Tuesday, March 4, 2014

FamilySearch Family Tree Census Source Tracker

On the FamilySearch Blog today, Tim Cross told us that It’s Now Easier Than Ever to Track Your Ancestors in the US Census Records.  That looks pretty cool...if you are connected to the FamilySearch Family Tree (a universal tree where any registered user can add, edit or delete content in a source-centric environment).  

I am connected to the FamilySearch Family Tree, and I regularly match persons in my RootsMagic database to the Family Tree, and add/edit/delete content (names, dates, places, events, sources) in the tree.

The blog post says to go to the www.CreateFan.com website and make your fan chart if you want to.  I did that recently - after signing in to FamilySearch -  and it looks like this (by the way, it's FREE to create):

What has been added to the www.CreateFan.com website is the "Source Tracker" function - it's last on the list of features below:

I clicked on the Source Tracker radio button, and then the green "Create Chart" button, and after a short time (maybe 30 to 60 seconds), the Source Tracker list was created for my ancestors (3 screens below):

For each family in my branch of the FamilySearch Family Tree, the chart above tells me which ancestors (through the great-great-grandparents) that I have attached source citations to the Family Tree (it has a check), and which ancestors that I have not attached a source to the Family Tree (it has a magnifying glass).  

For each ancestor, the chart provides an ahnentafel number, a photo (if available), birth date, death date, and then either the check mark or magnifying glass icon for each census year that the person was alive.  I can click on the person's name and go to the person profile in the FamilySearch Family Tree in a separate browser tab.  

I can click on the bright red Download button to create and view a PDF of the Source Tracker page.  

I can click on one of the magnifying glass icons for a specific person and census year and see a search result.  I clicked on Alma Bessie Richmond in 1900 and the results shown were (in a separate browser tab):  

The default search was exact for the first name and not exact for the surname.  I could do another search by unchecking or checking the two boxes and clicking the blue "Search" button.

I had to search down the list because she was indexed as Alma G. Richmond...but I found her.  Here is the record summary for the 1900 U.S. Census:

I can click on the blue "Attach to Family Tree" button on the right of the screen under "Sources" and the source can be added to the person profile in the FamilySearch Family Tree.

After investigating the source created, it is apparent to me that the check mark and the magnifying glass for the census years apply only to a record summary attached to the Person, and do not apply to a source for a census record that was added to the Person Profile using, say, a genealogy software program interfacing with the FamilySearch Family Tree.  In the case above, I already had a source citation for the 1900 U.S. Census attached to Alma Bessie Richmond.

Apparently, this system only works for United States Census records, and not to Canadian or England/Wales census records.

All in all, this is a subtle way to induce Family Tree users to find and attach U.S. census sources to their ancestors in the FamilySearch Family Tree.  It's also an excellent example of push technology - offering freely available information to users to help them in their research.

The URL for this post is:  http://www.geneamusings.com/2014/03/familysearch-family-tree-census-source.html

Copyright (c) 2014, Randall J. Seaver


Cormac said...

Your fan chart is awesome looking!

Lauri said...

Also has a link at the top for sources for vitals. What I now have found is that my sources aren't attached to the vitals so need to go tag them. Still, very nice.

Randy Seaver said...

Thanks, Lauri. It didn't when I wrote the post.