Sharing Events Another Way

In RootsTech 2021 Gaylon Findlay teaches a method for sharing events and their sources. It is located HERE. (Click This Link) It’s only 8 minutes long.

When I asked Gaylon some questions about this video, he said, “There are probably a thousand good ways to document this, and very few bad ways.” I have a lot of respect for Gaylon and for AQ. After a lot of thinking, I came up with far fewer than 10 ways. I’ll keep thinking about it though. If I find something good, I’ll post it on AQWillDo.

Meanwhile, this is one of the ways I thought of, and I like it. You may too.

Whenever I try something new or big or complicated, I like to make a backup of my file before I begin. Backups are inexpensive when compared to the alternative. They finish quickly and they are small. With a backup if I do something wrong, and I don’t know how to correct it or if I don’t want to spend the time and effort it would take to correct it, I can always restore the backup and start again.

Just a hint though! For this type of backup I alter the backup title. Normally, because of the settings I chose in
Tools -> Preferences -> Database, a backup of this file would be named
DeleteThisExampleFile 2021-03-20, 08-56.aqz
DeleteThisExampleFile 2021-03-20, 08-56 B4 Big Change.aqz
is what I would call it before a big change. The B4 part lets me quickly pick this backup from a list of backup files.

I believe that I learn faster by doing than by just observing, so this is a hands on lesson. Open your family file…

…and back it up. Lets get started.

Since I have done a less than stellar job of documenting my family file, I foresee this as a long project. Because of this, I want a way to identify people after I have searched for them on each census which occurred any time while they were Head of household. I will identify them using a Tag. That tag will be visible in the ‘Family’ view, the ‘Pedigree’ view and the ‘Descendants’ view.

That’s right. I will begin this project by selecting the people on my family file who are shown on a census as the ‘Head’ of house. (HoH) Each record of a residence in the census begins with a person almost always listed as ‘Head’ of the house. In some cases, such as an orphanage, this person is listed as ‘Officer’ ‘Matron’ or some other designation instead. Someone, however, is always listed first, and we will refer to that person as the ‘Head’ of the household.

The reason for beginning with people who are listed as ‘Head’ is to avoid duplication. In any given census year, a person will be listed as ‘Head’ ‘Spouse’ ‘Son’ ‘Daughter’ or some Other designation. I refer to those with an Other designation as Tenants. (That would be Grandma, Grandpa, Aunt, Uncle, Brother, Brother in law, Sister, Sister in law, Cousin, Neighbor, Friend, Employee, Unknown, Not Related, etc.) That’s everyone who would not be on the Family Group Record for the HoH and the Spouse shown in the ‘Pedigree’ view. It would be very unusual for one person to be listed as both ‘Head’ and also as anything else in one census year. (In the case of multiple marriages, you may or may not want to document other spouses and family.) Such a person would have to have, and be counted in, more than one residence. People on a census, but not listed as ‘Head’ will live in a residence where someone else is ‘Head’ and they will be counted at that residence in that census year.

Since we use the ‘Pedigree’ view to select our candidates for ‘Head’ of house, these are direct ancestors. We will start at the right of the pedigree and move left to right and top to bottom. That means we will be checking for both males and females to see if they are listed as ‘Head’ of house. If a person is found as anything other than ‘Head’ during any census year, we will not process that person in that residence. We will account for that person in that year by finding them in the residence where someone else is the ‘Head’ of house that year. I will begin with my dad because at age 74, I am too young to be on the most recent, US 1940 Census, so even though all my children have moved away, I am not yet HoH on any census that has been released. That will be true for almost all of you. (Add 72 to your age when you were first HoH in a census and see how old you would have to be.)

Click on ‘Tools’ and select ‘Tags…’ from the menu.

Click on the ‘Show Tag Placeholders’ checkbox to fill it with a check. This makes working with Tags easier. You can access Tags without going to a menu. Just one click on either a tag or a tag placeholder, and you are there. Click the ‘Define Tags’ button.

