Monday, November 14, 2011

Exploring Family Tree Maker 2012 - Post 23: Using an Existing Source Title

See all posts in this series at Exploring Family Tree Maker 2012 Compendium.

One of my major criteria for selecting a "preferred" genealogy management program is the ease in creating source citations. I want to demonstrate the source citation creation process in Family Tree Maker 2012 in a number of posts for several different types of records, both for my own education and, hopefully, to help others navigate this fairly complex process.
In this post, I will demonstrate how to find and use an existing master source citation. I created a source citation for my grandfather's birth certificate in Post 17, and want to create one for his brother also.  Before I started on Harry, I checked to see the Source Title of Frederick's birth certificate source citation - it was Massachusetts, Leominster, Birth Certificate.  Here is the process I used:

a) In the "People" workspace, I clicked on my grandfather, then his parents, and then clicked on his brother, Harry Clifton Seaver. 
b)  In Harry Seaver's "Individual and Shared Facts panel,  I highlighted Harry's Birth Fact.
c)  In the "Information" panel (right-hand side), I clicked on the "Source" tab and then the down arrow next to the "New" button and selected "Use an Existing source citation" from the dropdown menu:

d)  The "Find Source Citation" window opens (mine seems to open in the "All source citations" list (under "View by," and after some scrolling I found Frederick Seaver's entry listed as "Leominster, Massachusetts, Volume 16 ..."  The "All source citations" list is alphabetical by the source citation words - the words in the created "Reference Note."  That was quite a struggle to find, and the only way I found it was to put "Leominster" in the search box and just happened to see it.

An easier way to find an existing source title is to click on the down arrow in the "View by" dropdown menu, and pick "Source title:"

e)  When I select "Source title," I can see the list of source titles in the left-hand panel.  The "Massachusetts, Leominster, Birth Certificates" title is there, but I had to scroll down - there is no Search capability on that list that I found. 

There is an even easier way that I found by trial and error - select the "Add new source citation" from the dropdown list in step c) above.  When I do that, the "Add source citation for ..." window opens and I can start typing "Massach..." in the "Source title" field, as shown below:

 f)  I can select the right source title, and then see the Source citation window and enter the Citation Detail:

And it's done. 

That was not easy to learn the first time around - and it took quite a bit of trial and error to get to the final product.

I have over 700 "Source Titles" in my database at present, and there is an order to them.  First off, since many of them are free-form sources created in RootsMagic and transferred via GEDCOM into FTM 2012, the "Source Title" is like a "Master Source" (FTM 2012 does not use that term) and has the actual source citation less the citation detail.   The "Source titles" are in alphabetical order, but certain characters come before A in an alphabetized list.  For my Source titles, there are three groups of them in my list:

*  The "quotation list" - those items that start with a quotation mark (usually a title of a database), which are hen listed alphabetically after the quotation mark, e.g.:

*  After the "quotation mark" list comes the "italics list" which stats with a left carat (e.g., "<i>"), which includes all of my source titles that started with an italicized title, e.g.:

*  After the "italics list" comes the "Roman letter" list, alphabetized from A to Z, e.g.:

The "Roman letter" list often starts either the first name of the author, or the first word of a title that is not italicized.

In order to cite an existing "Source Title," I need to ask myself these questions:

*  Does the Source title lead with a quotation mark?
*  Does the Source title lead with an italics indicator?
*  Does the Source title lead with an author?
*  Does the Source title lead with the title without an author?

And then I have to scroll through the list of the "Source Titles" which have a fairly small font!

Frankly, that's too much for my aging brain to remember, and it is very frustrating to scroll though over 700 Source titles looking for the right one.  Other programs, like RootsMagic 4 and Legacy Family Tree 7, use a "Master Source Title" that a user can recall - for example, I use "Master Source Titles" like "Medfield VRs to 1850," "Massachusetts VRs, 1841-1910," "Seaver NEHGR article," "Eva Kempton book," etc.  I can almost always guess my "Master Source Title."  The "Master Source Titles" did not get transferred into FTM 2012 through the GEDCOM I imported, although my "Master Source Titles" are included in the ABBReviation tag in the GEDCOM file created by RootsMagic 4. 

The user can try to guess the leading characters in a "Source Title" but my experience is that I only occasionally guess correctly. 

One thing I do like:  if the user is entering source citations for a number of Facts, then the last source citation used is highlighted on the "Source Title" list when the user selects the "Use Existing Source Citation" link and all you have to do is click on the "Link to Citation" box or "Create New Copy" link. This is especially useful for Facts on the same page of a document, such as a published book or journal, a census record or a vital record book.

These are not new problems - I noted many of these Source citation issues in when I was working with Family Tree Maker 2011.


DK said...

Randy...Have you received any feedback from regarding these issues. I have all of my data in FTM 2012, but am seriously considering switching over to Legacy or RootsMagic. Any recommendations?


Cousin Russ said...


Have you thought about Starting with the document that you are looking at and create the Citation first.

If I understand your document, It's a Massachusetts, Leominster, Birth Certificate and it was just like Fredericks, already entered.

One you go to the Source, where one of the Citations is for Frederick, you click on Add, above the Right Hand (RH) Panel, and add the appropriate text from Frederick for Harry. Oh, Copy / Paste from Frederick would work also, but Edit appropriately for Harry. May only be a name change or a document number change.

Now go to Harry, select the Fact you want, like Birth, NOW use Existing.

The FIRST time you want to use that Citation, you may have to find it, but the next Facts, like Name, or Parents names, etc, that "last" citation will be hi-lighted (selected) for the very next use of that citation.

I start, when I pick up my "next" source of information, is to go to the Source Workspace and get that out of the way. I set of the Source OR Add a new citation if I have already used that Record and add any images, Scanned copy, Census Image, etc, and attach that to the Citation. Then enter the data that I am taking from that document.

This has worked for me.


You can get there two ways, from the Sources Workspace and locating it that way or to go to Frederick. Rather then using the Use Existing