Monday, September 25, 2017

Dear Randy: What Is Your Genealogy Work Flow Using RootsMagic TreeShare?

An SDGS colleague asked this question at the RootsMagic User Group last Saturday.  It's a good one, and I was planning on writing about it.

Most Genea-Musings readers know that I use RootsMagic as my genealogy desktop software of choice, and that the new TreeShare feature provides the ability to synchronize an Ancestry Member Tree with my RootsMagic tree, although it is used one person at a time.  RootsMagic also provides WebHints with, MyHeritage, Findmypast and FamilySearch records for a specific person.  It also enables matching with persons in the FamilySearch Family Tree, and transfer of information one event and one person at a time.

I uploaded my RootsMagic family tree database as a NEW Ancestry Member Tree back in late June, and have been using the TreeShare feature almost every day.  Therefore, the information in my Ancestry Member Tree is the same as the information in my RootsMagic database.  I wrote My Best Practices for RootsMagic TreeShare and Ancestry WebHints (posted 11 July 2017) to codify my practices using the new RootsMagic features.  

Since I am in the middle of trying to find descendants of my 64 4th great-grandparents, since they are persons most likely to provide a close autosomal DNA match, I have been doing descendancy research one generation at a time in many of my ancestral lines.  For this work, my goal is to obtain birth, marriage, death, burial, census, draft registration, military, and other records to define my cousins in my database.

When I find a new person in a search on the Internet or an online record provider, or in one of the online family trees, this is my work flow process [Note: images are examples only]:

1)  Add the name, approximate birth date and death date if known) to my RootsMagic database as a new person.  Add a spouse name and/or children's names if available.  Connect the new person to parents if information is available.

2)  TreeShare the new person(s) in RootsMagic to add to my Ancestry Member Tree.  

3)  Adding or updating a person to my Ancestry Member Tree ignites Ancestry's Record Hint engine, and within minutes there are usually a number of Hints for the "low-hanging record fruit" - census, birth, marriage, death, burial, draft registrations, etc. records.

4)  Check the Hints on the website where I can click on each Hint and see the record.  I add information from the relevant Hints to the person profile in RootsMagic, and add a source citation for each record added to the event and to the name used in the record (this may be an alternate name).

5)  In RootsMagic, check the WebHints for the person in FamilySearch, MyHeritage and Findmypast.  Most of these are "low hanging record fruit" also and often are identical to what I found on Ancestry.  However, I do find records on those sites that are not on Ancestry, especially in England and Europe since I don't have an Ancestry World subscription.

6)  On the record summary, Ancestry provides a list of "Suggested Records" that may be helpful.  It's easier to use the "Suggested Records" list to add content for the person in one fell swoop than to deal with individual Hints.  Note:  not all Hints and "Suggested records" are accurate - some do not apply to the person at hand.

7)  Do a Search on Ancestry, MyHeritage, Findmypast and FamilySearch for records for the person, using the known information at hand to limit the results.  Some of the record providers may limit their Hints to a set of popular databases - Ancestry takes the top 10% of databases by record count to use as Hints.

8)  With all of the above records and sources added to the RootsMagic database, along with downloaded media for some of the person(s), I can now TreeShare the person(s) information again to my Ancestry Member Tree.  

9)  Match, add or update my RootsMagic person(s) with the profile for the person in FamilySearch Family Tree.  I can add sources and notes to the FSFT profile. 

10)  At this point, the information for my RootsMagic person(s) is identical to the information in my Ancestry Member Tree and in FamilySearch Family Tree.

Obviously, the above process captures the "low hanging online record fruit," but not all of the records that are available for a person.  There is a wealth of newspaper, probate, land, court, tax, church, military, immigration, and other records that are not digitized and/or indexed for our ancestral families.  I pursue those records for my ancestral families on a regular basis, but not for every person in my RootsMagic database.

However, the process above does provide a baseline profile for a person that can be useful in descendancy research, in one name studies, DNA matches, etc.  For me, that is "good enough" for my purpose.  My goal here is that my work using this process will help other researchers who run across it in the online trees, or on my blog.

I'm hoping that MyHeritage, Findmypast, Geni and WikiTree will create APIs that work with RootsMagic similar to the Ancestry API or the Family Tree API so that I can do something similar with my tree persons on those sites also.  

So how are you using the RootsMagic TreeShare feature?  


Copyright (c) 2017, Randall J. Seaver

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Marian B. Wood said...

Randy, your work flow process makes a lot of sense. I do something similar, with two differences: (1) I also open Find a Grave to see whether the person is listed there, look for relationship links and other hints, and do a search for others with that last name in that cemetery, and (2) I often work in Ancestry first and then synch with RM7, not the other way around, because the colored screen in Ancestry is easier to see.

Diane Gould Hall said...

Good post Randy. I do something similar with Legacy and whatever website I'm using (very often Ancestry). Using two monitors makes copying and pasting a breeze and sourcing takes just a minute or two in Legacy.

Randy Seaver said...

Marian, I rely on Ancestry to provide a Find A Grave Hint or Suggested Record for my "new" person, and I click on the FAG Hint and go to the FAG profile and enter data from the profile, rather than the Ancestry Hint.

As I've noted before, I don't download info from Ancestry directly into RootsMagic because it adds Ancestry style Facts, adds a crappy Ancestry source citation and a record image I really don't need (in most cases).

I enter data into RootsMagic in order to keep my RM file as "clean" as possible.