Custom Event Sentences


In his album, The Button-Down Mind Strikes Back!, Bob Newhart quoted a monkey which typed, “To be or not to be: that is the gazornenplat.”

Sometimes there are sentences that just don’t conform to the expected. For example, we can look at the expected form of the sentence created to describe the Cemetery User Event. This event uses one date, one place, and two descriptions. The first description holds the name of the cemetery, and the second holds the plot location. The main purpose of the Cemetery User Event is to identify the cemetery where the body is interred, so the first description field is not optional. All other fields are. Here is a possible set of sentence building codes for such an event:


If shows us that Joseph died on the 12th of November in West Jordan, Salt Lake, Utah, United States and was buried in the Redwood Memorial Cemetery, but we don’t know the actual date of the burial nor the plot within the cemetery, we could enter the following values in the Cemetery event fields, and let it produce the Sample Sentence shown.


The sentence is formed as we expected, but what happens if FindAGrave tells us that Joseph was cremated?


“…at the Cremated in West Jordan…” just isn’t how we want to say it.


Here is a solution to our problem, but first, let’s do some ground work. Cremation isn’t the only thing which could change the needs of our Cemetery event sentence. Joseph could have been buried in an unknown grave or lost at sea. As we encounter circumstances which dictate that we change the form of our sentence, we will want to keep a record of both the original sentence codes and the new custom codes we create to meet those circumstances. I created a folder which I named \EventSentences. I keep this folder inside the folder where I store all of my AQ Data. Understandably, I call this folder \AQ_Data. Inside the \EventSentences folder, I store a file for each User Event for which I need sentence codes beyond the standard codes for that event type. Within that file, I store the codes for each of the custom sentences I identify. I also store the standard codes for that event type, just in case I do something wrong and need a way to get back to the original. Here is what I placed into the C:\AQ_Data\EventSentences\Cemetery.txt file:


I can copy these sets of codes and paste them into the Cemetery User Event as needed. I can also create new codes as I identify the need to do so.

Now let’s go back and see how we actually use those custom codes. We will start by entering a second Cemetery event. That way the original Cemetery event remains untouched.


We edit Joseph’s Individual record, click the Add button for Other Events, and select the Cemetery event from the list.


I will use different date and place information to make it easy to remove this example when I am finished. When we click on the Use Custom Sentence checkbox, the Edit Sentence button becomes active. We will click on that button.


On the screen which appears we will edit the sentence code for this occurrence of the Cemetery event for this individual only. It will not alter the codes for the standard Cemetery event.


We will copy this code…


…and use it to replace the original code. We now can use the Cemetery event to show non-standard burials.

Suggestions/Questions about AQ Will Do or Subjects discussed here? Click the Comment tab. I would like to hear from you!

Video Notice

The Videos page of AQ Will Do has a new entry explaining how to use the new Hints feature found in version 15 of Ancestral Quest. Follow the links to see these.

Sex Change


Sex Change in AQ?

I received an interesting Comment to the article Legal Name Change.

Thanks for this great article. A related issue I’ve been trying to figure out relates to when someone not only changes their name, but also their sex. Is there *any* way to handle this in AQ. (I haven’t found a way.)

The answer to your question is both simple and complex. From a software point of view, changing the gender of an individual is as simple as editing the record and clicking a different radio button. If the record is linked to a marriage record as the husband or as the wife, the gender radio buttons are grayed out, and you can not make the change. If the individual is not linked to a marriage record as the husband or the wife the radio buttons are active, and the change can be made. That’s the simple answer. The more complex answer is needed if there was a marriage and a subsequent sex change. I am not aware of any genealogical standards which define how that situation should be handled, so we seem to be breaking new ground. Here is one possible solution. In the record which shows the birth gender, show the Legal Name Change. Create a record (a new individual) with the new gender and the new name, and show the same Legal Name Change. Now marry the two records so that they will always be linked together. Create an Other Event called Sex Change where you show a date, a place, and the beginning and ending genders. Add this Other Event to both records. I know that no genealogical purists would accept this, but I also know that AQ will not handle a sex change for a married person, so “Ve duz vat ve kan duz.”

For this lesson, we will create a new AQ file and start with only one individual.


Victor is a male.


We will add the Other Event called Legal Name Change.


We will add the new name, and let the old name be entered by default.


We need to create the Other Event called Sex Change.

