Ancestry.com

Data Entry Flow

Posted by Ancestry.com on March 27, 2008 in Family Tree Maker

Some comment about data entry flow from our U.I Designer:

Many people like the easy flow of entering and editing information from the Family view of Family Tree Maker 16.  As nice as it is, many also complained about having to open the “Edit Individual” dialog multiple times to enter common facts such as AKA, title, christening, baptism, and burial.  While some aspects of using the Family view were nice, the requirement to repeatedly go in and out of the “Edit Individual” dialog box for some common facts made for an inefficient process in many cases.

Family Tree Maker 2008 addresses this issue in its Family view by allowing the right-hand edit panel to be customized.  For instance, if you frequently enter burial information, you can add “Burial” to the right-panel and then you won’t need to go to another screen to enter that information like you did in Family Tree Maker 16.  If you have a lot of Jewish ancestry, you might frequently add Bar Mitsvah and Bat Mitsvah information, so you may want to add those facts to the right-hand panel.  You certainly don’t want to add every fact you might ever use to the right-hand panel, but those that you frequently use.  This makes it possible to add most of your information from one screen without the need to go to another view or open another dialog box.

But what about flowing through your data entry without using your mouse?  Family Tree Maker 2008 has fairly extensive support for keyboard navigation.
 
From a selected person in the pedigree or family panel, press the Tab key to move your focus to the edit panel on the right.  Then tab through the fields and enter information for that person.  To add or edit another family member, press Ctrl + Tab to return to the family panel.  Ctrl + Tab is a common standard way in Windows to move from panel to panel.  Once your focus is back in the family panel, use your arrow keys to move between parents or children where you can add new family members or edit existing ones by pressing the Tab key and repeating the process just described.

33 comments

Comments
1 KausarMarch 27, 2008 at 4:01 pm

Thank you for the important info. You have nice blog. Thank you again.

2 Kathy MarieMarch 28, 2008 at 6:39 am

BEN

FOLLOWING IS A SUGGESTION I OFFERED A WHILE BACK TO IMPROVE THE DATA ENTRY PROCESS INTO FTM.

I STILL THINK THIS PROCESS WOULD MAKE THE OVERALL PROCESS EASIER THAN EITHER OF THE TWO YOU ARE SHOWING

IN ITS SIMPLEST TERMS IT IS A SPREADSHEET WHICH YOU ENTER EVERYTHING ON IT FOR A SOURCE INCLUDING ALL THE SOURCE INFORMATION. ONCE YOU ARE DONE ENTERING EVERY PIECE OF INFORMATION YOU WOULD THEN CLICK THE FORM AND THE SYSTEM WOULD ENTER EVERYTHING. ALSO THIS FORMAT ALLOWS COPYING AND PASTING ON THE SPREADSHEET AND SAVES RETYPING THINGS OVER AND OVER. LOOK AT THE SOURCE USAGE REPORT FOR FTM AND ENVISION IT AS A SPREADSHEET FOR ENTERING ALL DATA FOR A SOURCE

FOLLOWING WAS/IS THE SUGGESTION I OFFER

ENTERING DATA INTO FTM 2008
The process for entering data into FTM 2008 is cumbersome and time consuming. First of all the Input Screens/Windows/Forms to me are buried within the system. When I finally get to them they are so small it is difficult to use them (In many cases I have to output the data onto some report in order to see if I have entered it correctly). Also when I finally get to them I must use the “Onesey Twosey” FORTRAN “Do Loop” process to enter the data.

For example, if I have a census record with say 7 people on it and 3 facts to enter for each person and a source citation to be entered for each fact I have7x(3+3) = 42 fields of data I am trying to enter. However, in order to ensure all source citations are entered I must create a Source Record and then visit that Source Record at least six more times (when I am selecting the correct source for the source citations). And since there are 21 source citations to be made I must visit that Source Record 21 times. Hence in total to enter 21 Facts and create 21 Source Citations I must visit [7x(3+3) + 7x3] = 63 forms before I have finished entering my 42 pieces of data into FTM 2008

Needless to say this is a very frustrating time consuming process and it is made worse by the smallness of the input forms. Two suggestions are offered to improve this process

Suggestion 1 (Immediately Implementable and used until suggestion 2 is implemented)
Each of the present data input forms need to be made stretchable/resizable so the user can easily see the data that is being entered. The ability to keep all three forms open (and available for input) at the same time each in its own window should also be implemented. The forms should be set up so that a user with more than one display monitor could drag any of the three forms to a different monitor. (In my case I have two different monitors and this could save me an untold amount of time in entering the data into the system) This is a minimal suggestion and though it will save a lot of time and make entering data into the system easier it doesn’t completely resolve the “Onesey Twosey” FORTRAN “Do Loop” process

Suggestion 2
The “Onesey Twosey” FORTRAN “Do Loop” process can be significantly improved if the input was accomplished via the concept of a spreadsheet.

The spreadsheet would be set up not to unlike the Source Usage Report that is output for each Source (after all that is what a Source Usage report does —-it shows all the data that has been entered into the system for one Source). Looked at from the input side of the process we are doing nothing more than entering data to create a Source Usage Report for one Source, so why not use that Source Usage/Output report as model for the Input Form.

