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 familysearch.org. 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 FamilySearch.org. 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.

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Sources or Notes

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

Continue reading

Advanced Filter Focus


Advanced Filter Focus: Purpose

How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.

Sometimes it is convenient to work with a sub-group of the entire file. I may want to work with people born in Hertfordshire, England. I may want to work with people born 110 years ago or earlier. I may want to work with people whose cause of death is Cancer. Whatever sub-group interests you, there is a way to select that group, and that way is the Advanced Filter Focus.

Advanced Filter Focus: When?

You can go directly to the Advanced Filter Focus and select some group, or you can begin some function, such as a report, and as part of that process, select a group of people. Here is an example of a process which offers the use of Advanced Filter Focus.


When you do an export with GEDCOM, the first thing you need to do is to tell the process whether to export All of the file or perhaps that this will be a Partial export. If you choose Partial, the Select button becomes active, and will lead you to the Advanced Filter Focus.

Advanced Filter Focus: Where?

So where is this Advanced Filter Focus?


It can be found in many places, but for demonstration purposes, let’s just start it from the Tool Bar.

Here is the file we will be working with.


To get started we will click on the binoculars…



…and bring up the Find Individual/Marriage screen. This is where we click on the Advanced Filter/Focus button.

Advanced Filter Focus: Parts


If the screen doesn’t look like this, click the Advanced>> button.  (Yes, I know that you cannot see the red rectangles.) Let’s take the first three sections one at a time.

Selections by Relationship

Ancestral Quest always has a currently active person. This person is designated when you open the file, and remains the same until you select another person. For this demonstration, we will use Hazel Carver, and in the Selections by Relationship box we will select her Ancestors. When we click the Select button, we are told how many records were selected. We can use the Show results only check box in the Other Options section to remove all other people in the file from the list in the upper left corner.


As you see, including Hazel, we have seven people selected. We’ll click on the Clear button and look at the Field Selections section.

Field Selections

We will click on the Define button. This brings up the Field Filtering screen.


Birth Place is highlighted because we are going to select people based upon the value of this field in their record. To do this, we will click the Greater Than button. This button will “push” the Birth Place from the Possible Fields list to the Current Filter list. On the way there, we will make choices about the values we will select.


Here we will select only records of people who were born in Centerville. We could have selected the radio button labeled 1(City), but that would have allowed records from Centerville, Ohio, and places named Centerville other than the one in Davis County, Utah. Click the OK button, then click the OK button on the next screen. Again we will click the Show results only check box, and this is what was selected.


As you see, we have eight people selected, and Hazel is not among them.

On the Field Filtering screen, by using the parentheses for grouping, and the AND & OR buttons for combining, complex selection criteria can be created. Those criteria can be saved for later use by clicking the Save button and giving them a name.

We’ll now go back and select Hazel and her ancestors in the Selections by Relationship section.


Seven records were selected by relationship and eight were selected by field value, however, there are only 13 names on the list. That is because Delayna Adams and David Carver were selected both ways, and they do not need to be listed twice since each is only one person.

Selections by Combining Methods


The seven selected by relationship and the eight selected by field value can be combined in three different ways. If I combine using AND logic, that means that the name must be on the relationship list and the field value list. Here is the demonstration of that method of combination.


The two who were selected in both ways are the only ones on the list. Now lets look at combining the lists with NOT logic.


The five people on this list are on the Selections by Relationship list, but are not on the Field Selections list.

When I use the OR logic, it means that I select the record if it came from the Selections by Relationship list or the Field Selections list. This is how that looks. Note that we are back to the list of 13 people.


When you select people either by relationship or by field value, but not by both, all the people selected will be on the list. There are not two groups to combine.


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Research Manager


Wouldn’t it be nice if we could just push a button, and our research would all be done for us? We aren’t there yet, but we’re getting closer. One thing we need to think more about is where we can find the best evidence to back up the claims we make about the events in the lives of our ancestors, and even about their very existence.

Are you a planner with a short memory? Do you have magnets holding reminders to your refrigerator? Is there a white board in your home where you make notes about future events? Is there a planning calendar on your desk? Do you keep a notebook and pencil with you while you are doing research? Do you buy “Post-It” pads in bulk? The Research Manager may be just what you need.

The Research Manager manages your “TO-DO” list. We all have TO-DOs. Some of us use calendars to help us organize them. Some of us write various types of other reminders. Some of us just hope that we will remember.

In AQ, when you add to your TO-DO list, it stores them in a file. You manage this file in the Research Manager.

There are three ways to get to the Research Manager. The first is here, on the Tools tab at the top of the AQ screen:


Click on Tools and select Research Manager.

