Citations & Media on Parents

In the Person Edit screen you can add citations and media on the Parents row. I’ve started doing this for citations and media that prove one or more of the parents are actually parents of the person. In my mind, “being a parent of this person” is a different fact than “the parents got married”. For the latter, I cite the Marriage fact on on the parents’ Person Details screens.

However, I’m noticing that these Parent citations and media from siblings are also showing up on the Parents row, so I’m questioning my logic. Here are some screenshots to illustrate:

Albert’s death certificate lists both William and Mary as his parents. But, his sister Eva’s death certificate lists them both as well. Here’s Eva’s screen, showing the same:

What makes this most confusing, Albert’s media shows up on Eva’s screen:

For my own purposes, I’m OK with all of this, as it indirectly proves “siblinghoodness”. But, will this break or confuse things in GEDCOM or have other downstream implications I should consider?

Not everyone agrees, but in my opinion neither RM nor any other desktop genealogy software really provides a good place to connect a citation which is evidence of a parent-child relationship. I think the problem is really in the overall data model which is supported by GEDCOM and by desktop software rather than being a design problem in RM itself.

What actually happens is that the parentage citations become connected to the family and the family for the most part is just the parents and does not include the children. I’m using slightly different words to describe the same problem you already described quite well. The family citations show up in reports in the family section of reports and do not link any specific child to the parents.

My favorite example is that my paternal grandfather was born before Tennessee implemented state level birth certificates. But his two youngest sisters Edna Bryan and Willie Bryan were born in 1908 and 1910, respectively, which were years when Tennessee did require state level birth certificates. So I dutifully entered a citation to Edna’s birth certificate to the Parents line in RM’s Edit Person screen. It sort of worked, but as I said the citation was actually useless in reports. Then I went to Willie to enter a citation for her birth certificate to the Parents line in her Edit Person screen. However, I discovered that Edna’s citation was already there.

That’s because the Parents line for Edna is not really for Edna and the Parents line for Willie is not really for Willie. Rather, both Parents lines are the same Parents line and it is for the parents and not for the children such as Edna and Willie.

My non-standard solution has been to create a Parents fact which is an actual fact. When I attach a citation to this Parents fact, it really is a citation just for that person. So in my case, Edna had her own Parents fact and Willie has her own Parents fact. I use sort dates to put the Parents fact right after the Birth fact, and I share the Parents fact with the parents.

I obviously could be missing something that’s obvious and simple about how the standard genealogical data model is supposed to be able to handle this situation in some kind of useful and graceful manner. But if such a solution exists, I have never been able to figure out what the solution is.

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TMG allows one to attach a citation to the actual Father-Child and Mother-Child links.
That’s a direct, clear way of documenting the parent-child links.
The ChildTable in RM would also be the perfect place to accept a citation and would be specific for the link between a person and his parent “couple” (family).

In the absence of directly documenting the link, one can create a fact on the child called ChildParent that can accept the citations, until a better approach is created.

That’s essentially what my Parents fact does. I just called mine Parents rather than ChildParent as did TMG.

Here’s one more little tidbit about what happens if you use the existing Parents line in the Edit Person screen for citations rather than adding your own fact such as Parents or ChildParent for citations.

To continue my previous example, the parents of my grandfather’s sisters Edna Bryan and Willie Bryan were Harley Bryan and Nannie Harrison. If you add citations to the Parents line for Edna and Willie and then go to the Edit Person screen for Harley or Nannie, the citations will show up on their Spouse line which doesn’t feel right to me.

Just to repeat, neither the Parent line for the children nor the Spouse line for the parents is a real fact. So when you run a narrative report, there is no place for the citation superscript to go. Well, such citation superscripts go into the “couple” section of narrative report, but the citation superscripts are sort of hanging in midair, not connected to anything. And in particular, the citation superscripts are not associated with the children at all.

To clarify, ChildParent was the fact that RM created when it imported the TMG project.
In TMG, the citation were attached to the “facts” that linked the child to each parent.

Thanks for the perspective and the suggestion. I like the idea of a Parents fact on the child, dated just after birth (or adoption, I suppose).

My inclination, however, would be to have separate Father and Mother facts because not all citations prove both parents. For example, I have hundreds of guardian account statements which are titled “Joe Schmo orphan of Bob Schmo”. So this citation would go on the Father fact, but not on the Mother fact. Conversely, I have estate accounts that describe provisions laid off to “Elizabeth Schmo widow of Bob Schmo for herself and her children Anna Schmo and Joe Schmo”. This would prove Elizabeth is the Mother.

