Fact Order - what are the rules - can it be changed?

Is there are particular order that facts appear for a given person?
Can that order be changed?

I recently put in a “Census” fact for a particular individual and then an “Occupation” fact. Both facts had the same date “31 March 1901” and the facts appeared in the following order: “Occupation”, “Census”.

I then entered the same sort of information for a different person ie a “Census” fact followed by an “Occupation” fact, once again both these facts had the same date “31 March 1901”, BUT, this time they appeared in the order: “Census”, “Occupation”.

Why? What controls the order? I don’t mind what order they appear in, but it should be consistent given the same informartion - fact type and date.

I know you can artificially alter the order based on the sort date, but I shouldn’t need to do this when entering the same type of facts, with the same date, in the same order. I just don’t understand why it would do this and what the rational if any is.

Is there a default order and if so what is it eg it makes sense that if you enter a “Death” fact and a “Burial” fact with the same date, it displays them in the order “Death”, Burial" - which it appears to do and is consistent across individuals.

Can anybody tell me how I can achieve consistency or ordering across individuals without having to use the “Sort Date”.

Without sort dates, there is no particular order that same date facts appear for a person. There are no controls for the order.

If one person was born and died on the same day, the birth might appear before the death. If another person was born and died on the same day, the death might appear before the birth. Sort dates are the only solution offered by RM.

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In RM8, in the Edit Person Screen, click on the 3-dot menu, then choose Options, you can sort facts by Date, place or fact type.

But when you sort by date, for all practical purposes same date facts are in random order except as you might override the order with sort dates.


Sorting by Fact type doesn’t do what I want, I’ve got to say it is these little inconsistencies that are really anoying and spoil what is otherwise a really good program. What there really needs to be is to be able to sort by two or more categories eg first sort facts by date and then sort by type. As a former software developer I wouldn’t have thought that would have been too difficult to do, after all it is already taking raw data and sorting it into a list before displaying it, it shouldn’t be too difficult to sort on two criteria, it is just a database at the back of all this after all.
I guess I will just have to live with it.

I have no idea what Sorting by Fact Type is supposed to do. Does anybody know? The order I get makes no sense to me.

What, exactly, are you talking about. Every fact is basically its own ‘fact type’ and if you want to so and if you want to sort multiple of a fact, then you can do that using sort dates. An example of this for me is the Census fact. All of the sort dates on the Census facts have a specific format. Lets say I have the 1880, 1900, 1910 Federal, and the 1885 Iowa census. My sort dates would be 3880, 3885, 3900 and 3910. This put all of my census records together.

I agree - sorting by fact type appears to have no discernable order, I was going to say it was alphabetical, but it is not even that. It is all a bit confusing.

RM8 has a most curious set of options for sorting events. The option is accessed from the Edit Person screen via THREE DOTS => Options => Sort Facts By The three sort options are Date, Place, and Fact Type, with the default being Date.

When Date is the chosen option, there is the additional question of how are same date events sorted, such as a person who was born and died on the same date. The answer to that question is that same date events seem to be sorted fairly randomly unless you as the user override the random ordering with sort dates.

When Place is chosen, there is the additional question of how are same place events sorted, such as if a person was born and died in the same place. There also is the further additional question of whether events are sorted by places which are reversed or not reversed. The answer is they are sorted by reversed place names if you reverse place names and by not reversed place names if you do not reverse place names.

Finally, when Fact Type is chose, I have no idea what it means. I have been unable to discern any pattern to how events are sorted when the Fact Type option is chosen.

Have to wonder if Fact Type Sort is the “ID” or the name (alphabetically) …(similar to Witness Role maybe?)

One would think if sort by Factypes selected it would be alphabetical (Such as Arrival before Birth) – then those facts should be sorted by date withing each of those groups. Maybe its sorts primary facts and custom facts differently… just throwing out ideas.

I believe it is sorting by Fact Type ID, and then dates within the fact type.