The second way is from within the Edit Individual screen, over on the right side:


The third way is from the Toolbar:


If you do not see a toolbar, click on the View tab, then click on Toolbar.

The Research Manager screen looks like this:


Note that the Research Manager screen is expandable horizontally and vertically, and can be expanded to full screen. On a large monitor it can easily show 30 research items without scrolling.

Before the Research Manager can be useful, there must be TO-DO items to manage. There are four ways to add TO-DO items. The first is from the Add tab at the top of the AQ screen:


The second is from the right edge of the Edit Individual screen:


The third way is from the Toolbar:


The fourth is from inside the Research Manager screen:


All four methods will get you to the Edit To Do/Research Item screen:


For this lesson, we will deal only with the One Individual option, selected in the Item Type box at the top of the screen. The General Item option creates general TO-DO items, which are not connected to any individuals. AQ always has one individual selected as the current individual. This person is selected when the program opens your file, and is changed whenever you select some other individual anywhere in the program. (Of course, this is not true if you have just created the file, and have not yet added the first individual.)  If the current person is not the person for whom you wanted to make a to do item, press the Search button on the top right, and select another individual.

The first editable field is called Item and is the place where you state your basic goal, or what you want to research about this person.

The next line has two date fields. The first, the Date field, is filled with the current date, if this field is empty when you enter the screen. The next field is a Target Date. Are you a planner or a goal setter? Here is where you remind yourself about when you plan to have this item completed. The Target Date is an optional field.

The next field is the Priority. This is also optional. The default value is 5, but the pull down window contains a range from 1 to 10.

Next is a pull down list where you can place a Category. If you have never used it before, the list is blank. You choose what values to place on the list by typing a category name for the item you are now adding or editing. Be aware that once you enter a category name and save the item, the category will remain on the list, so choose category names carefully. I haven’t found a way to remove them.


You may also leave the list blank. Category is optional.

The next line starts with a pair of fields. The first is a check-box labeled Completed. If you check the box, today’s date goes into the field labeled Completed Date. This date can be edited, if today is not the right date. This field is also optional.

The Home File ID field is for your personal use, and is also optional.

The Advanced>> button is used to show all of the fields below it on the advanced form of the screen. The <<Advanced button is used to hide those same fields. Here is the advanced form of this screen:


The first line in the advanced section of the screen is the Location field. It is used the same way as other place names in AQ, and shows a pull down button on the right when you enter the field.

The Repository and Source fields can be used to select repositories and sources from their respective files, and can also be used to add new entries to those files.

The Notes and Comments/Results fields are for your use, and are optional. If the item is linked to an individual, these notes do not appear in the notes of that individual.

The Selected check box is used to pick certain individuals from among all the individuals in your file, or from a list of individuals previously created by the Filter/Focus. This is useful mainly when the radio button at the top of the screen is not selecting One Individual. Selected is optional.

Here is an example of how the Research Manager is used when an individual is selected, rather than General Items or All items. There were reports that Cyril Call was in the 1850 US Census twice, once in Iowa and again in Utah. Here is the Research Manager screen showing two research items. Note that both of the research items are for Cyril.


Each of the two items asks about his location during the 1950 census. The information on the lower half of the screen shows that the second item, about Iowa, was the last one highlighted. If we were to click the Edit button, the second item is the item which would be edited. The Add button would allow us to add another research item to Cyril. The Duplicate button would create another item identical to the currently selected, second item. We would then alter it to show what else we want to find out about Cyril. Sort will be discussed in the next lesson about Research Manager. The Filter button is similar to Field Filtering in the Advanced Filter/Focus for individuals. We will click the Filter button.


This filter is used to exclude research items based upon the values found in selected fields. There are nine fields in the research item which can be filtered. The first is Priorities. The default is to select All priorities. By clicking one of the other two radio buttons, you can accept only priorities Greater Than or Less Than a value of your choice. There is not yet an ability to select a range from inside the two extremes.

The Completed Status box allows you to accept only Completed or Not Completed items, or Both. The default is to accept only Not Completed items.

The Selected Status box allows you to accept only Selected or Not Selected items, or Both. The default is to accept Both.

The Categories box allows you to select All categories  (including the blank category), or to select specific categories. Multiple categories are selected using the Shift and Control keys in the same way you would select files for a copy or move.

The Start Dates and Stop Dates boxes allow you to accept All dates or only a Range of dates of either type.

The Location field allows you to select a specific place or a place matching some part of a place name. In this example only place names including Utah are accepted. The asterisks indicate that any number of characters before or after Utah in the Location field will also be accepted. Here is the result of turning this Filter on.


Since the second item did not contain the word Utah in the Location field, it was excluded from view. Using these filters you can select exactly the records you want to examine.