The spreadsheet would be scrollable, have the ability to be resized/stretchable at the desire of the user and would be capable of being dragged to another monitor if desired. Most importantly the spreadsheet would stay in front of the user on their display at all times until the user had entered every piece of data that they wanted to enter for the particular source they were documenting. Once the user had entered every piece of data they would then click on a button on the spreadsheet to indicate everything was entered on the spreadsheet input form. The system would then check the entire spreadsheet for accuracy/spelling/consistency and if it found no problems it would then incorporate every piece of data on the spreadsheet into the data base.

The spreadsheet would have two main parts.

The top part would be the equivalent of the form for creating a source.

The bottom part would consist of essentially the “Edit Individual Form” and the “Source Citation Form.” A particular fact the user was trying to document for a person would consist of two sub rows. The first sub row would contain the fact information shown on the Edit Individual Form and the second sub row would contain what is on the Source Citation Form. The spreadsheet would be initially created by telling the system that the user wanted to create a spreadsheet input form. The system would respond by requesting the names of the individuals that would go on the form. The answer would utilize the list of names in the data base and each name the user wanted to have on the form would be indicated by a check the box method. The system would then create an entire spreadsheet input form. As indicated above, the first part of the form would be the lines needed to create a Source. This would then be followed by each of the names for which the user was trying to enter information. Underneath each person there would be two sub rows for documenting one fact and one source citation. [Note: this process is not unlike other programs used to create forms ----MS Word being an example.]

After the user finished documenting a fact and its associated source citation for an individual the user
could click on the form and request it to supply two more sub rows to document another fact (again like MS Word) [Note: the source citation space could be made expandable by just continuing to type and the system would automatically add more lines to type in.] The user could move/scroll between persons at will documenting facts and source citations and copying and pasting information as the user saw fit.

Note the example given above where I would have to visit at least 63 forms is greatly reduced, since I now would only have to visit and use just one form. I still would have to enter 42 fields of data but it would be easier and more efficient than the existing process. Note also the way the present system is set up I have to go and visit the forms and in this process the forms can be thought of as coming to me. Also note the spreadsheet form would have the minimal number of lines in it at any one time and would be completely under control of the user as they incorporated more people into the form or requested more

3 AthenaMarch 28, 2008 at 10:10 am

My overall take on the new interface is that it may be more usable for beginners but is less productive for experienced users.

The fact that you cannot enter the basic information for an individual without mousing/clicking around is, IMHO, inefficient. I would prefer less clicking around, especially when it comes to creating the initial entry for an individual.

There is no point whatsoever in that box that pops up when you want to type a name into a blank field; all it does is introduce an unnecessary extra click to close the box. And it is disconcerting to add a name and not be able to just type the birth/death information in the box that appears for that person in the family view for that person. When I want to add an individual, I want to enter everything I know about that person as quickly as possible. At the very least, it should be possible to enter the birth and death information in the same place as the name.

While I welcome the ability to customize the Person entry pane, I miss the ability to bring up everything at once the way you can in FTM16. The inability to do that is especially noticeable when doing a web search — in FTM2008, you can’t even check the details without backing out of the web search entirely. It’s more cumbersome than it’s worth.

I’d like to see an “advanced” mode that will let people skip over all the clicking and support more efficient entry.

4 Michael SchulerMarch 28, 2008 at 4:30 pm

I think Athena has head it on the head. I was trying to put into words what I felt. I have been using FTM 2008 since Beta 1 and had forgotten what it was like to entry into FTM 2006 until I was working this month on a priject with my grandfather who only has FTM 2006 and found the FTM 2006 interface much quicker to enter information. I was not sure how to put it into words but Athena has done a good job.

When you start the Family Tree process you tend to enter people one at a time, but once you get more into it and begin to find good resources like the 5 generation Pilgram Books or something like that you may enter 50-100 poeple to fill in the tree. IN FTM 2006 you can very easily enter the entire family. NAME (First and Last), BIRTH (Date, and Place), Death (Same) and then once the family is in you can go back and add other facts and merge census infomation. Also in the case of transcribing a book you rarily have other infomation then that anyway. Quickly you can have the entire FAMILY GROUP SHEET. With FTM 2008, you can customize it and have more options but you can not create the same simple process flow. I like being able to see all the information in FTM 2008 but some how the entering process needs to be as simple as FTM2006.

I also feel the navigation process in general is more complex and although the speed and functionality is much improved in the latest unreleased patch some work is still required. I do not know if Keyboard Short-cut exist or could be added or something else to allow the process flow to be simpler. FTM 2008 is very “pretty” and there are many good things in it in concept but I wonder if Ancestry took much time testing the two side by side to see if there process flow was logical and straight forward in FTM 2008.

In closing I am greatful that Ben is addressing these issues and ask for feedback and Ancestry has made some very good progress and I hope they will continue to improve this product and soon we can all have a product we can use and be proud of.

Mike

5 CarolMarch 28, 2008 at 8:16 pm

First of all – let me say that so far, I hate FTM 2008. After working with FTM 2006 for years I feel like I’m looking at a lovely screen shot with way, way too much fluff!

