Friday, August 5, 2011

Turning Over New Leaves with Family Tree Maker

Do you use and Family Tree Maker software? Have you been clicking on the leaves to see what hints are available on Well - I have a hint for you and it should not work this way but it does.

I have entered full names in my trees when I know the first, middle, and surnames. My trees were populated with full names and only a few leaves and I was frustrated by the lack of automatic leaves. I figured that just had to have more information without my having to search manually. So ... and this is the part that doesn't make sense ... I removed the middle names from a bunch of people. I know, I know your brain is rebelling. I can hear you screaming NO, NO, I spent ages figuring that out! I'm not removing information. (We'll get to how to document the resolution in a moment.)

Once I removed the middle names and waited a bit; I had brand new hint leaves from on those very people! Lots of new leaves. I thought it was Spring; there were so many leaves. Does this work all the time? No. Does putting a middle name in where there was none also produce the same result? Not that I've found but I've not had as much time to work with that scenario.

So - how do you document the middle name that you removed? In Family Tree Maker software, in the person tab, add the Also Known As (AKA) fact. This AKA fact will keep the information documented in your software and will be available as an option on reports. You may decide to put the middle name back into the person's name field at some point but the biggest lesson here is that search functions aren't always working the way we expect them to. If you want your family trees to think it's Spring again, remove some middle names.

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