Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Looking at My New RootsMagic Upload Ancestry Member Tree and Source Citations

After the very welcome announcement this morning by both RootsMagic and Ancestry.com that the new TreeShare and WebHints features in RootsMagic were now available in RootsMagic 7.5.0.0, I went ahead and uploaded my large RootsMagic family tree to a NEW Ancestry Member Tree.  I described the process in GREAT NEWS: RootsMagic Now Has Ancestry TreeShare and WebHints Activated.

I was on a time crunch, and had to go to the CVGS Annual Picnic in Bonita at 11 a.m., so I hoped that the upload was complete when I got home after 2 p.m.  

1)  It did!  I checked the "Tree Overview" screen in my new Ancestry Member Tree and saw:



This shows that my new Ancestry Member Tree had 48,087 people in it (funny, my RootsMagic tree had 48,084 - what are the three "new" people?) and already I had 642 people with Hints and there were 4158 Record hints.  Ancestry's been busy!

2)  I went to the Pedigree View and, sure enough, the green leaves, which signify Hints, had sprouted on my 5-generation tree.  And on many more persons.


3)  I clicked on the profile for my grandfather, Frederick Walton Seaver (1876-1942) and saw:


He had a long list of Facts and Sources, and there are 20 Hints indicated.  I looked at all of them on the Hint list, and they all apply to this person.

4)  My major concern with this direct upload of a RootsMagic database to Ancestry (and Ancestry to RootsMagic) feature is the source citations.  Do the RootsMagic source template (Evidence Explained quality) citations transfer perfectly?  Do the RootsMagic free-form source citations transfer perfectly?  In years past, I've shown that a RootsMagic export to GEDCOM to Ancestry import badly mangles the EE-based source templates, while the free-form citations transfer pretty well.

5)  What about with this direct import from RootsMagic to a new Ancestry Member Tree?

For my grandfather's profile in RootsMagic, I have several source citations for the 1930 U.S. Census because I wanted to see how different templates worked.  One of them was an EE-based source template, and one was a free-form template.

In the Ancestry Member Tree on his profile, two 1930 U.S. Census sources are highlighted in purple in the image below:

6)  The first one outlined on the screen above is the free-form source template in RootsMagic.  Here is the filled in RootsMagic free-form template:


Here is the Ancestry tree source citation information for the free-form citation:


The reader can possible see that the "Master Source" information for the Footnote in the RootsMagic free-form template is in the "Source information" field on the Ancestry template, and that the "Source Details" information is in the "Detail" field on the Ancestry template.  The Repository information also transferred well to the Ancestry template.  I also had a Fact Note for this Fact, and it transferred to the Ancestry template in the "Transcription" field.  However, all formatting (especially line ends) are lost.

Here is my RootsMagic source citation Footnote with the free-form citation:

1930 United States Federal Census, Worcester County, Massachusetts, Leominster: Enumeration District 226, page 3A, dwelling 44, family 69, Fred W. Seaver household; digital images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com); citing National Archives Microfilm Publication T626, Roll 964.

Here is the Ancestry tree source citation typing the "Title" and then the "Detail" consecutively, separated by a comma:

1930 United States Federal Census, Worcester County, Massachusetts, Leominster: Enumeration District 226, page 3A, dwelling 44, family 69, Fred W. Seaver household; digital images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com); citing National Archives Microfilm Publication T626, Roll 964.

7)  Here is the RootsMagic "Census, U.S. Federal (Online Images)" EE-based source template, with the 1930 U.S. census entry for my grandfather:


Here is the Ancestry tree source for the EE-based source template:


The reader can possible see that the "Master Source" information for the Footnote in the RootsMagic EE-based source template is in the "Source information" "Title" field on the Ancestry template, and that the "Source Details" information is in the "Citation Information" "Detail" field on the Ancestry template.  The Repository information also transferred well to the Ancestry template.

While the EE-based source template in RootsMagic intersperses "Master source" and "Source details" information when it creates the source citation, the Ancestry tree puts all of the information in the "Master Source" fields into the "Title," with some extraneous punctuation (e.g., after schedule).  The "Credit line" is inserted at the end of the "Title" and the "access date" information is not inserted after the URL.  Note also the additional mangled punctuation in the "Source citation for ..." title at the top of the source citation screen.

Note also that the Fact Note for this Fact did not transfer to the Ancestry template in the "Transcription" field for some reason.  Perhaps they programmed it to appear on only the first source for a Fact.

The Footnote source citation for the EE-based source citation is "near-perfect" in my humble opinion:

1930 United States Federal Census, Worcester County, Massachusetts, population schedule, Leominster, enumeration district (ED) 226, page 3A, dwelling 44, family 69, Frederick W. Seaver household; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 14 June 2017); citing National Archives Microfilm Publication T626, Roll 964.

The Footnote source citation for the Ancestry citation (typing the "Title" first and the "Detail" second is:

1930 United States Federal Census, Worcester County, Massachusetts, population schedule, , ; digital image, Ancestry.com(http://www.ancestry.com : accessed ); citing National Archives Microfilm Publication T626, Roll 964. Leominster; 226; page 3A; dwelling 44, family 69; Frederick W. Seaver household; 14 June 2017.

8)  This may not seem like a BIG DEAL to many genealogists, but it is a BIG DEAL to me and other researchers that have tried very hard over the last decade to get our source citations as close to Evidence Explained quality as possible.  

 It is why I have tried to use the Free-form source template when I can for my source citations - they don't get mangled when transferred to another family tree format as the EE-based source templates do.

This is not the fault of RootsMagic - they crafted terrific source citation templates.  The problem is that there is not a genealogy industry standard for transferring source citations from one family tree to another family tree.  GEDCOM doesn't recognize the multiple fields crafted in EE-based source templates.  In this case, Ancestry runs those multiple fields together, separated by a comma, into the "Title" and "Detail" fields, without regard to the EE-based guidelines.

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Copyright (c) 2017, Randall J. Seaver


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5 comments:

Marian B. Wood said...

Randy, thanks for the detailed review. I'm considering this software but also want to be able to download/synch Ancestry trees and citations to my computer's software. Your experience shows that uploads work well--wonder whether downloads will work properly?

Marian Koalski said...

I repeat Marian Wood's thanks for sharing your findings on this. As you say, it is a BIG DEAL to the rest of us.

Darren Price said...

Yes, thanks - I especially appreciate the level of detail you've provided here. I do the same thing using Family Tree Maker, with mixed results on the citation presentation on the Ancestry side.

If you attach records from the Ancestry side and then synch with your desktop softwate, the Ancestry-created citations can be bizarre, to say the least (for rexample, did you know that Ancestry.com and the LDS church were the authors of the 1880 census? I certainly didn't). However, it turns out that their generated citations can be edited off-line (up to a point), and re-synched back without impacting the on-line link to Ancestry's records.

Marcia Philbrick said...

During my beta testing, downloading sources would pull Ancestry's source format with a citation detail line that could be filled in. It also pulled down the source for each fact it would document. Thus, a census source could get pulled down multiple times for the same person since it was attached to multiple facts.

Marcia Philbrick said...

I decided to 'retry' the downloading of sources to see if the behavior had improved since beta testing and discovered that it is working better. See the following post for the results of this experimentation: TreeShare: Downloading Sources