However, as to data flow – an upgraded version usually means things are easier to deal with and flow better, okay, so why did you go from an easy to use interface where you could choose how to look at your tree (family versus pedigree) to something where you not only cannot choose how to look at your information you have to look at it in one window, edit it in another all the while trying to figure out what those teeny tiny icons are supposed to be – and those are all over the place! And before someone tells me that you can choose how to view your info – no, you cannot. If you close the pedigree view you cannot tell who the parents were – a nice feature of 2006 – or choose where you would like to go next without looking/choosing/finding/filtering in the index of individuals. Lots of hunting/seeking and clicking to find the same people that were easily seen before.
If there were complaints about the fact that you had to go through tabs from the “edit” area (and, honestly is it really any different just because it’s been put in a pretty screen on the right versus a pop up box? There are still tabs/buttons to click to edit info, so how is this better?)- why not put those edit “tab” items all on one screen in 4 parts (after clicking edit, of course) versus this mishmash of stuff that seems pretty but is really too big in some places, too small in others and in a lot of areas just not flexible enough for people?
The icons in FTM 2006 were pretty basic, but big and very self explanatory. Pretty isn’t necessary in any way shape or form unless you are trying to print a chart. Usability and functionality are what most people are looking for and that is where I think this product has failed. It’s gorgeous – pretty colors, lovely shapes but entirely a piece of fluff that I wouldn’t wish on anyone. I have given my copy of FTM 2006 away and I am currently looking for another copy of FTM 2006 because the one feature in FTM 2008 that I like – the map – just isn’t worth all the hassles and headaches this is giving me.

By the way – I haven’t seen any entries on the “bonus items” included with this software. The maps, pictures and postcards – have you gotten any feedback on those yet? I was excited to see if there were any postcards for the cities I’m researching in and lo and behold the only thing I saw was [circa] and a date range – there were actually postcards from those towns and cities but since no one bothered to enter that information – we have to take ancestry’s word for it that those particular postcards belong in that particular state. Okay – have you ever met a genealogist who took anyone’s word for anything without the documentation to back it up? I can find junk like that on ebay if I really wanted. So I now have a “bonus” CD with thousands of postcard images that are pretty much useless to me because a lot of the writing on the back wasn’t indexed or annotated on the CD. Check out ebay and compare some of the postcards for sale with the ones on the CD and you’ll see where basic info like city and what the postcard is of is missing from the ancestry CD image. Here’s one example “The Andover Inn” in Andover, MA is a postcard listed on ebay – it’s also an image from the “bonus item”, specifically under the Massachusetts postcards it’s on the second page, second row – middle postcard. It has a [circa 1915-1930], longitude, latitude but no city or description. Now how many people can search by long/lat, especially for places they may not know existed? And where the heck did these come from anyway? If TGN doesn’t have the physical postcards to annotate who/what/where/when – why the heck include them, let alone feature them as a “bonus item” that’s figured into the supposed retail value of this program. And yes, I checked the website for the postcards [www.ourhistoryinimages.com] – same info different address. Even setting that particular “glitch” in the descriptions aside- I can’t even update it to see if maybe the city/place info was added – I get “Server Error in ‘/’ Application.”, let alone add the image to my media files because you have to order prints through ancestry!!

This could be an absolutely great program – lots of great ideas, but very lousy implementation. This was an anniversary present from my husband and it’s lousy (not his fault, but he feels like it is). If I seem to be bashing TGN, yes, I suppose I am. After 10 years, I’ve reached the end of my rope with TGN and its products.

Here’s another data entry problem – if there is no name in a field in the pedigree view you can’t get there to see if there are siblings. How does that help?

6 Hugh WatkinsMarch 29, 2008 at 3:36 pm

I like FTM 2008
it has better technology
(for example handling images in a sensible way)

But I use FTM 16 essentialy as a text editor (basically a .ged is a text file)

and FTM 16 because I have used FTM for about 8 years is still easiest for me

Hugh W

7 Kathy MarieApril 1, 2008 at 8:37 am

Ben

In Item Number 2 (dated 28 March 2008) of this section of the blog I discussed a suggestion for improving the input of data for FTM 2008.

The following expands on and hopefully further clarifies that suggestion.

Over the years as I have been inputting data, creating sources and entering source citations into various versions of Family Tree Maker I have developed specific Input Templates to help increase my efficiency and quality of input.

As examples I have created specific Templates for entering information from:

Census Records
Marriage Records
Social Security Applications
Death Certificates
Birth Certificates
WWI Draft Registration Rcds
Etc.

Many of these templates are very specific. For example, I have created a specific Template for California Death Certificates and a specific Template for WWI Draft Registration Card A.

All these templates have been created in MS Word and stored in subfolders on my computer

When I want to document the information for say a WWI Registration Card A for a particular person that I have downloaded from Ancestry.com I open the subfolder and make an electronic copy of the previous filled out template. I then modify via cut/copy/paste any information that was on the previous version which doesn’t apply to the specific new person’s information. I then have MS Word check for spelling, punctuation etc.

