Sunday, July 6, 2008

Can Your Software Do This? - Series 3: FTM 16

I posted my latest genealogy software question earlier today - Can your genealogy software provide a list or report with the ages at death of selected people in your database? Preferably the ancestors of a person, in order from most years to fewest years. Or just the top 20 persons, say.

Here is how I managed to make a custom report in FamilyTreeMaker 16 to at make a list of my ancestors and their age at death:

1) click on the [Reports] icon

2) Select [Custom]

3) Click on [Contents] menu item

4) Click on [Individuals to Include in Report] item

5) Click button for [Selected Individuals]

6) Click button for [Individuals to Include]

7) Put the name of a person in the box - I chose myself

8) Click on the [Ancestors >] button. The list of ancestors of the selected person should be in the right hand column

9) Click OK.

10) Click on the [Content] menu item

11) Click on the [Items to Include in Report] item

12) Select items from the left hand list to be included. Use the right [>] button to put the items in the right-hand column. I included [Name], [Spouse}, [Age at first marriage] and [Age at death] for my report.

13) Click on the [OK] button

14) You should see a text report of all of your ancestors with the items requested. Mine is 29 pages long.

15) Click on the [Format] menu item

16) Click on [Sort Report]

17) In the "Sort by" box, pick [Age at death], click on [Descending] in the Oder button, and hit [OK]

18) A great 29 page report sorted by maximum age down to minimum age at death appears.

That seems like a very convoluted process, doesn't it? But the software did exactly what I wanted it to do - it made a list from oldest ancestor's age to youngest.

The Help button for FTM16 doesn't help at all - it doesn't describe how to do this task - I learned it by experimenting with the Custom Report buttons.

The following persons in my database who died at an age 100 or greater:

* Thomas Follansbee (ca 1621 - 1726) - 105 years (married to Mary --?--)

* John Wooden (ca 1620-1721) - 101 years (married to Mary --?--)

* Mary Samborne (1690-1790) - 100 years (married to William Healey)

* Mary Brownell (ca 1639 - ca 1740) - 100 years (married to Robert Hazard)

* Laurence Copeland (ca 1599-1699) - 100 years (married to Lydia Townsend)

Did you notice that all of the centenarians in my ancestry are from the 17th and early 18th centuries? Why is that? It shows that people did live to be 100 in those centuries, but also that the more ancestors you have in a time period, the more likely you are to have a centenarian! If I included everybody in my database, I might have many more "centenarian relatives," and perhaps some in the 19th and 20th centuries too!

Of course, my database is incomplete - I don't have birth or death dates for many people, so I probably have several more centenarians. Also, my database may have errors in it and the birth and death dates for individuals may be wrong.

What am I going to use this for, you ask? Well, the next Carnival of Genealogy is about AGE and I thought I'd better get a head start on it before I forget about it.

UPDATED: 8:30 pm. - figured out how to get it in age order, so I edited out some things and added several steps. Early versions of this post might be incomplete because I used the forward and backward carat signs and it thought I was an HTML programmer. Sorry about that!

UPDATED: 7 July, 9 a.m.: I knew I was going to embarrass myself if I put the names and ages in this post. Tamura Jones kindly informed me via email that Catalyntje deVos was born around 1627, and not in 1609, so I removed her from my list. Tamura also questioned the Henry Beck age - which I will address soon.

UPDATED: 7 July, 9:30 a.m. Caleb Beck died in 1686, not 1727-8, so he is off the list too! I admit that I was a great "name collector" in my early days of genealogy, but not a good genealogist... I'm trying to get better, but there are lots of errors lurking in my databases. Everybody else keeps finding them!


Anonymous said...

Thanks for that very detailed (and not so convoluted) information on how to make this kind of list. I much prefer FTM16 to 2008, but you may have already commented on that topic.

Anonymous said...

Would you please consider adding ID/URL to your ways to leave comments? Thanks!