Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Finding the Best Way to Attach Sources to Persons in FamilySearch Family Tree

One of my major issues with the FamilySearch Family Tree has been source citations - I wrote:

*   My First Look at FamilySearch Family Tree - Post 2: Source Citations in March 2012, 
*  Checking Out "My Source Box" on in May 2012 
*  Attaching Sources to Persons in FamilySearch Family Tree in July 2012 (about the Source Box feature and attaching the sources to persons)
*  Adding Source Notes in FamilySearch Family Tree in October 2012.

One of the problems I found in those posts was that I was finding single source documents in the FamilySearch historical collections, but was not finding "all" of the source documents that might be available.  

I decided that the best strategy was to find as many source documents as I could for one person on FamilySearch all at one time, and then add them all at one time to the person in the FamilySearch Family Tree.

For my example, I'm using my great-grandmother, Della (Smith) Carringer (1862-1944).  I searched on FamilySearch Historical Records using all of her names "Abbie Ardell Smith," "Della Smith," "Della Carringer," etc.  I used my list of Events for Della in my RootsMagic database in order to try to find as many as I could in the FamilySearch collections.

1)  Here is my search for "Della Carringer" (I'm going to use Della in this post as her given name):

2)  I clicked on the first entry - the 1940 U.S. Census for Della, and the record summary page opened:

I confirmed, in my mind, that this was the correct document for Della, and wanted to save it to "My Source Box."  In order to do this, I have to be signed in to FamilySearch.  The "My Source Box" link is in the upper right-hand corner of the web page, next to the "Copy" and "Print" links.  I can do two tasks after running my mouse over the "My Source Box" link - "Add to My Source Box" and "Go To My Source Box."

I added seven more items from the FamilySearch Historical Collections to My Source Box, and was now ready to attach them to Della (Smith) Carringer in the FamilySearch Family Tree.

3)  First, I have to go to "My Source Box" and create a folder for Della - I did that and it appears in the "My Folders" list on the left of the screen below.  However, all of the links to the documents went into the "Home" folder, and I need to move them into Della's folder.  In the "Home" folder are the 8 sources I added for Della, and they appear on the right of the screen below:

I clicked in the box to the left of each source record, and then clicked on the blue "Move" button and selected Della (Smith) Carringer's folder.  Clicking on the folder moves the checked items to the person's folder.  It also takes them out of the "Home" folder.

4)  I clicked on the "Family Tree" link in the top menu on the screen, and navigated to Della (Smith) Carringer's profile.  Here is the top of the page:

And near the bottom of the page are the lists of spouse and children, parents and siblings, sources and discussions:

There are no entries for Sources yet - they are in "My Source Box," but they are not yet attached to the person in FamilySearch Family Tree.

5)  I clicked on the "Go to Source Box" link in the Sources field on the screen above, and then on Della (Smith) Carringer's folder:

There is an "Attach" link for each of the source documents in Della's folder in the Source Box.

6)  I clicked on "Attach" link for the eight source documents one at a time, and when I was finished, the "My Source Box" folder for Della showed a paper clip icon to indicate that the Source documents had been attached in the Family Tree:

7)  When I click on the "Go Back to Abbie Ardell Smith" l;ink at the top left of the screen above, and scroll down to the Sources field, I see that the eight source documents have been linked to Della:

8)  If I click on one of the links for the source document, I can see the source citation attached to Della (Smith) Carringer, and can add a source comment, if I choose to.  Here is the screen with the 1900 U.S. Census source document opened:

I can click the "View" link in the source citation and see the source citation details, click the "Edit" link to add or edit notes, the "Detach" link to remove the source from the person, or the "Tag" link to link the source document to the "Name," "Gender," "Birth," "Christening," "Death" or "Burial" events.  I cannot edit a source derived from the FamilySearch collections.

Clicking on the URL link listed on the screen above takes you to the record summary in the Historical Record collection, but not to the document image - you have to click the link on the record summary page to see the document image if it's available.

8)  To summarize, my process for attaching historical records on FamilySearch to persons and events in the FamilySearch Family Tree, is to:

*  Use the Event list in RootsMagic to find all of the records available on FamilySearch for one person.
*  Search the FamilySearch Historical Record collection for those records, using the name(s) of the person at the time of the record.
*  Add each source document link found to "My Source Box" for the person (while signed in to FamilySearch).
*  After saving the document links, go to "My Source Box" and put them in a folder (you might have to create a folder).
*  Go to the person in FamilySearch Family Tree (must be signed in!) and Attach the sources in the "My Shoe box" folder to the person in Family Tree.
*  After attaching the Sources to the person, tag them to the Event in the Family Tree and add any source notes you want.

I found that doing one person at a time is the most efficient way to populate the Sources from FamilySearch to persons in the Family Tree.  Note that this process needs to be followed for each person in a family in the Family Tree database - the father, them other, the children, etc.

Of course, this does not work for a source document or a photograph that is not in the FamilySearch Historical Record collections - they have to be added using the "Create a New Source" link in the Family Tree "Sources" field by typing (or copying/pasting) information into the source fields (I did this in My First Look at FamilySearch Family Tree - Post 2: Source Citations in March 2012).

The URL for this post is:

Copyright (c) 2013, Randall J. Seaver


Unknown said...

In your last paragraph you say it does not work for sources outside the FamilySearch collection. There is actually a 3rd party button that you can use to automatically create a source that links to any Internet page you are on. Find a record on FindAGrave, RootsWeb, or anywhere online? Use the button to make an instant source for Family Tree. Learn more here: I am not affiliated with them, but I think it comes in handy. It is still not as easy to add sources as some other online trees, but this button helps.

Randy Seaver said...

Thank you, Michael. That works! I recall the announcement, but did not follow it up. I'll blog about this because it's so useful.

So we have tools for FamilySearch records, other online records, and write-your-own sources. I've thought about using my blog posts for vital record images and the like.