At this stage I have a completed template for inputting my specific data into Family Tree Maker. I then proceed to enter the data into Family Tree Maker. At the present time I am using Family Tree Maker 2006 to do this.

At the stage of entering the data the process becomes inefficient because I have to copy and paste each data field I have entered into the template into the specific corresponding data field in FTM 2006. The present system has no capability for me to click on the entire completed template and have the entire set of data on the template entered into Family Tree Maker 2006. The process of using the template is however much better than the standard process for entering data into Family Tree Maker 2006. It is more efficient in the creation of the data and the resulting quality is better. I can also see the overall total set of data that I am going to enter before it has been entered, A BIG PLUS OVER THE PIECEMEAL APPROACH WHERE I CAN ONLY SEE IT AFTER THE FACT VIA VARIOUS REPORTS I HAVE TO RUN OUT FROM THE SYSTEM

Unfortunately the process for entering data into FTM 2008 is similar to that for Family Tree Maker 2006, but it has decreased in efficiency over Family Tree Maker 2006 and the forms, placement of forms, etc, etc are much worse than Family Tree Maker 2006 (as you can see with all the input you are receiving via this blog and directly to the System Developers).

One of the fundamental problems with both Family Tree Maker 2006 and FTM 2008 is that data must be entered one field at a time on a very specific form and there is no provision for entering more than one field at a time.
In my previous suggestion (Item Number 2 mentioned above) I proposed a general methodology for entering data via a spreadsheet concept and I still believe that will be a big improvement over what exists. However, I want to expand that suggestion so that in addition to the general spreadsheet input form previously suggested specific templates would also be developed and made available via the system for those users who desire to use them.

The key concept of the previous suggestion and this suggestion is that after the user had completed the entire spreadsheet/template they could then click on the spreadsheet/template and have the system enter every piece of data on the spreadsheet/template into FTM 2008. NO MORE ENTERING ONE DATA FIELD AT A TIME AND CLICKING ON ONE FORM AT A TIME TO ENTER THE DATA

These templates could be made available via other methodologies that exist in the system such as the tab for editing where the user can click on say “manage facts”. In this case the tab could be “manage input”. The specific spreadsheet/templates could be made available in the Publish” area of the system and specific spreadsheet/templates could be included in an area called say “Manage Input” where each spreadsheet/template would be shown similar to those shown for say “Charts”

To help in understanding the use of templates I have included below an example of the use of a template for a specific person who completed the WWI Draft Registration Card A. Note : The Terminology and System Output is that used In Family Tree Maker 2006. Also, the templates would be easy to use by the user since the final templates would go through a forms design process where among other things, appropriate lines and boxes would be drafted on them

Details of the example are as follows:

BLANK INPUT TEMPLATE

Page 3 WWI Draft Registration Card A Input Template – Blank Top Part of Template for creating Master Source Data

Page 4 WWI Draft Registration Card A Input Template – Blank Bottom Part of Template for creating Fact Types, Dates, Places and/or Descriptions and Source Citations Data

COMPLETED INPUT TEMPLATE

Page 5 WWI Draft Registration Card A Input Template – Top Part of Template for creating Master Source Data with Data entered into Template

Page 6 WWI Draft Registration Card A Input Template – Bottom Part of Template for creating Fact Types, Dates, Places and/or Descriptions and Source Citations Data with Data entered into Template

TOP PORTION OF BLANK TEMPLATE

Title of source:

Author/Originator:

Publication facts:

Source location:

Source medium:

Call no.

Source quality:

Comment:

BOTTOM PORTION OF BLANK TEMPLATE

Type: Name
Place or Description:

Citation page: line 01

Citation text:

Type: Residence
Date: 05 Jun 1917
Place or Description:

Citation page: line 02

Citation text:

Type: Born
Date:
Place or Description:

Citation page: lines 03 & 05

Citation text:

Type: Occupation
Date: 05 Jun 1917
Place or Description:

Citation page: lines 07 & 08

Citation text:

Type: MaritalStatus
Date: 05 Jun 1917
Place or Description:

Citation page: line 10

Citation text:

TOP PORTION OF FILLED OUT TEMPLATE

Title of source: World War I Draft Registration Record of Richard Herman Stewart – Son of John Moss Stewart and Emille Mille (Harmon) Stewart

Author/Originator:

Publication facts:

Source location: Ancestry.com WW I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: The Generations Network, Inc., 2005. Original data: U.S., Selective Service System WW I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918. Washington, DC: NARA. M1509, 4,582 rolls

Source medium: Official Document.

Call no. World War I Draft Registration Record – Form 1 – Number: 283 (Stamped on top left side) – Number: 7 (written in top right side) – Registrar’s Report (back-side of Registration Card) Stamped: 24-4-43-A.

Source quality:

Comment:

BOTTOM PORTION OF FILLED OUT TEMPLATE

Type: Name
Place or Description: Richard Herman Stewart

Citation page: line 01

Citation text: shows Richard Herman Stewart’s name spelled as “Richard Herman Stewart.”