Research Manager goes wherever you take your Ancestral Quest file. No more of those lost Post-Its. No more pencil and paper. No more refrigerator.

Note that Research Log is a tab under Reports and Charts


…but that’s a subject for another lesson. Keep researching, and keep your research notes where they were meant to be, right in your AQ file.



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New Computer

New Computer

QuestionsNo, I don’t have one, but I was asked how to move AQ from an old computer to its replacement. It really is easy to do, and there is more than one way to do it. It really isn’t even necessary to move it.

1. If you are using Ancestral Quest Basics (the free version) just DOWNLOAD a copy to your new computer.

2. If you have a key for the full version, DOWNLOAD the free version.


Click on Help and select Register Ancestral Quest,


and enter your Registration Key. (Note that on your screen it will not say “This copy of Ancestral
Quest has been registered.  Your registration is current and is shown below. The full functionality of Ancestral Quest is already active and available for you to use.”)

Both of these methods will work, but let me suggest a third. (This assumes the old computer still runs.)

3. Put your flash drive in the old computer. Open your File Manager. (This would be My Computer or Computer, depending on your operating system.) Navigate to either C:\Program Files (x86)\Incline Software\Ancestral Quest 14\ or C:\Program Files\Incline Software\Ancestral Quest 14\.


Copy the Ancestral Quest 14 folder to the flash drive. Move the flash drive to the new computer.

On the new computer, navigate to the folder which contains your software. This is probably C:\Program Files (x86). In this folder, create a new folder called Incline Software. Copy the Ancestral Quest 14 folder from the flash drive into the Incline Software folder.

You now have a fully functioning version of Ancestral Quest on the new computer, but at this point it will be a little difficult to run the program. What you will want to do is create a Shortcut to the program on your Desktop. To do this, open the Ancestral Quest 14 folder, and find the ancquest.exe program. If your operating system is set to not show the file suffix, you will see two files named ancquest. The first will have an icon with a yellow question mark. The second will have a blue family tree icon. This is the one you want. Right Click on the file name, and select Create Shortcut from the menu. If your operating system allows this to be created in the Ancestral Quest 14 folder, you will want to move it to your Desktop.

There is an advantage to using this third method. Ancestral Quest is a portable application. This means that you can execute the program while it resides on the flash drive. This will allow you to take your flash drive, containing the program and your family file with you to any windows computer, and run it there. Just navigate into the Ancestral Quest 14 folder on your flash drive, and double click on the ancquest.exe program name.

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

Baptism for the Dead

Baptism for the Dead

This is primarily for LDS users of Ancestral Quest, because it shows how to find people who have not been baptized. For those who have a non-LDS FamilySearch account, the process works about the same way, but it happens faster. Non-LDS accounts skip the step where they check to see what ordinances have already been performed for these people. It is a good way to find possible collateral “cousins.”


Phase 1

Have you, as a parent, a youth leader or as a youth, ever been asked to provide a list of names of people for baptisms for the dead? How could you create such a list using Ancestral Quest? This is how I would do it. We’ll start with a new dedicated file containing no records. We will first import the descendants of a person we have pre-selected, Dennis Eidson. On your file, this would be some direct line ancestor, possibly an end-of-line person, about whom you have reliable documentation. The instructions which follow assume you have already gone through the login process.


We click on the FamilySearch tab and select Import Family Lines.


We click on Download Descendants of FamilySearch Person, and enter his FS PID. We specify how many generations to download, and click on Import. I use 7 because I want a large file for demonstration purposes. If you are at a FamilySearch Library, or Family History Center, you will probably not have enough time to wait for that large collection of records. I suggest only 3 or 4 generations until you see the dynamics of your particular family.


Ancestral Quest asks us to verify that we want to import Dennis Eidson and up to 7 generations of his descendants, so we click Yes.


Family Tree begins sending us the requested records, and Ancestral Quest builds the file and makes the correct family linkages. This is where we wait patiently. Family Tree will send the records of Dennis Eidson, and all of his deceased descendants, which are in the Family Tree. Ancestral Quest keeps us informed about where it is in this process.


Here is the same screen after about an hour and a half of processing. Two hours? I didn’t really time it, so this is a guesstimate. Compare this with the screen immediately above it. After importing the first ten records, Ancestral Quest was estimating an expected 151,273 records. In the more recent screen, 4,020 records have been imported, and the estimate has dropped to 8,296. if we had requested only one generation of descendants, AQ would have started with an estimate of 12 people, two parents, five children, and five spouses. If we had requested two generations of descendants, AQ would have added five children to each of those married children couples, 25. Each child would be expected to have a spouse, another 25, so AQ would have estimated 62 people. For each family with more or fewer than five children, the estimate needs to be re-calculated for all of the remaining generations. Here we show that we are importing someone from the 6th generation of descendants, and the blue bar has moved almost half of the way across the window. For each generation you add to the request, you can expect approximately a doubling of the number of records to be returned, and the time it will take to do it. The key word here is approximately.


