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Doug Couch

Member Since 18 May 2008
Offline Last Active Sep 04 2009 11:35 PM

Posts I've Made

In Topic: Rename Descendants feature

09 March 2009 - 07:57 PM

QUOTE(Kevin Wornell @ Mar 9 2009, 04:15 PM) View Post

...I would like to be able to highlight a person (either in Pedigree view or in Family view), right click, input a new Surname for that line. The program would then rename the highlighted person and all direct line descendants that have the old Surname with the new Surname...

I believe I see what you want to do with such a feature; however, I don't agree that it is a good feature for RM to adopt. People use whatever name and spelling they use. While you can make attempts to standardize, those standardized names are not what the people themselves used. Nothing wrong with it necessarily, but it tends to move away from genealogy when "we" choose what their name is/was.

In my mother's family, she was one of 14 children. About half of them spelled their surname Atkins, while the rest spelled it Adkins. Of course, their descendants "typically" spell it how their parent did...so the two spellings continue from the same nuclear family. From what information I have been able to find, Adkins was the spelling their father used; however, if you follow back a few generations, it was Atkinson, which was most likely derived from Atkins, which was most likely derived from Adkins (meaning kin of Adam). Throughout the geographic region where this rather large family group is and was found, people spell this name in many ways. There is no "correct" way. It is simply a matter of how people whose name it was spelled it.

My mother used Adkins, changed her middle name from Marie to Ann abitrarily without legal process. So her legal records show her as Margaret Ann Adkins because that is what she used on legal forms, etc. But it could just as easily be Margaret Marie Atkinson. Her choices overrode her parents' choices. So her birth name is Margaret Marie Adkins, with an alternate name of Margaret Ann Adkins. Since many of her fairly close relatives are still living, and since she always used Ann for her middle name, I keep it in the database how she used it...but Marie is the more proper name because her parents gave her that name.

As you go back into older lineages, this problem increases, for people did not have surnames per se, did not name their children until they came of age, didn't know how to read and write, and had many overlapping conventions defining what they were called...which changed throughout their lives. Their names changed from birth name to grown name, to titles (often plural, and where title actually becomes their name for all practical purposes), to their trade or occupation, to locations where they were born, locations where they ruled or were ruled by others or just lived, locations where they fought in battles, titles of honor because of battles, and other purely anecdotal names that stuck and were widely used. Additionally, they lived or married into spouses' families (plural) from different localities, under different royal and other titles, and often tried to incorporate both spouses' names, establish priorities, please the public politically and religiously, etc., resulting in a single person having a dozen or more names...including translations of these names into the languages of the various family branches involved. Hence a LOT of spellings of a LOT of names, for one person.

An example is Harald I "Fairhair" Halfdansson King of Norway: see some of his information at the wiki page:
He is not necessarily a prime example, but comes to mind...trying to sort him out from amongst other Haralds with similar sounding spouses, etc.

So, if you opt to standardize naming for your own database simply to maintain sanity, that is understandable, but it doesn't fit well into the genealogical name referencing schemes, which necessarily are so widely varied. If you do opt to standardize, always remember to include alternate name references for clarity of those who may read your data later on.

Doug (list member)

In Topic: Search for persons with no descendents

06 March 2009 - 03:21 AM

Decided to play with this a little. I came up with the same scenario using an individual list, select children, deselect all others...and then process the data. With thousands of people to wade through, it is worth the processing. I'm sure there is a little shorter way to do it, but here is what I did...and it worked very well to get the list.

1. Reports > Individual list > select showing children, deselect other, (top selector set to everyone in database)

2. Set Print to...to Text file

3. Print report to text file, name and save file

4. With text file open, select all text in file, and copy (Ctrl+C)

5. Open a blank spreadsheet in Excel:

5.a. paste into C1 cell of Sheet 1 (Ctrl+V...will paste automatically to other rows and columns as needed)
5.b. paste into C1 cell of Sheet 2 (Ctrl+V...just a raw backup in case anything goes wrong, so you don't have to repeat the copy-paste later)

6. Create formulas to extract needed data with:

6.a. In blank column B, type the following formula: =IF(C2="","",C1)
6.b. In blank column A, type the following formula: =IF(B1<>"",IF(b1=0,"",B1),B1)
6.c. Highlight cells A1 and B1, and copy (Ctrl+C)
6.d. Highlight cells A2 and B2, press and hold the Shift key...and while holding the Shift key, arrow, page or scroll down the the last row with data, and release Shift key (you should now have a long highlighted pair of columns (A & cool.gif...paste (Ctrl+V) - this will copy the A1 & B1 formulas to all rows of your data

At this point, column A should show only the names of those persons in column C who have no children. Now to get rid of the rest...

