Thursday, May 19, 2016

Dear Randy -- How Do You Put a Census Extraction In Your RootsMagic Database?

Reader Jay recently asked this question in email, saying:

"In looking at your sample census citation for the 1850 Census, I see a nice summary of extracted information for the Lawton Wade household. Do you store this extract in your RootsMagic database? If so, where?  I'm looking for a nice, compact way to summarize the census information for a family in my RM database."

My answer was:

"Good question.  I was an aerospace engineer, and always thought in bullet points.  So it seemed natural to create a text summary of a family in a specific census record, with a summary of where the household was, and a bullet point for each family member, with all of the information for a person in a list separated by commas.  

"I put this information into the Fact note for the Census Fact (I use Census rather than Residence because there is more information than just the address).  I have put the summary into the Sources > specific source > Edit > Detail text field also in order to create a Research Note report.  I also copy and paste it into the person's Notes which I use for a chronological biography."

The blog post that Jay saw with a family bullet list was 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks - Week 75: #90 Simon Wade (1767-1857) (posted 5 June 2015) which had, among others, this list in the Notes:

"In the 1850 United States Census, Simon Wade was in the Lawton Wade household in Killingly, Windham County, Connecticut[6].  The household included:

*  Lawton Wade - age 34, male, a machinist, $100 in real property, born foster, R.I.
*  Aleph Wade - age 37, female, born Killingly, Ct
*  Lewis Wade - age 16, male, born Killingly, Ct.
*  Lucy A. Wade - age 14, female, born Gloucester R.I.
*  Julia A. Wade - age 13, female, born Killingly, Ct.
*  Henry L. Wade - age 8, male, born Bendville R.I., attended school
*  Mary A. Wade - age 4, female, born Killingly, Ct., attended school.
*  Simon Wade - age 82, male, a laborer, born Foster, R.I."

In RootsMagic, I enter this extracted information into the Fact Notes for an event, in this case the 1850 United States Census.  Here is a screen capture from my "Edit Person" screen for Simon Wade in RootsMagic 7:

After highlighting the Census Fact for 1850 on the Fact list, I clicked on the "Note" button on the right-hand side of the screen and saw what I had typed into the Fact Note:

I also copy this Fact, Fact Note and source citation into the "Edit Person" screen for all of the persons in the census record.  

One reason I do this is that I can transfer these Facts and Fact Notes and source citations efficiently to the Person Profile, including Notes and Sources, in the FamilySearch Family Tree as evidence to support my conclusions for persons.

Does your genealogy computer program support Fact Notes?  It should.  


Copyright (c) 2016, Randall J. Seaver

Please comment on this post on the website by clicking the URL above and then the "Comments" link at the bottom of each post.  Share it on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ or Pinterest using the icons below.  Or contact me by email at


Chris said...

Here I come being nitpicky. In the census note for Simon Wade. You did not capitalize Foster in the line for Lawton Wade.

Just keeping you on your toes.

Marian Koalski said...

Thanks for showing us your method in detail, Randy. It's important!

Since I began attaching my transcribed notes and document images to my sources (in Reunion), analyzing my research and the next step became much more straightforward. (I suspect it becomes more rational to anyone who gets a report from me, too.) Transcribing also makes me give more consideration to the tiny details on a document that sometimes point to a big story.

theKiwi said...

I post a transcription of the Census record into the "Memo" (what Reunion calls an Event Notes field). I format them in HTML so that they will appear as desired on my website which is my primary publishing venue. See for example the online version of the record for my great great grandfather William Moffat


Mary Kircher Roddy said...

I can't see the census image (maybe because I'm on my iPhone. But I see you are listing specific birth places (more than just state.) Is the census image that specific or have you added that detail based on other research you have done?

Randy Seaver said...

Hi Mary,

In this case, the birthplaces were that specific on the record.

Cheers -- randy