Growing and Sharing Your Family Tree
Illustration by Richard Downs

Growing and Sharing Your Family Tree

with Jeff Sengstack

Video: Merging ancestry hint document data into your family tree

Well, now we are ready to start looking at some of these Ancestry Hints and this will be fun, I can guarantee it. I want to just kind of hover over a few of them. That's how you can see how many there are. You just put your cursor on one of those leaves and don't click on it. Just look. And it says 8 Ancestry hints found, 8 Source records, 0 Possible tree matches. This gives you a sense of what you are going to find. If you click on this link, you are going to find 8 records that came directly from that are typically government documents of some kind, like a census record or a draft record.
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  1. 5m 52s
    1. Welcome
      1m 6s
    2. Why grow your family tree?
      1m 43s
    3. Workflow for growing and sharing a family tree
      1m 51s
    4. Using the exercise files
      1m 12s
  2. 39m 37s
    1. Installing Family Tree Maker
      1m 29s
    2. Introducing Family Tree Maker
      4m 38s
    3. Standardizing names, dates, and locations
      1m 59s
    4. Getting started with Family Tree Maker
      4m 50s
    5. Including source information
      3m 29s
    6. Adding more names: children, spouses, unrelated individuals, and parents
      6m 0s
    7. Inputting notes, facts, and media
      7m 36s
    8. Fine-tuning information
      5m 45s
    9. Viewing and printing simplified ancestor charts to identify gaps in knowledge
      3m 51s
  3. 16m 44s
    1. Going on a treasure hunt
      1m 20s
    2. Getting photos and documents onto your computer
      12m 12s
    3. Using DNA to trace your roots
      3m 12s
  4. 12m 56s
    1. Finding others who have researched your family tree
      5m 4s
    2. Importing family tree files
      5m 10s
    3. Talking to older relatives
      1m 1s
    4. Visiting ancestral locales
      1m 41s
  5. 24m 10s
    1. Leafing through Family Tree Maker's ancestry hints
      2m 44s
    2. Installing Family Tree Maker's viewer
      1m 34s
    3. Merging ancestry hint document data into your family tree
      12m 23s
    4. Saving documents and linking them to individuals
      7m 29s
  6. 24m 53s
    1. How the internet can help you
      3m 53s
    2. Drawing up an internet research strategy
      5m 28s
    3. Tips, tricks, and techniques for searching
      7m 43s
    4. Reviewing the major internet genealogy sites
      7m 49s
  7. 48m 18s
    1. Associating place names with people and events
      8m 55s
    2. Adding, viewing, and linking images and media to people
      9m 41s
    3. Customizing and printing charts
      9m 34s
    4. Backing up, restoring, and exporting files
      5m 46s
    5. Setting the home person
    6. Finding relationships
      1m 19s
    7. Sorting children
      1m 1s
    8. Replacing terms
      1m 11s
    9. Making facts private
      2m 35s
    10. Moving data items
      1m 42s
    11. Reviewing data
      2m 7s
    12. Merging two trees
      3m 30s
  8. 7m 49s
    1. Creating family history audio recordings, videos, slideshows, and DVDs
      3m 43s
    2. Collaborating and sharing online
      4m 6s
  9. 2m 17s
    1. Goodbye
      2m 17s

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Watch the Online Video Course Growing and Sharing Your Family Tree
3h 2m Appropriate for all Nov 03, 2009

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

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 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.

Topics include:
  • Learning multiple methods for tracking down ancestors
  • Exploring the database
  • Working with Family Tree Maker and its ancestry hints
  • Using DNA evidence to trace a family branch
  • Conducting live interviews with family members
  • Importing and scanning photos and documents for use in a family tree
  • Using Family Tree Maker's advanced tools to link images, documents, and places to individuals
Family Tree Maker
Jeff Sengstack

Merging ancestry hint document data into your family tree

Well, now we are ready to start looking at some of these Ancestry Hints and this will be fun, I can guarantee it. I want to just kind of hover over a few of them. That's how you can see how many there are. You just put your cursor on one of those leaves and don't click on it. Just look. And it says 8 Ancestry hints found, 8 Source records, 0 Possible tree matches. This gives you a sense of what you are going to find. If you click on this link, you are going to find 8 records that came directly from that are typically government documents of some kind, like a census record or a draft record.

If I go to somebody else where I know that there are some tree matches, let me go over to Maloney's here. It says 2 Possible tree matches. That means that somebody has done some research on the Maloney line and has posted their trees on and they're available for me to look at and I can communicate with this person about them. So, there are trees and then there are documents. Let's just start with my grandfather, and we will click on this 8 Ancestry hints found. That loads up what programmers and Family Tree Maker's programmers have decided in terms of how they search things that are probably connected to my granddad.

