Ancestral Quest makes backups as a precaution, to protect us from hardware failure, and also as a way to make files smaller, for attaching to emails. It can backup both the PAF file format, and the Ancestral Quest format. We will discuss only the .aqz backups.
Users sometimes overlook the fact that they have some control over how the backup file will be named when it is placed on the backup device. The ability to control the name, also gives us the ability to change our backup file strategy.
Let me explain what that means. Suppose I receive a GEDCOM from a relative. I restore my existing file, and I foolishly import the GEDCOM into my file. I merge some of the records from the import with records of the same individuals in my file. I add a few new pieces of information, and I make a backup when I finish working in AQ for the day.
On the next five days, I work on my file, and faithfully make a backup after each session.
That is when I discover that most of the GEDCOM file I imported contained records of the family of the spouse of my relative; thousands of them. Whether or not I can recover by restoring a backup will probably depend upon how I name my backup files.
How can that be? Let me show you, with a different example, how my backup directory would look under the following five different backup naming conventions.
1. Name Only
2. Name + Date in dd Mmm yyyy format
3. Name + Date in dd Mmm yyyy, + Time in hh-mm format
4. Name + Date in yyyy-mm-dd format
5. Name + Date in yyyy-mm-dd, + Time in hh-mm format.
Now let us assume that I have a file that I have been working in occasionally. This year and last, I made backups on eight days. I will show the backup directories as they would appear for each of the five backup file naming strategies.
These are the dates of the backups:
10 January, 2013, at 6:15 pm, 10 April, 2013, at 4:13 pm, 10 April, 2013, at 4:23 pm, 15 April, 2013 at 7:16 pm,10 January, 2014, at 10:49 am, 10 April 2014, at 2:07 pm, 10 April, 2014 at 2:37 pm and 14 April, 2014 at 6:38 pm.
Under strategy 1, I have only the last backup that I made. It took the place of a prior backup, because all backups have the same name. Under this strategy, I must catch all problems in my database immediately, if I want to correct them by restoring a backup.
Directory lists are sorted as strings of alphabetical characters. In this format, the day of the month gets sorted first, and all months get sorted within the day. The years get sorted within the month. That means that all backup files made on the 1st day of any month in any year will be sorted together, and the months will be sorted within the day. April will sort before August, then December, then February then January July, June, March, May, November, October and lastly, September.
The 2nd and 6th backups in this example were replaced by the 3rd and 7th backups respectively, because the 3rd backup had the same name as the 2nd, and the 7th had the same name as the 6th. There is no logical order in the list. You must search for the most recent backup.
Since the time is included in the name of the backup, all of the backups are in the directory, but their order is confusing at best.
These are in order, but because the 2nd and 6th backups were each followed by another backup on the same day, the file names were the same, and the first backup from each day was replaced by the second.
Now all of the backups are in the directory, and they are in order. Notice that the file names are sorted in ascending order. If you click the direction indicator, you can change it to a descending order sort.
Now you don’t have to search for the most recent backup. It is on the top of the list, and the backups become progressively older as you go down the list.
The best part about all this is that you can tell Ancestral Quest to build the backup file name for you. Here’s how.
On the Menu bar, select Tools. From the Tools menu select Preferences.
Click the Database tab. In the Backup (.aqz) File Names box, put a check in both boxes, and click the 2000-06-25 radio button. Click OK and AQ will form backup file names so that they fall into chronological order.
Suggestions/Questions about AQ Will Do or Subjects discussed here? Leave a Comment Below. I would like to hear from you!
In the previous article on Descendant Research, we discussed how to download the descendants of an ancestor from the FamilySearch Family Tree. There is much information available in Family Tree, however, the research on that information is sometimes questionable. I recommend that you not import this information directly into a good file. How then should someone handle this information?
I recommend that you create a separate file for the descendants of ancestors. There you can examine it and determine what you do and do not want to incorporate into your file.
This is a six generation pedigree chart. It shows standard Color Coding, but with the males in the 6th generation highlighted.
To accommodate various screen resolutions and sizes, only five generations are shown on the Pedigree view of Ancestral Quest. Standard procedure for descendant research as taught at the Ogden FamilySearch Library is to begin with 3rd great grandfathers. They are the sixth generation when you are the principle person in the Pedigree view. These are the couples just off screen to the right. To see your paternal 3rd great grandparents, click on any of the top eight arrow buttons to the right of the last generation in view.
They are the ones outlined here in the red rectangle. To see your maternal 3rd great grandparents, click on the Home icon,
then click on any of the bottom eight arrow buttons to the right of the last generation in view.
This will show your maternal 3rd great grandparents.
Here is the procedure I recommend. Start with your paternal 3rd great grandparents.
