Create a Locations Database of Place & Address Details


As your family history research advances, a growing number of Facts will have Place & Address fields referring to the same location.

Each location may accumulate information such as photos, maps, a grid reference, postcode, and historical details.

It would be useful to gather this information into a Locations Database, with one entry per Location, to avoid unnecessary duplication.

Then each Locations Database entry would be linked to all its associated Facts, and the information able to be reproduced in Reports and on Websites.

There are several Wish List and Forum entries on this topic, but the techniques described here use Family Historian as it is now, although the introduction of Place record in Version 6 offers an alternative approach.

Locations Database Summary

There are several Place & Address related fields supported in Individual, Family, Repository, and Submitter Records, but most are only accessible via their All tab, or Queries.

These fields include Address Line 1 & 2, City, State, Country, Postcode, Telephone, Email, and Website.

Repository Records

It is only Repository Records that can be easily customised to allow all these fields to be accessed in both the Records Window and the Property Box, and subsequently linked to Facts.

Location Repository Record

Although not intended for this purpose, these customised Location Repository Records form an essential component of the Locations Database.

Source Records

The only way to link a Repository Record to the Facts in an Individual Record or Family Record is by means of a Source Record.

A new Source Type, such as Location, is used to uniquely identify these Location Source Records.

Location Source Record Main Tab Location Source Record Multimedia Tab

Any photos of the Location, or any other Multimedia associated with the Location, can be linked to these Location Source Records, as supporting information.

It is easy to design Reports and Websites to include many of these Location Repository Record, Source Record, and Multimedia Record details.

Locations Record Customisation

Repository Records

Open the Repository Records Window.

Open a Property Box and use Menu > Customize to add all the Repository Fields to the Main tab (or a new Location tab).

These include all the Address sub-fields, and several copies of the Telephone, Email, and Website fields.

The original settings can be restored by using the Installation Settings button (or copying C:\Program Files\Family Historian\Property Box\PB-REPO.fhdata into Family Historian Program Data Folder\Property Box\PB-REPO.fhdata).

Repository Property Box Customize

Use menu bar Lists > Configure Record Window Columns to add any of these fields to the Record Window.

Use the Save to Query button to preserve the Column configuration as a Query.

The original settings can be restored using the Installation Settings button, and the new configuration set by using the Load from Query button.

Repository Record Window Configure Columns

There may be Repository Records that are used for their genuine purpose of identifying repositories for sources.

To differentiate Location Repository Records from Genuine Repository Records it is recommended that each Genuine Repository Name field be enclosed in string quotes ("...").
e.g. "Sheffield Archives"

This avoids any unnecessary data entry in the Location Repository Records, which will quickly outnumber the Genuine ones.

Then, if you sort on the Name column in the Repository Records Window all the Genuine Repository Records appear together above the Location Repository Records, because " sorts before any alpha-numeric character. Also the "..." characters do not look out of place in Reports where Citations are listed.

An alternative differentiation scheme could be to enter Genuine &/or Location, or something similar, in the appropriate Custom Id fields.

Source Records

Open the Source Records Window.

Open a Property Box and use Menu > Customize to add the Repository Note field to the Main tab (or a new Location tab).

Use the Variable Height, Vertical Weight, and Label Above Data options to obtain the conventional multiple rows Note format.

The original settings can be restored by using the Installation Settings button (or copying C:\Program Files\Family Historian\Property Box\PB-SOUR.fhdata into Family Historian Program Data Folder\Property Box\PB-SOUR.fhdata).

Source Property Box Customize

The benefit of using the Repository Note field is its ability to be included in Reports.

Citation, Source & Repository Details

Each Fact with a particular Place & Address Location can have a Citation for a Location Source Record that is paired with a Location Repository Record.

The Source Name and Repository Name fields should be similar to help correlate the pair.

Note that there is a Work With Data tool to help organise the Place fields in every Fact.

Prior to V5 there was no similar tool for Address fields, but Ancestral Sources does help organise the entry of Address details.

Source Records

The Source Record can link to any Multimedia Records that mention the Location, and set a Link to Detail frame wherever the Location appears in the media file.