Type: Residence
Date: 05 Jun 1917
Place or Description: 2232 North 7th Street / Saint Joseph, Buchanan County, Missouri

Citation page: line 02

Citation text: shows Richard Herman Stewart’s home address as 2232 North 7th Street in Saint Joseph, Buchanan County, Missouri at the time (05 June 1917 – back of Registration Card) he registered for the draft.

Type: Born
Date: 25 Oct 1895
Place or Description: Bethany, Harrison County, Missouri

Citation page: lines 03 & 05

Citation text: show that Richard Herman Stewart was born 25 October 1895 in Bethany, (Harrison County), Missouri.

Type: Occupation
Date: 05 Jun 1917
Place or Description: Employed as a Conductor by Saint Joseph (rest of employer’s name is unclear) / Saint Joseph, Buchanan County, Missouri

Citation page: lines 07 & 08

Citation text: show that Richard Herman Stewart’s occupation was as a Conductor employed by “St Joseph Ry ?? Harp(?) Co.” in Saint Joseph, Buchanan County, Missouri at the time he “filled-out” (05 June 1917 – back of Registration Card) his Draft Registration Card. Note: The employer of Richard Herman Stewart is unclear on the Registration Card.

Type: MaritalStatus
Date: 05 Jun 1917
Place or Description: Single

Citation page: line 10

Citation text: shows that Richard Herman Stewart was “single” at the time (05 June 1917 – back of Registration Card) he registered for the draft.

SORRY ABOUT THE FORMATTING ——BUT THIS LITLE BOX WITH NO FORMATTING CAPABILITY REMINDS ME OF FTM 2008 —ALSO THE PAGE NUMBERS REFERRED TO ABOVE AS PAGES 3, 4, 5 AND 6 WENT INTO NEVER NEVER LAND

8 Jon SandersApril 1, 2008 at 10:42 pm

Ben,

Agree that these features have been very helpful and reasons why I have hope for FTM2008. While some things in previous version were easier the ability to jump between family members and add additional fields like burial location has saved me lots of time. My db has grown grown from about 10K to 15K with 2008 so I’ve definitely been able to use this successfully although not 100% without problems.

It does help to have a wide-screen monitor as the two side panels take a certain amount of the screen. There are also as previously mentioned by several of us some issues with adjusting the width of these columns.

I do agree with others that while 2008 does some things better both older versions and newer versions still fall short to some of the common tasks of entering data. When I’m looking at data in a cemetery and find lots of family members I would just like to enter in spreadsheet fashion and then “apply”.

One thing that would even help in 2008 would be to provide the following features:

1) a concept of a “active” sources which would apply the source to any entry I add until I turn this off. This would come in very handy when I’m adding the same type of data for many users from a single source. You would need a very good visual clue so that users remembered to turn it off but this would save many steps that the current process requires.

2) For sources there should also be a “most recent” and “favorites” list so that I don’t have to search through the lists of hundreds of entries if the source is a common one (I have one source called “family obit”) or recently used.

Anyway just my two cents on this one.

BTW, back in early Feb you mentioned SP3 was close to being field tested, any update on the status. I’m wasting lots of time due to the fact that I cannot have females listed with their married name. And suspect many of the other improvements will also help my productivity.

Thanks,

Jon

9 AthenaApril 2, 2008 at 9:34 am

I agree with the need for some sort of MRU list for sources that can be quickly accessed/applied during the data entry process.

I have seen several references on the blog and in various online forums to “templates” for entering information from specific sources. IMHO, this would be better handled by a third-party add-in than by TGN. In addition to the long list of items to be restored, users are still waiting for resolution to some very longstanding enhancement requests.

One advantage of moving to .NET should be better support for developer add-ins. It seems to me that someone at TGN should be actively cultivating developer relationships so that we could soon see some benefit to what has thusfar been a net loss for existing users.

10 Deborah StreadwickApril 2, 2008 at 10:21 am

I have some data that is not part of my lineage but I have no other way to add it to the internet…I have some old diaries/books filled with old newspaper clippings of deaths/burial/weddings/fires/odd events/retirements that are all fascinating but I have no idea how to get this stuff ‘out there’ so other people can use the information. Please advise…I would not be against sending them to someone as long as I could get them sent back to me and NO, I do not know how to scan them. Sincerely, D. Streadwick

11 Kathy MarieApril 2, 2008 at 12:19 pm

SEE THE FOLLOWING:
9 Written by:
Athena

Posted on:
April 2, 2008 at 9:34 am

“IMHO, this would be better handled by a third-party add-in than by TGN. In addition to the long list of items to be restored, users are still waiting for resolution to some very longstanding enhancement requests.”

IMHO IT IS NOT NECESSARY TO COMMENT ON EVERYBODY’S SUGGESTION —-JUST GRIT YOUR TEETH AND PASS THEM BY –YES, I KNOW THAT USERS ARE WAITING FOR LONGSTANDING REQUESTS, SO WHAT JUST ADD THESE TO THE PLATE AND IMHO THESE WOULD BEST BE DEVELOPED BY TGN

12 Franklin MackenzieApril 2, 2008 at 1:06 pm

Can’t get FamilyTreeMaker to work.
Can someone call 970-509-0852 and
help ? ! ? ! ? Thanx

13 NicoleApril 2, 2008 at 3:05 pm

I definitely agree with the need for some sort of “most recent” behavior when adding sources. The existing View By options are just not very functional, and view by People always locks up. This should apply to Media, too.

