Friday, February 5, 2016

Working with Sources in FamilySearch Family Tree

Since June 2007, I have served in FamilySearch Support. I help patrons through live chat solve their Family Tree problems; I provide support and training for family history center directors; and I help to author help documents you see in the Help Center.

As I help patrons, I am often reminded that some things that seem obvious to me are not obvious to those who are not as immersed in the website as I am. So, from time to time, I think I'll share a tip or two that I have found helpful.

Today's post is based on a patron I helped recently. He had accidentally attached a source to the wrong person and wanted to know if there was an easy way to detach it from that person and get it attached to the correct person.

So, let's look at some of the features of what we call Quick Attach for sources that can be helpful for this and other situations.

Most users who have followed record hints are familiar with the window that comes up when you click to review and attach a source. The information from the record appears on the left. Information about the person from family tree appears on the left. You review each piece of information and decide if the record matches or not. You have the option to add pieces of information to the Family Tree record and then attach the record as a source to people on the tree. That is pretty straight-forward.

But, what if the Quick Attach is not showing all the people who are on the record as possibilities for attaching? Or what if you, like my patron, attached a records to the wrong person and you want to fix it? A common example is marriage records. I see the parents of both the husband and the wife. But, because I found the record as a hint for the husband, an option to add the parents of the wife and attach the record as a source of that family relationship does not show on Quick Attach.

So, let's look how to get around this problem. At the top of the Quick Attach tool, you have two Change options. On the left, if you click Change, you can tell FamilySearch that you want a different person in the record to be the focus. For instance, click the wife's name here and then you can attach the record to her parents as well as to her. 

Sometimes you realize that you attached things to the wrong person or family. A quick way to fix it is to use the Change link on the right side. This allows you to change the focus person in Family Tree. First, find the record of the person the record should be attached to and note the ID for that person. Also note the ID of any people to whom it is incorrectly attached now so you can easily get back to them to detach the record as a source. 

You can then enter that ID in the Change Focus Person box and attach the record to the correct person while you have it in front of you.  

Then, return to the record of the person or people to whom the record is incorrectly attached as a source. Scroll to the Sources section of the person page. Click the title to open the record. Then, just click Detach and that source is gone.

Incidentally, if a reader has a mess in Family Tree or some feature is confusing, add a comment or send me a private email at nansuty@gmail and I'll be happy to address the problem in a post in the future.

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