Family Tree Maker in practice by sdfsb346f

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Family Tree Maker in practice

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									                                 Family Tree Maker in practice

Introduction
I have been using FTM for about ten years and this article is based on the 2006 version which I am using
at present. There are later versions, but 2008 had pretty poor reviews and I see no reason to migrate to
2009 as yet.


Data entry: Sources
FTM allows you to catalogue all your source documents (birth certificates, census forms etc) in its
database, so this is the first thing I do when I obtain a new document.

First, I assign a title to the document. I find it helpful to restrict the title to a short encoded format which
identifies the contents and makes for easier retrieval and filing. Some typical titles are:

BRT-03-0001                (My paternal grandfather’s birth certificate)
CEN-03-0003-1871           (The 1871 census where my maternal grandfather was the head)

I also assess the quality of the document which I categorise as either definite or probable. There is an
additional category of possible, but such documents are not added to FTM as to do so would jeopardise
the integrity of the family tree. They are stored elsewhere pending further research.

The following extract from the FTM bibliography report gives an idea of the information that is recorded
for each source.

                                       Bibliography of Sources
BRT-03-0003, (Birth certificate for Herbert Henry Arnott).
    Medium: Civil Registry. Call number: Sep1874/Bethnal Green/1C/246. Location: GRO. Quality: Definite.
CEN-04-0001-1901, (1901 census for the family of Thomas Patterson).
    Medium: Census. Location: National Archives (IRL). Comments: Thomas's wife, Margaret, is not listed
    although she appears in the 1911 census. Quality: Definite.
DIR-004, Comber directory 1910.
    Medium: Internet. Location: www.libraryireland.com/UlsterDirectory1910/Comber.php. Comments: Entry for
    Miss Patterson. Quality: Definite.
DTH-05-0013, (Death certificate for Matthew Todd).
    Medium: Civil Registry. Location: GRO (IRL). Quality: Probable: Name and occupation match. Informant
    could be his son.
MRG-04-0007/8, (Marriage certificate for Robert Todd and Louie Ashford).
    Medium: Civil Registry. Call number: Jun1881/Kensington/1A/350. Location: GRO. Comments: Louie gives
    her age as 20 when she was actually 17. William Ashford is said to be deceased, but he did not die until 1908.
    The witness,Eliza Vaughan, was probably Louisa's aunt (Eliza Wright). Quality: Definite.
NWS-001, Nenagh Guardian for 23 January 1839.
    Medium: Newspaper. Location: British Library. Comments: Marriage announcement for Matthew Savage Todd
    and Eleanor C Moorhead. Quality: Definite.
WIL-07-0043, Will of William Gotty.
    Medium: Other. Location: Probate registry. Comments: This will refers to the will of William's father, also
    named William Gotty. Quality: Definite.
I then scan the document so that it can be stored digitally. I retain the original in a transparent filing
envelope which is labeled with the source title and kept in a ring binder.


Data entry: Facts
Having added the source document to the FTM database, I proceed to add the facts which I can derive
from it. These are typically: names, dates/locations (birth, baptism, marriage, will, death, burial,
probate), residences, occupations, emigration and military service.

When adding a new individual to the database, I also assign and add the unique reference number for
that person.

A useful feature of FTM is that it allows users to define their own facts. For example, there is a standard
fact “Birth location” in which I enter the town, but I have also defined “Birth address” in which I enter
the actual street address.


Linking sources to facts
Finally, FTM allows me to link each fact to one or more sources in order to show how it was derived.

Here is an extract from an FTM report which lists all the facts related to individuals and marriages, and
also identifies the related source documents.

