* Witness in a Census Fact

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mfvorsdol
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Witness in a Census Fact

Post by mfvorsdol » 15 Aug 2015 18:06

Hello, I'm new to Family Historian (and a TMG refugee). I successfully uploaded a small TMG project and am playing around with entering new facts. I've a census record to enter and would like to understand the witness function. My example: From the property box for Walter Plennes, I added a census fact and entered in the information I wanted. I then added four witnesses. As I did so, I recognized that I could change the roles from witness to resident and that there was an role option of head of household. I would like to assign the role of head of household to Walter Plennes. The only way that I could figure was to include Walter as a witness and select role of head of household. Are there other options? Are there problems or concerns with including Walter as a witness? How have others handle this situation? Many thanks, Mary

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tatewise
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Re: Witness in a Census Fact

Post by tatewise » 15 Aug 2015 18:39

Mary, welcome to the FHUG.

To be absolutely frank the TMG Witness concept is useful in some contexts, but many users would NOT advise using it for Census recording.

The 'conventional' method is to create a Census Event for each member of the household, because it has the same significance for each person, and also allows details such as Age to be recorded, that Witnesses do not allow.
Then all those Census Events cite one Source Record that holds all the Census details such as a reference number, textual transcript, and Media image.
Furthermore, Birth and Occupation facts often cite the same Source Record.

You will discover that many utilities do not support Census Witnesses mainly because they use non-standard GEDCOM.
e.g.
  1. Only the FH Narrative Reports include Witness details, other Reports do not.
  2. The FH tree Diagrams and Queries cannot include Witness details.
  3. Plugins such as Knowledge Base > Lookup Missing Census Facts omit Census Witnesses.
  4. Ancestral Sources ~ see Knowledge Base > Ancestral Sources.
  5. Some Census Downloads ~ see Knowledge Base > Downloads and Links ~ Census Records.
  6. Most other genealogy products do not support Witnesses.
P.S. I have to admit, I also do not see how the Head of Household witness role is meant to be used, because as you say, it cannot be applied to the Principal.
Mike Tate ~ researching the Tate and Scott family history ~ tatewise ancestry

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jimlad68
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Re: Witness in a Census Fact

Post by jimlad68 » 15 Aug 2015 19:31

Mary, I came from TMG some time ago and even there I resisted Witnesses generally for some of the reasons Mike has explained, added to that is portability of data.

<> I am fully converted to the Source method of recording census as Mike describes (Method 1). Following on from Mike's link above for Ancestral Sources Knowledge Base > Ancestral Sources, this section gives an excellent rationale for using Method 1 sourcing for things like census: Knowledge Base > Getting Started with Ancestral Sources. I think you would find that once set up, Ancestral Sources makes census input a lot easier.

<> Witnesses make more sense for things like marriages and baptisms, but as Mike says reporting can be a problem. You would need to experiment to see if it satisfies your needs, hopefully FH will improve its reporting in the future. Again, Ancestral Sources, once set up, makes it easier to add the witnesses.

However: The FH plugin Export Gedcom File converts witnesses to meaningful Events for use in other programs, I know this was requested for years in TMG and the main reason I did not use them there. This plugin will also save as witnesses for transfer to programs like Legacy that also use witnesses. And it does much else besides!
Jim Orrell - researching: see - but probably out of date https://gw.geneanet.org/jimlad68

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tatewise
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Re: Witness in a Census Fact

Post by tatewise » 16 Aug 2015 08:43

I forgot to mention the Knowledge Base > Recording Census Records article that has been recently updated to explain the recommended technique in the light of many migrants from TMG who have often used Witnesses for Census records.

Ignoring the problems with Queries, Diagrams, Reports, etc, Witnesses are useful for recording witnesses at weddings, ministers officiating at baptisms, weddings, or funerals, mourners at funerals, and similar roles where the Witnesses are secondary to the primary Individual(s) at the event, but members of a Census household are all equal primary Individuals.
Mike Tate ~ researching the Tate and Scott family history ~ tatewise ancestry

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mfvorsdol
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Re: Witness in a Census Fact

Post by mfvorsdol » 16 Aug 2015 15:10

Many thanks for the replies. I will look at the various Knowledge Base articles.

I am an old UFT (Ultimate Family Tree) user and really like the event based concept; so, entering a census fact for each individual is a real change for me. I am just beginning to understand the GEDCOM limitations.

Plan to spend the day reading Knowledge Base.

Mary

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Rich Scats
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Re: Witness in a Census Fact

Post by Rich Scats » 29 Aug 2015 20:28

Like Mary I'm a TMG user and fairly new to FH & AS, and have been using the witness function in TMG which I believe is fairly fundamental as I wish to view the roles individuals played in an event. I was most impressed with the presentation that Jane gave at a Guild of One Name Studies Seminar (yes I am a GOON!) so as result of that presentation spent a fair of time with a couple of projects.
I was most impressed in entering census details using Ancestral Sources and entering witnesses in FH but I find very troubling is that I can't work out how to view those witnesses and their roles in a similar manner to TMG. I see a fact that A had a role as a son but how can I see what other siblings were at the census event.
Similarly with marriages I see A was a witness at D's marriage but how do I see the witnesses at A's marriage
Personally I consider this fairly crucial
Regards
Rich Scantlebury

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Re: Witness in a Census Fact

Post by DonF » 30 Aug 2015 04:03

Rich, the FH+AS method of entering census data effectively creates unique entries for each person associated with the event.
As you have found, this means the sort of 'aggregation' of roles within a single sentence that we are used to doing in TMG is impossible.

At least I think it is impossible - I put out a challenge in the thread
http://www.fhug.org.uk/forum/viewtopic. ... 061#p61061 for FH users to construct the FH equivalent sentence to how I do it in TMG, but no one bought into it. Which is one of the reasons I stay with TMG - I still see no reason to become a refugee.

Don

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Rich Scats
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Re: Witness in a Census Fact

Post by Rich Scats » 30 Aug 2015 07:03

Don
While I use Second Site for my web site at http://scantlebury.one-name.net/p42.htm I tend to use the raw or basic data rather than the constructed sentences so that site visitors can find and see individual details almost at a glance.
What I can't understand is that after importing or inputting witnesses I can't see/view them when looking at the fact and I think FH has a lot to offer.
Rich

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Re: Witness in a Census Fact

Post by tatewise » 30 Aug 2015 10:59

Rich, FH indicates that a Fact has Witnesses by including a 3 blue ball Witness icon in the More column of the Facts tab.

Right-click on the Fact or use the cog Menu below and use the Witnesses option to see the Witnesses.

Witnesses themselves display a clone of the Fact with a blue arrow on the left in their Facts tab.
Mike Tate ~ researching the Tate and Scott family history ~ tatewise ancestry

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Rich Scats
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Re: Witness in a Census Fact

Post by Rich Scats » 30 Aug 2015 14:39

Thanks Mike that's made things clearer
Regards
Rich

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