Seaman’s record for John Plowright (1831-1910), one of the many many sources I have used in compiling my family tree and associated family history.

Randy Seaver asks in his Saturday Night genealogy Fun post this week “What Source Have You Used the Most?”

The mission:
1) Have you done a good job of citing your sources in your genealogy management program or online family tree? How are you doing? How many source citations do you have, and how many people are in your tree? What is the sources to persons ratio?

2) Which master source (e.g., 1900 U.S. census, Find A Grave, specific book, etc.) do you have the most citations for? How many? How did you figure this out?

My main tree is kept on Ancestry.com, synchronised to Family Tree Maker 2017.

The summary statistics for my tree on Ancestry.com are:

  • People 7484
  • Photos 1581
  • Stories 192
  • Records 9373

Family Tree Maker also has 7,484 people covering 23 generations. The youngest person is my husband’s great nephew born May 2016. The oldest forebears are William Mainwaring who died 1341 and his wife Mary Davenport, my 19th great grandparents.
There are:

  • 2,219 marriages
  • 1,532 surnames
  • 33,136 facts
  • 4,664 places (but I know there are duplicate place names and I need to work on cleaning these up)
  • 839 different sources used
  • 14,293 citations
  • 5,302 media

The discrepancy between Ancestry.com and Family Tree Maker in trying to reconcile records and sources can be accounted by  not all records have media, and the same record can be cited for several people, for example a marriage record might mention husband, wife, and fathers of both bride and groom thus one record might be be a citation for 4 people; similarly one census record could be cited for many members of a family in the same household on census night.

Under the Publish menu in Family Tree Maker there is a Source Usage Report. The report runs to 1,487 pages at present. One source can be cited for several facts and this report lists all the facts covered by the citation.

Family Tree Maker can also produce a report of undocumented facts. For my extended family this report is 416 pages long. The report of documented facts is 3,282 pages long. There is room for improvement.

At present I have 14,293 citations : 7,484 persons or 1.9 citations per person. Of all facts there are approximately 3,700 pages of which 416 pages are not documented or 11%.

I was unable to identify a quick and effective way to answer Randy’s question as to which source have I used the most. Under the Sources menu in Family Tree Maker I could have a look at source groups and for each group see how often it had been cited. I found that Australian births were cited 744 times and the 1861 English census was cited 374 times but was unable to export the data and be systematic in my review.

I know my sources need to be cleaned up and reviewed, there is plenty of room for improvement. I also find when revisiting my sources that I often learn something new by reviewing the detail within the record.