Friday, November 18, 2011

Exploring Family Tree Maker 2012 - Post 26: Doing a Web Search - Case 1 - Attaching an Image

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

I have not done many Web Searches from within genealogy management program software, mainly because I am past "family trees" and "census records" for most of my research, and have sourced the records myself and captured the images to my computer files (but not attached them to persons or Facts in my database).

A user can do a Web Search from within FTM 2012 in (and and and add the Fact, Source and Media for a record to their FTM 2012 database. 

In Exploring Family Tree Maker 2012 - Post 25: Doing a Web Search -Case 1, I started a Web Search , but because I used the default information from my database (name, birth date and place, death date and place, and spouse's name) without changing it, I obtained only Ancestry Member Tree matches. 

In this post, I'm going to change the search criteria, and see if I can find some records for my William Knapp (1775-1856).  If I do, I'll add the record information, source and image to my database.

1)  With William Knapp my subject, in the "Web Search" Workspace, I edited the search fields to include only the name, the birth date (with a +/- 2 year range), and the birthplace (New York USA); I made them all "exact matches:"

2)  I scrolled down in the upper panel to find the orange "Search" button (why can't they put it at the top of the panel?) and clicked on it.  I received 36 matches:

There were two Census matches (1850), one vital Record match (New Jersey Deaths), 1 Private Member Story, 25 Public Member Trees and 5 Private Member Trees entries, and 2 records from a Family Data Collection database. 

3)  I clicked on the 1850 U.S. Census item in the Match list, and saw:

The William Knapp in Newton, New Jersey is highlighted in the screen above, and the information for William Knapp is added to the right-hand area of the lower panel above.

4)  That's certainly my guy, so I clicked on the "View Record" link and the summary page for William Knapp appeared:

There are four persons in this family residing in Newton, Sussex, New Jersey - William Knapp (age 75, born NY), Sarah Knapp (age 66, born NJ), Catherine Knapp (age 40, born NJ), and Elsey Knapp (age 19, born NJ).  If I view the record image, I can obtain more information, including the Fact that William is a Shoemaker.

5)  I want to capture this census Fact, Source and Image, so I clicked on the "Merge" button in the "Search result detail" (right side of the lower panel), and saw the "Web Merge Wizard" window:

The screen above lists three items for this record - the Name, the Birth information (calculated year and place), and the Residence information.  It shows these for the information in My Tree and in the selected  Search record.  I can choose which one I want to be the "Preferred" Fact, can make one or the other an "Alternate" Fact, or I can "Discard" the Web Search Fact (dropdown menus).  I can also cancel the Merge if this is not a Match.

6)  I kept my data "Preferred" but I want to capture the Source and Image, so I kept the check box for "Keep Sources" below each Web Search Fact.  I clicked on the "Next" button and saw the "Summary" window in the "Web Search Wizard:"

The Summary window tells me what will be added to my Tree, and includes only the Alternate Information, the Media Item (the census page image) and the Source citation information.  I can Rename the Media item here instead of using the FTM created Media file name.

7)  At this point I clicked the "Merge Now" button and a small window popped up that said "Success" and "Merge complete." 

8)  I clicked "OK" on that small window, and I was back to the William Knapp Person page in the "People" Workspace:

The "Residence" Fact for 1850 was added to the Fact List and the Media item was added to the "Media" tab in the right-hand panel with the "Residence" Fact highlighted.  The Media item is attached to the "Residence" Fact.  The Media item was captioned as "William Knapp - 1850 United States Federal Census."  The Source Citation created by for this Fact reads:

", 1850 United States Federal Census (Provo, UT, USA, Operations, Inc., 2009),, Database online. Year: 1850; Census Place: Newton, Sussex, New Jersey; Roll: M432_464; Page: 137B; Image:."

We've discussed source citations created by previously, so I won't comment further on it. 

The "Merging" of historical records on with an FTM 2012 database works very well as long as the user creates a useful Search by editing the search fields and selects Default settings or Exact Matches.  The lessons learned for me in this exercise include:

*  When you start the Web Search for a Person, the Facts for that person (Name, Birth year and place, Death year and place, and Spouse's Name) are automatically put into the Search fields.  This limits the Matches, usually only to Ancestry Member Trees.

*  The user has to edit the Search fields to do an effective web search for historical records.  I recommend adding a year range to the Birth Year, changing the Birthplace to only a State or Country (rather than a City or County), eliminating the Death year and place, and eliminating the spouse's and parents names.  That will reflect a typical search for a person on  If the user decides on the "Default Settings" for the name, birth year and birth place, they will get many more matches than if they "Restrict to Exact" the name, birth year and birth place. 

*  For a census record, the Media item is attached to the "Residence" Fact, and the Fact has a date and place from the historical record.  The Fact also has the Source Citation attached to it.

*  The Media files are named by FTM 2012 in a sequential order of some sort, and is stored in the Media file folder for the specific FTM 2012 database. The user can change the file name before completing the Merge.  The Media items are captioned with the name of the person and the historical collection name.

*  This system is very easy to use, and a researcher can quickly add historical records to their FTM 2012 database.   It is also very seductive, so be careful what you merge!

Note:  Russ Worthington has been doing similar searches for my William Knapp on his FTMUser blog (  He is an expert user of Family Tree Maker, and knows many "best practices" and shortcuts for doing all of these tasks I've been struggling with - read his blog regularly!  I greatly appreciate Russ's efforts to help me understand this program.

1 comment:

Cousin Russ said...


Thank you for your continued time and energy to help us understand Family Tree Maker.

You said:

"* When you start the Web Search for a Person, the Facts for that person (Name, Birth year and place, Death year and place, and Spouse's Name) are automatically put into the Search fields. This limits the Matches, usually only to Ancestry Member Trees."

The statement "limits the Matches, usually on to Ancestry Member Trees." is not necessarily true.

In fact, I DO NOT see any AMT's in any of my Web Searches, unless I specifically select them to be included. Like you, I don't want to see by "by default".

There are two places to control this:

1) Tools Menu, Options. In the right half of that screen is a check box to "Exclude Ancestry Family Trees from Automatic Search

2) on the Web Search screen, getting there from the Web Search Workspace, at the bottom of that window, just above Search, is another place to Exclude Ancestry Member Trees.

I find that I get far better results, meaning in most cases Fewer results to look at.

I know that outside of Family Tree Maker, I search Broadly, then narrow the search. Like, starting with just a Surname. Finding too many results, put another piece of information, like Location.

In FTM2012, it do the reverse. I allow the Search screen take all of the information that is in my file for that person, and let all of the fields be populated.

I did that with William Knapp and found the 1850 Census Record. But, only that.

In this case, I start narrow, then broaden out. Remove some data in the Search data to see what else I can find.

Again, I am only sharing my experience using Family Tree Maker.