Convert FreeForm to Templated Sources

For the purposes of this question, let’s talk about the U.S. Federal Census. The GEDCOM (Heredis) that I imported into RM has all of my USFC data in Free Form format and all are split. I would like to convert all of the Free Form sources to Templated and, hopefully, lump all of the data from each census year together. Suggestions?

Let’s make sure I understand. By being free form and split, I assume you are saying the the GEDCOM from Heredis has all the source data in the TITL records and has none of the source data in the PAGE records. Is that correct?

If that’s correct, what you wish do to do could in theory be accomplished by editing the GEDCOM file before importing. The edit would add PAGE records. The census year would remain in the TITL records and the rest of the census source data would be placed in the new PAGE records. Is that correct?

I don’t know for sure, but I suspect that a powerful text editor that supported Regex strings could accomplish what I’m talking about by editing the GEDCOM file before import, but I’m not 100% sure.

As this point, your census source data would all be lumped by year, but it still would not be templated.

I’m sure that everything I’ve discussed so far could also be accomplished with an SQLite script after the original and unedited GEDCOM was imported. It wouldn’t be a very easy SQLite script, but it would be doable. The script would need to add entries to the SourceTable and CitationTable and would need to change CitationLinkTable entries to join with the newly created CitationTable entries instead of with the imported CitationTable entries. It would then need to delete the now unused SourceTable and Citation entries you had imported. That would all be hard but doable.

At this point, your sources would now be lumped by year, but they would not yet be templated. The SQLite script to accomplish that little trick would be much more complicated than anything I have described so far. I have been gradually changing old free form sources to templated sources by hand for years, using the RM user interface to create new sources and delete the old ones. I’m pretty fluent with SQLite, but this is not a task that I wished to try to accomplish with SQLite.

Thanks Jerry, but that is WAY over my head. I’m just going to get started on converting everything manually. I seem to do a lot of switching between genealogy apps and always wonder why a GEDCOM from one doesn’t play well with another. Reunion is absolutely terrible with GEDCOMs but everyone else is not much better. Once the data is imported, finding where some of the data was placed can really be an adventure. Thanks again for your help.

Hi Herb, can you give us an insight about the number of source records that you need to convert? I’m a Gramps user, who only uses RootsMagic to synchronize data with Ancestry and FamilySearch, and I second Jerry’s advice.

If you can read GEDCOM, and it seems like you can, and want templated sources, I suggest that you create some census citations using the proper template, and see how they look when exported from RM. Then, if you get the hang of it, use a smart editor like Notepad++ to convert your existing sources and citations to the format that you found in your samples.

If you make sure that all citations from a specific census year get the same title and other master source fields, I bet that the Merge all duplicate sources facility can do the lumping for you. I can’t try that here, because I’m a freerider, but if you’re a registerd user, RM can do that for you.