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Location: Arizona, United States

My name is Colleen and I find dead people.

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31 August, 2009

Database Overhaul Session 9

I dug back in and finished up sourcing my paternal McHugh line yesterday and today. 26 people down, only about ... I dunno ... 700 or so left to do? Hey you have to start somewhere.

There've been a few mind blocks to my sourcing as I go. The big thing is to change how I define a "Source". I didn't source before because I didn't think I had anything worth citing. I don't have much by way of original records and such so what was there to record? I had to stop thinking about a "Source" as "Only official, primary documents" and start thinking about a "Source" as anything from which I gathered my information. If my information came from a Census record, that's a source. If it came from an email from a trusted cousin, that's a source. So in my current process of referencing my data I'm being sure that I record all the sources I have, not just primary ones. I just need to understand what type of sources they are (primary, secondary, etc) so I'll know how reliable they are.

I am running into one big problem with RootsMagic4, though. One of the things that lured me to switching from Family Tree Maker was the pre-set source templates. RM4 allows you to choose your source template. This might be a pre-set one for something off their long list of sources (BMD, Census, Obits, Newspaper, Email, etc. etc), or it might be a source you'd already referenced in the database. For example, I used the 1900, 1910, and 1930 U.S. Census records repeatedly. When I go to cite a Census record from one of those years for Annie and I'd already used that source for John, I click on the "Cite Existing Source" icon in the Source field and click on the Census record I want to use for Annie. So when the template I chose from the "Cite Existing Source" tab comes up for Annie, the fields are already filled in since I manuallye entered them before, right?
Wrong! Only the top fields are pre-filled in (in the screen shot above, the text in the bottom portion is the generic information that explains what to type there, not the text I'd previously entered). I have to manually enter the Ward, ED Number, etc. (whatever information is on the bottom portion of the template) for each new use, even though I'd elected to use one of my pre-filled sources for this new person.

This is the case regardless of what type of source it is. If it's a Census template that I chose from the "Cite Existing Source" tab, the specifics of that Census document that's listed on the bottom half of the field is blank. If it's an email correspondence I'm sourcing from the "Cite Existing Source" tab, the information from the bottom portion of that template is not transferred automatically. I'm finding this incredibly inconvenient and annoying. If I saved a source template, why doesn't it save the entire template as I had it filled out and transfer all of the data I input?

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