by Gardengirl » 04 Aug 2020 21:54

Great, thanks. I'll look into that tomorrow.
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Re: Introducing myself and a little (or maybe big) question

Post by Mark1834 » 04 Aug 2020 23:06

Before I gave up with FTM I spend HOURS editing my sources so that I had a list that made sense but it doesn't look as if all the information has transferred over.
I suspect your information has come across, but FH doesn't do a very good job of displaying the individual citations of a "lumped" source. The Sources tab of my FTM 2012 listed all the citations, the detailed text of the selected citation, and a list of facts linked to that citation, all in one comprehensive (albeit slightly busy) screen. FH doesn't have an equivalent, and the Sources list in the Records Window that you showed shows only the high level source title, not all the citation detail.

If you select somebody who is cited in a census, have a look at their Facts tab, and you will probably see the detailed citation under the specific census Fact. FH only displays a single line of text for these citations, so multi-line text gets squished together on one line unless you expand the box (see what I mean about it forcing users into a particular recording style....).

When copying details of the old citation to the new source, remember you have two fields to play with in the new source - the Title and the Publication Information. How you split them is up to you, but for the census I generally put the location and address in the Title and the full GRO reference (including folio and page numbers) into the Publication Information. Be careful just quoting the web address - there is no guarantee that this will not change in time, and is of no use without an Ancestry subscription. If you use the GRO reference, that is fixed and findable in any of the on-line repositories. We're getting slightly off-topic here, but it may save you from problems in the future.

When you upgrade to the full copy of FH, one of the first plug-ins you will use is "List All Citations For a Source", which does exactly that so you can at least see all the detailed citations together, along with the facts and individuals they are linked to. Another useful one will be "Clone Any Record", which is an alternative method of producing consistent source styling from a template if you can't get on with AS.
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Re: Introducing myself and a little (or maybe big) question

Post by Gardengirl » 05 Aug 2020 07:01

We're getting slightly off-topic here, but it may save you from problems in the future.
For me, that was not off topic at all. It is exactly the kind of helpful advice that I am looking for so that I can get things right from the beginning and not have to go back and fix everything later. I think, like a lot of people, the challenge of learning new things and making the whole tree uniform, neat and tidy is almost as interesting as the actual research and finding out about the history of my family. But I don’t want to spend so much time on it that I don't have time for the research.

Thanks for your help, Mark
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Re: Introducing myself and a little (or maybe big) question

Post by LornaCraig » 05 Aug 2020 09:35

The screenshot in one of your earlier posts shows that your 1881 census has 41 citations. That would indeed be a lot for Mary Ann Barber! The problem is that you have renamed the method 2 / 'lumper' source for 1881 and added a specific individual's name to it. With the 'lumper' method all information about individuals in the census is specific to the citations. The 41 citations are probably all correct, but they don't all relate to Mary Ann Barber. Change the title of the Source record back to "1881 England Census" and it will all be consistent.

The advantage of the Method 1 / 'splitter' approach is that you can name specific individuals in the Source Title, as you tried to do with Mary Ann Barber's census.
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Re: Introducing myself and a little (or maybe big) question

Post by tatewise » 05 Aug 2020 09:50

Thank you Lorna, but we covered that yesterday evening and the OP said: "That makes sense..."
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Re: Introducing myself and a little (or maybe big) question

Post by victor » 05 Aug 2020 19:34

When I save a census I put it in the form of RG11-2345_Fo-67_Page-89 Name year of birth
2345 being the piece number.
All my census images are saved in separate folders for each year census.

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Re: Introducing myself and a little (or maybe big) question

Post by Gardengirl » 05 Aug 2020 20:36

Thanks, Victor, That sounds similar to the format I have chosen but I am sticking to the format used by the record office so I can just copy and paste them.
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Re: Introducing myself and a little (or maybe big) questi

Post by Gowermick » 05 Aug 2020 20:44

Victor,
May I suggest, you are potentially saving the same census image up to 22 times or more, once for each person on the page. Surely, it would make more sense to omit the name and year of birth in the title.

If Fred Smith and his family appear on the same page, why not just use the same image as the source for all the family. I use a source such as ‘Census 1881 - RG11 Piece 1234 Folio 035 Page 26, and save the image as ‘1881 1234 F035 P26.jpg’. I have a separate folder for each Census year, where the images are saved.
If by chance I later find another individual on the same sheet, I link their census and occupation fact to same source, with no need to save another copy of the image.

I feel that unlike Baptism, Marriages and Burial which are truly personal, and specific to the individual(s), a census is a generic fact, and not personal, so doesn’t need the addition of the name and birth date added to the source.
Just my thoughts :D
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Re: Introducing myself and a little (or maybe big) question

Post by Mark1834 » 05 Aug 2020 20:51

Similar to mine - for two separate households on the same page, I create two separate sources, but both link to the same image file.
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Re: Introducing myself and a little (or maybe big) question

Post by tatewise » 05 Aug 2020 21:30

Nothing that Victor says suggests he is saving a Census image per person.
I suspect the Name in the Title is just the Head of household (or some other key person), not that he has a Source record person, and even if he did that still does not imply an image per person.

I use the same strategy as the others here, and attach the same Media record to various Source records for multiple households on the same page. Conversely, I attache two Media records when a household spans two pages.
In addition to the GRO reference mentioned, I add the household Schedule number.
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Re: Introducing myself and a little (or maybe big) question

Post by Gowermick » 05 Aug 2020 22:45

Miketate,
I take your point about multiple copies of census images, but IMHO, adding schedule number to the census source seems a bit of overkill, and means you have to create a separate source/citation for each individual, why make work for yourself? :D
Mike Loney

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