Thanks Renee – I guess if other users have opinions on that, they can suggest “feature” change.


I know how to do it, my puzzle was pretty much the same as yours since each fact is its own type. So if you sorted by type, then all it is going to do is put all the Census facts together, all the Birth facts etc. Renee said she thought it was sorting by ID which is really the same thing and if it works the way she described, that would mean one should not need sort dates if they put dates in for the fact.

My initial reaction was that FactTypeID couldn’t possibly be right. I picked a quick person at random, and the facts are in the following order when sorted by Fact Type. You can see that there are many custom fact types in my database.

Will Probated
1830 Census
1840 Census
Primary Name

Hence, the order looks pretty random. But then I looked up each of the fact types in the FactTypeTable using SQLite. Here are the respective FactTypeID’s from the FactTypeTable. Of course, I couldn’t look up the Primary Name because it’s sort of a pseudo-fact that’s in the NameTable rather than in the FactTypeTable. We can observe that Renee is 100% correct.

   1 Birth
   2 Death
 300 Marriage
1003 *email
1005 Will Probated
1101 1830 Census
1102 1840 Census
1192 Parents

These are indeed the FactTypeID’s, namely a column in the FactTypeTable that is the primary key for the table. So the mystery is solved. But it’s hard to see the benefit of this ordering for any user who is not using SQLite, or even for users who actually are using SQLite. That doesn’t bother me because all I ever want to use is date ordering of the facts for a person. But it’s still a very puzzling feature.

It seems to me that sorting facts by fact type might benefit by alphabetic ordering. Another possibility might be to sort all BMDB facts together, all census facts together, all other facts together, or something in that vein. But the internal primary key of an SQLite table seems very strange.

I would definitely support the options to sort BMDB facts together - AND at the top of the person fact list
This would make the overlarge Person panel at the top of the side index somewhat more useful given the removal of the very handy succinct Person name Birth date / place Marriage date / place Death date/place we had in RM7 and how much I have to enlarge it if I choose that method to find that basic info quickly (not often it’s too unwieldy), I prefer having my index panel as long as I can make it.

I know I must come across sometimes as being overly critical of RM8. But I don’t really think it’s all bad. Indeed, it has many very nice features that I wish had been available in RM7. And when I’m working in RM7, I regularly miss some of the RM8 features that I like. But nevertheless, I do have a short list of RM8’s worst feature in my head.

One of those worst RM8 features is that Person panel at the top of the side index panel. It tries to cram far too much information into far too little space, and it fails rather badly. And even if you open up the children for either a person’s spouse or a person’s parents, the children list closes back up as soon as you go to another person.

I ran RM7 with the Family tab in the side panel about 90% of the time. That gave me at one glance the person’s parents, siblings, spouses, and children. And the center top panel simultaneously gave me the person’s BMD information. Trying to work with the same information in RM8 is a very difficult experience.

I always thought that for facts of exactly the same date the order depended on which one was edited last. I just use sort dates as I am entering the data eg if I had a Residence and Occupation fact from a census I always put the Res as Date-1 and the Occupation as Date-2.

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I hade the same issue - wanted census first, and occupation second. I used the census date, say April 1, 1950 for both events, but changed the sort date on occupation to April 2, 1950. This forces them into the correct order. A simple fix.

True a simple enough fix, but time consuming to do it for hundreds of entries. There should be better sort options, (and understandable rules) and these should be able to be performed on a given individual or as a global option for all individuals.

There are a lot of good things in RM8, I like it a lot, but sometimes I feel it makes you work too hard for a result, one that should be easy enough to implement in the software.

As an ex software designer myself, I know these things are possible, I also know and appreciate that a company can’t put every request in that it’s users ask for, but maybe there could be a list of potential improvements, requests that could be voted on by the users, the top 1 or two which would then be put into the next release.

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Especially when it is a company of only 2 programmers…