Select an unused tag and name your tag ‘HoH Census Search Completed’ and then make a ‘No Census Records Found’ tag while you are at it.

When you have searched for all of the census records for a person, locate that person in ‘Pedigree’ view, the ‘Family’ view or the ‘Descendants’ view.

Click on the tag placeholder or an existing tag.

AQ will bring up the ‘Manage Tags’ screen. Click on the ‘HoH Census Search Completed’ tag, then click on the ‘Set’ button for the selected person.

Since I will be looking at many families, I need a system which is orderly and inclusive, and I want to track my progress. As such I will use my ‘Pedigree’ view as my primary guide. As an overall rule I will search households from left to right and top to bottom on the ‘Pedigree view. If Dad is in a census, but not Head of Household, he will be a spouse, a child, or a tenant where someone else is the Head of Household. In theory, everyone should appear on a census in one of these positions if they are living at the time of the census. The reason for only processing a census for the chosen person if he/she is HoH is to avoid duplication. If he/she is not HoH that year, then he/she should appear in another household where someone else is HoH, and he/she will be counted there.

As the process travels from the top to the bottom of the ‘Pedigree’ view, we will be looking for both males and females as HoH. Process her census record whenever she is shown as HoH. HoH is a gender neutral position in the census. Note that in the image above, I do not process my mother, nor either of my grandmothers. This is NOT because they are female, but because in the latest census available, the US 1940 Census, they were listed as Spouse because their husbands were still alive.

Just before I begin searching for the census records of my great-grandparents, My ‘Pedigree’ view will look like this. Three are red-tagged because I searched them, one because I am too young and three because I knew they were never HoH before the 1950 census, which is not available as of this writing.

In his video, Gaylon Findlay teaches us how to use event sharing and the freeform source as a means to shorten the time and effort required to document the information found on a census for a particular household. Typically this would be a family, but often it includes others living in the house. In this lesson we will create a Census event and verify the Date and Location using the US Census as the source. We will then share this Census event with all of the residents in the household, be they family or tenants, as long as they are found somewhere on our family file. I use the Census event rather than the Residence event to demonstrate the versatility of the sharing process. Gaylon has shown the use of the Residence event. I also use the Census event because I more closely associate the Census Source with the Census Event.

It is a really good idea to have your family file open in AQ, have this lesson open in your browser, and have a separate window or tab for the internet searches you will be doing. Your browser can separate this lesson from the internet searches either with tabs or by pulling one of the tabs to a separate window. It really helps to be able to find all three quickly using the icons on the taskbar or the tabs in the browser.

I highlight my father then click on the Internet tab and select ‘Search’ to do a General Search. In this lesson all of the searches will be to You could search elsewhere, like FamilySearch, but then the process would vary from what is shown here. I’ll leave it up to you to first learn how to do the process, then figure out the differences for yourself. Just a hint: If you intend to use more than one vendor for your searches, and you intend to switch between vendors in a given census, you will need to copy both types of citation information (Demonstrated later) each time you switch vendors in that census. You will also need to change Repository information if you are tracking that. returns this general search of my father. Note that there is a link to a record which shows his name, the name of his father, but with his mother’s maiden name, and his daughter’s name. That must be him? We will click on that link to see if it is.

This screen was returned by the search, and surprise, it really is him. Note that on the right side of the screen there is a column labeled Suggested Records. The third entry in that column is for the US 1940 Census, where Dad was the Head of House. There may be many links to your chosen person in this column, so take a few seconds to scroll down and see if you can find census records for the years when your person may have been HoH. We will click on that third Suggested Record link.

This is what we were looking for. It is the transcript of the US 1940 Census. He is the HoH in this census record. Often, as is the case here, there is a link to a photo of the actual census page. We will right-click this link because we are going to use the URL for this transcript page later. I want to be able to switch back and forth between the transcription of the census page and the photo of the census page.

Did you find a census record as HoH for your first person? If not, try the next person in order from your ‘Pedigree’ view and search until you do, then continue with us. Remember to tag any for whom you have made a complete search whether you found the results you wanted or not.