Now the process of importing names is nearly complete. At that point, non-LDS accounts will be ready to start removing duplicates from this file in preparation for comparing it to their actual file. I would recommend using this file as a source for hints. Do your own research on the accuracy of what you find.


If you have an LDS account, this process will begin. Each imported name will be checked against the record of ordinances performed, and that information will be inserted into your AQ file. This does not currently include Confirmation or Initiatory ordinance information. I timed this process, and saw that in 60 seconds, 50 records were updated. This could vary with the amount of activity on the FamilySearch system, and possibly with the speed of your internet connection. In theory, I can expect about four more hours of processing before this file is completely updated. You may want to download fewer than 7 generations. At the end of this process I didn’t get a picture of the screen which reports the time used and how many ordinance updates were completed, but it took a long time, and it did lots of work.

Phase 2

Now we want to find which of the people in the new file need baptism. It will help to have a permanent record, so we will build a report to list them. The things we need to think about are that they must be eligible to be baptized or endowed, not yet baptized, the gender we want, and born before 1905. It is 2015 at the time this is being posted, so that accounts for the 110 year rule. We will first define the report. Note the blue numbers by the red boxes. These indicate the order in which I will do things.


Starting with (1) at the top, the Printer Icon will bring up the Reports and Charts menu. We will click on the (2) Custom tab so that we can select the fields and the sort order for the report. We will change the (3) Title to “Males Eligible for Baptism.” Next we will select the (4) Fields to show on the report, and the (5) Sort Order. When we know what the report will look like, we can (6) Select the proper records. We want this to be a (7) Text File, so we push that radio button. This allows us to place the .txt file on the Desktop for future reference. At that point, we will be ready to (8) Print the report, which in our case will write it to a file on the Desktop.

Steps 4, 5 and 6 are easier to understand if you see how it is done, so here is step 4. Click on Fields.


On the Report Fields screen, the (1) Vertical Slider allows you to browse through the list of Possible Fields. The (2) Greater Than button allows you to move Possible Fields to the Selected Columns list. When you have selected the fields for the report, click the (3) OK button.

Next, back on the Reports and Charts menu, click the (5) Sort Order button.


Click on RIN and use the Greater Than button to tell AQ to sort the report into RIN order. Click OK.

Now, back on the Reports and Charts screen, we are ready to let AQ select the records we want, and report them to us. Click on (6) Select.


We are going to tell AQ how to select records for the report. Click Define.


The Field Filtering screen is where we tell Ancestral Quest how to select the records for our report. Use the Vertical Slider to find the fields to be examined. Use the Greater Than button to move fields from the Possible Fields list into the Current Filter list. The first field we need to examine is near the bottom of the Possible Fields list, Qualified for Baptism/Endowment. We want to include people who are qualified for individual ordinances. Highlight that item, and click the Greater Than button to include it in  the list of filtering statements. Select IS. We have more filtering statements, so we click on AND, and click Greater Than. We want to follow the 110 year rule, so from those already accepted, we narrow it down to those born earlier than 1905. Use the Vertical Slider to find Birth Date, and highlight it. Click the Greater Than button. From the pull down menu select Is Less Than, and enter 1905. We have more conditions to narrow the list, so highlight AND, then click the Greater Than button. The first filtering item on the list accepted people who are qualified for either baptism or endowment or both. We want to exclude those who have already had a baptism and are awaiting endowment. Use the Vertical Slider to go down the Possible Fields list to LDS Baptism Date. Highlight that item and click Greater Than. On the pull down menu, select Does Not Exist. There is one more thing we will probably want to do to narrow down the list, so add AND to the list. These lists are typically to be used by someone in the Young Men or Young Women organization. These are gender specific, so we will use the Vertical Slider to find Sex. Highlight that and click Greater Than. Here we can select Matches Male or Matches Female. For demonstration purposes, we will select Matches Male.

Our list is narrowed down to those we want on the report, so we will Save this list. That way we can Retrieve it and use it again at some future date when more records are in our file, or possibly with a different file. Give the selection criteria a name, and click Save. We are returned to the Select Set of Individuals screen, where we click OK.


Ancestral Quest found 225 males qualified for baptism. Click OK, and return to the Reports and Charts screen. We want the report to go to the Desktop, so be sure that the (7) Text File radio button is selected, and click (8) Print.


We want to see the report, so click Yes.