When I went back and looked at the Legal Name Change article, I saw that my blogging software, WordPress, removes what it thinks is invalid HTML code, so the Sentence Usage codes were wrong. I was trying to make them cut and paste-able, but WordPress will not let me do that. Fortunately, the codes for the Sex Change sentence fit on one line, so there is no question about whether there is a space between the first line and the second line.


We add the Sex Change to Victor’s record.


The date we entered places this Other Event into the right chronological order.


Now we will create the female version, Victoria.


Both records now exist.


We now add the Sex Change to Victoria.


Be sure that the information here is the same as what you entered for Victor.


Now we add the Legal Name Change.


This needs to be the same as the one we did for Victor. Notice that since this is Victoria’s record, we can not leave the second Description blank, and let AQ provide the default name.


Now they both show the important info.


Now we marry  Victor/Victoria. Since Victor is already in our file, we search for his record instead of creating him again.


We know that his RIN is 1.


The date and place for the ‘marriage’ will be the same as for the Sex Change. I chose to select Not Married and No Children. I will also add a marriage note.


This makes it clear that there is no real marriage. It also explains that we are using a marriage record to keep the records for Victor and Victoria easily accessible.


Here is the Family view…


and this is the Family Group Record.

Suggestions/Questions about AQ Will Do or Subjects discussed here? Click the Comment tab. I would like to hear from you!

Legal Name Change


I am a member of the Yahoo Group AQ_NFS. This is a forum for people who take advantage of the links available within Ancestral Quest to the FamilySearch Family Tree. A group member posed an interesting question:

I have a niece with the Given Name of Ruth Smith, she married and then went by Ruth Jones, she then divorced and legally changed her name to Ruth Johnson. My question, from a genealogy standpoint, is she known as Ruth Smith, Ruth Jones, or Ruth Johnson?

Along with others, I gave my opinion, then I changed my mind. I decided to focus on the side issue rather than the actual question. That side issue is: How do I handle a Legal Name Change? By this, I am not referring to the name change which usually takes place because of a marriage. I am thinking specifically about the kind where you go to the court and petition for a legal change of your name.

My concern is that there should be a way in AQ to show an audit trail of the name changes. It is possible to have more than one legal name change. I decided against using Notes because I usually look at notes as an afterthought. I suspect that there are many people who fill in the blanks of the Edit Individual screen but don’t get around to looking at the notes for everyone they import. I decided to create a Legal Name Change event.

Like many of you, I begin tracking an individual by their Birth Name. My Grandfather’s name according to the records was George Albert Beattie McIntyre.


His mother’s maiden name was Crombie, and shortly after his birth, she changed his name to George Albert Beattie Crombie McIntyre. I don’t know if she went through a legal process. Let’s pretend that she did. I want an Other Event for my grandfather which shows where and when his name was changed, and what the changes were.


On the Edit Individual screen, I click on the Add button to add the event. I scroll down the list of possible events and find that there is no event for a Legal Name Change. To create it, I click on the Add Type button.


I give my event a Title, a Short Title, and an Abbreviation. I specify that I want to use a Single Date, One Place, and Two Descriptions. I want the first Description to show the new Legal Name, and I want the second Description to show the prior name. I click the Add button to add this event to the list of possible events.


Oops! AQ will not let me create a new event without giving it the codes it needs in order to know how to form a sentence describing the event. If you would like to add a Legal Name Change event to your file, feel free to copy the code below, and paste it into the large box in the Sentence Usage section. Here is the code I will use:

‘%3 legally changed %{his;her;the} name%%%%[%0; from %0; from %1].’ (WAIT, not yet)

Copy everything from the first percent sign to the final period. Do not copy the first and last single quote. After you paste it, the Sentence box should look like this:


The Sample sentence shows what will be generated if the Gender, Date, Place and the first Description are filled in. The fields are considered populated if the corresponding radio button or checkbox is checked or clicked. Let’s break down the sentence building code and learn how it works. Let’s start at the very beginning. Our first code is:


If we put only %3 into the sentence box, the output is:


The %3 code places either the word He or She‘ into the sentence, depending upon the gender of this individual. If the gender is Unknown, the %3 code will cause AQ to select the first given name of the individual. In the Sample sentence, the default first given name is always Lynn. If my grandfather’s gender were specified as Unknown, the %3 would place George into the sentence.

Next, we will include some text in the sentence. I will place it in single quotes so that the spaces before and after the text are visible.