If there were a Recent Sources option, that would be great, but FTM would also need to remember your last option. FTM currently doesn’t remember your last Media category, so it doesn’t save any time to have the categories — instead you have to drill down all over again. If it didn’t remember you were looking at most recent sources, you wouldn’t save any data entry time because you would have to stop and mouse click around before continuing on.

14 AthenaApril 2, 2008 at 3:34 pm

>>IMHO IT IS NOT NECESSARY TO COMMENT ON EVERYBODY’S SUGGESTION discussion of suggestions is an important part of the process and, absent another venue, the blog is an appropriate place for that.

Having seen multiple suggestions about templates, it occurred to me that this would be a good time to raise the question of what, if anything, is going on in the FTM2008 add-in realm.

15 Kathy MarieApril 2, 2008 at 4:44 pm

Athena number 14 —-Having seen multiple suggestions about templates, it occurred to me that this would be a good time to raise the question of what, if anything, is going on in the FTM2008 add-in realm.

DON’T TRY TO SHUCK ME – SEE BELOW FOR EXACTLY WHAT YOU SAID IN YOUR NUMBER 9

YOU SAID THIS WOULD BE BETTER HANDLED BY THIRD PARTY ADD-IN THAN TGN. THEN YOU IMPLIED/SAID THAT TGN ALREADY HAS ENOUGH ON ITS PLATE WITH THE LONG LIST OF ITEMS TO BE RESTORED AND RESOLUTION TO SOME VERY LONG STANDING ENHANCEMENT REQUESTS

THIS PROBLEM IS CAUSED BY TGN’S POOR DESIGN OF THE DATA ENTRY WINDOWS/FORMS/METHODOLOGY AND THE PROBLEM SHOULD BE RESOLVED BY THEM – TRY TO GRIT YOUR TEETH THIS TIME

COMMENT NUMBER 9 BY ATHENA

“IMHO, this would be better handled by a third-party add-in than by TGN. In addition to the long list of items to be restored, users are still waiting for resolution to some very longstanding enhancement requests.”

16 Tyler RasmussenApril 2, 2008 at 9:42 pm

Have they even released a developer SDK for building FTM2008 add-ons? I would love to get my hands dirty with something like that, but I have yet to find an SDK.

17 JosieApril 2, 2008 at 9:56 pm

Kathy Marie and Athena,

I agree with Athena that the forms input suggestion should be an add-in, not the primary data entry method and would be best done by third party providers. I do however believe TGN stepped backwards in developing its interface for data entry. Unlike FTM v. 16, you DO have to leave to click open the child entry screen and then again to save it. Yes, the FTM v. 16 edit screen is awkward to open but I actually prefer the lists of facts and column format to the FTM 2008 methodology.

Keep in mind that FTM is a relational database, not a spreadsheet. However, I’m sure a clever developer could use some of your ideas and make it work within the database structure. Like TGN’s merging methodology for census data which some people swear by (I don’t), your suggestions would not be for everyone. A developer would have to consider all sorts of scenarios to make a template truly efficient and flexible. For example, you are assuming the persons being researched in the documents already exist. If additions are allowed in the template, they would have to develop a methodology to add a record and establish the relationship which is not always the child. It could be a mother or brother of the head of the household. They would need a methodology for adding a second date (or any fact) for one that already exists. Some people may want to link the document image to the name. Others may want to add additional information to notes. I’m not saying it is impossible. But, a template is not a “simple spreadsheet” and like FTM’s merge capabilities, is not the solution for everyone or every situation.

FTM 2008 first needs to satisfy the basic needs of data entry from all sources in the most efficient manner possible; restore data management and regain the depth and flexibility of the reporting and charting capabilities it once had. If the FTM data structure is stable enough, open it up to third party developers to come up with some template add-in’s that might be attractive to some users. No, I haven’t heard that if a SDK is available. I suspect they are still tweaking the database and lots of code.

One advantage of a third party developing add-ins is that TGN could purchase the most popular and usable add-ins for sale with FTM in the future. This would be an incentive for many talented genealogist/developers out there to develop some add-ins that would provide alternative input methodologies for specific common forms.

18 Kathy MarieApril 3, 2008 at 6:03 am

Josie — In reference to item 17

At the risk of further prolonging this I offer the following —-portions of your comments have been extracted from your overall write up

“the forms input suggestion should be an add-in, not the primary data entry method”

I did not say or suggest that the forms (templates) would/should be the primary methodology for entering data. In fact I believe they would be alternatives, chosen by those users who desired to use them. After all there are various alternatives that presently can be used to enter data into Family Tree Maker 2006 —–One alternative which I use all the time is to create a chart and click on sub pieces of the chart and enter data that way. Another way is to use the templates I am suggesting. I have been using these templates as alternative ways of inputting data for many years (especially when I am trying to document facts and create a source and enter the source citations all at the same time). I have created over 1000 sources and documented the facts and citations associated with them using these templates and they make the process easier, faster and more accurate.

