What I meant about syncing my FTM file

On July 2nd, I posted an entry titled, What I’ve Been Working On. In the entry I wrote:

 If I had synced my FTM file with Ancestry.com, then my source citations would have been a little weird. For example, it would have shown everything on the Ancestry tree, however, the census images and death records wouldn’t be linkable to the databases on Ancestry.

After posting this entry, Russ Worthington, who writes the ever helpful Family Tree Maker User blog, posted a comment wondering if what I was saying was true. It’s tough to get points across through blog comments, so I’m going to show an example of what I actually meant. However, Russ is technically right, there are ways to sync the files so that the citations are linked and how I want, it just takes a little work.

Thinking about it now I should have just realized what the complete and utter truth was… I didn’t want to spend too much time messing around with the syncing issue when I’m still working on my Family File Cleanup (which I still need to make a category for and organize). Not to mention the website re-design.

William H Moore example (click for full size)
William H Moore example (click for full size)

Let’s use William H Moore as our example. This is how William’s person screen comes up in FTM 2012. As you can see I use Census to track the census and Address to track when an individual address is given. I do that because I also use city directories, draft cards, and vital records to track when someone is listed as living at a certain address. I’m still trying to figure out how I would like those addresses listed, but as I’m now on the Kentucky side of my family, addresses aren’t given at all most times, so it’s not a pressing issue anymore.

1920 Census Citation (click for full size)
1920 Census Citation (click for full size)

Above, you can see my census source citation for the 1920 Census fact of William. I love how this citation is set up, it makes for easy to read reference notes and finding citations quickly in the source screen.

Source Screen (click for full size)
Source Screen (click for full size)

Here’s my Source screen to show how easy it is to navigate with my citation method.

Ancestry.com member tree file example (click for full size)
Ancestry.com member tree file example (click for full size)

Okay, here is my work in progress Ancestry.com member tree file. This is the same example as  the other file, the 1920 census citation. As you can see, Ancestry uses the Residence fact instead of census. Which I don’t have a problem with, it’s just not how I want to organize my file. This isn’t impossible to work with though. What I like is I can click directly on ‘View Source Online’ and I can go right to Ancestry.com’s 1920 Census page for William H Moore. In fact, I don’t just like that I LOVE that.

The other thing I don't like (click for full size)
The other thing I don’t like (click for full size)

The other thing I don’t particularly like is for some reason, on some records, Ancestry doesn’t pick up the whole household. So this citation for William H Moore is only attached to him. On my working file, I have it linked to him and his daughter, who is living with him at the time. Again though, this is not impossible to work with. I can just link her to the citation later. No big deal there.

Ancestry Member Tree (click for full size)
Ancestry Member Tree (click for full size)

Here’s my Ancestry Member Tree page for William H Moore. As you can see, all the information is there. The point is that I wanted my files to be linked by those database links there on the right. However, if I were to just upload and sync my tree, that wouldn’t be the case. They’d be listed there, but it wouldn’t be as links to the Ancestry.com database for the census. In fact, I wouldn’t even be able to link them manually at that point because Ancestry.com doesn’t support linking the census information to a fact named Census. If you try to manually link something, your only option is for birth, marriage, death, and residence.

Again, this situation is not impossible to work with. Now that I took the time to play with it, (which you should always do before saying something is “weird”), I can tell you how I would work around these limitations to make a fully synced file with Ancestry.com.

Download Member Tree Source Page (click for full size)
Download Member Tree Source Page (click for full size)

I manually go into the source citation for William H Moore and put my source information in and edit the Master Source title to something of my liking. Now this citation will come out as the footnote that I like to have. However, there’s one more issue I was working with.

Fact Data Options (click for full size)
Fact Data Options (click for full size)

To make those residence facts into census facts, I bring up the Fact Data Options menu and I change them from residence to census.

Sync Time
Sync Time

Once I’ve changed those facts to census, I go ahead and sync my tree to see if that’s what I wanted to achieve.

Final Product (click for full size)
Final Product (click for full size)

So in conclusion, yes I can achieve what I want, it just takes a little work to get there. :)

I know I’m being a pain about exactly how I wanted it to work. It’s just that I’ve been working for 2 years to get my source citations the uniform and clean way that they are in my file. In fact halfway through the project I finally got my hands on my own copy of Evidence Explained and saw that maybe I wasn’t doing it exactly as clean as I thought. So I’m still cleaning up a bit. My census citations are my pride and joy though. I worked hard to get them to the point they’re at and I didn’t know at the time what syncing would do to them. Now I know though.

Here are my conclusions:

  1. It wouldn’t matter if I were to sync my file. Ancestry.com doesn’t recognize the census fact, so it wouldn’t change my citations. I could simply attach the record to my online tree, sync, copy my census source citation onto the residence source citation and then change the residence fact to a census fact. Then on my next sync, voila!
  2. I will think about this hard now because there’s no point in continuing to do a manual online tree, if I can have a fully synced one later.
  3. One huge project at  a time! I will focus primarily on re-adding people from my old “Original” file into the clean file and sourcing them.
  4. What I’m considering doing is going ahead and linking up my family tree and “syncing” as I go because hello, I’m already neck deep in census citations during this project and it would save me time later.
  5. I love learning new things.
  6. Why didn’t I just rehab my Original file?
  7. I’m lazy.
  8. Please let me know if there is an easier way. I won’t be offended I promise. I write this blog to show how I do things and to get feedback! It’s called “Misadventures of a Genealogist” for a reason folks.
  9. I’m kind of lazy.
  10. I’m indecisive too. If you haven’t noticed.

So there ya go. :) I’ve now explained my compulsive indecisive disorder for all. A big thank you to Russ for making me slow down and explain myself! I can really get ahead of myself sometimes.

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