Genealogy Software Comparison, Part 4b: More on Census Records – FTM

In the earlier post on RootsMagic (RM), I described the process to enter the transcription and image of a census record to its source citation.  I also l looked at how to share the census fact and source citation with the other family members included in the census record.  Today’s post will look at those same features in Family Tree Maker (FTM).

I added a census fact to Nicholas Huber in my tree by going to the Person tab in the People workspace and then clicking on the blue plus sign to add the fact.

I added the source citation following the process described in the earlier post Citing a Census Source – FTM.  The resulting Source Details are shown below.

I clicked on the “Resource Notes” tab and entered the information transcribed from the census record.  Next I went to the “Media” tab to link the census image.

I clicked on the “Attach New Media” button.  (If I had previously attached this census image to a source or individual in my FTM database, I would have clicked on the “Link to Existing Media” button.)  The “Select a Media Item” window allowed me to select the correct file from my hard drive.

Then, the “Copy to Media Folder” window appeared.

To save space in my FTM database (and thus on my hard drive), I chose the option to “Link to this file where it is (without copying it).”  I selected the “Census” category and then “OK.”  The Media Detail window allowed me to add a Caption, Date and Description to the image as well as to change the Category and mark the image Private.

After entering the desired data and clicking “OK” I now had my source citation with transcription and image of the source record.  Now, I wanted to attach all of this to the other three members of the family who appeared in this census record.

I searched all around on Nicholas’ Person tab (in the People workspace) trying to find the button or icon that would allow me to copy his 1910 census fact and source.  I couldn’t find any.  I looked unsuccessfully in the Companion Guide, the electronic book that comes with the software.  Next, I went to the Online Help Center and accessed the Knowledge Base.  I typed “copy fact” into the search box and saw several articles related to facts and to making backup copies of the database.  I started reading through all the articles and finally found what I was looking for in the article “Add, edit or delete a fact in Family Tree Maker.”  I followed the instructions very carefully and successfully copied the fact and source citation from one family member to the other three.  Here are the steps.

I went to the Person tab on the People workspace and right clicked on the fact for the 1910 census that I wanted to copy and selected “Copy.”

Then, I right clicked again on the same fact and selected “Paste.”   The “Paste Fact” window appeared and displayed Nicholas and his family members.

I selected the people to whom I wanted to copy the fact and source citation, namely Theresa, Ida and Clarence and I deselected Nicholas.

I read in the knowledge base that it is important to deselect the original person from whom the fact is copied.  Failure to do so will result in a duplicate fact being created for this person.  After I clicked “OK” to complete the copy/paste, I checked the facts for Theresa, Ida, and Clarence and saw they now had the 1910 census fact and the source citation.

In FTM, the process to add the image and transcription to a source citation was easy enough to do.  The screen flow was intuitive.  Copying the fact and source citation from one individual to others was somewhat more difficult.  It was not clear at first how to accomplish the operation.  Having to deselect the person whose fact was being copied in order to prevent undesired duplicates seems to indicate a poorly designed feature.  In the end, I managed to do what I wanted to do, but the procedure seemed too complicated.

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Copyright (c) 2012, Beth Weiland Benko

9 thoughts on “Genealogy Software Comparison, Part 4b: More on Census Records – FTM

    • Russ,
      I’m using FTM 2012, Version
      I appreciate the tip for copying an existing citation. I did not need it when copying a Census fact from one person to others, as the citation came along with the associated fact. Copying an existing citation will certainly be useful for source citation of additional facts (approximate birth dates, residence, occupation, etc.) contained in the census record.


  1. I am a FTM 2012 user. I use it because it interfaces so nicely with And 2 trees can be synchronized together.

    So, when I want to add a census fact I find the easiest approach in FTM is to use the Web Search tab for an individual in my tree. Then when I find a match on, allows a merge for that individual, and for everyone in his/her family (if so desired). It all comes over automatically. Also, if I want the same census but the citation to be correct for each individual, I have the option of changing the individual, either from Ancestry or from FTM.

    My biggest frustration with this system is that it is not identical to ESM and means I have to switch elements if I am writing an article.

    Other kinds of facts can also be merged, such as births, marriages, deaths, and so on.

    But, I appreciate your tips for those kinds of things one does not find on Ancestry, such as from privately held artifacts.

    • Sharon,

      Thanks for your comment. I have not spent much time looking at the Web Search features. Randy Seaver wrote an excellent post on this topic recently.

      I can see how users would find Web Search to be a very convenient feature. Because census records can be such a rich source of information, I prefer to spend time with each record and transcribe the details related to each person of interest. When I lecture I make sure to remind my audience of all the important information in the fields on the right hand side of the form. Does the Web Search feature recognize tidbits like occupation, veteran status, # weeks worked in previous year? Or do you go back to capture those facts after adding the census fact?

      I agree with your frustration on “non-conforming” source citations in FTM.


    • Sharon,

      I closely check my Reference Notes against Evidence Explained! and they match. I have blogged about this a couple of times, including working with Randy Seaver in his blog posts on this topic.

      The chore was to determine what information comes of the Template fields that we see, some data we don’t see, and what information to put in the Citation Details and Citation Text fields.


      • Russ,

        “The chore was to determine what information comes of the Template fields that we see, some data we don’t see, and what information to put in the Citation Details and Citation Text fields.” That sounds fairly complicated!

        It seems that you and Randy have discovered the secret for producing correct (Elizabeth Shown Mills/EE) source citations in FTM. Would you kindly point to a detailed explanation?

        Our society is holding an FTM workshop in a few weeks and this would be good information to pass along — with proper acknowledgement of the source, of course.


          • Russ,

            Thanks for the reference. This is very similar to what I did in a previous post “Citing a Census Source – FTM.”

            FTM produces a citation with most of the right data (no database access date), but the elements are not in the order specified in EE. See my summary post where I compare the census citations produced with RM, FTM and LFT with one I created by hand following EE.

            I guess my “frustration” is that FTM does not come closer to EE — or at least my interpretation of EE.


          • Beth,

            I am not sure that Elizabeth Shown Mills would quarrel about the “order” of the pieces of data in some of those Reference Notes. For example, FTM goes for largest to smallest. State, County, Specific Location. The data elements are there, it’s just the order of events.

            When I did the 1940 Census blog post, I was not paying as much attention to the “accessed” date at I should have. In fact, I am going back to resolve that. It wasn’t important to me, the date I accessed the data, until a Source was pulled from the internet. Then it became very important.

            Again, the data is more important then the order. In fact, it makes more sense to me, that the largest to smallest makes sense.

            Only one persons opinion.


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