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Jerry Bryan

Member Since 06 Aug 2006
Offline Last Active Today, 09:03 AM

Topics I've Started

Interesting Example of How WebHints REALLY Work

20 June 2019 - 07:12 AM

This is not a problem and it might better go under Tips and Hints than under Discussion, but I found it interesting.


Real example: I was working in RM on a person named John Walter Bray born 1890 died 1948 and RM showed four WebHints for him at FamilySearch. All four of the hints were really for him and two of them were already approved at FamilySearch by some other user. I decided to approve the other two. Processing one of the approvals worked correctly without incident at FamilySearch, but I couldn't process the other approval that RM says was needed because FamilySearch said it was already approved. How can this be? FamilySearch says the hint is already approved, RM says the hint is not yet approved, and RM gets its information about hints from FamilySearch.


I now know the answer, but to make a short story long, let's review how WebHints really work at FamilySearch. Before there were WebHints in RM there were Record Hints at FamilySearch. For a person B in Family Tree, FamilySearch has a process that suggests that record C in FamilySearch's record collection might be a match for Person B. You logon to FamilySearch. You look at person B. You see the Record Hint that says that record C might be for person B. You investigate person B and record C and either approve or reject the hint. so far, so good.


Suppose from within RM, person A is on your screen. With WebHints properly enabled, RM will send information about person A to FamilySearch. FamilySearch will look in Family Tree to see if there is a person there who might be a match. In my case, I'm looking at John Walter Bray born 1890 died 1948 in RM and that's my person A. Some process at FamilySearch takes the information from RM and determines that my person A in RM is possibly the same as person B in Family Tree. The same process also observes that person B already has a Record Hint that suggests that Record C possibly is for person B. So we have a possible match between person A in RM, person B in Family Tree at FamilySearch, and record C at Family Search. In my case, my John Walter Bray as person A in RM and the John Walter Bray as person B in Family Tree at FamilySearch and the record C for John Walter Bray in the records collection at FamilySearch were all an excellent match. So I was good to go, except that FamilySearch said the match was already approved and RM said it wasn't.


A confusing part about the whole RM user interface for WebHints is that RM shows that record C at Family Search is a possible match for person A in RM. The RM user interface doesn't muddy up the water with the fact that the key to the whole thing matching is person B in Family Tree. But when you do the approval, what you are really approving is that record C in FamilySearch is for person B in Family Tree, and then RM shows record C in FamilySearch as a match for person A in RM.


In my case, the problem is that there was an additional person D in Family Tree who was muddying up the water. There were duplicate John Walter Brays in Family Tree, one as person B and one as person D. The query from RM to FamilySearch matched my my person A in RM to person B in Family Tree. The Record Hint in FamilySearch that was already approved matched up record C with person D - the second John Walter Bray. So to solve the problem, I had to merge the two John Walter Brays in FamilySearch - person B and person D. Having done that, there were no other Record Hints to approve in FamilySearch and RM saw all four WebHints as approved in the RM user interface.

The really ugly situation would be if record C in FamilySearch really is for person B in Family Tree, but person B in Family Tree really isn't a match for your person A in RM. In this case, the Record Hint needs to be approved for person B in Family Tree and rejected for person A in RM. I don't know of a way to do that. It could be very confusing and frustrating.




Sorting By Given Name

02 June 2019 - 08:34 AM

This message might better go under Wish List or maybe under Tips and Hints because it's a plea (again) that People View support Given Name and Surname as separate columns and because it's a tip and hint about how to get around the problem.


This is a real research situation. Hopefully, a real research situation rather than an abstract request might make the need for separate columns for Given Name and Surname in People View seem more real. Namely, I ran into an interesting Birth Certificate from 1910 in Sevier County, Tennessee. In Tennessee, at least, such records in 1910 were very primitive as compared to modern Birth Certificates. The Birth Certificate was for F. R. Bryan whose father was S.A. Bryan and whose mother was A. M. Bryan. The midwife was F. M. Slaton. It turns out that the real interest here is the name of the midwife.


Among other improvements, a modern birth certificate would spell out all the names. But a historical record is what it was, not what you wish it was. And I know the family pretty well, anyway. The father was Silas Amberson Bryan. The mother was Amanda Melzina Slaton, known as Mandy. The child was Fred R. Bryan and to this day I have not been able to determine Fred's middle name. But as I said already, the real curiosity is the midwife. Mandy's father was Francis Marion (Frank) Slaton. Could Frank Slaton have been the midwife for his grandson's birth? Certainly he was a farmer in a very rural area and as such would have been adept at assisting in the births of farm animals.


So I decided to see if I could find a Slaton woman whose initials were F. M. I first made a group in RM where Surname (Birth or Married) > equals > slaton AND Sex > is female. So far, so good. The group contained 103 people which was manageable. Now in all truth, 103 people is a small enough number that I could just eyeball it to see that there weren't any women with the surname Slaton and whose initials were F. M.


But just to be sure, I created a Custom Report that had a column for Given Name and a column for Surname, and which was sorted first by Given Name and second by Surname. I ran this report against the same group of 103 people. It was extremely obvious (much easier than eyeballing People View) that there were no women in my database whose surname was Slaton and whose initials were F. M. There weren't even any Slaton women whose first initial was F.


This is not proof positive that there wasn't an F. M. Slaton who was a woman and whom I failed to enter into my database. But my money is on the theory that Frank Slaton served as the midwife for the birth of his grandson Fred R. Bryan. In any case - please, please, please make Surname and Given Name available as separate columns for People View. There are just so many times when you need to sort by Given Name in People View and you can't do it unless Given Name is a column.




TreeShare on Two Computers

30 May 2019 - 08:40 PM

I'm probably missing something totally obvious.

Suppose I upload my RM database to a new ancestry tree using TreeShare. In the process, I get a TreeShare icon in my toolbar and I provide my ancestry username and password to RM for future use with TreeShare.


Suppose I then use the same RM database on two different computers - very carefully and not on both computers at the same time, etc. I know how to do that safely. The RM instance on the second computer doesn't have a TreeShare icon and doesn't know my ancestry user name and password. So how do I get TreeShare going on the second computer?




FGS 2019 in Washington, D.C.

07 May 2019 - 05:24 AM

Is RootsMagic going to have a booth at the FGS 2019 conference in Washington, D. C. in August?




Offline Mode

15 April 2019 - 02:41 PM

I wish RM had an offline mode for using the product when Internet access is not available. The offline mode should suppress any and all attempts by RM to contact the Internet and should suppress any and all messages about the Internet not being available or sign-ons failing or anything that.


I further wish that the offline mode be EXTREMELY easy to turn on and off, not being an option under Tools or anything like that. Instead, there should be a prominently placed button, for example on the the tool bar, that you can click to turn RM's Internet access on or off. The button should clearly display the CURRENT state, not the state to which you would go if you clicked it. For example, it should say INTERNET IS ON or INTERNET IS OFF or something of the kind that is completely clear. And clicking the button should just flip the state without asking any silly questions about whether I want to do it or not. When I flip a light switch on the wall at my house, the light switch does not ask me if I really mean it. It just does it. That's a user friendly mode of operation which the proposed RM online/offline mode should emulate.