Well, the first thing is data only. It's a Social Security Death Index, and if I just click on it to select it, it turns blue. Look down to the right. It says Search result detail. And it says what information is inside this record that the government keeps. Whenever someone dies, you have some social security number that's almost immediately added to this index that becomes almost immediately available through and other sites around the Internet. And the data is not something that you would take an image of. It's just data that's transferred to your computer and that's the data.

His name, his Social Security number, date of his death, just his month and not the day, date of his birth and where the Social Security number was issued. You can compare that to the currently selected person to see if you've got the right guy and I know I have got the right guy here because I know that that's when his birthday was and there is his birthday over there. So, we have definitely got the right fellow. And so what we can do is we can take this data and merge that right into our tree and when we do that, we are going to source it as well from the Social Security Death Index. I am going to click of this Merge button.

And it pops-up this little interface here and says okay, here is the person from your tree and this is the person in that document that you're looking at right now. So, you have a choice of accepting the information from that document or rejecting it or making it an alternate fact, which means you have both facts are inside your family tree, but you decide that one is preferred and one is kind of the backup fact. I don't need to have his name as an alternate, because I've got his name properly here, so I am going to discard that fact. So, I know his exact birth date and place. I don't need to have this date because it's exactly the same.

It doesn't have all the extra information. So, I just discard it, and it automatically selected Discard because the Family Tree Maker programmer has recognized that that's equal. But it does say Keep the sources. This way another source would be added to his birthday, which is kind of cool. Go down a little bit farther here and it says let's make the Social Security number preferred, and it's preferred because I don't have his Social Security number in my record. I actually purposely deleted it before I did this exercise, so this would show up like this, because I did have it before. This will be Make preferred, which is the logical choice there. And again, where this Social Security number was issued, which again I deleted that one. So there it is, preferred.

And his death, I have his exact death date here. I don't need it here, because it doesn't have this exact day, so I will just discard this fact. But when I do that, this little Keep sources thing pops up. There is another way to have another source, so that's a good thing. So, now we have got all these things selected as to how we want to merge it, which is great. It gives us the choice about how we are going to merge data. So, now I click Next, and we are not going to be done at this point. It's going to say there it is. That's what you are going to do. You are going to put this stuff in and then here is the alternate information, if there was any. There wasn't any. We are taking the stuff straight off the number, the location, and we are keeping the rest of the stuff the same.

So, all this stuff is going to be there. They are just going to add this little source citation, the Social Security Death Index taken from So, we are all ready, so I click on Merge Now. That information is added to my granddad's record. And I will show that it is. I will go back to People, I will go on Person and there is the Social Security Number and there's where the Social Security Number was issued, bam! Automatically added. Now, if I click on this, there is the Source already added automatically. This is such a cool feature. It works so smoothly. Let's go back to Web Search now.

And let's check out something else. I want to go to his World War I draft registration card. So, I can't see the image until I click on here to select it, and then I could click on View Image and you can see the image. And I can expand the view and zoom in a bit. This little magnifying glass, it lets me hover over and I can zoom in that way as well. So, I have taken a look at this thing. I want to turn off the magnifying glass, so I can unmagnify it now. I will click on the Drag button. That lets me drag it around a little bit.

And what's great about this document is there is his name that he wrote. There is his address under the apartment. What he did as a profession, and what the address was for the job that he had. Who his closest relative is, her name is Mildred. And there's his signature, and on top of this over to the right, it says he was 5'6, he was slender, had blue eyes and blond hair and other information about him. So, this is just a great piece of information. If you look down here to Search result detail, it doesn't have all these juicy things. It just has his name, his birthday, and his residence because this information is an image that somebody has to transcribe.

And so gets these records and has people transcribe them, or other people transcribe them and sell them to So, they do a little bit of transcribing to make sure that the important data, the name and other things show up in the search and then you can, if you want to then take this stuff out of here and handwrite it into your document. But you still can merge this stuff as well, if you want to. And I am lucky here. I know all this stuff. So, I don't really need to merge it. This is the kind of thing that I would probably want to save and then use this information later. So, I am going to save that process for another video.

So, we are going to pass this now and go back to my search results. Let's go back to the People page, looks like. We will hover him again and click on the Ancestry hints, because we removed one already. So, now the Social Security won't show up because we've used it. Let's look at this thing again. Now it's got Frederick Sengstock. That's not my granddad but his middle name is Frederick. That's probably why it popped-up. When you hover over here, the pencil there it says his name could be Frederick Sengstack. And this is what people do with records. If they see a record and they look at it and they go, I think this guy's name is really spelled with an A, then they can put that it in an alternate spelling and that shows up in search records as well.

