Thursday, April 26, 2012

Adding "Cause of Death" Fact to RootsMagic 5

I recently noted that several genea-bloggers are listing a "Cause of Death" Fact in their genealogy management software databases.  I have quite a few death certificates for my 20th century ancestors, so I thought that it would be good to add that Fact to these persons while trying to be an Evidence-Based genealogist.

I checked the Fact List in RootsMagic 5 (Lists > Fact Type List) and did not see a "Cause of Death" Fact option.  RootsMagic 5 lets users create new Facts, so I bravely decided to add the Fact type.  Here is the process:

1)  From the "Family" View, I clicked on the "Lists" menu item and chose the "Fact Type List:"

2)  The "Fact Types" window lists the different Fact Types.  To add a new Fact Type, the user clicks on the "Design New Fact Type" button (top left area of the window).  Another window opens asking if the new Fact Type will be an Individual Fact Type or a Family Fact Type.  I chose an Individual Fact Type.

The "Edit Fact Type" window opened and I filled in the "Fact Type Setup" blanks in the left-hand panel for "Name" and Abbreviation."  I used "Cause of Death" for both.  I clicked the boxes below these blanks for "Use date field," "Use place field" and "Use description field."  I checked all of the boxes for inclusion of this Fact in GEDCOM files, web sites, family group sheets, narrative reports, individual summaries and printed lists:

In the screen above, one Role was pre-selected, as "Principal."

3)  I wanted to create a "Sentence Template" so I had to learn how to do it.  I went to the "Help" menu item and put "sentence template" into the search engine.  The most helpful items listed were "Design New Fact Types," "Sentence Template Language" and "Fact Sentences."  I also checked the sentence template for the Census Fact and the Burial Fact to see how they were constructed.  What I wanted was a sentence that said  "The cause of death for a person in a town/county/state/country at an address was this."  I figured out (with a lot of trial and error) that an appropriate Sentence Template was:

The cause of death of [person] <[Date]> <[Place]> <[PlaceDetails]> was <[Desc:CauseofDeath]>.

On the screen above, I clicked on the "Edit Role" button and added the sentence template to the window:

 4)  I clicked on the "OK" button and the Sentence Template was added to the Cause of Death Fact:

5)  Now I wanted to use it.  From the "Edit Person" screen for Frank Walton Seaver, I clicked on the "Add a Fact" button, and selected "Cause of Death" from the Fact Type List:

6)  After double-clicking the "Cause of Death" Fact Type, the entry fields on the right-hand side opened and I entered the Date (27 Nov 1922), Place (Leominster, Worcester, Massachusetts, United States), Place Details (149 Lancaster Street) and Cause of Death in the Description field (cerebral hemorrhage) to the fields:

As I typed those in, the Sentence Template was building the information into the sentence that will be displayed in the selected reports and charts.  It says:

The cause of death of Frank Walton Seaver on 27 November 1922 in Leominster, Worcester, Massachusetts, United States at 149 Lancaster Street was cerebral hemorrhage.

The entry in a Family Group Sheet and Individual Report says:

Cause of Death.  22 November 1922.  Cerebral hemorrhage; 149 Lancaster Street, Leominster, Worcester, Massachusetts, United States.

Then I added the source citation from the death certificate to the Cause of Death Fact.  It was:

Leominster, Massachusetts, Certificate of Death, Frank Walton Seaver, 27 November 1922; City Clerk's Office, Leominster, Mass. (certificate dated 17 September 1990).

Figuring out how to do this, and then doing it, took about 20 minutes (it was easier once I used the Help function!).  It takes about one minute to add each  Fact once the Fact Type and Sentence Template are developed.

The user can change the Sentence Template for individual Fact Types by clicking on the "Customize sentence" link (in the "Sentence" line in the lower-right-hand corner on the screen above) or can change the Sentence Template for all of the Fact Type entries by going into the Lists > Fact Type List, select the Fact Type, and Edit the Role.

In a short period of time, I learned something new and added significant content to my database for about 20 persons.

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Copyright (c) 2012, Randall J. Seaver


Unknown said...

This is very helpful - thank you! It's interesting to me that RootsMagic doesn't have that as a preset fact since when you are first adding a person there is a specific space to add "Cause of Death."

RootsMagic said...

RootsMagic doesn't have a cause of death fact because the cause of death is part of the death fact itself. Just enter the cause of death in the "Description" field for the death fact. The sentence template for the death fact already takes this into account.

Lisa said...

Randy, why would you want to separate the cause of death from the death fact? Im sure you were already aware what RootsMagic said in the above comment?

Nettie said...

I agree with Lisa and have used the description part of the death fact since it was available. Makes for a better sentence structure is all in ONE place...