13 March 2008

Playing with Family Tree Maker's websearch

I have been playing with the websearch on Family Tree Maker 2008. The websearch is best used for locating new clues or easily capturing things you have already located. I NEVER automatically upload a "hit" from the websearch. The image should always be viewed if available and the information analyzed to determine if the correct person has been located.

That said, I am still playing with just a few of my ancestral families to see the matches FTM 2008 gives me. One was potentially helpful.

I had forgotten (or maybe never even knew in the first place) that my Grandma Neill's brother had lived in Keokuk, Iowa, during the 1920s. FTM2008 pulled up the reference to Elmer Trautvetter in the 1925 census, which I had not thought to search for myself.

The 1925 Iowa State Census provides places of birth for the parents, their ages, and their place of marriage. Grandma's mother (Ida Sargent) is one of my brick walls and this was another location to potentially obtain a clue as to her origins. Interestingly enough, the listing shows her mother as "Ida Sargen." I'm still pretty certain her maiden name was Sargent; however, this provides me with a potential clue as to how the family pronounced her name and an additional spelling variant. Her age is off by almost ten years as well.

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12 March 2008

Merging on Family Tree Maker

I've been playing with Family Tree Maker.
I do like the ability to "merge" sources from Ancestry.com into my Family Tree Maker database.
I though only merge sources I am 100% certain are the same person and only merge census records, passenger lists, SSDI entries and other entries coming from actual records. I do not merge GEDCOM files, or any other sources of that type. I'm VERY selective about what I merge, let's just leave it at that.
This is the screen that came up when I started to merge my grandfather Neill's SSDI entry with his entry in my Family Tree Maker database. I had his birth as 29 Oct 1903 in Walker Township, Hancock County, Illinois. The SSDI provides the same date of birth, but no place of birth. I wish Family Tree Maker did not originally suggest to "add source only" in this instance. The reason is that the SSDI indicates the date of birth is 29 Oct 1903, but it does not provide a location. Adding the SSDI as a source for the birth of 29 Oct 1903 in Walker Township, Hancock County, Illinois, implies that the SSDI provides the place of birth, when it did not.
I'm going to choose "make alternate" on this date of birth for Grandpa, even though it is the same date I already have. I never want to indicate a source says something that it does not or that it is more complete than it actually is.


10 September 2007

Dates in FTM 2008

I had some individuals in my GEDCOM files whose dates of births were the month and day only without a year. FTM 2008 apparently decided to assign a year or something. My great-aunt, for whom I only had a day and month of birth was assigned a year of 4713 BC. I noted most of the others were assigned this year as well.

Gives new meaning to the phrase "old as the hills."

Not to mention my FTM 2008 runs slow on both my older machine at home and my newer machine at work.


28 August 2007

Places in FTM 2008

The places feature in Family Tree Maker 2008 is really neat. It has been interesting using it for some Chicago, Illinois, locations. Just be careful. The location is gave me for Bowling Township, Rock Island County, Illinois was actually Bowlesburg School in Silvis. Oops.

The places are worldwide and I've really had fun using the place feature in Family Tree Maker 2008 for locations in Europe as well. Neat.


FTM2008 Suggests I not use the word "county"

In the help on place names, Family Tree Maker 2008 is suggesting that I not use the word "county" in any of my place names. Instead, it is suggesting that I use "Cook, Illinois" instead of "Cook County, Illinois." I'm going to continue using using words like "County" and "Township" as a part of my placenames.


Because it adds clarity is why.

I entered my own birth place in FTM as "Carthage, Hancock County, Illinois." FTM's suggestion was "Carthage, Hancock, Illinois."

However, when I entered my grandmother's place of death "Prairie Township, Hancock County, Illinois" FTM suggested "Prairie City, Hancock, Illinois." If there is a Prairie City in Hancock County, I have never heard of it and am curious as to where it is. Actually many of my relatives were born and died in Prairie Township and that is what I am entering in my database.

Family Tree Maker 2008 has never heard of Harmony Township in Hancock County, either. It suggested "Harmony, Hancock, Illinois." Frankly I think this implies that there is a village in Hancock named Harmony and it also implies more precision for a location than I may have. I intend also for those rural vital events where I only have a township name to include the word "township" as a part of the place name.

Family Tree Maker 2008 couldn't find Northeast Township in Adams County, Illinois---it's right there in the northeast corner of the county. It wasn't too keene on Keene Township in Adams County either, again insisting on dropping the "township" part of the place name.

If you think about it for a minute, whenever one refers to a county in the United States, the word "county" is a part of the name. I was born in Hancock County. I live in Knox County. One would rarely hear someone say "I was born in Hancock." Or maybe I'm just not listening closely.

I understand the theory behind the place name concept in FTM 2008. But I've had enough theory myself to know that practice is different.

Family Tree Maker 2008 suggests "Des Moines, Iowa" as the location when I enter in "Des Moines County, Iowa." How many people will know that (in FTM 2008) "Des Moines, Iowa" refers to the COUNTY of Des Moines (along the Mississippi River) and not the CITY of Des Moines (located more centrally within the state)?

I will continue to enter as much precision into my locations as necessary and will continue to use the words "county" and "township." I wish FTM's list of place names had done the same.


Family Tree Maker 2008

I received my copy of Family Tree Maker 2008 yesterday. It is installed and we'll be posting my experiences with it here over time. The new interface looks fairly slick and those who are familiar with the old interface will have some adjusting to do. Many of the features have been re-arranged, it is a matter of finding where things have been put. No strong opinion here yet, but there are still things I do with a word processor or on paper.

And if there is a program out there that will let me print a relationship chart for just ten-fifteen people of my choosing, I'd like to hear about it. Not a family of ten, but ten people I have specifically picked.