‘ legally changed ‘

Now we will insert the next code


In this code, replace the word Male with the word/words you want to see if the individual is a male. In our case we will use ‘his‘ as the word. For Femaleher‘ will be our word. For Unknown, ‘the‘ will be the word. What we will actually enter is:



We have switched from a male to a female, so AQ has changed He to She and is using her as the last word. Now I will show the next section of the code. Pay attention to the space. The single quotes make the space visible.

‘ name’

Here ‘ name’ is text to be inserted into the sentence. It is followed by this code:



The code %5 represents Date 1. When there is a < sign between the % and the 5, AQ knows that we are asking whether this individual has a Date 1 value in the Legal Name Change event record. If it does not, it looks ahead and discards everything up to the next > sign. If there is a value in the Date 1 field, AQ follows the instructions immediately after the 5. Those instructions look like this:

‘ ‘

It is a space character, so AQ copies the space into the sentence. Next, AQ finds:



The %@ tells AQ to examine Date 1 and see if it contains before, after, or about. If it does, it will be inserted into the sentence. AQ checks Date 1 to see if it is a complete date or a partial date. If it is complete AQ inserts ‘on’ into the sentence. If it is a partial date, AQ inserts ‘in’ into the sentence.  AQ now finds a space and inserts the space into the sentence. Next, AQ finds the code %5 and inserts the date into the sentence. If the Date 1 field was blank, nothing is inserted relating to the date. Note that the gender is now Unknown, so the first word in the sentence is Lynn instead of He or She.


The next set of codes is:

‘%<6 at %6>’

%6 is the code for Place 1. AQ checks to see if there is anything in the Place 1 field. If there is, it first copies ‘ at ‘ into the sentence, then copies the place into the sentence. Note that we indicated that there is no value in the Date 1 field, and the gender is now Male, so the sentence changes as needed.


The next set of codes is:

‘%<7 to %7>’

%7 is the code for Description 1. AQ checks to see if there is a value in the Description 1 field. If there is, AQ copies ‘ to ‘ into the sentence, then copies the content of the Description 1 field to the sentence.


The next set of codes is:

%[%0; from %0; from %1].‘  I’m changing this one to

‘ from  %[%0;%0;%1].’

There are two different flavors of Legal Name Change.  The first is the type where you change a name from either its Birth Name value or its Married Name value to a Legal Name Change value. Statistically, this is more likely to happen than the type where the name is changed from the current Legal Name Change value to a different Legal Name Change value. Everyone who has changed a name legally has gone through the first process. Only those who have legally changed names more than once go through the second type. Since the first type happens for everyone who makes a legal name change, I made it easier by not requiring the second Description field to be entered.

The code above is called an If Then Else. The If comes before the first semicolon. The condition we are using is %0. It means, “If there is a value in the second Description field…. The value before the second semicolon is the Then part. This is what AQ will do if the condition %0 is true. If there is a value in the Description 2 field it will be copied into the sentence. The part after the second semicolon is called the Else. That is what happens if the condition %0 is false. If there is no value in the Second Description, the full name of the Individual is copied to the sentence. The last thing that happens is that the period is copied to the sentence.

Here is an example of how the whole thing works.

My grandfather’s Birth Name was George Albert Beattie McIntyre. His mom changed it to George Albert Beattie Crombie McIntyre.


On the Edit Individual screen click the Add button to add the first Legal Name Change event. Scroll down to Legal Name Change and highlight it. Click the Select button.


Fill in the date, place and new legal name. Watch the Sample Sentence as it forms. This sentence will go into your documentation.


This begins our audit trail.

When Grandpa went to school, the teacher called roll and referred to him as George ABC McIntyre. The other students began calling him Alphabet. He went home and announced to his mother, “I am no longer a Crombie!”


The second legal name change requires that we place the prior Legal Name in Description 2.


Here is our audit trail.

As he grew older, he always referred to himself as George AB McIntyre. He didn’t actually change his name, but here is how it would have looked if he had.


Notice that his second Legal Name was the same as his Birth Name, so it wasn’t necessary to enter the second Description.


And the audit trail is there.

If you actually change the name on the Edit Individual screen after each legal name change, it is never necessary to enter the second Description.

OK, my years as a programmer are catching up with me. I can’t resist making just one more tweak. It will not change the output of the event but it makes the code shorter. Here is the code that you should actually put into the Sentence box:

%3 legally changed %{his;her;the} name%%% from %[%0;%0;%1].