7. Highlight the entire spreadsheet with formulas (small square at top left...above row 1 label and left of column A label)...and copy (Ctrl+C)

8. Remove formulas:

8.a. Click into cell A1 of blank Sheet 3
8.b. Do NOT paste with Ctrl C...select Paste Special from Edit menu
8.c. Select Values in top portion of Paste Special dialog...click OK (data only without formulas will be pasted...otherwise the formulas will go crazy when you sort)

9. Get rid of unneeded data: highlight a few entire columns to the right of column A - col B, C, D, etc. and delete all data from them...leaving only col A with the names you want

10. Separate the data rows from the non-data rows: highlight the entire column A and use ascending sort (the non-data rows will be at the top)...then delete all blank rows above your data.


What you have now is a single column with the names of the people who have no children, including their individual number. If desired, you can copy paste groups of these names into several columns until you have all your names available without a 1000-mile-long single column list. SAVE - Then print it out.

I know it's a bit much, but it works very well, and doesn't really take all that long. When typing in the formulas, include all characters as given, such as equal sign at beginning, sets of double quotes with nothing between them, etc.

[example: "","" is dbl-quote dbl-quote comma dbl-quote dlb-quote]

With perseverence, this could be done with one formula column...but this worked now without taking excess brainpower to create.

good luck....Doug

In Topic: Fixing Relationships

23 February 2009 - 09:55 PM

QUOTE(BRCTEX @ Feb 23 2009, 06:29 PM) View Post

I'm converting from FTM to Rootsmagic and cannot find in FAQ or Help anything on deleting or removing individuals. I have a child entered twice, once in 1st marriage with step father's name, and again correctly in a prior non marriage relationship under mother's maiden name. To further complicate, he was registered at birth by his mother under a totally different false name. Though I now have his father's correct name, his name was legally changed to the mother's maiden name by the maternal grandparents when he entered school. That is the name he has used for many years. I can probably handle all this in the notes and use of aka, but I just want to delete him from the stepfather marriage.

If I am hearing you correctly, you have the child actually entered twice, not just linked to other parental connections. Before you can successfully deal with it, you must get clear about just what situation exists.

Check in the search-person listing. If the child shows there twice, then the child is (probably) entered twice. If the child appears in the list only once, but shows more than one set of parents, then that is a different issue.

Moving from that for a moment, you want to establish what the child's "name at birth" was if there are multiple names he has been called by. Even if the birth name was false, if it was the name assigned at birth, it is his first and original name. Some people use such a name all their life...and it is their legal name, as well as what they went by. In your case, I was not entirely clear as to just how many names he went by, or was recorded as having at some point. Anyway, establish the birth name. Then use that for his name in the database. Any and all other names are then alternate names, each with their own alternate name fact, and any notes or sources about that particular name fact.

Once you have the name clear in mind, if there are more than one entry of the child in the search-person list, go to each one (noting the individual number {I###} etc, for each one). Look at which if any have the correct birth name. If both have it, select the one who has the best notes information and facts as the one to use permanently. If neither have it, pick the one with best notes, etc., and change the name in the given and surname fields to the correct birth name. Then go to the other one and check to see if there are any notes or facts there which do not appear in the one you chose to use. Copy that information and make sure it gets into the one you chose. On each of these, check to see what parents are linked (are there one, or more than one sets of parents)...and what children of his if any are linked to him. Make notes to be sure you get all of them relinked properly. Then delete...not unlink...the one you did not choose (if there were more than one to start with).

Once you have your notes and are down to one entry for one individual child you are working with. What parents does he have? If they are his birth parents (this does not mean his name or allegations, and is not about what his name was at birth...it could be different)...in other words who are his actual mother and father biologically? If they are linked as his only parents...great. If there are more parents sets linked to him, see if each one is correct...and if any are not, right-click him and unlink that set of parents. Then if needed, add parents sets to him (correctly relinking the ones unlinked...or if there are parents not in the database yet, add them) one at a time until all are there correctly. The same mother might be in all of the parents sets, for instance...but each pair of parents should be unique as a pair.

