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My name is Colleen and I find dead people.

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28 April, 2009

Database Overhaul: Day 6

Today's overhaul post poses a question for my fellow genealogy buffs. RootsMagic 4 has several places for entering sources. When you double-click on a person's name, you are brought to the "Edit Person" screen. For ease in formulating my question, I will refer to this screen as the person's "General" screen. The white field on the left lists the person's name at the top, then the facts as you choose to include them, such as birth, confirmation, marriage, death, etc. To the right of these facts are columns for Notes, Sources and Media that are checked off when data is entered about these facts. This way you can see at a glance if you have any sources for this person. If you double-click on the check in, say, the Media column, it shows you the items you have attached to this person. When the person's name is highlighted (defaulted when you first open this screen), then the five buttons in the blue section relate to General information about that person; you can add Notes; Sources; Media; Address; and To-Do tasks.

If you highlight a fact, however, the five buttons change to four and allow you to add Notes, Sources, Media and To-Do tasks, all of which relate to that highlighted fact. I will refer to this screen as the "Event Specific" screen. Now, logic would say to enter birth notes, media, sources and to-do tasks under the birth fact, enter marriage data under the marriage fact, etc.

My question is, would there be any harm in foregoing the specificity in this and just entering all the data under the "General" screen? I had noticed that I had entered sources and media and a note for my Grandmother HODICK under her "General" screen and the information is still recorded in the fact columns for which the data was entered (i.e., I have her obituary listed as a source, and even though this source is listed under the "General" screen, it is still accounted for in the check off columns for death source. In other words, event specific sources, notes, and media are still indicated for each fact even if the information was not entered in the fact specific field but in the general field. So what's the disadvantage to just entering notes, sources, and media under the general field and not worry about being more specific?

Also, RootsMagic4 users, how about some ideas on entering source information? I could also use advice on how to enter source information in the "Edit Source" field: I want to be consistent in how I idenitify the master source, repository, etc. I did get a response to this on FB that I will be re-visiting but wanted to pose it here as well.


Blogger Randy Seaver said...


Interesting question and I don't exactly know the answer. Maybe Bruce Buzbee will see your tweet or FB or blog and comment.

I have many of my Sources in my General Notes, and some Sources are tied to the specific Fact - mostly birth, marriage and death. But those are explicitly tied to the Fact, not brought in from the General Notes as far as I can tell, which is just text.

That's one of my problems with my database - I need to add Facts for the census, deed, probate and other events, along with proper Source citations (although many are in my General Notes - I can probably copy and paste).

In your obituary example, do you have a specific Source citation in both your General Notes and in your Death and/or Burial Fact? I think that you probably do.

Cheers -- Randy

9:53 PM  
Blogger RootsMagic said...


The general (person) sources are independent of the fact sources. If you have a source showing for both the person/general source and a fact source then you have 2 separate citations of that source.

The decision whether to add a source to each specific fact vs. as just a general source is an individual decision. I personally attach the source to the specific piece of information (fact). When you enter the "quality" of the citation (which follows the BCG standard) one of the items you specify is the "Evidence", whether it directly or indirectly addresses the piece of information you use it for. A single source might answer one fact directly but another indirectly, so I prefer to add it to each fact separately.

- Bruce

10:30 PM  

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