I am going to go through here and I know that I have that 1920 census of my granddad but by goodness it's not showing up here, and I am wondering why that is. The search methodology is not perfect. Sometimes it catches things and sometimes it doesn't. If I go back to People, and I click on his dad, and look at the Ancestry hints, lo and behold, his dad, 1920 Census shows up where John, my grandfather, was inside the census. So, it doesn't always get it right, which is one of the things why you look for something and you can't find it but you need to find another route, and by goodness you can probably find it with the other routes.

So, let me go back to my granddad again. I need to click this arrow to get back to him. Click on the little Ancestry hints. I want to go to one more thing. Let me go to 1910. At least I can check that out. Notice it says Dengstacke there as well, but somebody typed in Sengstack as an alternate spelling. I click on that and here's the image of a census record. And this is so chock-full of information. It's just amazing. I am going to drag it up here and scroll it up. And notice that the interface is different. With some documents, has created new interfaces for those documents that allow you to do more things in terms of how you magnify it and zoom in.

So, this one you have magnified by clicking this little button and you can magnify it. And then when you are done magnifying, you turn it off there. We can zoom in over here, zoom out over here. I am going to drag down. I am looking Sengstack and there is Sengstack, there is my great granddad. That's his wife, daughter, and my granddad right there in the 1910 census. Now, if you look down here, what stuff can you merge? Well, it doesn't really tell you all this juicy information about the year he was born, how long they were married, where their parents were born, and where they were born, in terms of countries or states, what his job was, and sometimes they even say how many children they had and how many are living.

Notice that my great-grandmother had five children, but only four were living. One child died at a very young age. So, they pass that information there. But doesn't put it down here again. So, this is the thing where you could say let's merge part of this stuff. And I do like to know that his residence in 1910 was there. So, I am going to go Merge. I can discard this fact about Dengstacke. I can discard this fact about his birth as I have got all the information about his birth, but we are keeping the source. But I do want to keep that he was at a residence in 1910 in Brooklyn, because I already know in 1920 he was in New Jersey.

So, I am going to take this as an Alternate. It's another fact that will reside next to it inside that Person field. Click Next, and there's information about the other people in that particular census record. Do you want to add this person? Well, no, we will ignore this person, because we have already got the information. Ignore this person as well. And now this is what we are going to do. We are going to merge in this alternate information. That's the thing that's going to be added and then there is a little checkbox up here. It says, do you want to merge the media as well? And this is also a very clever thing. When I click Merge Now that image will be uploaded to my computer and put in a folder that's this default folder for new media, and it will be linked to John.

So, I will say Merge Now. That little bit of information about his residence was added. I will go to People. I will go to John. I will go the Person view. 1910, there is the one that was just added for us. And if I go to the Media view, there is that census record that was added. This thing here is an automatic caption that was created because of the name of the document. I can change the caption if I want to, to make sure it's actually spelled correctly. But that's not the name of the file. The file name is down here and it's that odd little filing name that Family Tree uses to name the files that you add.

And I can understand that there has to be a number, just so that I can track them down later, but this is the thing that I have explained in other tutorials that you can change the name and move the file. And I won't do that here now, but this is the standard process when you download media like this. It just drops it in this little folder and gives it this automatic name. So, I am going to go back and look at one more thing that's very exciting about tracking down family tree members, and that's in terms of other people's family trees. I am going to go to my mom this time, and she's privatized because she is still alive. And over here on the right, we have Hendershot's.

The Hendershots are a very well documented family from the East Coast. And I am going to go over here and notice that there are five possible tree matches. So, I am going to click on this little Ancestry link here. That will display the tree matches here on the top and then the census records and all the documents here in the bottom. I am just going to pick one of these tree matches, the Godwins of New Cumberland. There are other ones to select from. I will just select that and what that does is it opens up the directly and shows you this person's tree with that person selected.

So, the first thing I want to do is I want to see a list of people, so I would click on this to see how extensive this particular tree is. And this tree has almost 35,000 names in it. Holy mackerel! So, I am going to go look for Hendershot and see what I get there. Click on Go, and on the Hendershot page, it's amazing. One whole page of Hendershots, just down to the first name with an A. It doesn't get to the B's yet, look at that. As I page through, I do start seeing ones from New Jersey, that Rockaway, Tewksbury, Hunterdon area of New Jersey.

And that's my line, so I am really interested in this particular family tree. And I could contact the person who owns it. I can click on this link and I can actually then click a link inside there, and send this person an e-mail through the service, which keeps email addresses anonymous until we decide to reveal them to each other. And we can swap information about his tree and my tree and see if there are other connections, and see if he wants to get information from me or vice-versa. So, this is the exciting thing about these Ancestry hints. It's that you can easily merge data into your family tree just by a couple of clicks.

In other tutorials, I will talk about how you can go get those images, just the images, and also connect them to people in your family tree.

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