At the top of the census page photo we find the information which we will now enter into our Census event.

I don’t have a 1940 census event for Dad so I click the ‘Add’ button. In the next window (superimposed) I highlight the ‘Census’ event and click the ‘Select’ button. If for some reason I already had a ‘Census’ event for that year, I would probably want to Edit it so I could determine whether it had everything I need. If it doesn’t I can delete that event and build a new one following the instructions below.

I enter the Date and Place information from the census, and I click on the Source’ button.

A little history here. Several years ago when I was just figuring out how to do ‘Events’ and ‘Sources’ I decided to pre-build all of the census sources I was likely to need. I Googled to find what census information was available in each country I expected to use. I didn’t take the time to get all the citation information for each census. I figured I could wait until I actually needed a particular country and year, and fill it in then. That’s working out well.

But, for this lesson I wanted to show how to build the event and the source, so I deleted what I already had for the US 1940 Census source from the Source List. That’s why the most recent census is the only one that’s not there for the US. I guess I could remove the Scotland 2001 Census and the Scotland 2011 Census from my list because those records will not be released until after the year 2100.

This is where we create a source. The steps are numbered.

1st, I make sure that the source type is Census.

2nd, I assign a level of relative quality to the event. I have been generous. The person who answers the questions may not be the Head or Spouse, or in some cases not even a family member. The census taker may not know anyone at this residence. Sometimes people change how they spell their names, or can’t remember what year some of the children were born. Sometimes it’s the census taker who can’t spell. My sister had an alternate spelling for her given name until sometime in grade school. As long as I have been alive she has never spelled it the way it was correctly spelled on the 1940 census. If you have much experience with census records, you already know about these types of things.

3rd, I like things to be consistent! There are a few different ways to title a census. I could have said:

Census 1940 US
Census US 1940

That would work, but AQ already lets me filter by type so that I see just the type I want to choose from. In this case, Census. I could have said:

1940 US Census

That would work, but then the list would be grouped together by year and sorted within year by country. A long list of little clumps of records from around the world.

1940 Census US

That would actually give me the same list as 1940 US Census. That leaves:

US Census 1940
US 1940 Census

Country Year Type. That’s what I like, so I built them all into the Source List at once so that I wouldn’t slip up and change the order later. Now I can find a census source for a particular year from any country in moments. You don’t need to do all that. It’s just my Obsessive Compulsive Tendency, not Disorder, I can still function normally without doing these things.

4th, I click in the Short Title box, and AQ copies down what I have entered as the Title. Next, if needed, I go back up and add little extra bits of information to the title. Go back 2 images and look at the Edit Source List. Notice that it is sorted by Full Title. Here is the same list sorted by Short Title.

Now where were we? Oh, Yes!

5th, there is a ‘Repository’ button. If you click it, you will have the option of selecting from items you have already placed on the ‘Repository List’ or you can add a repository. You can read about Repositories in the User’s Guide. A repository helps someone else find where you found your information.

6th, click on the ‘Freeform’ checkbox, then do this:

Scroll to the bottom of the Census transcript and copy the ‘Original Data’ text.

Paste the text into the ‘Full Reference’ box then click the ‘OK’ button. This will put the US 1940 Census into your Source List.

Scroll to the bottom of the Census transcript, and copy the ‘Census Place’ text from the ‘Source Citation.’

Now that the US 1940 Census is in the list, you can click the ‘Select’ button.

Enter the – Name comma Head of House comma space – then paste in the rest of the information which you just copied. As you do, the information in the ‘Sample Footnote’ box will also change. There you can see the citation in its final form.

The US 1940 Census source already contains the information you first copied five images ago from the ‘Original data’ area of the ‘Source Citation’ so you will not need to copy that again. From now on when you cite the US 1940 Census for another household, you will just copy the information from the ‘Census Place’ and paste it after the ‘Name comma Head of House comma space ‘ which you will enter.

Click the ‘Attach’ button.

