Monday, October 28, 2013

Some Helpful Family Tree Maker Tips

Some Family Tree Maker Tips

I discussed an idiosyncrasy of the Family Tree Maker (FTM) program that users need to be aware of in my blog of September 29.  I was filing several census reports this weekend and it reminded me of a very similar trait of Family Tree Maker that can mislead users if they aren't diligent.

In the view below the screen shot displays the results of searching for possible records in for Lena Reed.  It is the 1930 Census record.  On the right hand column is the "Information found in record", which is Lena's name, DOB, and residence in 1930.  That is the information found on Lena in that census; but how about other members of her family?  Since she was born in 1918 and this is the 1930 census, she is only about 12 years old and probably living with her parents and siblings.  Note in the left column at the bottom it says "View Image".  

Family Tree Maker Possible Record Match
When the user clicks on "View Image" the following image of the census record appears.  
Census Image for Lena Reed
The census record contains information not only on Lena; but on her mother and father and seven other siblings.  Most of would like to be sure and include that information in our genealogy software program data base.  Unfortunately, unless you search for each of those people individually, there is no way to merge the information into your program; you need to enter in manually. 

I am sure most Family Tree Maker users know of this idiosyncrasy; but I am sure there are several who don't and end up missing valuable information.  Interestingly, this doesn't happen in all cases.  Often when you search for one member of a family and discover a census record, all of the family members and their associated data are listed under "Information Found in the Record".

I recall talking with the FTM people some years back and asking about this issue.  As I recall, it is a transcribing problem.  Either the transcribers were told just to do the person of interest or they chose only to transcribe that one person.  I am guessing that all individuals on each census were transcribed; but perhaps not linked together.  Thus, they wouldn't all show up when only one of them was the subject of the search.  

Below is an image of the same census and family as in the previous screen shot.  However, note that the names of all the individual on the left are displayed in textual form vice handwritten.  This is a very nice feature of FTM that was introduced in the last version of the software.  It is especially helpful when the handwriting is hard to read.  This upgrade also displays the column headings in text across the top of the sheet so that one doesn't have to scroll to the top of the sheet to determine the column heading.  It also highlights the individual of interest in yellow and associated family members in green, thus making it much easier to find the person(s) of interest.

Enhanced Image View
The image below shows how to turn these Image Controls on and off to achieve the more enhanced view.  The pull down menu for "Tools" provides several selectable Image Control options including those we discussed as shown in yellow.  I should point out that the names of all the individuals on the left of the census don't automatically appear.  The user needs to click on the census image and pull it to the left.  The column of textual names will then appear.  

Image Controls

I should point out that "View Image" not only applies to census records; but to any record that might be listed as a matching record for the subject individual of your search.  Users should always view the image for additional information about the individual or it may be a record you want to save to your files.