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Growing and Sharing Your Family Tree shows how rewarding and informative building a family history can be. Genealogy instructor Jeff Sengstack teaches how to find lost ancestors, connect with living relatives, and collaborate with others to grow a family tree. He explains how to use the Family Tree Maker application along with Ancestry.com and other internet sites to track down census data, immigration records, and other important documents, and then organize family tree data. Jeff also presents tips on how to scan old photos, create video slideshows, and build family web sites. Exercise files accompany this course.
Download Jeff's free genealogy tips from the Exercise Files tab.
Connecting sources to individuals and facts inside your family tree is very important. Why? Well, years from now, someone may say, well, how do you know that so and so and such and so got married and that they were cousins? Well, you can say, I can check my source. So you go to that marriage and you see that it has sources attached to it, like maybe a marriage certificate, and a couple of birth certificates. That's clear that you're right. They were, in fact, cousins. Well, to what level do you take care of your sources? To how specific are your sources going to be? Well, if you're a professional genealogist, very specific, and it could be very time-consuming to do sourcing.
What I suggest that for the hobbyist level or when you're working on the family tree for your family, you keep it kind of generic and make it little bit simpler for you. In Family Tree Maker, sources work in sort of three ways. There are three levels to it. First of all, there is a repository. The repository can be something as simple as your records. Jeff's records, Jeff's files. Below that are sources and typically the sources would be, let's say, books, or a particular census like the 1920 New Jersey Census in Essex County. Well, I suggest you don't get quite that detailed. I think you should have, let's say, just generic sources, like books, photos, census records, birth records, death records, letters, and things like that.
Then finally, there is something called the source citation. So every time you connect somebody to one of those generic sources, you put it in a citation, saying something specific. So if you say you're going to connect somebody to your census records, you say that is the 1920 New Jersey Census. Then I think you've satisfied all you need to do in terms of how specific you need to be with sourcing. So let me show you how to do that inside Family Tree Maker. Here I have a source. You just go next to something inside Family Tree Maker that might call for a source, like a person's name, or a person's birthday. When you hover toward the end here, a little new source citation icon appears.
If you already have a source there, that icon would be there already. So let's just go down to John Sengstack's birthday. I'm going to click here to add a new source citation. Remember, the source citation is the find level. That's the bottom of that three-part chain, where you're getting kind of specific. But when I click on here, you're going to need to create a new source and a new repository, because you're starting from scratch. So I'll click on this and it says, what's your source title? Well, I don't have a source yet. I will click this down arrow and I'd find a list of sources, but there aren't any yet. So in this case, I'm going to put down Birth Records. Now somebody might have something more specific than that, but I think you should stay generic. I'm going to say Birth Records.
When I click OK, it's going to say this is a new thing, so do you want to edit that thing? Well, sure, I want to edit it. When you edit it, it says okay, who's the author of this or publisher's name, things like that. Well, I'm not really that concerned about putting in all that kind of information, but I do want to say what the repository is. So right now, there is no repository, because I have no repositories yet. So, I'm going to click on New repository. I'm going to say Jeff's Records. That is a repository. I can put in my address, or just my town or something like that, or my email address. But for now I'll just say Jeff's repository. So, I've got the repository. I've got the thing called Birth Records.
That takes care of the source and the repository. Now we're back down to the citation. In the citation, I'll say something specific. I'll say John's birth certificate. That's sufficient for what I want to do in terms of how specific I want to be in terms of my sourcing. I click OK, and now that little Source icon appears there. Later on, I'll show you how you can connect sources to media. If you happen to have, let's say, a scan of that document and you've saved that on to your hard drive, you can connect the source to the media.
But for now, this is the basic way that you connect I think every fact, if you can, to some source, so later you can document how you figured this stuff out.
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