Write the RIN numbers of the eight males on a list. If one of the males is missing, but his wife is present, write her RIN. If both are missing, drop down one generation, toward you, and write the RIN for that person.
Another way to think about this is to start with the principle person, who at this point is your father, and working up the ancestral tree generation by generation, write the RIN for any name you find who has No parents on the pedigree chart. On the sixth generation, write the RIN for only one person from each couple.
When this is completed, click on the Home icon, then move to your maternal 3rd great grandparents.
Repeat the process of writing RIN numbers to the list for these ancestors.
When you are finished, you know everyone who will be on the GEDCOM you are about to create, so click on the Export icon.
We only want the people whose RIN we have written, so click the Partial radio button, then click the Select button.
On this screen, you will select the people whose RIN you have written.
1. Be sure that the Sort order for this screen is RIN, not Alpha.
2. Be certain that the Selections by Relationship box is set to Individual.
3. Enter a RIN from your list.
4. Click the Select button.
Repeat steps 3 and 4 until you have entered all the RIN numbers on your list.
5. Click the OK button.
If you were able to select one from each couple in the sixth generation, you will have selected 16 Individuals. If not, the number may be lower. Click the Export button.
Select the folder where you want to store the file, and give the GEDCOM file the name you want, then click the Export button. The file will be stored where you indicated.
Close the current file, then…
tell Ancestral Quest to create the new file.
Show Ancestral Quest the folder where you want to store the new temporary file, choose the file name and click on the Create button. AQ will create the file with no records. Your next task is to import the GEDCOM file.
Click on the Import icon.
Be sure that you are looking in the right folder. Highlight the name of the GEDCOM file containing your 3rd great grandparents. Click on the Open button.
Select your choices for how to import the file, and click the OK button. When AQ finishes importing the file…
it will look something like this. Make a note of how many records are in the file. Now, refer back to the previous article on Descendant Research, and follow that procedure on each of these records. When you are finished, it is probably a good idea to check this file for possible duplicates. You are now ready to examine what you have returned from Family Tree. What you like, you can put into your real file.
Suggestions/Questions about AQ Will Do or Subjects discussed here? Leave a Comment Below. I would like to hear from you!
Just what is a GUID?
UUID is an acronym for Universally Unique IDentifier. The term is further defined in a document published by a group called Network Working Group. They defined it this way:
“A UUID is 128 bits long, and can guarantee uniqueness across space and time. UUIDs were originally used in the Apollo Network Computing System and later in the Open Software Foundation’s (OSF) Distributed Computing Environment (DCE), and then in Microsoft Windows platforms.” (Network Working Group)
The document in the link above contains a Copyright header file and six files of C code, for those of you who dabble in that language. (The Copyright is actually a Copyleft.)
In the genealogy world a UUID is usually referred to as a GUID, Globally Unique IDentifier. The biggest difference between the UUID in the specs and the one used by Ancestral Quest, Legacy and Roots Magic is the four hexadecimal character checksum added onto the end.
These three programs, and some others, create a GUID for every individual record which they create.
So just what does “Globally Unique” mean?
If every person in the world who was living at the beginning of the year 2014 were to create 600 million individual records using one of these programs, there is only a 50% probability of any one of those records having a duplicate GUID among the others. To see the generation of GUIDs, click on this LINK.
These programs each have their own file formats, and they are not interchangeable. None of the programs can open a file created by one of the others. Information can, however, be passed among users of different programs. This is done by exporting and importing that information through a GEDCOM file. When we look at a line in a GEDCOM file we see distinct fields. The first field is a number which shows grouping of information within the file. A zero denotes the start of a new record. Numbers higher than zero are somewhat like levels of indentation. The second field in the line is the GEDCOM Tag. This identifies what type of information is on this line and immediately following lines with higher level numbers. There are Standard Tags, but the _UID Tag is considered proprietary. Even though it is considered proprietary, it is used by several software vendors, including Ancestral Quest, Legacy and Roots Magic. To demonstrate the use of the _UID Tag in these three products, I created a record for John Jones using each product. I next exported this one record from each program with GEDCOM.
This is the GEDCOM from the Ancestral Quest file.
This is the GEDCOM produced by Legacy. Note that it is not exactly like the one from Ancestral Quest.
This GEDCOM was produced by Roots Magic. It is very unlike the other two. The zero level TRLR Tag is on line 728 of the file.
I started the Roots Magic program, opened its file and imported the GEDCOM records from Ancestral Quest and Legacy. I then merged these two new records into the original Roots Magic version of John Jones. I created another GEDCOM file showing the resulting merged record.
This is the GEDCOM file showing the new record.
I started Legacy, opened its file, and imported the GEDCOM records from Ancestral Quest and Roots Magic. I merged the two new records into the original John Jones record, and made a new GEDCOM file to show the results.