I read this after it was posted and I discovered that WordPress, my blogging software, looked at the code in the red area above, and decided that I was entering badly formatted HTML code. It removed what it didn’t like, so what you see is not what I wrote. I’m sorry that this can’t be cut and pasted, but this is what I wrote:


This is the code you should use if you plan to make your own Legal Name Change event.

Suggestions/Questions about AQ Will Do or Subjects discussed here? Click the Comment tab. I would like to hear from you!

Let’s Get Personal


Back in 1981 I received a phone call from Russ Borneman, who worked in the HR department of the LDS Church. He asked me if I would consider accepting employment with the Church. After some consideration, I accepted that offer. He asked me how soon I could begin working for them, and I told him I would need a month to finish the project I was working on at Utah State University.

At the end of that month, I showed up at the Church Office Building. It was then I learned that the project manager for whom I was going to work was no longer employed by the Church, and the project which I had been hired to work on was no longer a project. I spent lots of time reading manuals, and wondering if I had made a major mistake in my life. One morning my new manager, Lynn Warr, came to my office and asked me to attend a meeting with 4 other programmers. When I got to the meeting, three of the programmers were already there. The last to arrive was Robert Foster. Bob was the lead programmer on the soon to begin Personal Ancestral File project. His first question was, “Brethren, how are we going to implement lineage linking on a computer?” My first question, which I was too embarrassed to ask, was “What is lineage linking?”


I was on the PAF team for only a short time while they were finding a project they really wanted me to work on. After I left the PAF project, I followed their project from a distance. When they were near production, they asked for volunteers to test the product. They wanted Personal Ancestral File to run on many different computers, so they were looking for several different types of computers in the test. By then I had purchased a Franklin Ace 1000 computer. It was a clone of the Apple II computer. It had two floppy disk drives, and I bought a video card which allowed me to convert from the standard Apple 40 column screen to the 80 column screen which was necessary to run PAF.

On my Franklin I could print the information from a particular address in the ROM chip, and it contained a copyright notice from Apple Computer Co. The Franklin was a better computer than the Apple II (more expansion slots), but since they stole the ROM from Apple, they went out of business after the lawsuit. When I finished my testing, I wrote a report on what worked or did not work, and a list of things I would like to see before they went into production.


I think the beta test convinced the Church that they couldn’t support all of the different computers on the market, meaning the different operating systems. The final product worked only on PC-DOS and MS-DOS operating systems, meaning the IBM PC and IBM clones. We had some of the old IBM portable (luggable) PCs available at work, and I hauled one from and to work several times while I played with the program. I eventually bought an Epson Equity II computer, with the optional, and at that time massive, 40 Megabyte hard disk. I was in Heaven.

I kept a spreadsheet with a list of the features I wanted to see in PAF, and periodically I would submit it to the PAF team. When I left Church employment in 1992, PAF included 17 of my suggestions.

In February of 2010 I started volunteering at the Ogden FamilySearch Library. I noticed an icon on the computer screen which I didn’t recognize. I clicked on it, and it started the Ancestral Quest program. It looked and felt familiar, even though I had never seen Ancestral Quest before. I asked whether they had a class on Ancestral Quest, and they told me that they had a teacher, but he was unlikely to return because of health issues.

I had few options available. I asked if I could teach the class. That was my way of learning AQ.

Some History

The time came when the Church decided to switch PAF from a DOS based program to a Windows based program. My opinion is that they had 4 options available to them at that point.

  1. They could train their DOS programmers to write Windows code.
  2. They could hire Windows programmers to replace their DOS programmers.
  3. They could hire Windows programmers to work with their DOS programmers.
  4. They could find a Windows program which already worked with Church specific information.

They chose the 4th option. They found Gaylon Findlay and Ancestral Quest. Gaylon allowed them to alter the source code for Ancestral Quest, and release it as PAF version 4.0 for Windows. That’s why AQ looked and felt familiar.

After I had been teaching Ancestral Quest for some time I had former students asking how to do particular things in AQ. When I answered them, I wished that I had a way to let other former students know what questions were being asked, and what the answers were. That was the reason I started AQ Will Do. It teaches the things AQ Will Do, and how to do them.