Its Text From Source field can hold transcripts of Multimedia Files that are particularly relevant to the Location.

The Repository Note and general Note fields may use Label entries to record details such as Grid Reference and Latitude & Longitude to appear in Reports.

If you prefer not to use Location Repository Records, then these fields may be sufficient for your needs.

Repository Records

The Repository Record can pinpoint even an ancient Location using modern references such as the Postcode to help locate it in online maps.

Its Address field and sub-fields can expand upon the Address given in the Facts.

Any Email field can hold an Internet E-mail address.

Any Website field can hold an Internet URL that links directly to an online map of the Location or any other online data.

e.g. The Website URL links to Google Maps at Postcode = S11 9EQ.

The Note field may use Label entries to record details such as Grid Reference and Latitude & Longitude, and also multiple Note fields can be created.

The Grid Reference or Latitude & Longitude can be entered into a website such as UK Grid Reference Finder at to pinpoint the Location.

Report & Website Details

In many Report and Website pages the Sources section can easily Include Repository Information for the Address field, the first Telephone Number, Email Address, and Web Address field, and also the Repository Note field.

In particular, a Source Summary Report for each Source Record of type Location, produces a comprehensive Locations Database Report that can easily include every Source and Repository field with some customisation.

Locations Database Report

In PDF, RTF, and HTML pages, any Email Address or Web Address becomes an active Hyperlink that when clicked can open an Email Client or a Web Page.

e.g. will open an Email Client and will open a browser Web Page.

PDF Report Hyperlink

In fact any such Email Address or Web Address becomes an active Hyperlink regardless of the field where it appears.

It is also possible to insert more than one Telephone Number, Email Address, or Web Address into the one field of each type that is included in a Report.

RTF Reports appear not to have active Hyperlinks, but if you enter a space character just after the end of the URL then it turns into a Hyperlink.
(There are reported to be MS Word Macros available that will bulk convert each such URL into a Hyperlink.)

Often a Hyperlink is terminated with an end of sentence full-stop (.) inserted by the Report formatting.
Prior to V5, this can render the Hyperlink inoperative, but a workaround is to add some text after the URL e.g. Website.

Not only may Hyperlinks in HTML files be malformed with a full-stop (.), but they also do not open in a new browser tab.
The first problem is fixed in V5, and the second by V5 Plugin Improve Website or CD DVD HTML.
Alternatively, batch edits of the HTML files, using the Utility ~ PSPad Editor twice, rectifies this problem as follows:

PSPad > Search > Search/Replace in Files 
   Text to Find:       .">http: 
   Replace With:       " target="_blank">http: 
   Selected Directory: ...\Public\Website 
   File Masks:         *.html 
PSPad > Search > Search/Replace in Files 
   Text to Find:       ">www. 
   Replace With:       " target="_blank">www. 
   Selected Directory: ...\Public\Website 
   File Masks:         *.html 

To see the results please visit the TATE & SCOTT Family Tree website, click on LOCATIONS in the menu bar, and click on the hyperlinks in the Locations Database.

As illustrated on that website, it is possible to edit each Address Source Citation to link to its Locations Database Record.

The HTML batch editing techniques needed to perform all the above changes are similar to those explained in the Family Tree Tips ~ Automatic Batch Processing section, and used by V5 Plugin Improve Website or CD DVD HTML.

Example Custom Query

An example of a Source Query to report Location Database details is outlined below.

Columns tab:

  Heading     Expression
  Source      %SOUR%
  Repository  %SOUR.REPO>%
  Rep-Note    %SOUR.REPO.NOTE2[1]%
  Address     %SOUR.REPO>ADDR%
  Postcode    %SOUR.REPO>ADDR.POST%
  Telephone   %SOUR.REPO>PHON[1]%
  Email       %SOUR.REPO>_EMAIL[1]%
  Website     %SOUR.REPO>_WEB[1]%
  Note        %SOUR.REPO>NOTE2[1]%

Rows tab:

  Add if %SOUR._TYPE% matches 'Location'