I told you that we would use the URL from our Census transcript. In this window, use the ‘Item Type’ pull down window to select the word Document, copy the URL from the top of the Census transcript screen, and paste it into the ‘Filename or URL’ box, then click the ‘OK’ button.

You could have done that a different way. You could have done a screen shot of the census page, saved that image where you keep the rest of your images, and left the word Photo in the ‘Item Type’ pull down window. Then you would place the path and file name for that image into the ‘Filename or URL’ box. The difference is that the ‘Document’ version references a URL and the ‘Photo’ version references an image.

Now you see the ‘Attachment’ window is not empty. If you click the ‘View’ button, AQ will display the census page, either as a photo or a web page. Click the ‘OK’ button.

Now there is as asterisk on the ‘Source’ button, showing that there is a source for this event. It’s time to share this event with everyone else who is on that census page.

We are going to add the family of the HoH, so click the ‘Add Family’ button.

We don’t want the family of the HoH when he/she was a child, so we select the family where the HoH is shown with the Spouse who is the parent of the children on the Census page.

In this case two of the children were not born yet at the time of the census, so we will uncheck their names. If an older child or the spouse had died before the census, we would also uncheck those names.

If there are others on the census page who are not in the family you selected, you can use the ‘Add Selected Individuals’ button to access them using the Advanced Filter/Focus, and also share the event with them.

The event is ready to be shared, so we click the ‘OK’ button and continue our journey through our ‘Pedigree’ view. If there are other censuses where this person is HoH, process them the same way you did this one. If not, click on the Tag Placeholder or an already existing tag for the HoH, and highlight the ‘HoH Census Search Completed’ tag and click the ‘Set’ button.

It’s up to you how many of your relatives you want to document with census records. Please note that what we have done in the ‘Pedigree’ view search includes only direct ancestors and their immediate families. With the possible exception of others who resided with the HoH, and are also on the Family File.

When you move far enough along the ‘Pedigree’ view that you reach a person who has no census records, check the parents to be sure they have none either, then tag that first one with a ‘No Census Records Found’ tag. Maybe a check for the earliest census records in their area would tell you why.

If you want to be thorough, I suggest that you choose this next approach after you finish with your ‘Pedigree’ view search. Search the term “Census years in ______’ and fill in the blank with the name of a country, or other area, where you have ancestors. There is no need to search for ancestors who died before census records existed where they lived.

Try this. During your ‘Pedigree’ view search, you tagged some ancestors with the ‘No Census Records Found’ tag. For each of them select the ‘Descendant’ view. From here on, use the ‘Descendants’ view as your guide. Travel down the ‘Descendants’ view generation by generation just as you traveled up the ‘Pedigree’ view. Level 1 is children and their spouses. Level two is Grandchildren and their spouses, level 3 is great-grandchildren and their spouses. You decide how many generation levels you want to process. Remember that you still process only those years when they are ‘Head’ of their household. As you complete the descendants for each ancestor with a ‘No Census Records Found’ tag, remove that tag and move to the next ‘No Census Records Found’ tagged ancestor.

Are you young enough to complete this task?

What topic would you like to see next?


  1. Good night.
    First of all say that I use AQ 16 on W10.
    I’ve seen the Gaylon Findlay video. It is a bit complicated to understand, especially due to the difference in the administrative organization that each country uses, although I can visualize it mentally.
    I have also read the blog entry where he talks about the pet store, the fish tanks and the fish, very good comparison.
    I would like to build solid repositories, sources and citations and I have doubts with Catholic documents.
    For example:
    Iglesia de San Marcos, Fuencarral, Madrid, Spain, Book 11 of Baptism, folio 222.
    (name of parish, town, province, state, baptismal certificate, book no. page no.)
    To make a list, is the order correct? Taking into account that there are many churches that are called San Marcos, although they are in different locations.
    Is it better to do it in Freeform or in source mention? As the video says, I don’t want to have a huge list.
    I hope you understand me, I use Google Translate

    • Let me know if my email answered your question.

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