I taught the AQ class for 6 years. I no longer teach the class, but I still post on AQ Will Do occasionally. If there are topics you would like to see discussed, please leave a Comment or email me at


Updated: 2017-04-05

Is My File Healthy

000-sickObituaries are an inevitable part of being a genealogist. I have bookmarked three local newspaper obituary columns on the internet just so I don’t miss anything important to me. From time to time I see references to a death after the discovery of a disease in its later stages. These are deaths that might have been postponed. Regular medical checkups can lead to a longer and more fulfilling life.

So why discuss medical checkups on a website dedicated to Ancestral Quest? I thought you would never ask. (Maybe you didn’t, but here is the answer anyway.) Sometimes AQ files develop problems. You may not be aware of the problem yet, but AQ may need a checkup. It is a good idea to do this checkup on a regular basis, say once a month.


Click on the Tools tab and select Database Check/Repair.


From the menu select the Check Only radio button then click the Check button.


AQ is asking you to name the file which will contain the results of the search for database errors.

004 SaveAs2.png

I append the -year-month-day-FileName-Version to the name of the file just before the .rpt. Click the Save button and the Check process will begin.


Check goes through all the parts of the file and looks for problems.


The report on what AQ found will appear. Scroll to the bottom of the report for a summary of what was found. If no errors were found, you will not see this file, and you have completed the task.


If there were errors click on Tools -> Database Check/Repair


…but this time click the Check and Repair radio button, then click on the Check Button.


Now click on the Backup button.


AQ will ask you to confirm the name of the backup file it is about to create and to also confirm the location where you want the backup file.


I add -B4 just before the .aqz in the file name so that it will be easy to see the backup that was made just before a possible major change to the file. Click the Backup button.


The backup is complete…


…so click on the Check Repair button.


Create another checkfix file with the version number incremented by one from the last version number. In this case the version is 2.


When Check/Repair completes it will present the result file. Scroll to the bottom to see the Summary. This usually is sufficient to remove all errors from the file. However, sometimes one problem can hide a different problem, so I always re-run the Check/Repair function until I see this:


Don’t put yourself in a position where you need to write an obituary for your AQ file.


I am a member of the Yahoo Group AQ_AncestralQuest. One of the group members made this request:

Please provide steps to include family search ID number in AQ14

He then described the field at the bottom of the Edit Individual screen by saying:

FamilySearch ID (greyed out)

I would have waited to see what replies he received, but I started thinking about two words he used: greyed out.

That meant that the FamilySearch ID was not available to be updated. The solution is simple, but only if you know the solution. This will demonstrate the problem:


The image above is similar to what he would see if he opened a file in Ancestral Quest.


This is what he would need to see in order to link his records to the corresponding records in the FamilySearch Family Tree. Here are the steps to get from the first version to the second version. First click on Tools -> Preferences.


The Preferences screen has several tabs. Click on the FamilySearch tab.


There must be a check in the checkbox labeled Enable FamilySearch features.


You will be notified that your selection will not take effect until you stop and re-start Ancestral Quest.

If you would like to join the AncestralQuest group, do this:


In Ancestral Quest, click on the Internet tab and select Ancestral Quest Home Page.


There, click on the Support tab, and select Newsgroup.


When you get there, type Ancestral Quest in the search field, and click the Search Groups button.


Scroll up and down the groups returned, and select the group or groups which interest you.

Suggestions/Questions about AQ Will Do or Subjects discussed here? Leave a Comment by clicking the Comment tab at the top of each article. I would like to hear from you!





Ancestral Quest has the ability to pass information to and from the FamilySearch Family Tree. To do this, two things are necessary.

  1. The user must have established a usercode and password authorizing access to the Family Tree.
  2. The program used (in this case Ancestral Quest) must access the FamilySearch Family Tree through the Application Program Interface (API) established by FamilySearch.

If you have attended my Ancestral Quest class, you may remember that I recommend that users change the value in the Tools -> Preferences -> Miscellaneous page, which controls how often the program checks with Incline Software to determine whether the current version of AQ is being used. The default value is 30 days.


I recommend the value 1. This causes Ancestral Quest, when the program opens, to first check to see if this is the first time the program has been started this day. If it is the first time, AQ will poll the server at Incline Software, and determine whether this is the most recent version. If it is the most recent, the Newsline screen will show that the current version is running.


If there is a new version available, the word CURRENT shown on a green background above, will be on a red background, and will say UPDATE. When this happens, choose one of the options available to the right on this line, download and install the new version.

There are two reasons for new versions of AQ.

