How-To Articles

Tutorial: Using Family Tree Maker's New Source Documentation Features

Family Tree Maker version 4.0 introduces a new, more detailed method for documenting sources. In previous versions of Family Tree Maker, the only place for documenting sources was a "free-text" field (the Source dialog box) associated with several specific event location fields. If you used the same source twice you had to copy it or retype it. Of course, Fastfields helped a little, but you still had to customize the information for each field. On the surface, the new method for documenting sources appears the same; you will still see the small letter "s" next to a field that has a source associated with it. But the similarity ends there. When you access the source, Family Tree Maker version 4.0 displays a brand-new dialog box called the Source-Citation dialog box. Upon looking a little further, you will see that the Source dialog box has actually been replaced by two components: the Master Source dialog box and the Source-Citation dialog box.

Master Sources are any books, documents, people, pictures, etc. that you have collected information from (much like the entries you would find in a bibliography of a book or report). In Family Tree Maker, these are also intended to be items that you could use to prove one or more pieces of information about one or more individuals. The Master Source dialog box lets you document these sources with fields such as: Title of Source, Author/Originator, Publication facts, Source media, Call number, Source location, Comments, and Source quality.

Source-Citations are used to identify the specific piece of information contained in the Master Source that pertains to the actual field you are documenting. For example, the Source-Citation would contain the title of the Master Source it was from (Title of Source), the page number of the Master Source on which the supporting documentation was found (Citation Page), and perhaps even the text from the Master Source (Citation Text). In other words, if you have a birth certificate for John Doe, you would enter this as a Master Source. You could then create separate Source-Citations based on this Master Source to prove John Doe's full given name, his birth date/location, or his parents' names.

The number of fields that you can record source information for has also increased. You can record source information for all the fields listed below.

Now, let's take a look at how you can use Master Sources and Source-Citations. Let's assume that you have an individual in your family by the name of Joseph Michael Milkovic. You have just found a court order registering his birth and want to use this to document his birth date. The court order gives you the following information: To record this information, first you will establish the Source-Citation for to his birth date field. Then you will create a Master Source to describe the birth record. And lastly, you will fill in additional information on the Source-Citation to make it specific to Joseph's birth date field.

Establishing a Source Citation

  1. From the File menu, choose New Family File.

    We are opening a new Family File because Joseph Milkovic is not really your relative and therefore doesn't belong in your actual Family File.

  2. Type a name for the new Family File in the File name field.

    Since you are going to enter source information about Joseph Milkovic in this tutorial, type MILKOVIC.FTW in the File name field.

  3. In Windows 95/98 click Save, or in Windows 3.1 click OK.

    Family Tree Maker creates the new Family File and displays an empty Family Page.

  4. Type Joseph Michael Milkovic in the Husband field.

  5. Click his Date born field and enter March 12, 1908. You can also enter Cleveland, Ohio in the in field.

  6. From the View menu, select Source, or press CTRL+S.

    Family Tree Maker displays the Source-Citation dialog box.

    Note: Since this birth information has not been documented before, the Source-Citation dialog box is empty.

Entering a Master Source

  1. In the Title of source field, type Registration of Birth for Joseph Michael Milkovic

    Top half of the Source-Citation Dialog Box
    Top half of the Source-Citation Dialog Box.

    This will be the name of the Master Source identifying this birth record. If you had entered this Master Source previously, you could have chosen it from a list of existing Master Sources by clicking the "Find Master Source" button.

    Note: You can use anything you want for the Master Source title. Make sure, however, that the names you chose for Master Sources are descriptive so that you can tell the difference between similar documents. For example, many of your birth dates may come from birth certificates. If you simply entered "Birth Certificate" in the "Title of source" field, you wouldn't be able to tell the difference between your mother's birth certificate and your grandmother's birth certificate.

  2. Click Edit Master Source to enter the following detailed information about this birth record:

    Author/Originator -- Joseph Michael Milkovic

    Publication facts -- Probate Court of Cayahoga County, Ohio, Journal Entry dated October 31, 1952

    Source media -- Official Document

    Call number -- 463340

    Source location -- Certified copy of Journal Entry in possession of Barbara Ann Milkovic

    Comments -- This is a journal entry for the Finding and Order of Case 463340 which is the request by Joseph Michael Milkovic for the Court to register his birth. It states that this is based on "Clear and convincing documentary evidence" but does not list it.

    Note: The information that you type in this field will be common to all Source-Citations that use this Master Source so make sure that you only use general comments here.

    Source quality -- 3

    Note: The source quality of 3 is based on an arbitrary scale of 1-4 where 4 is reserved for the actual original document. You could also use a scale of excellent, good, poor. There are many accepted ways to document sources. You can consult the Genealogy "How - To" Guide under "Documenting your sources" for examples. You may also want to check the genealogy books at your local library, or ask a local genealogy society for information.

    Fields in the Master Source dialog box
    Completed fields in the Master Source dialog box.

  3. Click OK to complete the Master Source entry and return to the Source-Citation dialog box.
Now that you have created a Master Source, you need to complete the Source-Citation for Joseph's birth date.

Entering a Source-Citation

  1. The Citation Page field can be used for page numbers, record numbers, brief location descriptions, or even the date of a supporting conversation. In this case, the birth certificate is a single-page document, so type the following: Vol. 60B Page 340, Box 4

  2. The Citation Text field contains what was found in the location you just specified in Step 1. In this case type the contents of Box 4: March 12, 1908

    The "Footnote" field shows you how this Source-Citation will appear when you print it. It is automatically generated from the information you have typed. You can however, create a custom footnote by typing over the default footnote text. If you later change your mind and want to return to the original footnote text, click Restore Footnote to undo your footnote changes. Keep in mind though that the Restore Footnote button can't return you to your previously entered custom footnote if you change your mind again.

  3. Select the Include citation text in footnote check box.

  4. At this point, you have the following options:

    New -- Click this button if you want to add another Source-Citation for the same field. This button saves the current entry and clears the screen for the next entry. For example, we just documented Joseph's birth date from a court record. If we also had a birth notice from the newspaper, we could click the New button to document the newspaper source as well.

    Delete -- Click this button to delete the current Source-Citation.

    Next, Prev, First, Final -- If you've already entered other Source-Citations for this field, you could click these buttons to scroll through them.

  5. After you finish entering and viewing sources for this field, click OK.

    Family Tree Maker returns you to Joseph's Date born field and places an "s" next to Joseph's born In field indicating that you have recorded source information for the Date born or In fields.

    Source Mark on the Family Page
    The "s" source mark appears to the right of the birth date fields.

Using Sources in your Family File

Once you've entered source information, you can include it as part of your trees and custom reports. For example, to include source information in a Descendant tree, you would display a descendant tree on your screen, and then from the Contents menu, choose Items to Include in each Box. When you are choosing items to include in your tree by highlighting them in the Available items column and clicking the include ">" button, Family Tree Maker displays an Options dialog box for many items. Items for which you can record sources have an Include source information check box in their Options dialog box. Select this check box when you want source information for a that item to appear in your tree. To display an Options dialog box for an item that is already in the The boxes in your tree contain these items column, highlight the item in that column and then click the Options button.

You can also view and print a Bibliography report listing all of your sources, and a Documented Events report which lists the events in your Family File that you've documented with sources. These are available from the Report view under Report Format on the Format menu. More detailed instructions for including sources can be found in your Family Tree Maker 4.0 manual on pages 299 and 313 or in the on-screen Help system.

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