When you select a .txt file, AQ writes it in CSV format. CSV is an acronym for Comma Separated Values. This type file can be imported into a spreadsheet. If we had elected to Preview or Print the report instead of creating a .txt file, it would have looked like this.


Phase 3

This would be a good time to check into the quality of the information you have received. Did the previous submitters have sources to verify the information they have entered? Are date ranges consistent with the records to which they are linked? Are you convinced by what you see that the information is reliable? Can you provide source information which is missing on the records you have downloaded?

Now that we have a list of those who are initially qualified according to the data in our AQ file, we need to go through the procedure for reserving the baptismal ordinance. It is likely that some of the names on our report will not be qualified from the point of view of the church. There are multiple reasons why this might be the case. The person you downloaded into your .aq file may have one or more duplicate records on the Family Tree. One or more of these duplicates may have already received baptism. Part of the reservation process is to merge duplicate records on the Family Tree. The person you downloaded or another person on the Family Tree whom you merged with your linked person may not have an LDS Baptism Date, but that ordinance may have been reserve by someone else and not yet performed. In that case, the Family Tree software will not allow you to reserve that ordinance. I am telling you this so that you will understand why you should next select more than the 10 or 15 records you want to place on an FOR, Family Ordinance Request. We don’t know how many will be in this situation, so to make a list of 10 to be baptized, we will select the first 30 from our report. The RIN for the first person is 18, and the RIN for the 30th is 2818.

We begin the process by clicking on the FamilySearch tab and selecting Ordinance Reservation and Tracking System. You will need to enter your usercode and password to gain access to the Family Tree.

Here we will click on Reserve Ordinances.


We want to use our previously defined set of criteria, so click on Add Selected Local Record(s).


To do that we will select Advanced Filter/Focus.


We need to retrieve our selection criteria, so we click Define.


We will retrieve the Filter we saved before.


We scroll down to the the filter we created, Qual4BaptMale, highlight it, and click Open.


This is the filter which gave us our report, but now we want to narrow it down to the first 30 people on the report.


We insert another AND, and highlight RIN in the Possible Fields list. Click on Greater Than, and enter the range from 18 to 2818, which represents the first 30 people on the list. Click OK.


Thirty records have been selected. Click OK.


Ancestral Quest begins retrieving the current temple status on each record.


We see that all but 4 of the records still have no baptism date, and are eligible for baptism in the church’s point of view. Now we begin the process of reserving baptisms. We start by highlighting the first name which indicates it can have baptism reserved, and we click Check for Dups.


I see nothing to convince me that this is the same person, so I click Close.


Ancestral Quest shows that I have checked for duplicates, so I click Reserve.


We note that the ordinances will be assigned to Me. This means that any ordinances we reserve will not be released to temples for them to perform. They will remain on my reserved list. We check the boxes labeled Baptism and Confirmation, then we click Reserve.


If we are not aware of Church Policies governing reservation of ordinances, we can click the View Church Policies button and read them. After you have read them, you click the I have read… button, then click Continue.


Ancestral Quest shows that these ordinances are on my reserved ordinance list, and that they are ready to be selected to be placed on an FOR. I continue highlighting names, checking for duplicates and reserving ordinances.


I have found a person with a matching record on Family Tree. This is a duplicate of the record to which I have linked for this person, and I need to merge them in the Family Tree. I click the Match box, and click Merge. I could have had more than one matching record. In that case I would have clicked the Match box for the next matching record, and again clicked Merge. I would continue that process until I found no more matching Family Tree records.


I agree with the actions that will be taken, so I Merge the two Family Tree records. I attempt to reserve ordinances, but…


…I see that the baptism and confirmation were already completed on the record which I merged, so I click Cancel.


Ancestral Quest shows that the ordinances are Complete, and does not mark the record as Ready to be included on an FOR. I continue checking for duplicates and reserving ordinances until I have the 10 that I needed for my list.


When that is done, I go to the bottom of the Reserve Ordinances/Create Batches screen and click Create FOR. The church will create the FOR and send it to your computer. Print it, and take it to the temple.


Before you leave, click on the Remove button, and click the All Records (Start Over) radio button, and Remove them from the Reserve Ordinances list. This will speed up using the Reserve Ordinances/Create Batches screen next time.

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

Modified 2015-03-29

Update Ordinances

Update Ordinances

This applies only to those with an LDS Login to FamilySearch Family Tree. Others will receive the message invalid_grant error during login to FamilySearch: 400. The purpose of this function is to update ordinance information in the local AQ or PAF file, so that it reflects new ordinance activity in Family Tree.

To access this function, do the following:


Click on the FamilySearch tab, and select Ordinance Reservation and Tracking System, (ORTS). You will then see this screen:


Select the Update Ordinances option.