  1. Improvements to the Ancestral Quest program.
  2. Changes in the Family Tree, which require changes to Ancestral Quest.

One of the changes to the Family Tree which would require a change to AQ is a change in the Application Program Interface. If the API changes, the old versions of “third party” software, will not know how to take advantage of all the information being made available by FamilySearch. Such a change could also cause old versions to run improperly. When the API changes, you need to know NOW.

On Monday, 27 June, 2016, at approximately 12:01 A.M., Mountain Daylight Time, the FamilySearch Family Tree is scheduled to go offline. FamilySearch is making some changes to the underlying structure of the Family Tree. These changes will necessitate a change to the API.

I have heard two versions of when the Family Tree will be available after the changes.

  1. As soon as the changes have been made.
  2. On Tuesday, 28 June, 2016, at approximately 12:01 A.M., Mountain Daylight Time.

When you download changes from the Family Tree to your local file, you download at least one piece of information which you don’t see on the Ancestral Quest screens. Each Family Tree record has a version number associated with it. This information is changed whenever there is a change to the Family Tree record. When you download information from the Family Tree, Ancestral Quest saves the version information so that on any future access of that record on the Family Tree, they have a quick and accurate way of knowing whether there have been any changes to the Family Tree record since you last downloaded information from it. Something about that version information is being changed in this upgrade to the Family Tree.

Because of this change, AQ users who access the FamilySearch Family Tree, will see a change on the first time that they click the Check for Changes… menu item on the FamilySearch tab menu.


All records in your local file which are linked to the Family Tree will show a changed version number on the Family Tree, so that routine will report that the record has been changed.


Run this routine against your entire file, and Mark All records as reviewed. Thereafter this process will run as it has in the past.

Suggestions/Questions about AQ Will Do or Subjects discussed here? Click the Comment tab. I would like to hear from you!


Sources Census

Sources Census

Sources in Ancestral Quest are composed of three parts. The most inclusive part is the Repository. It can hold many sources. This is where you found the Source you are using. Many other repositories may contain the same source, but these do not concern the documentation of your Source. The Source itself, which is the entry point for recording this information in Ancestral Quest, is the one required part of the three for your Source entry.

There are two typical types of sources. The first is a one-event document such as a birth certificate, death certificate, or single person headstone. The other is a multi-event document, such as a book, a census or a multi-person headstone. Multi-event documents typically use a Source to describe the document, and  Citations to show the specific information to be used, and likely to also show the exact location of that information within the source document.

Ancestral Quest comes with a pre-defined Census Event. The intent appears to be that you can list all census events under this one heading. I prefer to create a separate Event for each year within each country when there was a census involving my ancestors.

I also altered the Event type from the original. Here is how it comes by default.


I made changes to the parts outlined in red. I added two Description fields, and changed the code for the sentence builder to accommodate them. Here is the new Census US 1940 Event type.


If you would like to either alter the sentence building code in your default Census Event, or create new Census events, here is the code, which can be copied and pasted into the master Event record.

%(%2;%3;%1) was found on the census%4%<5 taken %@ %5>%<6 in %6>%<7, listed as ‘%7>.%<7’>%<0 Indexed record at URL: %0>

The first Description field allows me to list the line number and values found on that line. This makes it easier for others to find the line on the census page where I found the information I am using. In the second Description field, I store the URL to the indexed record for this individual, as found at The indexed page gives the interpretation others have decided upon for the handwriting found on that census line, and the relationships for people in a household.

Here is the 1940 census event being entered for my grandfather.


But first, I must find his family in the census. That process will be shown in another lesson.

Click HERE to see his page in the census.

This is part of the page which contains my grandfather, Arley George, and the deceased members of his family who were living with him at that time. They are found on lines 1-8 on this page.


In the Sources or Notes lesson, we compared Repositories to pet stores, Sources to fish tanks and Citations to guppies. Here we will concentrate on the guppies. I could give a separate Citation for each of the eight members of Grandpa’s family, including the line number, as part of the Citation. That would force the information on each to be totally different. (Line number, Name, Relationship, Age and possibly Marital Status) I avoided this by adding the first Description to the Event type. Events, by nature, are unique to each individual. By placing the line number and information about the individual in the Event, I can show just the information defining the page of the census on the Citation. That way I need only one Citation which will be shared by all of the members of the family, and even by any of the people on the page. It is like several people standing around a fish tank while they phone a friend. They can all point to the same guppy in the tank, and say, “This is exactly what I want my guppy to look like.”