                                    Documented Events Report

Thomas Patterson
   Name: Thomas Patterson
        MRG-03-0001/2, (Marriage certificate for Thomas Patterson and Kate Graham).
        BRT-03-0001, (Birth certificate for Thomas Patterson).
   Date born: Abt. 1842, Cavan
        CEN-04-0001-1901, (1901 census for the family of Thomas Patterson).
   Occupation 1: Railway clerk
        MRG-03-0001/2, (Marriage certificate for Thomas Patterson and Kate Graham).
   Occupation 2: Bet. 1866 - 1867, Labourer
        MRG-04-0001/2, (Marriage certificate for Thomas Patterson and Margaret Nixon).
        BRT-03-0001A, (Birth certificate for Ann Jane Patterson).
   Occupation 3: 1869, Railway porter
        BRT-03-0001, (Birth certificate for Thomas Patterson).
   Occupation 4: Bet. 1872 - 1876, Railway clerk
        BRT-03-0001B, (Birth certificate for William Patterson).
        BRT-03-0001C, (Birth certificate for Frederick Patterson).
   Occupation 5: Bet. 1878 - 1882, Station master
        BRT-03-0001D, (Birth certificate for Margaret Patterson).
        BRT-03-0001E, (Birth certificate for Elizabeth Adeline Patterson).
   Residence 1: Bet. 1866 - 1867, Clifferna, Cavan
        MRG-04-0001/2, (Marriage certificate for Thomas Patterson and Margaret Nixon).
        BRT-03-0001A, (Birth certificate for Ann Jane Patterson).
   Residence 2: Bet. 1869 - 1876, Cavan Town, Cavan
        BRT-03-0001, (Birth certificate for Thomas Patterson).
        BRT-03-0001C, (Birth certificate for Frederick Patterson).
   Residence 3: Bet. 1878 - 1882, Lisbellaw, Fermanagh
        BRT-03-0001D, (Birth certificate for Margaret Patterson).
        BRT-03-0001E, (Birth certificate for Elizabeth Adeline Patterson).
    Residence 4: 1901, 20 Sandymount Street, Belfast
        CEN-04-0001-1901, (1901 census for the family of Thomas Patterson).
    Residence 5: 1911, Post Office, Mill Street, Comber
        CEN-04-0001-1911, (1911 census for the family of Thomas Patterson).

Marriage of Thomas Patterson and Catherine Graham
    Marriage: 18 Sep 1900, Belfast, Antrim
         MRG-03-0001/2, (Marriage certificate for Thomas Patterson and Kate Graham).
    Marriage address: St. Anne's church, Belfast
         MRG-03-0001/2, (Marriage certificate for Thomas Patterson and Kate Graham).
    Marriage witnesses: William H Patterson. Martha Black
         MRG-03-0001/2, (Marriage certificate for Thomas Patterson and Kate Graham).




Reports and charts
FTM provides comprehensive reporting and charting facilities, but I make limited use of them as I regard
the program as primarily a data-entry and storage tool.

I may print reports of a subset of the database for reference when I am investigating a particular aspect
of the tree. I sometimes produce full reports and charts for sharing with family members or fellow
researchers but, in this case, I instruct FTM to save them as PDF files for emailing or burning to CD.


Exporting to GEDCOM
GEDCOM is the universally recognised standard for genealogical exchange files. There are numerous
genealogical programs which all store data in their own format, but all should be capable of reading and
writing GEDCOM files.

I export my FTM database to a GEDCOM file which is input to another program (I use GED4WEB) in
order to convert the file to about one hundred separate web pages. These are then copied to my
personal web page where they can be viewed as a fully interactive family tree. You can see this on
www.jandap.me.uk.


Additional facilities of FTM
FTM provides several facilities which I do not use myself and, in some cases, are probably just sales and
marketing ploys.

     The ability to locate information anywhere on the web and add it to your family tree. This
      sounds positively dangerous as there is probably a wealth of inaccurate genealogical data on the
      web.

     There is an Interface with ancestry.com on the internet in the form of a trial subscription which
      they probably hope you will continue.

     There is an editor which can be used to write a family history “book” incorporating any of the
      FTM reports and charts, but is very basic when compared with MS Word.
Summary of the benefits of FTM
It encourages a disciplined and consistent approach to record keeping.

It uses forms and predictive text which speed up data entry.

It consolidates details of both individuals and source documents in a single database which makes it
easier to relate facts to sources.

It provides comprehensive charting and reporting facilities.

It allows a tree to be distributed among family members, fellow researchers and the wider community.

It simplifies the representation of complex relationships such as step-siblings and marriages between
cousins.

It can serve as a repository for additional items such as photographs.




Andrew Patterson

17 March 2009

								
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