I need to revisit the Person Fact

Over the course of many years prior to RM8 I took it upon myself to use the Person Fact to cite the most complete version of the name of the individual. Somehow, that seems to have evolved into a list of citations of sources that merely mention the individual, and I don’t know why. Now that we have the new Primary Name Fact in RM8 I don’t see a need to list so many citations on the Person Fact. I certainly see the value in citing any Notes that I attach to the Person Fact, but I still think I need to revisit the whole purpose and what I am trying to accomplish with those citations.

Naturally, this leads me to ask others to contribute the way in which they use the Person Fact when it comes to citations, as the Help Wiki is quite nebulous in this area. What have been your best practices on this subject? There may be an opportunity for more than just me to improve upon this.


Paul Harris

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I’ve not come to grips with how I might redistribute citations and notes between Person (General) and Primary Name. Most of my database work pre-dates RM8 and, as you state, there was no access to Primary Name citations and notes. And for those only now coming to RM after the release of RM8, Ancestry Trees and TreeShare have little or no support for RM’s Personal (General) citations and notes but does for the Primary (“Preferred” on Ancestry) Name. At some point in the evolution of TreeShare downloading, RM7 converted Ancestry sources for the Preferred Name to Personal citations. There was to have been a complementary conversion of these to citations for the Primary Name on upgrading to RM8. I’ve not tested to see if that promise has been carried through.

In database terms, a Person begins as a record in the PersonTable which holds scant information: just the Record Number, the hidden UniqueID by which Persons copied out to another database and merged back in can be identified as the same, Sex, the Person/General Note and a bunch of fields that act as registers for database operations. So Sex is the only Fact in PersonTable but the record is key to everything else about the Person. Short of using the Miscellaneous fact or some custom fact type, the Person Note is the natural place for a biographical overview and Person citations are as close as RM gets to supporting the narrative of the Note.

Another consideration in where you want to enter notes and tag citations is where do they come out in the various reports you want. Currently, the RM8 Narrative report does not include the Primary Name citations and Note at all; looks like unfinished business. The Person Note comes out after Birth and undated Alternate Names.

So it might be premature to start moving citations and notes from Person (General) to Primary Name…

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Thanks, Tom. All good food for thought.