Am I over-thinking this? Would these separate parent facts show up correctly in narrative reports? In GEDCOM exports?

Thanks again! This forum is proving immensely valuable to this new RM user.

@markwhidby Have we suggested yet making a test database where you can try out things BEFORE putting them to use in your regular file? The test database can be totally made up or you could just drop and drag a part of your database to a new file–just make sure it clearly says TEST— that way you can see how well something works as well as how it shows up in a narrative and in gedcom exports–just mark sure you mark the gedcom as test 2–then you can export it to your desktop and make SURE YOU CREATE A NEW RM FILE and open that with IMPORT GEDCOM—otherwise you end up with the test database in your regular database…

As for the date on the Parent fact, you could use the date of the document which would put it usually way down the list -to get it right after the birth date, you would use 1 and 2 in the sort date NOT the actual date–
so on the sort date for birth I would have May 4 1895-1
on the Parent fact I would have May 4 1895-2
then if you add a mother’s fact-- it could be May 4 1895-3

You could also use a switch in your fact sentence so that you didn’t have to have several facts-- depending on how the sentence reads, it would be <%son|daughter|> or <%father|mother|>

BUT my question is using a Parent fact–where does this info and citation show up in the reports-- under the parents or the child?

Under the circumstances you describe, I would probably go for separate Father and Mother facts rather than using a Parents fact. My citations tend to prove both parents, and that certainly influenced the approach I took.

The sentence for the Parents fact in narrative reports (or Father fact and Mother fact in reports) can be whatever you want it to be. When you define a fact in RM, you also define a sentence for that fact. The sentence will appear in narrative reports if you define a sentence. Otherwise, nothing will appear in narrative reports for the fact.

If I may get deep into the weeds for a moment as I too frequently do, I mentioned that I share my Parents fact with both parents. In general, I try to stay away from RM’s shared facts because they are not transferred to sites such as FamilySearch and Ancestry and because they also sometimes are not transferred to other desktop software. So I enter the names of the parents into the Description field for the Parents fact to be sure the data is not lost when my data is transferred to software that doesn’t support shared facts.

However, it improves the appearance of my narrative reports if I don’t include the Description field for the Parents fact in my reports and instead share the Parents fact with both parents. My sentence for the Parents fact therefore includes the name of the role that is shared rather than the Description field. For the Parents fact itself, the report looks no different either way. But the Description field is just text and as a result does not appear in the Name Index for the report. But by using the role in the sentence, the role is not just text and reflects an actual names of the parents. So the names of the parents in Parents fact do show up in the Name Index for the report.

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Have we suggested yet making a test database where you can try out things BEFORE putting them to use in your regular file?

No one has suggested that yet, although the idea has occurred to me for this topic. I’d like to see first-hand how reports and exports look as I experiment.

As for the date on the Parent fact, you could use the date of the document which would put it usually way down the list -to get it right after the birth date, you would use 1 and 2 in the sort date NOT the actual date–

Thank you for the suggestion about Sort Date! I had not even noticed that, and it’s a god-send. Some of my birth records only mention a year and a month, but no date. Sort date allows me to not have to fake a more precise date than I’ve got just to get the Parent fact to be after the Birth fact.

You could also use a switch in your fact sentence so that you didn’t have to have several facts-- depending on how the sentence reads, it would be <%son|daughter|> or <%father|mother|>

I considered this, but I’m opting for separate Father/Mother facts so that I can separate the citations. In other words, I don’t want a citation that proves the father to be construed as proving the mother. Or, am I missing something in your suggestion?

BUT my question is using a Parent fact–where does this info and citation show up in the reports-- under the parents or the child?

If you’re asking where they show up in RM narrative reports, I haven’t tested yet but will let you know.

OK here is a narrative report from my first test of using separate Father/Mother facts:

The citations and fact sentences are working mostly as I was hoping for. The Mother fact sentence is not cited, as I don’t have proof of that fact, yet. But, I can still record the fact and set a task to find proof of it.

It’s a little awkward having “son of [Father]” and “son of [Mother]” as separate sentences in the report, but I can live with that for now. Unless of course anyone here has brilliant suggestions to address this.

