Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Using FamilyTreeMaker 2008 - Post 23: Web Search II

I installed FamilyTreeMaker 2008 in early July 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 Using FamilyTreeMaker 2008 - Summary of Posts for all of the posts in this series.

In the last post, I demonstrated how to use the [Web Search] icon featured on the top row of the FTM 2008 page to find information and images on In this post, I want to show how to merge ancestral information found using the Web Search. For this part of the series, I'm using my great-great-grandfather, Isaac Seaver (1823-1901), in my database as a starting point for these posts about Web Search.

In the last post, the last screen shown was the top part of the 1900 Census image on for Isaac Seaver in Leominster, MA. You can scroll down to show the rest of the image - as shown below:

Yep, that's my Isaac Seaver with his third wife (indexed by Ancestry as Elvira, but really Alvina) residing at 7 Cedar Street. Note the two lists at the bottom of the screen - the one on the left is the information about Isaac Seaver from the "Person from your tree," and the list on the right shows information from the "Search result detail," in this case the index information from the census record.

FTM 2009 permits the user to merge information from the index into the database - if the user requests it. To do this, the user clicks on the "Merge" button (highlighted in the screen above). A "Web Merge Wizard" appears on the screen over the census image, as shown in the screen below:

In the "Web Merge Wizard" screen are three columns - "Person from my tree," "Person from Web Search," and "Merged Result." For this census image, the program will merge the Name, Birth Date and/or Residence from the Web Search, at the user's discretion. The user can choose "Make preferred," "Make alternate," "Add source only," or "Discard this fact." The "Web Merge Wizard" help screen says:

"With this wizard, you can choose how to add the new information found on Ancestry into your tree.

"You can:

* Make the new information a "preferred" fact (the version of the facts you wish to display in views, charts, and reports)
* Make the new information an "alternate" fact (usually a conflicting or slightly different version of the same fact that you wish to maintain for reference)
* Choose to only add a source-citation (if the information is the same as your existing information and you wish to just add the source as supporting evidence - no alternate fact will be created)
* Choose to ignore the new information

"You may jump to the summary page at any time to see how the new information will be incorporated into your tree. A source citation will automatically be added to any facts you choose to merge into your tree (see the top of the summary page for the citation).

"No information in your family tree will be overwritten during the merge process."

In the screen above, I chose to "Discard the fact" for the Name (since I already knew his name), to "Add Source only" for the birth date (since I already have a Vital Record for his birth date, but this corroborates the date), and to "Make Preferred" the Residence in 1900 fact. When I click on the "Summary" button at the bottom of the "Web Merge Wizard" box, I get:

This screen shows the Preferred Information, the Alternate Information and the Media Items selected. The Source citation is shown, and can be edited by the user by clicking on the "Edit" button. I noted the Source citation does not include the NARA microfilm series, Roll number, ED number or page number of the census image, so I will have to go in and edit this Source to include those vital details.

Clicking on the "Merge Now" button at the bottom of the "Web Merge Wizard" screen will merge the information that the user desires - including the census image and the source citation. I clicked on it, and the screen below appeared:

Success is good! The little box says "People merged successfully!" and "Media merged successfully!" Clicking the "OK" button brings you back to the Ancestry image screen (the first one above). If you click on the "Media" tab above the "Person from your tree," you will see the Media item added to your FTM 2008 database.

From here, you could edit the information about the image using the [Media] icon screen and/or edit the source information using the [Sources] icon screen, as demonstrated in earlier posts.

As part of the "Web Merge Wizard," the program allows you to use the "Next" button to go to other persons in the family. In the case for Isaac Seaver, I could have merged information about his parents, spouses or children if the information applied to them. Obviously, for Isaac Seaver, the only person that this image applied to was his third wife, Alvina (Bradley) Seaver.

In order to go back to the Ancestry Search page to find more images to download, I tried clicking on the "Search" link at the top of the Ancestry image. That took me back to an empty search box - I would have to start all over with my search criteria.

I noticed the "Back to Record" link above the census image, and clicked that, which took me back to the Ancestry index summary, and had a link back to "Historical Records" which took me to the list of search matches, which is where I wanted to be. Two clicks.

This Web Search and Web Merge is pretty straightforward and easy to use. The user controls the merge process throughout. However, I do have some complaints about the Merge process, at least for this particular image:

1) The "Web Merge Wizard" did not include the Marriage year even though it was shown in the "Web Search Detail."

2) The Source citation did not include the really useful source information - the NARA microfilm series, the Roll number, the Enumeration district, or the Page number of the census record. That information is available on the Ancestry indexed page as text, and probably in the URL for the Ancestry image. How many users will never add this very useful and vital information to their source citations?

3) Going back to the Search Results should be easier - a single click, and plainly added to the Ancestry web page or the FTM 2008 page.

In the next post, I will pursue how to access the other web sites using the Web Search, and how to merge those results into the user tree database.

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