I finally sat down and started playing in my free of sources Family Tree Maker family file. The one with all of the people, and none of the sources. I keep on trying to figure out the Source Citation procedure for Family Tree Maker but it doesn’t ever end with me actually feeling like I’m doing it correctly. Even though in the newer versions, they have templates to aid you in the process. For some reason, I just couldn’t get it to be what I wanted.

I think I may have finally “figured it out.” I have to use the quotes, because… Well, I might not have figured it out. I’m never sure if I ever have things correct or not. It’s a side effect of never reading instruction manuals. One day I’ll be forced to follow the “rules” but so far I’m doing fine bumbling through life at the seat of my pants… or fluffy pajamas as it were.

Okay, after many many combinations of what the ‘Source Title’ should be, I finally settled on ol’ faithful. I threw out using their templates for entering the Censuses. I like simplicity when it comes to the Census. I just want to pick the correct year and divide from that point. The censuses are where I ran into the biggest problem because hello, with 4,000 people in the “Big File” that source list could get very crowded. Then I went ahead and set myself a universal pattern for the ‘Citation Detail.’ Every single one of my Census citations have the exact format as you see above.

My next step was getting the citations onto the other people. In the past when I tried this, it didn’t go well. Mostly because I was using the existing citation, and then trying to change that. Well no wonder it wasn’t working right. So what I tried next was ‘Paste Duplicate Source Citation.’

At first it was perfect. I could note down the line numbers and spellings of the person’s name on their own citation. The problem ended up in my Source List though. That doesn’t exactly leave a lot to be desired does it? Especially when you think about the other 3,992 people I’m going to have census citations for. I’m closer though!

My next step was sorting it by ‘Source Title’ so I could just see that specific Census and not have all the other clutter. Which absolutely makes it a little easier to take, but still a bit much. That was when I had an epiphany.

I realized that I was leaving a whole box blank and why would I do that when Ancestry was so polite to give it to me right? So I noted down names and ages in the ‘Citation Text.’ Then I linked the one citation to the whole family. As you can see it turned a big list into a much more manageable one.

As you can see, it’s much easier to see what is going on in the ‘Source List.’ It may not be the way the sources are officially supposed to be done in Family Tree Maker but it’s the way I’m doing it now.

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