Tuesday’s Tip: Cleaning up Facts & Sources in an Ancestry Tree

Cleaning up Facts and Sources in an Ancestry Tree


Today’s tip is for anyone who uses an Ancestry tree.  When we attach sources, we generally add facts to a person’s timeline.  Sometimes we get some duplicate facts that are really about the same event.  It happens.  We can avoid that, but even if you know how to avoid it, we are human and sometimes forget.

In this quick video, I will show you a person in my Ancestry tree who had three different facts about one marriage event.  I will show you how to carefully review the sources linked to each fact, delete unnecessary facts, edit the remaining fact to reflect the event accurately, and then link all supporting sources to that one fact on the timeline.

This process is pretty fast, but it’s important because it helps tidy up a person’s timeline.  Tidy trees are easier to review.




Do you know how to avoid these multiple fact entries on a person’s timeline?  I’m contemplating a follow-up video on that subject…



Happy Tuesday, I hope you make a fantastic genealogy discovery today!



ps – Did you index a batch?  I just checked the stats (I’m writing this on Monday the 23rd at 11:30ish).  It says that 4,868,080 records have been indexed and there were 60,408 volunteers participating.  I hope those numbers aren’t final yet because that is less than half of last year’s event.  But let’s focus on the positive.  That is nearly 5 million more records that will be searchable for free on FamilySearch!  If you did not participate – NO GUILT!  But, even indexing 1 batch a month is an important contribution.  Consider setting a goal for yourself that is appropriate for your time.  If all genealogists gave back by indexing one batch a month just imagine what we could accomplish together!  Except you don’t have to imagine.  I’ll do that math for you.  In 2016, there were 3.45 million contributors to FamilySearch.  Multiply that by 12 – one batch per month – and you get 41.4 million records.  Pretty awesome!


Happy Birthday America

This is my favorite commercial ever created in the genealogy industry.  I love the concept and the execution.  In less than a minute, managed to remind us of the importance of unity and freedom.

This great experiment that is America, survives and thrives by our willingness to be united in supporting the freedom and rights of every human being.  I hope our experiment continues for generations to come.  I hope this lovely commercial can serve as a reminder that there is always more that unites us than divides us.  We are stronger when we are one.

Happy Birthday America.


Thank you for reminding us what we celebrate on this day.



Where Were You?

sept 11 - 2

sept 11

History is filled with pivotal events – tragedies, disasters, atrocities, war.  Often we hear people ask ‘Where were you when…?’ questions.  Or ‘What was it like when…?’ questions.  It is common for these questions to come after many years.  They are usually asked by younger generations who weren’t alive at the time of the event in question or were so young they have no memory of that time.

Shortly after September 11, 2001, I was asked to teach a scrapbooking class about how to create a few pages for a personal scrapbook about this event. Seems like an odd request right?

As I prepared for the class I considered a few things I wish I knew.  My grandparents were in their teens when Pearl Harbor was attacked.  My grandfather ended up enlisting in the Marine Corps when he graduated from high school.  My grandmother wrote to him while he was away.  In the fall of 2001 I was suddenly very curious about my grandparent’s thoughts about the events of 7 December 1941.  Did they know this would propel America into WWII?  Did they know this would mean my grandfather would be serving in the armed forces?  How did they feel about these events?

With all of this in mind I tried to generate a list of thought provoking questions for my students to use to help them write their feelings about the events of September 11th.  We created a simple, tasteful scrapbook page with a pocket to accommodate several typed pages of thoughts.  The second page we created using images and the lyrics to the song ‘God Bless America’.

The class was a somber, respectful affair that gave us all an opportunity to consider how our thoughts about a major world event may someday help our descendants understand that day in a more personal way.

Writing my thoughts about that day was a good way to work through some feelings.  It sharpened my perspective, helped me remember the things that really mattered.  I suppose you could say it was a healing exercise.  But mostly, I hoped I was creating the very thing I wished I had from my grandparents.  Personal thoughts about a major event.

As genealogists we often lament that records can’t provide the why.  We piece records together and gain some insights and then we infer.  But we always want more don’t we?  We want to understand how our ancestors felt about things, what motivated their choices, what they hoped for, what they dreamed.

Do we take the time to record for future generations the very things we wish we knew about our ancestors?


What pivotal events – on the world stage and in your personal life –  have occurred during your lifetime?  Have you recorded your thoughts about those moments for future generations to learn from?  What record are you leaving behind?  It’s not too late to start now.