Posted by Ancestry Team on May 3, 2010 in Family Tree Maker

Family Tree Maker has a variety of default facts you use when entering information about your family. However, some of the details you gather don’t always fit into these defined categories. You could enter this information into a personal note for the individual. But before you do, consider making a custom fact. When you add information to an individual as a fact rather than a note, you can assign dates and places and attach sources, and you can include the fact in reports and charts.

I have created several custom facts, such as “Died as an Infant,” that I use quite a bit. Here are a few suggestions for some custom facts you might want to add to your trees:

You might also want to create a fact for each specific census year or for specific wars (such as the Civil War, American Revolution, or Korean War).

Follow these steps to create a custom fact:

1. Click Edit>Manage Facts. The Manage Facts window opens.

2. Click New. The Add Custom Fact window opens.

3. In the Fact label field enter the name of the fact as it will appear on the Person tab and on charts and reports.

4. In the Short label field enter a short label for the fact that will appear on the Family tab editing panel; you can enter up to six characters.

5. In the Abbreviation field enter an abbreviation for the fact; you can enter up to three characters.

6. In Fact type choose whether this fact will be used for individual events or shared events. Individual facts apply to only one person (such as the Unmarried fact); shared facts are typically for events such as marriage or divorce that occur between two people. In my custom facts “Civil Union” is a shared fact.

7. In Fact elements choose the fields that you want to appear for the fact: Date and Place; Date, Place, and Description; or Description only. For a custom Notes fact, you’d choose to only have a description, but for a Civil War fact, you’d want to include a date, place, and description.

8. Click OK.


  1. Ann Hill

    What a great idea! I’m using ‘Cemetery’ and I can see great potential for several of your suggestions. Thank you for sharing.

  2. Nancy Nebiker

    When you send out a report of the family, only one residence will show up–Preferred
    So I add:
    (Residence A)
    (Residence B)
    Same for Occupation
    (Occupation A)
    (Occupation B)
    No everything will be on the preferred list.

  3. James

    When running my reports, I deselect “Include only preferred facts” so all facts of the same type show up for an individual.


  4. Harold Hails

    Will these custom facts be recognized in the web based family tree, or by PAF?

  5. David Brener

    Facts are great, both custom and program supplied. However there is a big problem with them when you want to print the “simple register report”. With older versions, such as 2005, you can select to include all facts and all facts, with data, printed in tabular form. However, in 2010 version, if you select to include private facts, every private fact will print, even if no data. To avoid that, you have to select which private facts to include each and every time you want to print the report. In other reports, only the facts with data are printed, if you select to include private facts, but it is in a paragraph format and not in tabular form. If anyone out there has solution or if I am wrong, please respond or email me at BRENERDA@AOL.COM. Thank you.

  6. Larry Holman

    I have recently submitted a question to FTM support on how can I customize (add/delete) the default historical facts embeded in the program that can only be selected in the Timeline Reports of the Personal reports mode in under Publish menu. I am interested in World events during the time period of an ancestor but I might like delete irrelevant one to me and I would like to add historical facts that occurred in the State, county or city where my ancestor lived. I haven’t received an answer back yet but hope they can show a way to do this or consider modifying the program to add this feature.

  7. Tyler Rasmussen

    I tend to put the cemetery fact in the details field of the burial fact.

    What I wish is that things like “No Children” could be a true/false fact rather than a date/place/description fact. I would love to be able to check “No Children” or “Never Married/Partnered” and that would disable the ability to add a spouse or children. Or “Number of Children” would limit how many could be entered. These seem like simple things that the program could constrain so as to not accidentally change information or be searching for more information when at some time you knew what you had was complete – or at least to give you a warning if you try to change something.

    As for Age at Death or Died as an Infant – you would think FTM could create automatic facts for that. FTM already automatically displays age at death on the right column of the people view. But at the moment you cannot access it in a report outside of the timeline – but making a custom fact seems like an excess of effort when you have a 500+ person tree.

    Still, I do like custom facts. I use it particularly for random things like memberships in clubs/organizations/greek-letter groups/etc.

  8. Tana L. Pedersen

    Thanks for all your suggestions.

    # 4
    Harold, custom facts are included in your trees that you upload to Ancestry. As for Paf, I don’t know but I’ll do some investigating.

    # 6
    Larry, I definitely agree with you and I’d love to have this functionality too. But you’re right, you can’t modify the historical facts currently.

    Tyler, I think your idea for a true/false fact is great. Right now I write No Children, etc. in the Description field but it would be much simpler to click yes or no.

  9. Lynn


    Was interested to know when you plan to host the rescheduled Family Tree Maker Webinar.

    Per your prior posting “This webinar has been rescheduled for May 19th. .. And don’t forget to check back in coming weeks for more details about the May webinar.”

    Given May 19th is a couple days away and you have not posted “more details,” I am assuming the webinar will not be on May 19th. An update would be nice.

    I look forward to learning some new tips/tricks during the webinar as well as potentially some further insights about the MAC version of FTM that will be released later this year.

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