This is the Update LDS Temple Ordinances screen. Use the Records to Update box at the top to select which records you want to test for update. This shows that All has been selected, and reports the number of records to be tested. There are four check boxes in the section below the Records to Update box. Check the first if you want to bring information about Confirmation and Initiatory ordinances into your file. The next box is used to place the words In Progress into the ordinance date for ordinances awaiting completion. I prefer to retain the date of submission. The third check box tells AQ to create a report of all changes made to your database during this process. I always select this option. The last check box is used to let AQ know how to handle the situation where Family Tree records corresponding to records in your file have been merged, and their FS PID changed. When records are merged, a new record is created with a new FS PID. All ordinance activity for that person is now stored with that new FS PID.

The acronym API means Application Program Interface. An API includes the rules by which information from one computer system are to be transferred to another. The LDS Church writes the API which governs access to their databases. Under the API for the older nFS system, if a person on your file is linked to the Family Tree, and later is merged with another, a new record is created with a new FS PID, but your local file does not know about the new ID number. When you accessed ordinance information under that system, what was returned was the information as it was prior to the merge, for the record to which you were linked. Under the new FSFT API, if you attempt to access that information with the older FS PID, the church returns an error with no explanation as to why. The correct procedure is for AQ to first ask if the old FS PID has changed. If it has, the church will return the new FS PID, and AQ will update that value in your file. AQ will then update any individual ordinance information which needs to be updated. If your record deals with a family, as most do, it is more complicated. Each family member must also be queried to see if their FS PID has changed. This about doubles the time required to process each member of the family.

If you run the Update Ordinances procedure once a month or less often, there is a fairly high probability that you are linked to an individual whose record has been merged with another, and you will not receive any new ordinance information for that person, if you have not checked the box. It is up to you to determine how often you will run this procedure with this box checked on your file.

Now, back to the Records to Update box:


By clicking the Selected radio button, you will access the currently selected records from the focus filter. This is likely to have zero records selected. In any case, click the Select button.


Here I will define a query which will reduce the number of records presented to the Update Ordinances function. I will click the Define button.


I want to work with deceased persons who were born more than 110 years ago. (See 110 Year Rule) I also want them to have at least one ordinance date missing, and…


…I want them to be qualified for at least one ordinance. I could click Save, and give a name to this query, and then I could retrieve it for use again at some later date. In this case I will just click OK.


AQ determines how many records meet those specifications, and I click OK.


I am ready to continue, so I click on Update Ordinances.


AQ finds the first record with a change in an ordinance, and reports it to me. I have the option of skipping the update, updating this record only, or updating all records which have updateable information about ordinances. I choose to Update All.


I alter the name of the report to include the date in YYYY-MM-DD format so that I can see a history of my updates in chronological order, and I click Save.


AQ works through the selected records, adding any changes to the report it is creating. When it finishes…


…it tells me how many records were updated…


…and presents me with a log of the before and after values for fields that were changed.

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

Online Sources

Online Sources

Yes, sources are an often discussed and often disputed subject. How should I document things? Should I use Notes for my documentation? Do I really want to save all those images of documents? Is there a better way?

I hesitate to suggest that what I am about to present is ‘The Best Way’ to do documentation, but I find it useful, particularly when I want to be able to view the actual online documents from which I draw my information.

As an example, I will use findagrave.com, because I typically look there for hints about other family members, location of the burial, confirmation of birth and death dates and places, etc. Since FindAGrave is an online source, I want to be able to link to it from my Ancestral Quest file. There are several steps which I take in preparation for using FAG as a source.

First, let me say that I listened closely to the instructions given by Gaylon Findlay in the Quick Start Video Tutorial. He gave some reasons why I should always record place names as City, County, State or Province, Country. (Go to the section titled ‘Quick Start – Entering a‘ and skip down to about 4 minutes and 30 seconds.) I like standardization. I like the concept of being ‘user friendly’ in my approach to genealogy. By that I mean that I try to remember that not everyone in this world speaks English, and they don’t all know that MI is the postal abbreviation for Michigan, not Minnesota, and that MS is the abbreviation for Mississippi, not Massachusetts. In other words. I try to remember to NEVER use abbreviations for place names. I also try to remember that even if the name of the cemetery is the same as the name of the city or county in which it is located, there is no place for a cemetery name in the four level structure of City, County, State or Province, Country. Therefore, I create an event which I call Cemetery. In this event I store the Date of burial. I also store the Place of the burial as City, County, State, Country. In the first Description field, I store the name of the cemetery. In the second, I store the plot number of the grave. I create the codes for the event sentence as follows:

%1%<T (%T)> was interred%4 at the %7 cemetery%<5 %@ %5>%<6 in %6>%<0, plot: %0>.

