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The Adoption Fact and Other Facts with the Parents Field


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#1 Jerry Bryan

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Posted 04 September 2017 - 11:03 PM

I've been trying to get serious about adding some sort of Parentage fact to my RM database. I've talked about this before. The primary purpose would be to provide a place in RM to attach evidence of a person's parents. But as an additional benefit, it could improve narrative reports.

 

To that end, I've been looking at the built-in Adoption fact. It includes a field to enter the adoptive parents so I was wondering about using it as a model for a putative Parentage fact. However, it seems to me that there are two problems with this approach.

 

The first problem is that I don't think there is anything in the design of a new fact type that would let me mimic the way the built-in Adoption fact works. Well, you could create a role for Father and a role for Mother. But I don't think you can create a role for Parents as a couple, nor do I see any other way to enter parents that actually links to the parents. You can obviously include the parents as text, either in the description field or in the note field.

 

The second problem is that I don't see a variable in the Sentence Template Language called [Parents] or anything like that. So even for the built-in Adoption fact, I don't see a way to list the parents in a narrative report.

 

I guess my question is, am I missing anything obvious that would help me with the design of a Parentage fact and its use in narrative reports?

 

Jerry

 



#2 robertjacobs0

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Posted 05 September 2017 - 07:55 AM

"[couple]" does work in some templates.



#3 Jerry Bryan

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Posted 05 September 2017 - 10:26 AM

"[couple]" does work in some templates.

[couple] doesn't work in this case.

 

After sleeping on it overnight (and unless somebody has a better idea), I'm just putting the name of the parents into the Description field of the user defined Parents fact. From the point of view of the RM database, the names of the parents are just text and don't really link to the parents.

 

Jerry



#4 TomH

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Posted 05 September 2017 - 12:16 PM

If it was simply a matter of something that works for narrative reports and does not have to survive transfer to foreign systems, then a custom individual-type fact does the trick. Parentage: the child is the Principal and each parent is assigned the role Parent. Your point form sentence template could be simply: "Parentage: [Parent]." But witness roles don't output in non-narrative reports. So if widest support is desired inside and outside RM, then the Description field is the better choice.

 

That Adoption fact type is special. I just noticed that it puts the FamilyID of the parent couple into the EventTable. Its Description field is disabled by default but enabling has no effect on the data entry form. If you put a value into the Details field in EventTable, it does come out in the Edit Person Details column and, if the [Desc] field is included, in sentence preview in Edit Person and in the narrative (but not non-narratives).  


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#5 Jerry Bryan

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Posted 05 September 2017 - 02:59 PM

Your point form sentence template could be simply: "Parentage: [Parent]." 

 

Much thanks for the suggestion. It has been very thought provoking.

 

I had settled on a sentence template of "Parents: [Desc].", but your suggestion will also work. Using the Description field, I would just set the value of the Description field to "John Doe and Jane Smith"  Using witness roles, I would just set John Doe and Jane Smith with the role of Parent and as you said the the sentence template would be "Parent: [Parent]." But this is where it gets to be thought provoking.

 

First of all, I don't work very much with roles in RM and I had forgotten how a variable such as [Parent] works when the variable is a role and when there are multiple people with the same role. In the case we are talking about, the single variable [Parent] expands into "John Doe and Jane Smith". And if (for example), several individuals were assigned the role of bridesmaid at a wedding, then the variable [Bridesmaid] in the sentence for the wedding fact would expand into a list of all the bridesmaids, complete with proper punctuation, e.g., "Sarah Williams, Elizabeth Johnson, Tiffany Anderson, and Brenda Fox". The is all very well done on the part of RM.

 

Second of all, exactly what does it mean in RM to set a role? Well, it means to share a fact. Or at least I don't think you can set a role without sharing a fact. And at first blush, it would seem that sharing a fact means that there is a sharer's version of the shared fact and the sharee's version of the shared fact. RM supports the sharer's version of the sentence to be different from the sharee's version of the fact, and RM supports the sharer's version of the fact note to be different from the sharee's version of the fact note. In the case of the Parents fact I was playing with, I didn't really want a sharee's version of the fact to show up in the timeline for the parents, so I set the sharee's version of the sentence template to null. But the sentence showed up in the sharee's timeline anyway as a dangling citation superscript not really connected to anything. Then I remembered that there is a solution. Namely,when you share a fact, instead of giving the name of a person in the RM database, you can just type a name without referencing anybody in the database. The name is just text, and the act of "sharing a fact" doesn't really share a fact. It just sets a role, which is all I wanted to do anyway. So it works just fine to set a Parents role without really sharing a fact and to use a sentence template such as "Parents: [Parent]." It's just that it's a little odd to use the "share a fact" dialog to set a role instead of sharing a fact, but so be it.

