Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Checking Out FamilySearch Web Search Feature on Family Tree Maker 2017

I downloaded Family Tree Maker 2017 on Sunday night, but have not had a lot of time to work with it.

I had a "working" Ancestry Member Tree synced with the earlier version of FTM, so when I opened FTM 2017, I synced with that tree.  It is a relatively small tree (only 547 persons with a few media items).  There had been changes to the Ancestry tree since the last sync, and it synced quickly.

One NEW feature I wanted to look at was the Web Search interface with FamilySearch.  I was prompted to log into FamilySearch in FTM 2017 with my credentials.

1)  I selected a person, Robert Leroy Thompson (1880-1965), in the FTM tree to work on - here is the "People" workspace and the "Tree" view::

I immediately noticed that there were two icons for this person in the pedigree chart on the screen above.  When I ran my mouse over them, the blue square was FamilySearch Hints, and the green leaf was Ancestry Hints.

2)  For reference purposes, I selected the "Person" view for Robert Leroy Thompson, and saw the list of Facts, with the numbers for Sources, Media, and Notes, and the Person notes below:

For comparison purposes later, I noted that there were:

*  Name:  9 sources, 3 media
*  Birth:  2 Facts, 2 sources, 2 media
*  Death:  2 Facts, 2 sources, 0 media

3)  I went back to the "Tree" view, and clicked on the blue FamilySearch icon for Robert Leroy Thompson.  The "Web Search" workspace opened with FamilySearch highlighted on the left-side of the screen (note that I could have selected "Web Search" and then highlighted Family Search on the left of the screen):

The screen above informed me that there was a profile for Robert Leroy Thompson on the FamilySearch Family Tree (Person ID LKD5-HGM).  The information for my FTM person is on the left-hand side of the bottom of the screen above, and the information from the FamilySearch Family Tree profile is presented on the right-hand side of the bottom of the screen above.  The FSFT has 7 Facts, one spouse and four children in the profile.

Most of the data between my FTM person and the FSFT profile are the same, but there are some Facts in FSFT that are not in the FTM profile.

4)  In order to bring the informatino from the FamilySearch Family Tree into Family Tree Maker, I have to click on the "Merge" button above the list of FSFT Facts.

When I do that, I am presented with the list of Facts from the FTM person (on the left) and from the FSFT profile (on the right):

I decided not to click any buttons on the FSFT side, but I'm not sure what is the right thing to do.  I don't want to mess up my FTM person's Facts (even though this is a "working" tree).

I clicked on the "Next" button at the bottom of the screen above, and as presented with the "Spouse" screen:

Again, I clicked on "Next" and went through the screens for the four children.

 5)  Finally, I was shown a summary page for Robert Leroy Thompson that showed Preferred and Alternate Information for all six persons:

6)  Back in the "People" workspace and in the "Person" view, I can see that there are additions to the Facts and Sources:

For the three items listed in 2) above, there are now:

*  Name:  12 sources, 3 media
*  Birth:  3 Facts, 8 sources, 3 media
*  Death:  3 Facts, 6 sources, 0 media

7)  The added Facts and Sources are from the FamilySearch Family Tree.  Here is one of the FSFT source citation screens:

The "Reference Note" for the FSFT source for the Name Fact is:, FamilySearch Family Tree, FamilySearch, "Family Tree," database, <i>FamilySearch</i> ( : modified 26 May 2017, 20:31), entry for Robert Leroy Thompson(PID; contributed by various users. PersonID LKD5-HGM.

The "Reference Note" for the 1940 U.S. Census source for the Name Fact is:, FamilySearch Family Tree, FamilySearch, "United States Census, 1940," database with images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 19 July 2017), Leroy Thompson, Civil District 8, Washington, Tennessee, United States; citing enumeration district (ED) 90-8, sheet 32B, line 59, family 584, Sixteenth Census of the United States, 1940, NARA digital publication T627.  Records of the Bureau of the Census, 1790 - 2007, RG 29. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 2012, roll 3944.

FamilySearch does sources pretty well.  They're almost the only record provider that does IMHO.

There is a link to see which Facts a specific source is used for - here is the one for the FamilySearch Family Tree:

The FSFT is used as a source for 8 Facts - Marriage for both parties, and Name, Birth, Burial, Death, Residence and Sex for Robert Leroy Thompson.

There are four stars awarded to the 8 Facts - I don't know what the measurement means.

The FTM merge captures all of the sources on the FamilySearch Family Tree profile, and adds a source for the tree itself.  If sources are on the profile, they are included.  If sources are not included on the profile, then they are not included in the FTM Source list.

8)  This is a helpful feature added to Family Tree Maker 2017, but it does not enable the user to actually "Search" FamilySearch records - it searches only in the FamilySearch Family Tree.  

However, if you add a link to your Web Search for the FamilySearch search page ( you can search for records for the target person by filling in the search form, but you have to capture it in Web Search by using Web Clipping as before FTM 2017.

9)  Sin e I added information to six persons, now I have to sync my tree again.  It worked again, but it is a small tree with few media items.


Disclosure:  I purchased a copy of Family Tree Maker 2017 at RootsTech and am enjoying exploring the new features. 

Copyright (c) 2017, Randall J. Seaver

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me2 said...

Very helpful as I didn't know how to use the FS results in a meaningful way. Thanks

Richard Park said...

There are four stars awarded to the 8 Facts - I don't know what the measurement means.

I believe the four 'hollow' stars are what may be awarded. The sources have not yet been evaluated, or the stars awarded would be colored.

David said...

No they don't do sources well at all. Try finding a census record from England and Wales that has been attached to someone in the Familysearch tree. They don't have anywhere near enough information in the citation to locate it within the archival reference system, and by extension they don't have nearly enough information to locate it within sites like Ancestry either.

They also have a fundamentally problematic approach when it comes to multiple source citations from the same database. There is no order to the source citations with a person in the Familysearch tree, except the order the citatations were attached to the person. Also only birth, death, christening and burial can have sources directly attached: everything else has a nebulous association with sources at the person level. They also suffer from a fundamental lack of some types of relationship fact, making no distinction between marriages and marriage banns and marriage licences in their databases at all.

All-in-all a great deal of improvement needs to take place before their treatment of sources and citations can even be considered remotely near "good".

Unknown said...

You note that: "The 'Reference Note' for the FSFT source for the Name Fact" contains "contributed by various users". I do not consider this to be a reliable citation. Anyone could have contributed anything based on no source whatsoever.