By the way, where FTM 2008 and Family Tree Maker 2006 cause the most problem is when you are trying to enter facts, create sources and enter source citations all at the same time. If you don’t bother to document sources both systems work reasonably well and [agreeing with Ben] FTM 2008 is actually an improvement over Family Tree Maker 2006

“add-in, not the primary”

You are mixing two different things here— add-ins normally refer to third party development. You can have a third party develop something and use it as a primary way of entering data or you can have a third party develop something and have it be a secondary or alternative way of entering data

“I actually prefer the lists of facts and column format to the FTM 2008 methodology.”

A little tongue in cheek——-whatever you do don’t call “lists of facts and columns format” a spreadsheet format —–

The main difference I am suggesting over the existing columns and rows methodology is that in the existing methodology columns and rows have to be entered into the data base one sub row and one sub column at a time whereas I am suggesting create a template and enter into the data base all sub columns and all sub rows at one time

As you basically say in your write up other things need to be taken into consideration when creating a template, but “I’m not saying it is impossible.”

Last item and that is who should develop the templates? I think we will continue to disagree. My reasoning is that TGN should develop them and that is because they are more likely to be created if TGN does it. Also, if you let TGN off the hook for this fundamental input problem the system will continue to have a patch here and a patch there and non of the patches will solve it.

19 Kathy MarieApril 4, 2008 at 7:27 am

BENJAMIN

I EXTRACTED A PARAGRAPH FROM YOUR INTRODUCTION TO THE DATA ENTRY FLOW SECTION OF THE BLOG, MODIFIED THE LEAD IN SENTENCE EVER SO SLIGHTLY AND HAVE INCLUDED IT BELOW

In the Family View, Family Tree Maker 2008 allows “ the right-hand edit panel to be customized. For instance, if you frequently enter burial information, you can add “Burial” to the right-panel and then you won’t need to go to another screen to enter that information like you did in Family Tree Maker 16. If you have a lot of Jewish ancestry, you might frequently add Bar Mitsvah and Bat Mitsvah information, so you may want to add those facts to the right-hand panel. You certainly don’t want to add every fact you might ever use to the right-hand panel, but those that you frequently use. This makes it possible to add most of your information from one screen without the need to go to another view or open another dialog box.”

I THINK THIS CUSTOMIZATION IS A SIGNIFICANT IMPROVEMENT OVER FAMILY TREE MAKER 2006/16. JUST ADDING THE BURIAL FACT TO THE RIGHT HAND PANEL WILL SAVE ME A LOT OF DATA ENTRY TIME.

YOU ALSO INDICATE IN THE PARAGRAPH THAT “YOU DON’T WANT TO ADD EVERY FACT THAT YOU MIGHT EVER USE TO THE RIGHT HAND PANEL …..”

I MAY NOT WANT TO ADD EVERY FACT BUT I WOULD LIKE TO DO THE FOLLOWING: I WOULD LIKE TO CUSTOMIZE THE PANEL FOR SAY THE ITEMS I USUALLY ENTER WHEN I AM DOCUMENTING A CENSUS. THEN I WOULD LIKE TO SAVE THAT CUSTOMIZED PANEL SO THAT THE NEXT TIME I WANT TO ENTER DATA FOR A CENSUS I CAN RETRIEVE THE PANEL AND USE IT. I WOULD LIKE TO DO THE SAME THING FOR SAY WWI DRAFT REGISTRATION CARDS, I.E., CREATE A CUSTOMIZED PANEL AND SAVE IT FOR THE NEXT TIME I WANT TO ENTER DATA ASSOCIATED WITH A WWI DRAFT REGISTRATION CARD. IN FACT I WOULD LIKE TO CREATE CUSTOMIZED PANELS FOR EACH OF THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF RECORDS I ENTER INTO THE SYSTEM AND SAVE THEM SO I CAN USE THEM OVER AND OVER. THIS WILL SAVE ME A LOT OF TIME ENTERING DATA AND IT WILL SAVE ME FROM TRYING TO REMEMBER THE NAMES OF THE FACTS I USE WHEN, SAY, I HAVE A NEW BIRTH CERTIFICATE TO ENTER ——– AND IMPORTANTLY IT WILL SAVE ME FROM FORGETTING TO ENTER DATA FOR A PARTICUL FACT NAME AND THEN REALIZE LATER ON I FORGOT TO ENTER DATA FOR THE FACT .

SO MY SUGGESTION IS VERY SIMPLE —- PROVIDE THE CAPABILITY TO (1) ALLOW ME TO CREATE AND SAVE CUSTOMIZED PANELS OF FACTS WHERE THE FACTS INCLUDED IN EACH CUSTOMIZED PANEL ARE COMPLETELY UNDER MY CONTROL; (2) ALLOW ME TO NAME EACH SAVED CUSTOMIZED PANEL WITH THE NAME OF MY CHOICE; (3) PROVIDE ME SOME MECHANISM TO SEE THE LIST OF CUSTOMIZED PANELS I HAVE CREATED AND SAVED AND (4) PROVIDE ME SOME MECHANISM SO I CAN CLICK ON THE NAME OF A SAVED CUSTOMIZED PANEL AND IT WILL APPEAR IN THE RIGHT HAND EDIT PANEL

20 Benjamin NettesheimApril 4, 2008 at 12:03 pm

I just wanted to post quickly to let you know I am still following the threads. There has been some great discussion on this one. Thank you!