 

Third of all, we now have two solutions. Put the parent data into the Description field and let the sentence template be "Parents: [Desc]." or put the parent data into a role and let the sentence template be "Parents: [Parent]." So which is better? I guess it depends, but my sense is that the Description technique is more likely to survive export into third party software, so that's the one I'm going to go with.

 

Jerry

 

 

By the way and a little off subject, sentence template customization for a sharee's version of a shared fact is not exported in RM's GEDCOM, even when the "Extra details (RM specific)" option is chosen for the GEDCOM export. Don't ask me how I know this. I haven't checked to see what RM's GEDCOM looks like for a role when there is just a bare role without also having a sharee's fact.



#6 Jerry Bryan

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Posted 05 September 2017 - 03:11 PM

I forgot to mention that I love the fact that the Description field is very visible in RM's user interface. It can become a column in People View and it's searchable with Find. Roles and sentence templates are much less visible in RM's user interface. This is another reason to use the Description field for parents instead of roles.

 

For an example of sentence templates not being very visible in RM's user interface, I just went through an exercise of removing customized sentence templates from about 200 different individual events in my RM database so that the customization in Lists->Fact Types would be used for all the events. There would have been no way from the RM user interface to find the 200 events in my database with individually customized sentence templates, so I had to find them with SQLite.



#7 Jerry Bryan

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Posted 08 September 2017 - 10:48 AM

I think this thread is starting to need a different title, but I will continue to truck ahead anyway within this same thread.

 

I have changed my mind. Instead of setting up a custom Parents fact with the parents listed as text in the Description field, I am defining the custom Parents fact with a [Parent] role and linking the [Parent] role to the principle person's parents. That means that I'm having to use Shared Facts to accomplish my goal of documenting parentage, and I don't like to use Shared Facts because of how unlikely they are to be transferable to third party genealogy software.

 

The motivation for changing my mind has been the realization that text in the Description field cannot appear in the Index of Names at the end of RM's narrative reports. But if I use a Parent role for the Parents fact and if I link the Parent role to a person in the RM database rather than linking the Parent role to a person not in the RM database, then the parents show up in the Index of Names with the page number being the page number where the  Parents fact appears.

 

I still have concerns with my new approach. Here are the concerns and how I have decided to rationalize the new approach.

  • There is the aforementioned concern that RM's Shared Facts are unlikely to be transferable to third party genealogy software. I'm already making one exception to not using Shared Facts in that I share RM's family facts such as marriage and divorce with the principles to the marriage or divorce. On its face, this sounds totally bizarre because the principles to the marriage or divorce are already associated with the respective marriage and divorce facts. But the marriage and divorce facts only show up in the family section of RM's narrative reports, not in the individual section of RM's narrative reports. Sharing the family facts with the principles to the facts makes the facts show up an additional time in narrative reports, with the additional appearance being in timeline order with the principle's other individual facts such as birth and death. Hence, my use of shared facts for family facts is for the purpose of better formatting of narrative reports, and no real data is lost if the shared facts are lost by third party genealogy software. To the same end, I am still entering the principle person's parents into the Description field of the Parents fact, but the sentence template for the Parents fact references the [Parent] role rather than the [Desc] field. So that data looks good in RM's narrative reports and is not lost on transfer to third party genealogy software.
  • There remains the concern that roles cause a sentence to appear for the sharee (the parents, in this case), and I didn't want a sentence to appear for the sharee. So I tried a null sentence template for the sharee. This suppressed the sentence but it did not suppress the citation associated with the sentence. This resulted in a citation superscript in the text for the parents that was not connected to any fact for the parents. So I decided to make lemonade out of lemons, and instead of a null sentence template for the Parent role the sentence template for the Parent role is now a "birth of child" sentence". The effect in narrative reports is nice, very similar to the way births of children look in RM's TimeLine View.

