Monday, May 4, 2015

Checking Out Beta Source Citations in Ancestry Member Trees

It's May 2015, and the Beta graphical interface may be ready for release soon (they said they would start releasing it gradually starting in May).

The last time I looked at source citations in Ancestry Member Trees while using the Beta, I was disappointed that the presentation was very poor.

I looked again today, and the presentation is better!  In fact, it's very similar to what I saw in my own AMT (except I couldn't edit someone else's tree sources).  Here's a short tour:

1)  Here is the Isaac Seaver (1823-1901) in someone else's Ancestry Member Tree:

I clicked on the 1880 U.S. Census source on the screen above, and it showed me that the source was attached to the name, birth and 1880 census Residence event.

2)  In order to see the full source citation, I clicked on the "View" link in the specific source purple box on the screen above.  The source citation information screen pops up with four tabs - the "Ancestry Record" is shown below:

The "Ancestry Record" summary has a link to view the image and the record summary, and provides the record summary in the popup screen.

3)  The "Citation Detail" tab shows Citation Information (transcription of text, detail, web address), Source Information (title, author, publisher), and Repository Information (name, web address) for this particular source:

This source citation was produced by the tree owner attaching the 1880 U.S. Census record summary to the person in the Ancestry Member Tree.

4)  The third link is for the "Associated Facts" which shows the facts that the source citation is attached to:

There is no easily copied source citation with the source title and citation detail in one text paragraph.
5)  A user could capture the elements to create a source citation that could be used in a report, e.g.:

1880 United States Federal Census, Year: 1880; Census Place: Leominster, Worcester, Massachusetts; Roll: T9_565; Family History Film: 1254565; Page: 533.3000; Enumeration District: 850; Image: .

6)  But that is not an Evidence Explained quality source citation, is it?  I would edit the source citation to read, using the available information:

1880 United States Federal Census, Worcester County, Massachusetts, population schedule, Leominster, ED 850, page 533C, Isaac Seaver household; digital image, ( : accessed 4 May 2015); citing National Archives Microfilm Publication T9, Roll 565.

At least most of the basic elements for the source citation are provided, although the name of the head of household and the dwelling and family numbers are not provided, and the image numbers from the FamilySearch microfilm is not provided.

Here is the source citation from the same source in the same tree using the current graphical interface

7)  So the "new" source citation is marginally improved - it mentions the database, and adds the NARA microfilm publication number.  But it doesn't meet Evidence Explained quality standards as I hoped it would.

Does anyone else care about this?  I think that it is important that one of the premier genealogy companies provides an industry standard source citation for records that it provides.  The hope is, of course, that having an industry standard source citation will encourage genealogists to cite them when they attach the record to their online family tree, or download the image to their computer and attach it to a person and/or event in their genealogy management program on their computer.

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Copyright (c) 2015, Randall J. Seaver

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Russ Worthington said...


I guess that is an improvement and I have seen similar results in the FTM2014 Web Merge Feature. However, I will continue to take the Source information and put them into the Template Feature of FTM2014 and craft the citation to try to meet the Evidence Explained format.

What is missing, and removed this most important feature was the " : accessessed )" feature that was included for a couple of months on the Web Merge Feature.

I expressed my concern about that, but see it's not in the "new and improved" citation in an Ancestry Member Tree.


Larry and Colleen said...

Great review. And Russ may have answered this in part, but would like you comments to -

How does this "translate" into the FTM 2014 synced file on the PC (presuming the AMT feature you talk about can apply to a synced tree)? In other words, will ALL the citations and other info be recorded and maintained in FTM (even if the synch or links are broken with the AMT)?

Look forward to your reply.
2015MY05 10:50

Randy Seaver said...


If you created a source citation in FTM 2014 and then synced with a new AMT, then your citation should remain the way you created it.

If you attached a record in an AMT, then Ancestry created the source citation using their methods. When you sync or download the AMT with an FTM file, then the source citation should be the way Ancestry created it.

If you break the link between FTM and the AMT then all of the source citations, and media, should be the way they were at the time of the de-sync.

Hope that's clear -- Randy

Interesting that I'm responding on 2015 May04 1830.

Larry and Colleen said...

Thanks for that. Yup understand it is the way it is at de-sync, but what IS that on for citations added on AMT now on FTM? Will the actual citation, source, etc be INCLUDED in FTM or does it disappear, only to be found on the AMT version?
Yes, living this side of the bigger pond, you get used to being ahead of everyone else.
You PDT - thought you were EDT?
2015MY05 11:40 Sydney (AEST) MY04 18:40 PDT

Randy Seaver said...

Hi Larry, I'm in San Diego area so PDT. Close to you, no? :)

If you attached the image to your AMT, then the source citation will appear on the AMT, and when you sync you should have both the image and source citation in FTM.

Am I understnading the question?

Cheers -- Randy

Larry and Colleen said...


Yes you understand exactly. However have heard that some items (census?) do NOT come across and the link is broken. (You can see I don't use US Cenuss a lot - the ones I do, I took a JPG image to ensure it stayed in FTM). Are there still these "breakable" links / images?

We'll you are closer to me than EDT (by 3 hours)!
2015MY05 13:05 Sydney, MY04 20:05 PDT

Unknown said...

I loved reading this review.
good genealogists never give up.

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Randy Seaver said...


I recall now that if you do not have a subscription to the collection that you attached to your tree, then the image won't download to FTM in a sync.

For example, if you attached a US census record to a person when you had a US subscription and then let the US sub lapse and had only an Australian subscription, that image would not download in a sync. The citations and events would sync, I think.

Larry and Colleen said...

Are there any other instances (aside from census records) where this would occur?

Would you also please report the failure to include census image as a fault?

2015MY06 1:50 Sydney, MY05 18:50 PDT

Claire V Brisson-Banks said...

Russ, Wonder if you could share how you craft your citations using a template? Claire

Josephine said...

Hi Randy,

I have a question I hope you might have figured out the answer to already. Where is the comments section in Beta, normally found at the bottom of each profile? I've used mine to store more extensive stories and information that didn't quite fit in the timeline. I REALLY hope Ancestry isn't going to eat it in the new format! Thanks