Friday, January 28, 2011

Source Citation Dilemma in Legacy Family Tree 7

When I last looked at creating Source Citations in Legacy Family Tree 7, in Peeking at Legacy Family Tree 7.5 Source Citations in the GEDCOM File - Post 1, I found that the source citations created using the Legacy SourceWriter templates followed the Evidence! Explained model well.  After that post, I created a number of different types of source citations using the SourceWriter templates.  The other conclusion from that study was that Legacy Family Tree 7 created a GEDCOM file that put the source elements into the right tags and did not add extraneous words to the GEDCOM file.  That was all to the good.

My dilemma now is this:  I have over 20,000 sources citations in over 650 Master Sources, but all of the Master Sources (except the ones I've created recently using the SourceWriter) are Basic Sources because they came across in the GEDCOM file in that format (since GEDCOM has fairly rigid tag fields). 

My idea was to create a Template Source for many of the Master Sources, then combine or merge all of the citations in Basic Sources into the Template Source.  Here was the process I tried to use:

I created a Template Source for the Massachusetts Vital Records, 1841-1910 online database using the "Death Records = Death register = Created at state/provincial level = Online image" template in SourceWriter:

The resulting Source Citations for this source using the SourceWriter template are:

Footnote/Endnote Citation: 
Massachusetts State Archives, Massachusetts Vital Records, 1841-1910, ; digital image, New England Historic Genealogical Society, American Ancestors (  
Subsequent Citation:
Massachusetts Massachusetts Vital Records, 1841-1910, .
Massachusetts. State Archives. Massachusetts Vital Records, 1841-1910. New England Historic Genealogical Society. American Ancestors. 2004.  

Well, those are not perfect, are they?  The problems I have include:

* In the Footnote/Endnote, there is a comma after "1910." 
*  In the Subsequent citation, there is the word "Massachusetts" before the name of the database (caused by putting the Jurisdiction State in the field in the template)
*  In the Subsequent citation, there is an extra comma after "1910." 
*  In the Bibliography, the word "Massachusetts" has a period after it (again, the Jurisdiction State entry in the template).

I attempted to duplicate the Legacy SourceWriter template citation in the Basic Source Citation, with this result:

The resulting Source Citations for this source using the Basic Source template are:

Footnote/Endnote Citation:
Massachusetts State Archives, Massachusetts Vital Records, 1841-1910 [online database],
Boston, Mass. : New England Historic Genealogical Society, American Ancestors ( , 2004.
Subsequent Citation:
Massachusetts State Archives, Massachusetts Vital Records, 1841-1910 [online database],
Boston, Mass. : New England Historic Genealogical Society, American Ancestors ( , 2004.
Massachusetts State Archives, Massachusetts Vital Records, 1841-1910 [online database],
Boston, Mass. : New England Historic Genealogical Society, American Ancestors ( , 2004.

 The problems I see with this set of Basic Source Citations include:

*  They are not exactly what the Evidence! Explained model for this type of source citation shows, but it is close.  I can probably edit it to be closer to the EE models.
*  There is no extraneous punctuation in the citations
*  The website name is not italicized as in the SourceWriter template and EE model.
*  The Subsequent Citation is in an improper format (since it wasn't created from a SourceWriter template)
*  The Bibliography entry is in an improper format (since it wasn't created from a SourceWriter template).

Be that as it may, I want to combine all 1,423 of the source citations made with the Free-form template with the one made by the SourceWriter template.  There appears to be an easy way to do this - there is a button at the bottom of the Master Source List (View = Master Lists = Source) to "Combine Highlighted Source with Another in the List":

I clicked that button, then it said "Highlight Destination Source, Then Click this Button" and I did that, and got this screen:

UPDATED 31 January:  Noticed that two screens were out of order, fixed it!
 The message box says:

"Basic Style and Template Style sources cannot be combined.  You need to select all Basic Style sources or all Template Style sources.  Don't mix the two.

"Would you like to turn on the display of Template ID's to make it easier to see which sources can be combined?"

Well, that didn't work.  Is there another way to combine two master sources of different types?  I checked the "Options" button in the Master Source List and that didn't work (presumably because the two Source citations were not exactly equal to each other) either.

So I still have a major dilemma:

Do I accept the fact that I can't combine the Basic Source and SourceWriter Source data, and stick with the Basic source?  The benefit here is I can probably put information into the Basic Source template fields to closely match Evidence! Explained models, without using the SourceWriter templates.  The downside is that the Subsequent Citations and Bibliography entries will not be correct in a report created by Legacy Family Tree 7. 

