Friday, October 5, 2012

Follow-Up Friday - Helpful Reader Comments

It's Follow-Up Friday - time to review some of the Reader Comments that might help other readers, or that ask a question that I can answer.

1)  On Massachusetts Town Clerk, Vital, and Town Records on FamilySearch (28 September 2012):

*  Geolover asked:  "As for your citation, when getting the image data from a microfilm collection, wouldn't the microfilm number be a requisite element?

"You say does not have Sudbury images "yet." Are you sure that the selective microfilm collection they've uploaded included this?"

My responses:  The FHL microfilm number could be very useful to a researcher, and could be added to the source citation by adding "(also accessible on FHL US/CAN Microfilm 1,234,567)" or similar to the Source Citation Detail.  The microfilm number could be taken from the first image in the specific collection, or by looking it up in the Family History Library Catalog.  The most  important item to cite (and I didn't do it initially) is the exact record set title (i.e., "Births, marriages, deaths, 1663-1829, Vol. 4," such as I did in my source citation.

I think that Sudbury was in the Holbrook collection.  It is one of the 54 towns listed on Ancestry's page for this database at  I erred, obviously!  There are 315 towns in the Holbrook collection, so there should be many more additions to the Ancestry collection.  

2)  On Guest Post - Old German Script Need not Fade (29 September 2012):

*  bgwiehle noted:  "Old German handwriting styles are not the problem. Letter lists and sample texts are available, also tutorials like those at FamilySearch. It's not that difficult.  The bigger issues are knowledge of the language itself, including abbreviations, archaic words and spellings and cultural context, and the preservation quality of the document itself. This is true of any older text, any language. Reading older documents takes practice (and a little luck with the writer's penmanship), but it is doable."

My response:  Thanks, good information.

*  Andrea noted:  "Custom reports in RM have been a struggle for me since the beginning so I share your pain & avoid them as much as possible. I've had some luck, however, creating subsets of the database by creating groups of people who meet specific search criteria. You can then run RM reports on the group instead of everyone in your database or selecting individuals from the list each time.

"As a test, I created a group for individuals who had any fact place containing "Los Angeles" AND any fact source that "does not exist" using dropdown menus using Find in the Select People option. I then ran a list individuals report to display facts sorted by person. See "Working with Groups" in the help section for more info."

My response:  Ah, create a group!  Is that the key?  I will try it.  Thanks!

*  Nettie said:  "Any of the reports can be saved as a rtf form and come up in a word processing file and THEN you can sort or change them. I do that all the time."

My response:  Thanks.  I usually use PDF because the RTF file that RootsMagic creates doesn't open in my OpenOffice word processor.  It does open with Wordpad, however.  My choice.

Another factor for me is that, for narrative reports, I want to create a title page, an introduction, etc. to the report that RootsMagic creates.  If I edit the RTF report to add pages, that messes up the Index.

*  Randy said: "When I had my info online I received many more contacts from spammers than serious inquiries. This method does look interesting however."

My response:  That's one reason why I did it previously in HTML on a web page, and now in PDF format rather than in blog posts - to avoid the spammers.  They could email me but they get no online exposure and no response - so a waste of their time and effort.

I'm surprised that there have been over 680 reads of one of my PDF reports that I have on Scribd. There is an option to "Comment" on the PDF report, but nobody has yet.  

*  Russ asked:  "Have you put your Place Names into the Place Name Authority format? If so, you can put the full Place Name into the "Contains" field, where you just entered Sudbury.

"OR: You can < filter out "Sudbury, Suffolk, England"

"A real benefit of putting Place Names into the PNA authority format."

My response:  I tried putting the exact Place Name "Sudbury, Worcester, Massachusetts, United States" into the "Contains" field and it treated them as OR search terms - it found whatever place name had any one of them.  I tried putting it in quotes and that didn't work either.

