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Archive for the ‘FTM’ Category

I use Family Tree Maker (FTM) as my genealogy software. I actually ran a weekly FTM SIG for a few years for my local genealogical society – GSSB, the Genealogy Society of South Brevard. I am quite happy with most of its functionality and not at all happy what Ancestry has done with it. But it is what I am familiar with and I am definitely not an Early Adopter. “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

One feature that I have leveraged is the ability to define your own custom Facts in addition to the standard facts that are part and parcel of any genealogy software – birth, marriage, death, etc. You can specify whether the fact is date only, date and location, description only, all three, and a few other combinations. You then can specify how that fact will appear in the Person Report. Your custom facts are also searchable just as are the standard facts.

For example, I am blessed with Early Colonial American ancestry so a common datapoint is the ship that brought the immigrant ancestor to America. You guessed it, I defined a custom fact called “Ship” with all three fact attributes, date / location / description. Richard Warren’s entry for Ship is “1620 / Plymouth, Plymouth, Massachusetts / the Mayflower” The fact would appear in the person report as “Arrived on the Mayflower at Plymouth, Plymouth, Massachusetts in 1620.” (substituted data italicized for the article).

But perhaps the best use I make of my custom facts is to generate lists of ancestors using the Custom Report feature. If I want a quick list of ancestors who arrived on the third ship, “the Anne”, I use the select individuals feature, selecting fact Ship with exact content of “the Anne.” You can define the fields to appear in the Custom report so I include Person ID as well as Ship. Ancestors have a value in person ID and that lets me tell which passengers are ancestors and which are not.

Since I find myself currently “across the pond” back in the 10th century, I have added additional facts like “Knighted,” “Coronation,” and after my discovery that I recounted for the last Family Friday, “Canonization.” Other custom facts include “TGMB,” “DAR Ancestor Number,” and so on. By pulling a Custom Report down as comma-separated values into a spreadsheet, I can do almost anything with my data. I find this much more preferable than putting this information into the catch-all “Notes” field, whether attached to the person or the fact.

So if I ever change software, this feature is a “must have” requirement.

Today’s research “gem:” turns out my 30th great-grandaunt, Elizabeth de Vendôme, now carries the entry in the Cause of Death fact “circa 1000, boiled to death.” What a way to celebrate the first millennium!

Tomorrow’s installment: Setting (and breaking) Scope

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