Friday, January 25, 2013

Using RecordSeek to Add Sources to the FamilySearch Family Tree

In my blog post, Finding the Best Way to Attach Sources to Persons in FamilySearch Family Tree, I lamented the fact that there was no easy way to create a source citation using a document not found in the FamilySearch historical record collections.

Reader Michael W. McCormick quickly commented:

"In your last paragraph you say it does not work for sources outside the FamilySearch collection. There is actually a 3rd party button that you can use to automatically create a source that links to any Internet page you are on. Find a record on FindAGrave, RootsWeb, or anywhere online? Use the button to make an instant source for Family Tree. Learn more here: I am not affiliated with them, but I think it comes in handy. It is still not as easy to add sources as some other online trees, but this button helps."

I vaguely recalled reading something about this thing called RecordSeek, but the information came out just before Christmas and I was busy and did not follow up on it.

I explored and used the RecordSeek TreeConnect bookmarklet yesterday, and really like this tool to add sources to the FamilySearch Family Tree.  It works well, creating source citations similar to those created by the "My Source Box" with FamilySearch historical records.

The website says:

"Our bookmarklet is intuitive and easy to use.  drag it to your bookmark bar and that's it."

"Our bookmarklet is mobile optimized.  Use it on your favorite mobile device, and never be without."

"Our bookmarklet works on multiple platforms.  Supports all major browsers."

"RecordSeek is the easiest way to submit a website as a source to FamilySearch. Once you have it installed, go to any online website, and when you see a great source, click the 'Tree Connect' button in your Bookmark Toolbar."

The site says to "Drag this bookmarklet to your bookmark bar."  There is a green "Tree Connect" button.  There is a "Help" link next to the green button - check it out if you need more information.

I did as the site said - dragged it to my bookmark bar in Chrome.  That was easy - now how does it work?

I went to a non-FamilySearch website with records.  for this demonstration, I chose my great-grandparents Find A Grave site.  

Do you see the Bookmarklet "Tree Connect" on my Booksmarks Bar?  I pointed the red arrow to it in the screen above.

To create a source in the FamilySearch Family Tree for this record, I clicked on the Tree Connect bookmarklet:

1)  I had to sign into FamilySearch in order to access the Family Tree.

2)  The "Creating a Source" screen appeared in a new window:

The "Source Title (Required)" and "Where the Record is Found (Citation)" fields are filled in.  There is also a "Describe the Record (Notes)" field where the user can add information about the source, and a "Source Box (Folder)" field where I can choose to place the source found.

I added information to the "Describe the Record" and "Source box" fields by typing in the fields:

3) I clicked the "Save" button and then I had to fill in the "Discover Your Deceased Ancestors" form in order to attach my Source to the person in the Family Tree:

I added his full name, gender and event to the fields on the form.  I could have entered his spouse's name and his parents names, but I didn't.

4)  I clicked on the "Search" button to find him in the Family Tree:

5)  My Frank Walton Seaver is the first one on the list, so I clicked on his name link and saw the "Attach Source" field which wanted a reason to attach the source:

6)  I added my reason and clicked on the "Attach" button:

The screen above told me that the Source was attached to Frank Walton Seaver on the FamilySearch Family Tree.  On the screen above, I could choose to "View Your Source Box," "View Your Newly Created Source," "View Frank Walton Seaver's Person Card," or "Close Window."

7)  I chose to "View Your Nearly Created Source" button:

9)  If I had clicked on the "View Frank Walton Seaver's Person Card" link, I would have seen that the source appears on the Sources" list in the FamilySearch Family Tree in the same format as above (with the source detail clicked):

10)  As with the FamilySearch record collections, these source citations are not in Evidence! Explained format, and the user is limited as to the format used in Family Tree.  The user can edit any of the fields above.  The user can click on the web link to see the record on the website.  The user still has to click the "Tag" link on the source to attach the Source to an Event.

11) I tried this with other records on - both the record summary and the record image, and it worked well.  It also works for records in the FamilySearch historical record collections, the WorldvitalRecord collections, the GenealogyBank collections, etc.  For records not in an online database (e.g., a vital record certificate, a scanned probate record or deed, etc.), the user could link to a blog post that has the transcription and/or the image of the record.  

12) Note that the record image is not saved on the FamilySearch Family Tree system.  This prevents the Tree system from hosting millions of records already saved on the Internet, so that may be a good thing.  Also, the images on these websites are not "owned" or "copyrighted" by the user, so this avoids copyright issues.

The major problem with any source citation system that links to a web site is that the web site may change their page addresses or even disappear.  

13)  My opinion is that the RecordSeek bookmarketlet works really well.  It captures the website desired, and puts the information into the FamilySearch Family Tree Source format.  However, there are so many steps to work through to get it into the Family Tree that it seems like the same amount of effort as using the "My Source Box" for FamilySearch records.  

With some practice, this source citation process goes pretty fast, but it is not nearly as easy as "copy and paste" or "click and save" from a certified software program.  My hope remains that the FamilySearch Family Tree will provide an easier way to attach source citations to Persons using the certified software like RootsMagic and Legacy Family Tree.  

Kudos to Dovy Paukstys and the Real Time Collaboration team for creating a very useful source citation creator for the FamilySearch Family Tree.

There will be an Ohana Software webinar on Thursday, 31 January at 7 p.m. MST - see the announcement and register for the webinar at

My thanks to Michael Mccormick for mentioning the RecordSeek Tree Connect bookmarklet on my earlier blog post!

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copyright (c) 2013, Randall J. Seaver

1 comment:

GeneJ said...

HI Randy,

Although my work on FamilyTree has been mostly for naught, I found the source process bulky and the terminology, awkward.

(1) For me, the most straightforward part of the process involved adding a "source" to a person or couple (ala, union/marriage). As such, it is not a reference note citation, nor is it really a bibliographic citation. For lack of a better notion, it seems more like a source label.

(2) I found no way "tech/user friendly" way to associate the sources added to the birth, marriage, death (etc.) events as they are added. The best work around I could develop was to write a reference note into a dialog box that appears at the end of that add/edit event process. (The profile pages in FamilyTree are non-responsive right now, or I would provide a little blow by blow.)

The dialog entries (as in no. 2) are only retained in "history."