Just as an FYI on my processes… I try to sift through the comments on a regular basis and get them into the hands of the correct individuals on the FTM team… although much of the FTM team reads the blog on a regular basis as well. Support type questions typically get sent to the Member Services team, which can also be reached directly via phone at 1-800-262-3787.

One question centered on the FTM SDK. A version of the SDK was available for a short time, but a decision was made to pull resources off of the SDK creation and put them into improving Family Tree Maker first. As a result, we are not currently supporting an FTM SDK. It will likely be looked at in the future.

21 Ivan ShimApril 4, 2008 at 11:04 pm

FTM version 16 was a joy to use, and I had my best days using that program. Data entry was very intuitive. I could float through the different views, like family views, and box charts, and at any moment, could select an individual record to edit.

As I had to enter Chinese data, I could capture the data in GB encoding. Even the outputs generated were perfect. With all the Chinese characters printed beautifully. I’ll upload some examples of my family tree with Chinese characters to: http://www.shim.org

I eventually outgrew FTM v16, as I needed a more sophisticated way to control the output, like printing charts of males only, with the option to include only 1 generation of females (Chinese ancestral records). Or vice versa (mtDNA). Which is done quite well in Genbox Family History by Thoughtful Creations.

Then came FTM 2008. And the nightmare began. Navigating (floating) through the different parts of the program became a chore. When the box chart was created, I could not select a box to edit an individual record. Ie: the box chart was just an output. It could not be used as part of the input process.

The worst part of this hideous reincarnation was that when printing out the box charts, the Chinese characters now printed out garbled.

Now FTM 2008 is more like all the other Genealogy programs on the market, in terms of it’s user interface. Difficult to use.

If your needs are not sophisticated, I’d recommend sticking onto FTM v16. And hope, perhaps that they are able to enhance that program with a few more options in terms of it’s charting output.

22 KarrelApril 5, 2008 at 6:21 pm

I have a lot of info on my Ancestry.com that isn’t in my Family Tree Maker 2008. Can I merge the two? Also, I end up getting duplicates of people in both trees? What’s up with that? Thank you

23 Randy HarringtonApril 20, 2008 at 8:40 pm

I am new to ancestry.com and need help in how to locate any of my relatives to build a “Family Tree”. I am the grandson of Max Marion Harrington. My name is Randy Keith Harrington. My father is Robert E Harrington my uncle is William P harrington my other uncle is Jack Harrington. I had an aunt and uncle who lived in escondido CA. they are both deceased. Tom and Ida Galt. any help anyone can give me would be nice. Thak You

24 MatildaApril 21, 2008 at 10:00 am

I have version 16, a few months ago I got 2008 and I HATE it, I removed it and put 16 back. That last update is totally awful and I am very unhappy I wasted my money. Had I have seen it first I would never have purchased it. Just wanted to let you know. Why did you have to ruin it???

25 CarolineMay 10, 2008 at 6:08 am

I tried to import my FTM files from a previous version into FTM2008 and now have a big mess. It didn’t import all the sources correctly. In some cases it only imported part of the information and no source information. Sometime it imported “garbage” (machine language). I now have to pull up each unusable source in FTM and open my online tree and reput the source and information. FTM will not let me edit the unusable source and save it. Has anyone else had this or a similar problem? Also is there any way for a person to see their whole tree and their sources online including the ones that are private? I thought one of the main reasons for putting it on line was so that you would have access to it from any computer. If I get information on “Uncle Sam” and he is alive, I can’t see if it is something I have already entered or not. Any comments/answers are greatly appreciated.

26 John Ensell13May 16, 2008 at 4:33 pm

I have been with Family tree maker for about 10 years. I find it very hard adapting to a different program layout. The older version was easier to find family members along with notes and other information associated with the individual, also
the family searching was more conviently located in front of you.
I do not like the layout of the 2008 version ,I find it confusing.

27 Roberta IiamesMay 18, 2008 at 6:42 am

How to I correct Relationships?
Person not married but only a partner? I can’t seem to locate it on the Tool Bar.

28 Judy StoneJune 26, 2008 at 6:24 am

I can’t even restore my information into the 2008 FTM. I have tried everything and I am looking at an empty tree. I have a new Dell laptop with Window Vista and I’m confused. Before all you had to do was put in the floppy or CD and hit restore. I need help before I have to try and remember 30 years of research.

29 Mary Eliz NooneJuly 28, 2008 at 7:24 pm

I really am very unhappy with FTM 2008. I find it very frustrating and I’ve pretty much decided to dump it. I’m tired of fighting with it. I’ve gone back to a much earlier version that works so much better. The support is also lousy. It took about a week to get a question answered and that’s just not right. I’ve been an FTM user for many years and have kept up with most of the new versions and been happy. Until this one. Most of what’s supposed to be new just doesn’t work.

30 data entry servicesAugust 26, 2008 at 3:52 am

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