EE4 is here, with only 14 templates

I have resumed genealogy after a few year off. I’ve been on a steep learning curve, learning citation formats from EE and getting used to RM9 after TMG. For example, I’ve been crafting long and short footnotes and bibliography entries (per EE3r) and pasting them into existing citations (using “customize”). That seems to generate what I want in the narrative report. I’ve read some on the RM forums about custom templates, but know almost nothing about them.

Here’s the deal. The 4th edition of EE came out and now it only has 14 citation templates (down from 170+). I’m wondering what it would take (and if it’s worth it) to create custom (14) templates to speed up my citation generation? I don’t care about moving info to/from Ancestry. I don’t want to learn about SQL. I just want my reports to be properly cited.
Side question: Would GEDCOM files retain the proper citations or would they get scrambled on export?

The standard GEDCOM structure for sources and citations is only partly supported by RM’s export and a multifield template is consolidated into a partial sentence with the TITLe tag and a concatenation of the Citation fields with the PAGE tag. The complete templated fields and, if custom, the template can be exported with RM-specific custom tags that are acceptable to a few other programs and services. So how consistent or scrambled the imported result can be is dependent on the importing software and, somewhat, on the RM sentence template when stripped of the citation fields.

I suspect it would take about an hour or two per template and maybe even a little longer. There is typing it in, and then there is testing it. It would seem like maybe it should take only ten or fifteen minutes for each template. But it can be tricky to get all the punctuation and spacing just right and to get all the [square brackets] and <angle brackets> and such things just right.

When I developed source templates of my own design in RM, I started out with a much smaller number than fourteen, like only three or four - things I use a lot such as census, obituary, birth, and death. After they were working well, I added one more at a time only as I needed them. I’m now up to about thirty but for a long time I only had about fifteen. For some of them, I have only used them once or twice. I suspect that if I had been more creative and imaginative, I could have combined many of them and kept the number under twenty. If you are going to use EE4, you know ahead of time that you will never need more than fourteen.

Most other software will not import RM’s source templates. One piece of software that will is GedSite. There may be others that will that I’m not aware of. And importing RM’s citations correctly is not necessarily the same thing as importing RM’s source templates correctly.

But you weren’t really asking about the source templates and GEDCOM. You were asking about the citations and GEDCOM. In addition to outputting its citations as templated citations which other software can use or ignore, RM also outputs its citations as standard citations using GEDCOM’s TITL and PAGE tags. My experience is that citations created from RM’s source templates and output to GEDCOM"s TITL and PAGE tags may be just fine or they may be terribly mangled. It all depends on how the footnote sentence is set up in the source template.

The RM template fields that are in the Master Source are placed in the TITL tag in GEDCOM. The RM template fields that are in the Source Detail are placed in the PAGE tag in GEDCOM. If the footnote sentence in the source template has all the Master Source fields to the left of all the Source Details fields, then the footnote sentence will be just fine in the GEDCOM. If all the Master Source fields are not to the left of all the Source Details field, the footnote sentence in the GEDCOM will be badly mangled.

Here is an example using RM’s Ancestral File template.

Footnote sentence in RM:

Bill Smith Author, compiler, “May Smith FGS,” (fully documented), AF 1234557, Ancestral File, version 4.13 (1994), Family History Library, Salt Lake City, Utah.

Footnote sentence after being mangled into TITL and PAGE in GEDCOM:

“,” , Ancestral File, version 4.13 (1994), Family History Library, Salt Lake City, Utah., Bill Smith Author; May Smith FGS; fully documented; AF 1234557.

So the moral of the story is that if you wish to develop your own RM templates based on EE4 and if you wish for your footnotes sentences to survive unmangled into other software via GEDCOM, be sure to assign your variables to the Master Source and to the Source Details based on the left part and the right part of the sentences from EE4.

Here’s is a spreadsheet from a little study I started with respect to RM’s templates. For the first four of them in alphabetical order, the two of them with the green check mark honor this left/right distinction properly and the two of them with the red X do not. In my little spreadsheet, I refer to Source Fields and Citation fields rather than to Master Source fields and Source Details fields. But it’s the same thing.



I was looking for info on creating a custom template, but only found a dead end for RM4.
Are there resources for learning?
Would it be built from scratch or by remodeling a free form template?

The source and sentence template language has not changed since RM4. You can still use this video created using RM6. Source templates specific begins at the 34 min mark, but you do want to cover the earlier parts too.

  1. Sentence and Source Templates in RootsMagic

The video mentioned by Renee is excellent.

As to your specific question, there is nothing to remodel in the free form template. It can’t be copied and it can’t be changed. That leaves you two basic choses: 1) build a new template from scratch, or 2) copy one of RM’s templates other than the free form one and remodel it as you wish. You cannot edit or remodel RM’s own templates. But having made a copy, the copy is now yours to remodel as you wish.