On the other hand, if I convert all 20,000+ source citations to the Legacy SourceWriter templates (which will be a major time effort), I would have Evidence! Explained quality source citations (with minor punctuation problems) for Footnotes/Endnotes, Subsequent and Bibliography entries.  However, whenever I export a Legacy Family Tree 7 database as a GEDCOM file to another software program (for whatever reason) or to an online database (I have about ten out in the genealogy world right now), all source citations will be transferred in a Basic Source format due to the limitations of the GEDCOM 5.5 standard. 

Will another program read the Legacy Family Tree 7 native format file?  Yes - RootsMagic 4 can do that (it says...).  I think that I will explore what happens if I import the LFT7 file into RootsMagic 4 to see if the sources come across in a template form, or if a Basic Source form and a Template Source form can be combined easily.

The Seaver Source Citation Search for Perfection continues... stay tuned!


Susan Park said...

I think most of us pick one program and stick with it no matter what its deficiencies may be. It's kind of like choosing a spouse. None are perfect, but some come close. I would not abandon my program of choice just because it doesn't translate incoming or outgoing sources "just right."

I'd like for Randy Seaver, the private citizen, to just choose one program and get on with your research for heaven's sake! Life is too short to waste it by rearranging source fields.

But I'm glad that the public Randy Seaver, my favorite geneablogger, keeps on testing and reporting this stuff so we can continue to learn from his efforts.

Cousin Russ said...


Have you tried to Export a GEDCOM file using one or two examples, say a Free Form and a Template, from Legacy 7.5 and open that GEDCOM in either RM4 or FTM2011?


I can't speak for Randy, but I know that the issue isn't about choosing a genealogy program, but what Randy is pointing out, I think, is that we WILL have trouble SHARING our research with other researchers. I know that is the issue that I am working on.

These programs, Legacy, Roots Magic, and Family Tree Maker, just to mention 3, are all encouraging us to Cite our Sources and giving us tools to bring them into the Evidence Explained! format (the defacto standard). But, when we try to Share our research, out carefully documents, in the right format citations get mangled when the other researcher opens that file.

That happened to me. I shared my Research from Family Tree Maker to a newly found cousin, who used Roots Magic, and my citations were lost. Not a good way to start sharing research this new cousin.

At least that is my view of what some of Randy's excellent work is showing me, at least.

Thank you,


Donna Hansen Peterson said...

Thanks Randy, I've begun to work on my source citations and currently playing with the same programs. My concern has been which program feels more intuitive to me. If I don't like the way it feels - I won't do it.

Eileen said...

I am interested in these articles for twofold: the first reason is for sharing information with others and the second is to make sure that everything transfers.

Thank you for pointing out that RM4 can import Legacy 7.5.

As I stated in a prior post, I used TMG 7 to directly import my FTM 2009 file and then created a GEDCOM from TMG, which I imported into Legacy 7.5. Everything transferred. I then imported the same GEDCOM into RM4 and lost all my media (over 500 pieces).

I just imported the Legacy 7.5 database that I created from the GEDCOM into RM5 and it worked. All media transferred. Yey!

Now I have Legacy 7.5, RM4, and TMG databases that contain all my data and media. Next step is to view the quality of the data.

I am closely following this series of posts. Thank you for taking the to perform these experiments and enlighten us.

Anonymous said...

I am very grateful for Randy's research. It's the kind of thing I just won't/can't do myself but am delighted that someone with the knowledge and skill does.

I moved from FTM to Legacy several years ago and just recently switched back to FTMv11. Why?

I just never found Legacy -- and ESPECIALLY the source writer to be intuitive. I could look up how to do an action in source writer. But it wouldn't stay with me.

I was a computer software specialist for many years. I'm used to learning a variety of programs and remembering keystrokes or function keys that are used often. Since I was attempting to clean up my sources, I was into Legacy at least once a week and for several hours at a time.

I finally just gave up and maybe Randy just pointed out why. The results weren't consistent with what I expected. I can't use a program that has me grabbing for the reference guide constantly for the SAME activity.

Thanks Randy for your research and willingness to share.

Cousin Russ said...


The reason that you lost your images going to Family Tree Maker is that a GEDCOM (V5.5) does NOT include any images.

The reason that the images were included later in your message is that at least Roots Magic 4 using GEDCOM 5.5.1, which includes LINKS to images, not the images. But since the images were on your computer, where RM4 had them, you will see them in other programs.

If you want to see more about this Sharing issue, please visit this Blog:

At the top of that blog, is a link to Data Tests. That page will refer back to a number of GEDCOM tests that have been done.

These tests are in addition to what Randy has posted.