Once you have done this with the parents, look for the children. Are they there? Does each child show under the correct set of parents? If any are not there, or are under the incorrect set of parents (their biological parents if known), then right-click them individually and unlink and relink as needed. Just as with him, if some were adopted or need to show under more than one set of parents for any reason, link that child to however many sets of parents as he/she belongs linked to, and include notes for that child showing what those different relationships were, and if any were adoptions, use an adoption fact, etc., rather than just generic notes.

At this point, you should have one entry for him, however many correct sets of parents as needed, and whatever children similarly linked correctly.

One final note: If you do not know already how these incorrect parent-child relationships were established, you might want to search your original import GEDCOM in a text editor and see if his name appears more than once. If it does, of course, the problem was carried over from FTM. If not, you might want to review your procedure for entering and linking children to parents, and multiple relationships.

Good luck...

In Topic: Removing Multiple Names

20 February 2009 - 02:53 AM

Some additional thoughts...

1. If you arrived in the RootsMagic realm from another genealogy software that you are more familiar with.

2. If you haven't added tons of people, etc., into an imported file.

3. You could open your GEDCOM file exported from the other software (in a text editor such as Notepad) and see if these duplicates exist there. If they do, that's where they came from. If they do not, see the above remedies in other replies. (THIS PART IS GOOD TO DO REGARDLESS OF THE ABOVE)

4. If they ARE in the GEDCOM export which was imported into RootsMagic, you might consider going into your old software, and making the changes in a software you are more familiar with. Then re-export, and re-import, and then hopefully, you will not have the duplicates. The basic procedure is the same in your old software however.

It is EXTREMELY helpful to know where these duplicates came from, hence the suggestion to explore the GEDCOM, etc. If you don't know how they got there, you will likely be creating more after you finish cleaning up your database now. So, the best (and thus easiest) method is to not generate the duplicates in the first place.

If you used drag and drop features in RootsMagic, then thought it didn't work because the people were not there connected as expected, and then did it again...and again, this would generate duplicates in RootsMagic (one possibility). Those people would be inserted, and reinserted as many times as you did it, without regard for the existence of the same people already there. Check closely in RootsMagic by just one or two names which occur as duplicates to see if each occurence is linked to the rest of your tree. If some are not, that sounds like drag-drop repetitions.

If you did multiple imports, add-on merges, etc., these also can create duplicates if the procedure needed at the time for the type of work you're doing was not followed correctly.

At any rate, do your best to identify how this happened, to avoid problems for yourself in the future. Think what you did through, baby step by baby step (do not generalize, because the program doesn't generalize). Write down notes, and be as click by click accurate as possible. That means you DO NOT say of your actions: I added Mary Smith. You need to specify what clicks you made to add Mary Smith, and how you connected her to parents and/or children...for there are a number of ways to do most anything in RootsMagic, and remembering which method you used may make it easier to identify what you did incorrectly (IF it occurred in RootsMagic at all...and if not, it is very important to know that).

For instance, you can add a child to a set of parents in (at least) three ways: 1)menu selections accessed using your mouse; 2)menu selections using keyboard key combinations; 3)drag-drop from another database window. Each of these has different possibilities for mistakes, such as OOPS, clicked the wrong menu selection, or OOPS, used the wrong key combination, or OOPS, didn't remember to put a check in the box indicating to add as a child, etc. These OOPsies listed are not necessarily related to your dilemma, but just give an idea of the differences of the various experiences of doing the exact same function in the database to which these people were added. Importing and merging adds to that list.

Good luck...


In Topic: Two persons in database automatically repeat themselves

16 February 2009 - 05:22 PM

Sounds like the parent is linked to the child, with that parent being referenced/linked to the child as though the child were the parent (in addition to the normal child-parent link), creating a loop.

1. If you check the actual parent of that pair, you should find that he/she is showing 2 sets of parents.

2. Unlink the actual parent from his or her parents set which shows the child inappropriately as parent. (In the current configuration, the actual parent is also child, and unlinking from the wrong parents is needed.)

This should yield the proper relationship. If it does not correct everything, you might consider unlinking all persons in these relationships, and relinking them properly. Then it should definitely show the correct relationships.