Tuesday, July 11, 2017

My Best Practices for RootsMagic TreeShare and Ancestry WebHints

I want to define my Best Practices for using the RootsMagic TreeShare with Ancestry Member Trees and Ancestry WebHints in this post.  Perhaps it will help other researchers also.

My previous posts about RootsMagic TreeShare and Ancestry WebHints are:

*  Looking at My New RootsMagic Upload Ancestry Member Tree and Source Citations (posted 28 June 2017)
*  Using RootsMagic TreeShare - Adding Facts, Media and Sources to My RootsMagic Tree (posted 29 June 2017)
*  Using RootsMagic/Ancestry WebHints - Part 1 (posted on 3 July 2017)
*  Using RootsMagic/Ancestry WebHints - Part 2 (posted 5 July 2017)

1)  I have defined these best practices for my RootsMagic genealogy database:

*  Add persons, relationships and facts to my database based on records, not assertions in other family trees 
*  Investigate record Hints and  record Matches from record providers to use, if pertinent, to add content to the tree
*  Search for records for my Tree persons in record repositories and in online record providers and use if pertinent 
*  Use other family trees and other research (e.g., books, periodicals, manuscripts, indexes, etc.) as clues for further research and add if pertinent
*  Support Facts/assertions for my Tree persons with Evidence Explained quality source citations (I tend to use Free form source citations rather than EE-style source templates so that the source citation transfers well in a GEDCOM export).
*  Use a most likely birth name and add Alternate Names from records (e.g., married name, names in records with or without middle initial, etc.)
*  Use standardized place names when possible (in order to facilitate digital maps in software and online services)
*  Add media photographs and images of records for my ancestral families
*  Add Fact Notes for records, especially for ancestors.  Combine the Fact Notes into the Person Notes. 
*  Download media items (photographs and records) for my ancestral families to my computer, rename the image using my file naming convention, and save them in my Family Group/Surname/Family file folders on my computer

In one of my posts, I said:  "I want to be able to present an accurate, coherent and  well-sourced family tree to the genealogy world in the limited life I have remaining."  Consequently, I have formed these guidelines for working with TreeShare and Ancestry WebHints:  

2)  My guidelines for using RootsMagic TreeShare synchronization with an Ancestry Member Tree are:

*  I will upload a RootsMagic tree (with attached media) to a new Ancestry Member Tree.
*  I will not download an Ancestry Member Tree (with attached Hints and media) to RootsMagic.  
*  I will use TreeShare to add persons, relationship, Facts, media, notes and sources from my RootsMagic tree to my Ancestry Member Tree in order to keep the AMT up to date.

3)  My guidelines for using the Ancestry WebHints function in my RootsMagic tree are:

*  I will accept or reject the record WebHints, using them only as a checklist.
*  I will not add Facts to RootsMagic with attendant sources and media from Ancestry WebHints
*  I will not accept WebHints from other family trees.
*  I will review Photo WebHints from other family trees and download them if pertinent.

4)  My reason for these guidelines is simple -- I don't want to crap up my RootsMagic tree.  For example:

*  Accepting an Ancestry Hint in an Ancestry Member Tree creates a number of Facts and an Ancestry style source citation in the AMT.  The sources would have to be corrected in RootsMagic if I want to retain EE-quality source citations.
*  Hints in the AMT also add a non-standard place name to the RootsMagic place name index; this would need to be cleaned up.
*  Media from attached AMT Hints are added to RootsMagic and placed in a separate file folder with generic file names.  I would have to find the correct media item, rename it, save it in my organized file folders, and link it to Persons and Facts in my RootsMagic tree - more cleanup.

I know that I can do more useful work and save precious research time by following these guidelines.  Cleanup and correction is work that will waste my time, so I'm not going to perform tasks that require a cleanup function.

5)  What are your guidelines for using RootsMagic TreeShare and Ancestry WebHints in your RootsMagic tree?


Copyright (c) 2017, Randall J. Seaver

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Don Varner said...

Agree 100%. This is exactly the approach I intend to take as well for basically the very same reasons. No reason to spend huge amounts of time cleaning up and standardizing data from a direct import from Ancestry.

William said...

Randall, please continue with posts like this. Many of us have recently switched from Family Tree Maker to RootsMagic. Thank you for this post.

Theresa said...

Randy, thanks for this info. I'm rather new to RootsMagic, and still learning. Can you explain more about what you mean by "Combine the Fact Notes into the Person Notes." Is there some particular benefit to Person Notes? I currently use both. Thanks, Theresa Howell

Randy Seaver said...

Hi Theresa,

I'm sorry it took so long to respond to your question.

I have added Fact Notes to events - for instance, a birth Note might say "John Smith was born on 17 October 1765, the third child (of seven) of Thomas and Mary (Jones) Smith." A probate note might summarize or transcribe a will and/or inventory, etc.

If I do a good job of that, then I can combine all of those Fact notes into the Person Note, along with any other information like a sketch from a surname book, and have a life or research sketch of the person. I could upload that life sketch to a FamilySearch Family Tree profile, a Geni.com profile, a WikiTree profile, etc. I use it for my 52 Ancestors biographies on a weekly basis, along with source citations.

The Fact Notes appear in an Ancestry Member Tree profile source citation, but the Person Note appears only to the owner and editors of the Ancestry Tree. A Life Sketch could be used as a Story for an Ancestry Member Tree also.

Most readers are more interested in a life sketch and family stories than in the name/dates/places of the events.

I hope that helps.