Connecting Facts

I have a large number of legal facts for families in Colonial NC, and I’m wondering if there’s a way to connect them.

For example, a widow petitions for a division of the estate of her husband who died intestate. An order is issued appointing men to conduct an inventory of the estate. A report of the inventory is submitted back to the court. Then another order is issued for the division to be conducted, followed by a report of the division submitted back to the court.

I have found absolute gold in these documents in connecting relatives, isolating specific dates, tracking orphans through their guardians, etc. The amount of time Colonial NC’ers spent in court has been a godsend! I’ve also learned the difference between a petition and a complaint; between a summons, a warrant, and an order. Fascinating stuff!

Anyway, I’ve been creating Facts for these various events, with Roles for each as appropriate. I’d like to stitch these Facts together to represent the full transaction history. Often you don’t get a complete picture of the people involved unless you can look at the full details across the transaction. I sometimes don’t learn the name of the widow until I see the division of the estate report, for example. I’ve found that just relying on chronological order isn’t always sufficient. I have several instances where two men with the same name die a handful of years apart and their estate papers overlap in time.


It sounds like you already are “connecting” the facts by your use of roles. I wonder if what you need in addition is some sort of research report created using a word processor. You could use your facts in RM that are already linked by roles as a resource to help construct your research report.

I have a difficult research subject who was one of my fourth great grandfathers. To tell his story correctly, I have to start with his grandfather’s will of 1770 and even with some deeds from his grandfather from before his grandfather died. I have to end with a court case in 1888 involving his grandchildren and some of his great grandchildren, and 1888 was 40 years after my research subject’s own death. There was a family dispute about his land at that time. And to really tell the story, I need to use some maps of his land from 1942. The story includes lots of land grants and deeds and a Revolutionary War pension application, and the story includes lots of tax records and census records.

I just don’t see RM or any other genealogy software being able to embed such a complicated story in its database structure without the assistance of some sort of narrative that is external to the database structure.

1 Like

Actually, a written narrative as you describe is very similar to what I’ve been relying on these many years. I have a Word document of 1000’s of facts in chrono order that serves as my “Facts” table. Then I’ll draft a narrative like you describe manually by piecing Facts together.

For context, I’m hoping that RM might enable me to more easily discover connections buried in my facts which I have not unearthed. I’ve had a couple of “Aha!” moments already. I don’t expect RM to handle all of my reporting needs, although I love the ease with which standard format reports can be created.

To your point about “connecting via Roles”, yeah that’s my current approach. I’m designing a data model of Facts and Roles that will implicitly connect these dots. One of the decisions I’m working through is how best to anchor the Principal role. For example, I’m thinking the testator/intestate should be Principal for all estate Facts, with roles for Petitioner, Auditor, Guardian, etc. That way [Person] always refers to the testator/intestate across all Estate Facts (“estate of [Person]”, “executor of [Person]”, “orphan of [Person]”).

It’s a fun exploration, even if winds up not yielding any viable solution.

@markwhidby You could use Associations to link the facts together ( kind of) and there are 2 specific reports for Associations-- and each association will be listed in a narrative report BUT keep in mind that Associations do NOT transfer in a gedcom or drop and drag-- nor will they show up in Ancestry-- so NOT sure it is worth the effort…

Besides adding the facts and using roles like you are doing , the BEST way is to record your info in a NOTE FOR THE PERSON— not in the fact area but here
Since you seem to be connecting people from different sources, this is the best way to explain your conclusions or where the info came from–not only for others BUT for yourself 10 years from now when you go where the heck did I come up with that?

1 Like

Thanks @nkess I have not gotten around to looking at Associations yet, but now I’m intrigued.

Good tip on using People notes. If I understand correctly, this is a good place to summarize my conclusions. If I use the Sources and/or Media on the person as evidence for my conclusions, will they transfer in a gedcom?

Mark-- sources and citations should transfer I would think BUT media is a whole different thing-- NO way you can email your gedcom and the person see your media— your media as I understand is linked to your file–not in your file–so on a gedcom, you would have to put your gedcom on a flash drive ( or there are other options ) and then add your media file to the flash drive IF I understand what everybody else has posted— now if you were sharing this with another person, I suspect that what genealogy program there have is going to decide how easy or hard it is for everything to align right-- BUT there are better experts out there then me…

As an FYI— here is a list of gedcom losses-- I personally have not had some of these happen BUT others have

Are you saying that some of the listed losses are incorrect for RM9? If so, which ones? I will check and update the page accordingly.

