Monday, July 28, 2008

Using FamilyTreeMaker 2008 - Post 9: Places I

I installed FamilyTreeMaker 2008 three weeks ago and uploaded a large database to see how it worked. I also started a new database to test other program features. Please see the list at the bottom of this post for the earlier posts.

In this post, I want to describe what happens when you click on the [Places] icon at the top of the FTM 2008 screen.

Here is the FTM 2008 screen in my uploaded database in the [Family] view of the [People] icon. Benjamin Seaver is the highlighted person, born and died in Westminster, Worcester County, Massachusetts.

I decided to click on the [Places] icon next to the [People] icon in the top row of the program menu. The screen below is just before I clicked on [Places].

When I clicked on [Places], the screen below came up. It is a map of Worcester city in Worcester County, Massachusetts. A suggestion list of five places in the FTM 2008 Place Authority overlays the map (Westminster Street is highlighted with a stickpin on this map under the overlay!).

Needless to say, that wasn't what I expected!! I expected a map of central Massachusetts with a stick pin showing the town of Westminster and environs.

There were many more listings for Westminster in the left-hand panel which shows the index of Places in my database. I clicked on the first one... and got the screen shown below.

Good. That's what I expected!

What happened in the second screen above? Why did it show a map of Westminster Street in Worcester city when I wanted Westminster town about 25 miles northwest of Worcester?

The answer is that the FTM 2008 Place Authority does not have items with the word "County" in them. Most of my Places entries in my database have the word "County" in them. When I chose a place name on my Places list without the word "County," I got the map I wanted.

What to do here? FTM 2008 provides an item in the [Place] menu (second line down on the FTM 2008 screen) to "Resolve This Place Name." The screen below shows the [Place] menu items with "Resolve This Place Name" highlighted.

When I click on the "Resolve This Place Name" menu item, a screen box opens that says:

"The spelling of this place name is not in the Place Authority. Select a place name from the list below and press "Replace" to use the suggested spelling or "Ignore" to leave this place name as it is."

I scrolled down to "Westminster, Worcester, Massachusetts, USA" in the screen shot below.

When I selected the place name from the Place Authority, the map with the stickpin in Westminster, Worcester, Massachusetts, USA appeared, as shown below.

Please note that I chose my selected person, and therefore the place names associated with him, at random. I did not plan this sequence to point out a flaw in FTM 2008.

I'm sure that FTM would say that the flaw is in my database where I used non-standard place names that included the word County. Of course, I entered all of the "County" words in my databases way before a Place Authority was created! No matter.

To make matters worse for me, I've included some notes in parentheses at the end of some places names (I used these to denote sources before there were source citation capabilities in the software). These need to be resolved also, and in the process I'll lose those rudimentary source citations unless I enter them into the Source fields for each Person in my database (all 20,755 of them).

So it appears that I need to resolve many of my 4,762 entries in my Places index list. That sounds like fun! I'll try to do that in the next post!

Previous posts in this series:

* Using FamilyTreeMaker 2008 - Post 1: Loading. Installing the program and uploading an existing database file.

* Using FamilyTreeMaker 2008 - Post 2: Exploring. Looking around the uploaded database file to see what the different views look like.

* Using FamilyTreeMaker 2008 - Post 3: The Menus. Most of the menus were itemized and described.

* Using FamilyTreeMaker 2008 - Post 4: Starting a New Tree. I started a new tree and added some people demonstrating the program options to do this.

* Using FamilyTreeMaker 2008 - Post 5: Adding a Source. I added sources to the Facts that I previously entered.

* Using FamilyTreeMaker 2008 - Post 6: Adding Children to a Family. I added children to a family.

* Using FamilyTreeMaker 2008 - Post 7: The Person Menu. I described the items in the Person menu and attached a spouse to a person.

* Using FamilyTreeMaker 2008 - Post 8: Finding a Person in the database. I described three ways to Find a person.

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