Thursday, July 12, 2012

Attaching Sources to Persons in FamilySearch Family Tree

James Tanner revealed today that anybody can now access, add to and edit the FamilySearch Family Tree (formerly in his Genealogy's Star blog post, FamilySearch Family Tree is open to everyone.  This is, I think, good news, and it seems like it's "ahead of schedule" - I think FamilySearch said it would happen "sometime in 2012."

I have written about my recent experiences in FamilySearch Family Tree, in these posts:

*  Checking Out "My Source Box" on (29 May 2012)

*  Using RootsMagic 5 to Add to the FamilySearch Family Tree (27 April 2012)

*  My First Look at FamilySearch Family Tree - Post 2: Source Citations (27 March 2012)

*  My First Look at FamilySearch Family Tree - Post 1 (22 March 2012)

In the first listed post above, I added some FamilySearch documents to the "My Source Box" feature, created a "Folder" for Isaac Seaver in "My Source Box" and added some of the captured sources to Isaac Seaver's Folder.  I did not "Attach" those source items to Isaac Seaver, however, leaving that for another time.

The time has come.  I've searched for FamilySearch records for several of my ancestors, and have practiced adding the source records to "My Source Box," creating more folders for those ancestors, adding the source records to those folders, and now attaching the source records to the correct person.

There are some steps in this process that HAVE TO BE followed, and I'll try to highlight them in this post.

I'm going to use my grandmother, Alma Bessie (Richmond) Seaver (1882-1962), for this exercise.  For males, the searcher needs to do only one search because their surname doesn't change.  For females, the searcher needs to search in FamilySearch records for all of the female's last names used in their lifetime, since FamilySearch's record search engine does not "know" what names a female might have used.  I used "Alma Bessie Richmond" and got one source record (1900 Census) and "Alma Bessie Seaver" and for one source record (1930 Census), and clicked on the "My Source Box" link and "Add to My Source Box" on the Record Search results.  So those two records should be in "My Source Box" when I go to it in the FamilySearch Family Tree.

1)  On the FamilySearch Family Tree pedigree chart, I highlighted Alma Bessie Richmond:

2)  I clicked on the "View Person" link for Alma Bessie Richmond and saw her information, previously added by me using RootsMagic 5 (two screens - the second one is the bottom of the page):

3)  Near the bottom of the page, there is a link for "Go to My Source Box" so I clicked on it.  My Source Box opened, and I added a Folder for "Alma Bessie Richmond (1882-1962)."  Before I added anything to this folder, it is empty:

4)  Here is "My Source Box" at the present time in my account.  "My Source Box" lists ALL sources that have been captured from FamilySearch source records, and wants you to put them in Folders.  There are two sources that are not in a Folder (the ones I just captured for Alma Bessie Richmond Seaver):

5)  In order to add a Source record in "My Source Box" to a Folder in "My Source Box," the researcher drags the specific Source to the Folder and drops it there (in Windows, left-mouse click held down to drag and released to drop it).  In the screen below, I have dragged and dropped the first source record but not the second:

6)  After dragging and dropping the second source record to Alma Bessie Richmond's Folder, I clicked on the Folder to see if they are there:

 7)  They are there!  Now I want to Attach each record in the Folder to the Person.  I clicked the "Attach" link on the screen above and the "Attach Source to Alma Bessie Richmond" window opened.  I typed in a reason for attaching this record:

8)  I did the same process for the second source record, and the Folder for Alma Bessie Richmond shows that both are attached (they show a paper-clip icon):

9)  The researcher can click on one or all of the sources in the Folder and see more information about them:

That is a fairly cumbersome process.  I wonder if the genealogy software will make this easier for source citations in the database and the images attached to the Fact and/or source citation.  I hope so!

The major warning I have is this:  The user must start the Source record Attach process from the Person's Page - in my example above, from Alma Bessie Richmond's page.  The name of the Person shows up when you click on the "Attach" link - if it is not the right person, the user has to go to the Person, click on the "My Source Box" link, open the Folder for the Person, and then Attach the Source to the correct Person.  I found no way around this!

Note also that the "My Source Box" seems to be ONLY for FamilySearch Historical Records - what about records from another Source?  And images from other sources?  I'll be looking into this in future posts.

I need to check out if I can do a "Disconnect Person from Parents" function yet.  The FamilySearch Family Tree has Isaac Seaver attached to two sets of parents (one of them is correct) and I want to disconnect him from the wrong set of parents.  Even though I have written up a Discussion for this, no one has discussed it with me).

A caveat:  I think that I'm doing this Source record to My source box to Folder to Attach to Person process correctly.  If not, I hope that someone from FamilySearch will correct me on it!

The URL for this post is:

Copyright (c) 2012, Randall J. Seaver


Becky Thompson said...

Thank you for your step-by-step instructions, Randy!

David Newton said...

They've also still not allowed for having one source for large datasets and multiple citations. For example each person in a census would have their own "source" with the system they are using. Until they properly separate out the citation from the source this system will be comparatively useless.

Unknown said...

You can add any source you want. When you are on the "View Person" screen and scroll down to Sources, there are two links - "create a source" and "my source box". Simply click on create a source and a blank template comes up. You can enter any source any way you want within the fields provided.

Unknown said...

There is a temporary work-around for the problem you describe. You let FamilySearch create the source for you "My Source Box", then you open "My Source Box" and it will be shown there. Click on that source, and you are not allowed to edit it, but one of the options will be "Copy". Copy the source, and you can edit the copy to make it the way you want it--in most cases moving the personal details out of the source title box down to citation or notes box.

For example, when I let FamilySearch create a source for my 2nd great-grandfather's marriage, the source title is this:
"England, Derbyshire, Church of England Parish Registers, 1538-1910," Lucius Edward Mann, 1850
I create a copy, then edit the source title to read like this:
"England, Derbyshire, Church of England Parish Registers, 1538-1910

The source citation FamilySearch creates looks like this:
"England, Derbyshire, Church of England Parish Registers, 1538-1910," index, FamilySearch ( : accessed 13 July 2012), Lucius Edward Mann, 1850.
I change the copy to read like this:
England, Derbyshire, Ashbourne Church of England Parish Registers, accessed 13 July 2012, marriage entry for Lucius Edward Mann and Charlotte Elizabeth Heathcote, 1850. FHL film #1041050, Digital Folder Number: 004450846

NOTE: I added the specific parish, film number, and digital folder number--which were not given in the source created by FamilySearch. I moved the URL out of the citation field because it is already given in the URL field. I also added the wife's name because she should be part of the entry description.

I then attach the copy source and delete the one created by FamilySearch.

This method is a bit cumbersome, but it is a whole lot easier than creating it from scratch, and really only take me a minute or two.

Hope this helps!