If you like the sentence this produces, feel free to copy this line of code, and use it in your own file. For information on building these sentence codes, link to Event Sentences.

I create a source called FindAGrave.

03 Source

I set the Quality to ‘2=Secondary Evidence/Rec. After Event,’ because few people do as I have done, and enter THEMSELVES into FindAGrave before they pass on. I guess I would have to leave it as a 2 anyway, because after my death, I will not be here to enter the death date myself. I will leave instructions telling my family how to do that.

In the Attachment window, I create a link to the FindAGrave webpage. (See the Attachment box on the Edit Source screen above)

I also create a Repository record for my FindAGrave source.

04 Repository

Now that I have the event and source ready for use, I can attach them to deceased members of my file.

I look for a record of a deceased person who lacks FindAGrave documentation. For this, I highlight that person in the Name List view or the Family view, and click on Internet -> Search Favorite Sites, and select my home grown FindAGrave search

05 FAG

…passing along the first and last name of the deceased, the birth or christening date and the death or burial date. FindAGrave does the search for me, and returns…

06 FAG Return

a pointer to the record of the deceased. I click on the name.

06 FAG Return

Notice the top line of the image above. That’s the URL. The problem is that it is more than just an address. It is a search key which causes FindAGrave to search for the record. Now look at the bottom line of the image. There is where you will find the Memorial number which is the Key to the FindAGrave record. I prefer to use the URL which goes directly to the record instead of searching all over again. I copy the Memorial number from the last line, and click on Begin New Search.

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I paste the number into the Memorial #: field and click Search.

09 Return

This returns the same record, but the URL listed at the top is a direct link to the FindAGrave record, and bypasses the search. In terms of computer time, it is much faster, and easier on the FindAGrave server. This is a service to others, since you won’t be able to tell the difference yourself.

Now we get to the actual documentation. Bring up the Edit Individual record for this person.

10 Individual

Go to the Other Events for this person and click the Add button.

11 Select Event

Scroll down to your Cemetery event and click on the Select button.

12 Enter Event

Fill in the Date of burial, Place of burial, 1st Description as the Cemetery name, and 2nd Description as the burial Plot if it is listed, or if you know it. If it has been entered into FindAGrave it can be found at the bottom of the Burial location. In this example there was no Plot information listed.

Next click on the Source button.

13 Select Source

Highlight FindAGrave as the desired source, and click the Select button.

14 Citation

In the Vol/Page/Film # field, I place the notation “Memorial=‘ followed by the memorial number. I could have placed it in the Reference field, but the information from Vol/Page/Film # goes into the footnotes in the documentation of reports, and the Reference number does not.

Next I highlight the URL in the FindAGrave record, and Copy it to the clip board. Go back to the Citation screen, and click the Attach button.

15 Scrapbook

The Scrapbook screen shows the default Item Type as Photo. Click on the pull down arrow, and select Other

16 Scrapbook

…then paste the URL into the Filename or URL field. Click on OK, OK, OK. That’s right, once on each of three screens as you navigate back out of this procedure.

17 Individual

Some day, Gaylon will find time to fix the calculations of the place name so that it truncates properly, and lets you see the name of the cemetery in the description field. Click on the Save  button.

If you go back to the Edit Individual screen, highlight Cemetery in the Other Events box, and click on Edit, you will get the Cemetery event screen. If you then click on the Source button, you will see the Source Citation screen. Here you can click on the View button, over on the right side of the screen, and be linked directly to the FindAGrave record for your deceased person.



I am a member of a Yahoo Group called AncestralQuest. It is a discussion group for people who use the Ancestral Quest program.

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You can find this group by starting Ancestral Quest, clicking on the Internet tab and selecting Ancestral Quest Home Page.

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From there, click on Community and select AQ User Groups.

Recently, one of the group members was discussing a census record. On this record was information about a man, his wife, and their family. There was evidence from other records that they were married in 1884. There was also evidence that the woman had only six children. The problem was that the census record showed a seventh child with the husband’s surname, and listed as a son, but he was born in 1880. The assumption was made that this was the son of the father in a previous marriage, and that the wife in the first marriage was unknown.

There were two problems perceived by the group members. They were described as:

1) Ancestral Quest will not allow you to create an UNKNOWN spouse the way PAF will.

2) There is no way to properly show the relationships of children to parents in more than one parental family.

I have taken records from my own family file where these relationships also exist, and I will show how to create these families in Ancestral Quest. I will also show why you should convert your PAF files to the AQ file format.

The first problem

1) Ancestral Quest will not allow you to create an UNKNOWN spouse the way PAF will.

The unknown person in this case is the assumed first wife, who is the mother of the child born in 1880.