Regarding Media, all of mine is stored on OneDrive and “adding Media” in RM results in RM storing the URL to the media file. My assumption was that the Media URL was stored in the gedcom. I just did a quick test and it appears my assumption was correct, although I’m still learning how to read a gedcom.

That’s a very puzzling observation. My RM databases are stored in OneDrive and my RM media files are stored in Dropbox. RM doesn’t store any URL’s to either my RM databases nor to my media.

In the case of my RM databases, it stores a standard file path all way back to my C:\ drive as if the OneDrive folder is just a standard folder that is not being synced. In the case of my media files, it stores a relative path and the absolute path is determined from the Settings => Folder Settings => Media Folder value. In my case, this is a standard file path to my C:\ drive as if the Dropbox folder is just a standard folder that is not being synced.

If I create a GEDCOM from my RM database, the relative file paths for media files in RM are converted to full absolute file paths in the GEDCOM. My situation is obviously not the same as yours since your media files are in the OneDrive folder and mine are in the Dropbox folder. But it’s hard to see why the process of storing media links would be any different for media files stored in OneDrive vs. media files store in Dropbox.

Upon closer inspection that is the same thing I’m seeing. The OneDrive add-in makes those folders look like local folders, so that’s the file path RM writes to the GEDCOM. I suppose if I ever need to, I can run a script against the GEDCOM to update the local file paths to OneDrive “share” links. Not sure how easy it is to programmatically get the OneDrive share links, but that’s a problem for future me.

For now, knowing that some file reference on Person facts is stored in GEDCOM is sufficient.

No Tom–what I said is that I had NOT encountered some of them-- that doesn’t mean they won’t happen to me at some other time.

Mark–what I was referring to on Media is IF you sent someone else your gedcom, they won’t see your media as they have no access to where your media is stored UNLESS you sent the media also…

Yes, I understood your point on this. My thinking is, if the file location in the GEDCOM points to a file on a cloud drive, and I’ve shared access to the cloud drive with family, then they should be able to access the media. This would avoid me having to send media on a flash drive.

Is my understanding correct?


My experience with cloud sharing is that a user can view a shared file if it is a file that I share with them, and that a user can see a file list and view any file in a folder if it is a folder that I share with them. But viewing such files from a cloud sharing service is a manual process that’s one file at a time.

I certainly could be wrong. But I think that if you sent somebody a GEDCOM file and if they imported it into RM, then RM itself could not see any of the shared media files directly from the cloud. The user would have to use the shared link to download all the files. I’m not sure if the user can do such downloads en masse or or whether it would have to be one file at a time. It might depend on whether it’s Dropbox or OneDrive or Google Drive or whatever. I have no experience in using cloud sharing in this manner.

The official solution would probably be to make an RM backup file with media. This is effectively a huge ZIP file containing the RM database and all the media files. It could be a humongous single file. Then share that file via cloud sharing. Another user could download it and restore it using RM. They could use the free RM Essentials. You would not be using a ZIP utility for the restore, although effectively that’s what RM does for you behind the scenes… Also, there would be no GEDCOM file involved. RM itself would be doing all the unzipping and restoring of the media files. I don’t like the RM backup with media facility because after the restore, all the media files are in a single large folder.

I’m obviously struggling to provide an accurate answer because there is so much I don’t know. I can and do fully share my OneDrive folder and my Dropbox folder between multiple computers. In the case of Dropbox, I share the folder as well as with my iPad and my iPhone. I suspect that OneDrive has the same capabilities for iPad and iPhone, but I have never looked into it. But this is a case of where there is only one OneDrive or Dropbox account and all the devices belong to me. So all the devices use my cloud account, and there is no sharing in the sense of me sharing a file with someone else.

1 Like

Thanks as always for the thoughtful conversation on this. We’ve drifted way off the original topic, and I apologize to the board for not starting a separate thread on this topic.

For now, I’m going to explore using Associations to “connect Facts”, and start recording Notes and Sources (at least) at the Person level.

The question of how to share media links in a GEDCOM I’ll put off for another day. Heck, I’ve still got weeks of work just to get my information into RM!

Before banking a lot on Associations, beware of its lack of connectivity with the world outside of your RM database. That should improve with some future update or upgrade because there is a GEDCOM 7 spec for it (and maybe even in 5.5) but there is no certainty the RM developers will follow through. You may be better off, for now, using shared events which are supported by custom GEDCOM tags and are recognised by a few other programs.

Thanks for the heads up. For now, I’m simply hoping Associations will be a useful tool for myself in finding non-obvious connections between people.