I can’t think of a way to address it using separate Mother and Father facts.

However, I can offer the possibility of a somewhat radically different way to doing all sentences - not just the Mother and Father sentences. Namely, I use point form sentences. Essentially, they are just the factual data without being actual sentences with subjects and verbs. That may sound awful, but I think the practical effect is quite nice. You can see a sample report in rtf format at Sample RM Narrative Report in RTF Format the same report may be seen in docx format at Sampe RM Narrative Report in DOCX Format

The main reason I mention this is that it may provide a way make the separate Father and Mother sentences a little more palatable. You can see the effect of the Parents fact in the Parents item in the report. You can also see the effect of the Parents fact in the Birth of Child item in the report. The Parents item comes directly from the Parents fact. The Birth of Child item comes from a Birth of Child role for the Parents fact.

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`I was referring to using the switch in the fact sentence–so that you would only have one FACT instead of 2 facts ( one for mother, one for father) and not effect the citations—not sure you could use a switch in a citation -Thanks for showing me what it looks like in a report but like Jerry, I can’t see a way to NOT have 2 different sentences IF you have separate facts to prove parents

Yes, I understood your point about having only one Fact; sorry if my reply conveyed otherwise. To clarify my statement, I am choosing to use 2 Facts so that I can cite each Fact individually and separately. Said differently, I want to make sure I document evidence that X is Z’s Mother, and that Y is Z’s Father.

I actually kinda like that idea. It’s cleaner in some respects, but most importantly it avoids having to get grammar and syntax perfect. I’m gonna start trying that out. Thx!

Following up to share a screenshot of how this is working for me:

In this instance, I have a 1786 division of Richard Whedbee’s estate which lists the devisees and explicitly refers to them as “his 6 children”. This is the citation (and media) I use to prove the Father fact. In hindsight, I could probably have shared a single Father fact with all children, as long as I add a Child role for 5 of the 6 children. The same citation proves the fact for all children. That would be less clutter on the Father’s screen, read better in the Father’s sentence, and be more natural and concise in narrative reports. I’ll continue to experiment with this.

An interesting side effect of using “Sort Date” is indirect evidence of motherhood. Specifically, 5 of the children appear to children of Jane Swann, while the youngest may be the child of Richard’s second wife, Mary Barclift.

Here’s how this looks on one of the children’s pages:

Notice that I have added a Mother fact for Jane Swann, but no citation yet, so it’s not “proven”. If I share the one Father fact among all children, I could probably have the Fact sentence list Thomas’ siblings, too.

Fun stuff!

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Some of the things you are talking about like “indirect evidence of motherhood” can be achieved in the Edit Person screen without the use of shared facts and their roles. The 3 Dots menu in the Edit Person screen has options for Show Parent Events, Show Sibling Events, Show Child Events, and Show Spouse Events. So for example if you enable Show Child Events you would be able to see those same births for the first five children before the second marriage and the birth of the sixth child after the second marriage that you are able to see via sharing facts and their roles.

However, I find that many of the people in my database have so many facts that the Edit Person screen is overly full of stuff even if all those options are off. If those options are on, the Edit Person screen is so full that it almost becomes unusable. So I leave those options off nearly will the time. Well, what I really do is to leave those options on and then there is a master option on the main Edit Person screen called Show Relative Events which I leave off nearly all the time. Occasionally I will turn it on just for a second to see something and then I will turn it right back off.

That being said, there is also an option under the Edit Person’s 3 Dots menu for Show Shared Events. I leave it on most of the time,but sometimes there is so much clutter on the Edit Person screen that I even I turn it off for a short time. However, there is no master control on the main Edit Person screen for this one. So there is no choice to turn it on and off except to go into the 3 Dots menu each time. I wish this one could be turned off and on from the main Edit Person screen. In any case, I like like being able to see the shared roles for my Parents fact even though I have all the other options turned off.

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I am unknowingly doing the same thing you describe. Those “other events” are already checked on in Options, and I occasionally turn on Show relative events. I hadn’t realized I could control which relatives I wanted to see events for; thanks for the insight!

FYI, after adding a Child role to the Father fact and sharing with more than one child, the Father’s fact sentence now reads: “Richard Whedbee was father of Thomas Whedbee, Samuel Whedbee.” Thomas’ Father fact reads, “Son of: Richard Whedbee. Siblings: Samuel Whedbee.”

Pretty cool!