No, I haven't used the PNA feature yet, Russ.  Thanks for the suggestion.  I know you did a blog post on it at

*  Connie Sheets offered (concerning creating a report for unsourced events in a specific place):  "Yes, it can be done.

"(1) If necessary, clear any previous tagging you've done. 
(2) From the Location list, tag everyone with a Sudbury, Mass. location.
(3) Go to the Search menu and click on the Missing Sources tab.
Check what type of Missing Source list you want (I'd guess Anything might be your best bet, but you might want a list of only Birth data, or only Death data, etc.)
(4) Click on Create List. This will give you a list of everyone in your database with Missing Sources, but notice that some of them (the ones with a Sudbury location) will be Tagged.
(5) Click on the Search button at the bottom of the list, choose Show All Tagged, then Tag 1 individuals. This will convert your list of people with missing sources to only those people with Sudbury locations.
(6) Click the Print button at the bottom of the list, and choose the options you want from the various tabs. For example, on Row 1 you might want to print the birth and death data, or only the burial data, etc.
From there, you can click Preview, Print, or Save as per usual."

And:  "Clarification re: Step 5 in my above comment:
(5) Click on the Search button at the bottom of the list, choose Show All Tagged, then Tag 1 individuals. This will convert your list of people with missing sources to only those people with missing sources AND a Sudbury location."

My response:  Thank you, Connie.  That helps, although it seems complex just reading it.  To my simple mind, I think that a Place report with a check box for a specific place and another to find all unsourced Events would be easier to figure out and use.  I really do like simple!  

*  Kay Haden noted:  "I've been trying this today. I've discovered two things. The persons who report they are unable to merge have no dates at all and I think are therefore thought to be "living". I suspect this may have something to do with the Merge. I also noticed that a few times, the attempt to merge to people that did have dates and data, reported they could not merge, but if I waited for a bit, they went ahead and merged and disappeared from the reported Duplicates."

My response:  Excellent observation.  I thought that I had seen that, but could not duplicate it.  I think the IOUS problem is real - you can't merge them.  The others with limited information (no data, no parents, no children, no dates, no locations) may get merged after all.

My thanks to all of my readers for fighting through the Captcha trap and writing helpful and friendly comments.

I do get some spam comments, and Blogger is pretty good at putting them where their words don't shine.  I did get an interesting one from Anonymous last week:

"Hi! I just wanted to ask if you ever have any problems with hackers? My last blog (wordpress) was hacked and I ended up losing many months of hard work due to no backup. Do you have any solutions to protect against hackers? Also see my page > one way link building 

Um, strong passwords seems to work.  Backup works.  

Copyright (c) 2012, Randall J. Seaver


Connie Sheets said...


Try it! It really isn't all that complicated. The basic procedure (tagging) is key to being able to customize and print all types of reports from Legacy (highly customizable reports are one of Legacy's greatest strengths, IMO). It's actually similar to creating Groups in RootsMagic, but I think it's easier/faster to do in Legacy (and there is certainly more flexibility).

Although perhaps I misunderstood the type of report you want. If all you want is a list of missing citations (regardless of location), all you have to do is open the Search menu, select the Missing Citations tab, check which type of citations (Everything, Anything, Birth, Death, etc.), click Create List, click Print.

On the other hand, if you want something even more specific, say only people named Smith with a Sudbury, Mass location who are missing burial citations, you can do that too. Just use two tags (tag the surname SMITH, then tag the Sudbury locations) then search for missing burial citations.

I'd do a blog post showing these options, but I'm handicapped when it comes to saving screen captures and embedding them in a blog!

Connie Sheets said...

Well, now I'm embarrassed because I think I left out a step in my comment you quoted in this post.

It's still possible to do (and not all that complicated once you know what to do), but let me play with it and make sure I get everything right before posting this time!

Connie Sheets said...

I have corrected and clarified the procedure for creating a Missing Sources by Location report in Legacy on my pathetically neglected blog. Ignore my comments above and see