In summary here are my two new sentence templates for the Parent fact.  For the principle, we have the following. Note that the [Parent] variable is repeated for each parent and is punctuated properly with an "and" between the parents' names. If there is only one parent, then only the single parent appears.


<b>Parents:</b>< [Parent].>

For the Parent role, we have the following. The variable has to be [Person] rather than [ThisPerson] because in this context [ThisPerson] picks up the parent's name rather than the child's name.


<b>Birth of Child: </b> <[Date:plain]><, [Person:Full]>.

Jerry



#8 TomH

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Posted 08 September 2017 - 11:16 AM

I love how you've bounced off the walls in this maze of alternatives to arrive at a perfectly novel solution. Congrats, Jerry!

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#9 genealogy4primm@earthlink.

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Posted 18 September 2017 - 06:03 PM

Jerry, Thanks for sharing your adventure and thoughts. Your solution is quite crafty in utilizing Sentence Templates and the Fact that is Shared. Also well explained as you migrate through the possibilities. Reminds me of some of my attempts to 'force' what I want RM to output in similar scenarios. KUDOS

I previously have done a similar "Relationship" Fact that I share from the Marriage fact of Grandparents to the Grandchild. But it was also set it up so it could be used in any relational situation if the Roles are defined for the relationship. However, the Sentence Template was the one segment I was not able to get defined per Role. This gives me hope.

 



#10 Jerry Bryan

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Posted 19 September 2017 - 12:17 PM

I have run into some minor issues my approach to the Parents fact. The issues have to do with individuals who have more than one set of parents.
 
For example, suppose Jane Doe's parents were John Doe and Mary Johnson. Suppose Mary Johnson died at Jane's birth. Suppose Jane was raised by her aunt Elizabeth Doe (her father's sister) and Elizabeth's husband Harvey Jones. Sometimes I deal with this situation in RM with one set of parents, namely John Doe and Mary Johnson. If I only have one set of parents in RM, then the aunt and uncle who raised the child can be documented in notes of some sort. So far, so good and if I only have one set of parents then there are no issues with the Parents fact.
 
But sometimes it seems appropriate to link the aunt and uncle who raised the child as actual parents in RM. In such a case, I can have two Parents facts for Jane Doe. Having two Parents facts for Jane can look perfectly reasonable in a report for Jane herself. But if Jane's Parents fact for her aunt and uncle is actually linked to her aunt and uncle, then her aunt and uncle can look a little funny in a report. Which is to say, their timelines will show a Birth of Child event which may not look quite right. Depending on my preferences and the exact family situation, I can choose in RM to add the second Parent fact for Jane and then either link the second Parent fact to the aunt and uncle as a Birth of Child event or not link the second Parent fact to the aunt and uncle. If I don't link it to the aunt and uncle, then I simply enter the aunt and uncle in the Description field of the parent fact (which I do anyway) and change the sentence template for the second Parents face to say [Desc] instead of [Parent] for the description. The report then looks reasonable, and the only thing I have lost in the report is the Name Index entries for the aunt and uncle on the page where they were listed as Jane's parents.
 
There are many variations on this same theme. I'll list one more. Suppose we continue the same scenario as above except that after a few years Jane's father John Doe marries for a second time, this time to Ann Anderson, and Jane then lives with John and Ann who are her father and stepmother. John and Ann are now Jane's third set of parents, with her birth father John taking on the parent role for the second time. Again, I could explain this just in a note, or I could actually link Jane to John and Ann as a third set of parents. And in any case, I could choose to enter or not enter a third Parents fact for Jane, this time for John and Ann. And if I did choose to add a third Parents fact for Jane, I could link or not link the Parents fact to John and Ann with the Birth of Child sentence.  I surely don't want to link Jane's third Parents fact to John because he will then have a duplicate Birth of Child sentence for Jane. And I probably don't want to link Jane's third Parents fact to Ann because she will then have a Birth of Child sentence for a child she didn't give birth to, and indeed for a child who may have been born even before she met the child's father. So again, the solution is to add the third Parents fact but enter the parents information only into the Description field without linking to the Parents. (And change the sentence template for Jane's third Parents sentence from [Parent] to [Desc] as previously described.)
 
I find that multiple parents are not common, but neither are they rare. I suppose if I really care that much about the Name Index entries for the multiple parents, I can add them by hand in the RTF file after I'm editing the RTF file in Microsoft Word.
 
Jerry