Friday, May 14, 2010

Document Sources in FamilyTreeMaker

In 1999, I bought a copy of FamilyTreeMaker and began to load it up with what data that I knew at that time. Pages 109 through 112 of the 514 page instruction book described how to document a source for each fact. I doubt if I ever read that far into the book. The pdf manual that came with the 2005 FamilyTreeMaker used the word "source" only three times in the entire 101 pages and none of these applied to manually entering the source of a fact. Needless to say, I was doing a terrible job of documenting the sources for the data that I had entered.

When I began to use GedHTree, my lack of documented sources became painfully obvious. For the past several months, I have been adding the source information to each fact in the file. I needed a systematic way to do this, so I printed out the alphabetical surname lists available from the GedHTree display. Then I revisited each of the 38 biographies and checked off the names on the lists as each person was completed. When I started, I had 287 individuals in my public file. As this project progressed, the number increased to 449. The Narratives of Randolph County provided most of the additional persons.

I did not just add the source data for the facts that were in the file. As I revisited each source, I added all the facts and sources for all the individuals included in the source. I have over 104 census pages on my website and many others that are not. Some have as many as 11 persons on a page. I also have about 150 other source documents available on my website. Additionally, some sources are on-line, such as, the Illinois State Archives. For each of the individuals buried in the Oakdale Cemetery (on-line website), there were three fact and source entries needed (birth, death and burial).

This has been a monumental task. However, this comprehensive review has brought new facts to the surface and has caused others to be adjusted. Because the biographies are intertwined, all were at least tweaked as a result. I now see what a wonderful tool the FamilyTreeMaker is as an index for all the facts and sources for each individual.

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