Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Dear Randy: How Do You Use Notes and Sources in RootsMagic 7?

Reader Bonnie emailed me earlier, asking:

"I note you use RM7. I would like to know how you use their notes? They have fact notes, source notes, general notes, citation notes too. What I've found is that: 'fact notes' print in narrative and Fam Grp sheet reports as a run together mass, footnoted, whereas, the general notes appears following with no footnotes. Further, not all notes transfer in a Gedcom, in fact quite a mess.

"I also used free form in RM for sources (I know how to write a source), but this also does not pass well in Gedcom (to Reunion)."

1)  Regarding Notes, I use all of the ones you mention!  

*  Fact Notes are used to discuss or explain the Fact.  Fact Notes in narrative reports and family group sheets do print as separate paragraphs after the automated Fact description.  If you have Fact Notes, there is no way to suppress them in a narrative report or a family group sheet.  I wish there was, because, as you noted, they print and then General Notes print.  

*  General Notes (or Person Notes) are used to provide a life sketch.  A Person note might be used to describe the Research process used, or research problems encountered, for the Person.  They print in one section.  The user must provide complete sentences, formatting, etc. using the limited RootsMagic text editor functions.  What you type is what you get.  If you want source citations in the Person Notes, you need to add the source number (I use brackets, like [1]) to the text and add the source citations either within the text or as endnotes in the Notes.  A user can suppress all Notes with an option in the different reports.   I wish that there was a way to suppress either the Fact Notes or the General Notes in reports.  

*  Source Notes are in the "Edit source" screen in the "Master text" tab.  There are two fields - for "Source Text" and "Source comments."  I use the "Source comments" for information about the repository, original source, or the online source.

*  Citation Notes are in the "Edit source" screen in the "Detail text" tab.  There are two fields - for "Research Notes" and "Comments."  I use the "Research Notes" field so that a "Research Notes" report can be printed for a Person in chronological Fact order.  I usually copy and paste the Fact note, plus any analysis, into the "Research Notes" field.  

*  My experience is that the Fact Notes and General Notes transfer well in a GEDCOM file.  

*  I did a small GEDCOM file to determine if the "Source Text," "Source Comments," "Research Notes" or "Comments" transfer in a GEDCOM file.  They do, but they may be in custom GEDCOM tags that another program cannot interpret.  

2)  Regarding Sources:

*  My experience is that Free-form source citations ("Master Source" and "Source Details") transfer flawlessly in a GEDCOM export as long as there is no embedded formats (bold, italics, etc.).  

*  My experience is that source citations crafted using the EE-based source templates do not transfer well at all in a GEDCOM export.  

*  This is based on my experience with GEDCOM imports to Family Tree Maker, Legacy Family Tree, Ancestry Member Trees, FamilySearch Family Tree, MyHeritage trees, etc.  It may be different for Reunion - I don't use that program so I can't test it out.

3)  I'm not sure that this helps you, Bonnie.  

Copyright (c) 2014, Randall J. Seaver


Anonymous said...

hi Randy and thanks for your comments on RM note system. Your experience then reflects what I had found, very frustrating! RM is a great program in so many ways, so hard to understand why report output is not more polished.
I appreciate your comments on this and also want to say that your blog is also most helpful.

Lisa S. Gorrell said...

I get frustrated with all the notes, too. I use them. I never print out anything because of the mess they make. I suppose I should take the time to see what prints where. Mostly I use the program as a database to store all of the information so I won't lose it. What frustrates me the most is all the clicking you have to do to get to the great notes. PAF days were the best when everything was under the person's notes.

Unknown said...

Are you then suggesting that it is best to do free-form source citations in RM so that the Gedcoms will transfer correctly? I am using a Mac and am wondering if RM on the Mac will also transfer well using the free-form citations. Any idea?