It is easy to get into the habit of always doing things the same way. We create a marriage, then we add the children. To create a second marriage for one of the spouses, we highlight that person and we either click on Add Spouse, or we press <CTRL> U. Both of these processes open the Add Spouse for… screen. Here we have the option to create a record or click on Search for Existing Spouse…. Neither of these options allows us to create a marriage with only one spouse.

The proper way to do this is to first find or create a record for the ‘seventh’ child. Next we need to create the family and attach the child to the only parent in that family. In Family view, with that child as the primary person, click on Add Father or Add Mother, depending on which one is documented.

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In my file I have a father, Marr Dixon Simons, and a mother, Helen Anna Hunt. Helen Anna Hunt had only three children. Marr and Helen were married 18 Jun 1924.

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I also have a child, Ruth Simons, a daughter of Marr Dixon Simons. She was born 26 Mar 1916. For now let’s assume that she is the daughter of an unknown mother in a previous marriage. With her record highlighted, click on the Add Father text.

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Her father is Marr Dixon Simons, and his record is already in my file, so I click on the Search for existing Father… button.

This brings up the Find Father for… screen, where I click on the Search for Individual… button.

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This brings up the Search for Father for… screen.

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Here I highlight the name of Simons, Marr Dixon, and click on the OK button.

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This brings up the Add Father for… screen where we select Add Marriage. This will place Ruth into a family with Marr as the father, but no wife, yet. Click on the OK button.

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We now show Ruth as the daughter of Marr Dixon Simons, with no mother. I’ll click the arrow button next to the name of Marr D Simons to move him to the primary position.

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Here I open the pull down window to show all of the spouses of Marr Dixon Simons. This shows that Marr Dixon Simons has two marriages. One is with Helen Anna Hunt, and the other is with UNKNOWN. There is no RIN associated with the UNKNOWN wife, and she doesn’t have an Individual record.

In reality, Ruth Simons is the daughter of Marr Dixon Simons in a previous marriage. That marriage was with Elsie Marie Nott. She is also in my file, so I will create the relationships in Ancestral Quest, to reflect reality.

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I want to change from an UNKNOWN mother to Elsie Marie Nott in this marriage, so I click on the Add Mother text.

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This brings up the Add Mother for… screen. Here I could create the record for Ruth’s mother, but she is already in my file, so I click on the Search for Existing Mother… button.

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Here I want to find Elsie, so I click on the Search for Individual… button.

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I highlight her name, and click the OK button.

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Ruth is now shown as the daughter of Marr Dixon Simons and Elsie Marie Nott. I want to see any other marriages for Elsie, so I click the arrow next to her name to move her to the primary position.

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Here I see that after her divorce from Marr, Elsie married Arley Call George.

The second problem

2) There is no way to properly show the relationships of children to parents in more than one parental family.

Here I want to switch to a PAF file format, to show the advantages of the AQ file format. I will move Ruth to the primary position to show her relationship to her parents. I will click on the Other Parents/Rels button.

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This shows that Ruth is the biological daughter of Marr and Elsie. What it does not show is that she was not raised by her biological father. Her mother remarried, and she was raised by Arley Call George and Elsie Marie Nott. Let’s add Ruth to that family.

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We want to add Ruth to this family, so we click on the Add Child text.

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Her record is already in the file, so we don’t want to create a new record for her. We click on the Search for Existing Child… button.

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We find her record by clicking the Search for Individual… button

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We highlight her name, and click the OK button.

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Now she is in the family, but she is the oldest, not the youngest child, so we click on the bottom Order button. The Order button above it is used to place marriages in order.

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I highlighted her name and started clicking the upward pointing triangle. Just two more clicks, and she will be the first child in the list. Then we will click the OK button.

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Now that she is the first child, we will click the arrow button next to her name to make her the primary person.

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Here we will examine her relationship to her new family.

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Arley is Ruth’s Guardian, but Elsie is not. Elsie is still the Biological mother. The PAF file format has no way to store that information, so…

Lets examine this same relationship when it is stored in the AQ file format.

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The AQ file format has the ability to store information which will not fit into the older, smaller, PAF file format. Both formats can be opened, read, written and saved by the Ancestral Quest program, but the AQ format gives users added capability, without losing anything except the ability to use the older, slower, less capable PAF program to open it.

Conversion is simple. Click on the File tab of the Menu bar and select Database Converter. In a few seconds Ancestral Quest will create a new file containing all the information in the old PAF file, and with the ability to store information which could not be stored in the old format. Give it a try. Work with the AQ file format for one week. The older, smaller, less capable PAF file is still in your folder where you left it, just in case you choose to go back. I have never looked back since I changed. You probably won’t either.

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