It just happens that Arley’s brother Aaron is also on this census page. The list of his family members, continues on the next page of the census. The ones on the next page will have a different Citation.  Here is Aaron’s family, on lines 33-40.


Now, back to entering the 1940 census Event for my grandfather. We were just ready to click the Add button.


Click the Add button to either select an existing Event type or to add an Event type.


By copying the sentence building code above, you could alter the Census Event type here. You could also do it from the Edit tab on the Pedigree screen or the Family screen. Event Types is the last item on that menu. Instead we will select the Census US 1940 Event.


Here you see the event sentence as it looks with no values in the Event fields. It reads, “Arley was found on the census.” When we enter values into the fields, the sentence changes, and the new sentence building code comes into effect.


Now we are ready to create the Source. (Since my Source already exists, I will edit the record instead of adding a new one.)


We will click the Edit button instead of the Add button. They go to similar screens. (Only the names are changed to protect the innocent.) One is titled Edit Source and the other is titled Create Source. Either way the Source record eventually looks like this:


The Type field at the top left is used to break the full list of sources into manageable smaller groups. This Event is assigned to the Census group. The Quality field at the top right is a drop down window. Use it to indicate the degree of credence given to this Source type. It becomes the default value for the Citation, which can then be changed if needed while editing the Citation. The Repository button near the bottom left is used to either select an existing Repository or to add a new one. Our Repository is already selected, but we could select another one, or create a new one.


Here we could either select Find A Grave, or create a new Repository by clicking the Add button. If we clicked Add, this is what we would see, but we won’t.


Note that if you are using yourself as the Repository, it is probably wise to use your email address instead of your physical address. Remember that if you ever place your records on the internet, and you have included your telephone number, there are people from all over the world who use the internet. Night time for you may be Day time for them.

We will exit both of these screens because we already have the Repository created. Now we are back on the Select Source for… screen, where we will select the Census US 1940 Source.


This Source is found at Finding it is a whole other lesson. Once it is found, it looks like this:


This is an Indexed Census Record. The URL for this page, highlighted in blue at the top of this image, is saved as the second Description field in the Census US 1940 Event. The first Description field in the Event is for the Line number and other identifiable facts about the individual. The dark box at the upper right of the image is a link to the image of the census page containing Arley and his family. Right click this image to open that census page image in another tab. The large box to the left of this link contains the information typed by the person who indexed this census page. It is the information for my grandfather, Arley George. The list of names below this box contains links to the index records for the people who lived in the household where Arley George was Head. His name is bold because the information on this indexed record is his. As you continue to add census Events to the members of this household, you will click on each name in blue, to get the indexed record for each person. The information for each goes on that person’s census Event record. The information on the indexed census record is specific to the individual, not the census page, so it belongs in the Event, not the Citation. Below the list of names is the citation created by FamilySearch for this record about Arley George.


I copy and paste this citation into the Actual Text of Citation field.


This is the Citation record before fields are entered. On the right of the Citation record is a box labeled Citation Image. To the right of this box are three buttons labeled Attach, View and Remove. The View and Remove buttons are inactive. If you click the Attach button, AQ will present the Add Scrapbook Item for… screen. This is a guppy with all the people pointing to it.


It has a drop-down window in the upper left corner. The default value for this field is Photo. In order to get AQ to expect a URL instead of a photo, change the value to Other. Go back to the image of the census page, and copy part of  the URL from the address line at the top. Copy everything starting with the letters http until, but not including the first question mark. Paste it into the Filename or URL field, and click OK.


This is how it looks when it is completed. The former Attach button now reads Edit, and the box it refers to is now labeled Attachment. Instead of a photo, the box shows the URL to the census page image. This Citation record now describes the census page, and can be used for every name appearing on that page. To make this possible, click the Memorize button on the bottom line of the screen. AQ will tell you that the Citation must be saved first, and ask if this is what you want to do. Click the Yes button. All of the other names in this household, or any names on this census page can now be entered, and will point to this Citation, if you click the Use Memorized button instead of creating a new Citation to look exactly like this one. It is already built, so use it.

Suggestions/Questions about AQ Will Do or Subjects discussed here? Leave a Comment. I would like to hear from you!



Sources or Notes

Using Sources, Citations and Repositories instead of Notes in Ancestral Quest

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