This is the resulting GEDCOM file from Legacy.
I opened the AQ file in Ancestral Quest, and imported the Legacy and Roots Magic GEDCOM files. I merged the two new records into the original John Jones record, and created a new GEDCOM file to show the results.
This is that GEDCOM file. Note that only Ancestral Quest maintained the integrity of the process by keeping all three _UID Tags.
Just suppose that I created a file containing a record for Jack Smith. Next suppose that I sent this file as a GEDCOM to a relative. Now suppose that my relative merged my file into his, which also contains a record of Jack Smith, which he merges into his file. If he is using Ancestral Quest, his version will contain both his own GUID and also my GUID. If he sends that file back to me, I can find the matching record using an Auto Merge on GUID. If my relative used one of the other products, my version of the GUID would be filtered out when he did his merge. When he returned the file to me, my Auto Merge on GUID would not find the match. Oops!
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Merge – Simple
By Merge – Simple, I don’t mean to imply that it is simple to merge. What I mean is that there is more than one way to do this, and the methods vary in complexity. This method is less complex than some others.
I sometimes tell my wife that Delete is almost always a problem. Delete is almost never the solution.
When we find two records in a file representing the same person, it may seem that deleting one of the records would be an acceptable solution. This would be true if, and only if they contained the exact same information, AND the record to be deleted has no relationships with other records in the file. (Child, Spouse, Parent)
For this example I created a record for Jonny Van Hook III. Since the Dutch recognize the Van part of the Surname as a Prefix, and because Ancestral Quest does not store a separate Surname Prefix, I mistakenly store the Van in the Name Prefix field. I also use the Nickname, Johnny, instead of his real name, John. I mistakenly omit the county from the Birth Place.
I export the record via GEDCOM, then I import it three times. I now have four identical records. I correct the first record, so that I will have fields to contrast during the Merge process. I create parents for RIN number 2. I create a spouse for RIN number 3, and I create a son for RIN number 4.
This is the Name List. The RIN 2, RIN 3 and RIN 4 records are identical except for the RIN and their relationships. The record with RIN number 1 is highlighted. The record with RIN number 2 is not needed, so we will merge it into the first record. To do this we click on the Merge icon.
The highlighted record does not get listed in the Merge Individuals screen. To get it there we must click the Left Search button. The Left Search button selects the Primary Individual.
Record 1 is selected, so we click the OK button.
Next we select the record with RIN number 2. To do this we first click the Right Search button. The Right Search button selects the Duplicate Individual.
We enter 2 as the RIN and click the OK button.
We correct the errors in the Name fields by clicking on the squares which are pointed at by the red arrows. We click each until it becomes a blank square. If we had wanted any of those name pieces to go into Notes, we would have stopped clicking when the square was filled with the letter N on a green background. Name pieces cannot go into Other Events, however other fields like dates and places can. If we wanted such a field to go into Other Events, we could stop clicking when the square was filled with a downward pointing arrow.
Ancestral Quest recognizes that a Place Name with all four parts is better than a partial Place Name, so it defaults to selecting the correct one, with nothing in Notes or Other Events.
Note that the red Duplicate record had parents linked to it. These will be linked to the Result record after the merge. We click on the Merge button.
RIN number 2 has been merged into RIN number 1, and RIN number 1 has the parents attached. We are now ready to merge RIN number 1 and RIN number 3. We click on the Right Search button, then enter 3 in the RIN number field and click the OK button.
Here we follow the same procedure. We eliminate what we don’t want and take the rest. Note that the parents are attached to RIN number 1 and the spouse is attached to RIN number 3. After the Merge, RIN 1 will have parents and a spouse. We click the Merge Button.
RIN 3 has been merged into RIN 1. Both the parents and the spouse are attached to RIN 1. Next we want to merge RIN 4 into RIN 1, so we use the same procedure. We click on the Right Search button, enter 4 in the RIN field, and click the OK button.
We repeat the same procedure. We eliminate what we don’t want, and keep the rest. Note that RIN 1 has parents and spouse attached, and RIN 4 has a son attached. When we click on the Merge button, we will eliminate RIN 4 and RIN 1 will acquire the son. We click on the Merge button.
RIN 4 is merged into RIN 1, which now has parents, a spouse, and a son. We click the Close button.
This is the new Name List view with all duplicate records properly merged. Or are they? NO!
During the last merge, RIN 1 already had a marriage with RIN 7. RIN 8 was a child in a marriage with RIN 4 and an UNKNOWN wife. When RINs 1 and 4 merged, RIN 1 now had two marriages. To solve this problem, move the son to the principle position by clicking on the arrow left of his name.
Click on his Other Parents/Rels button.
The first marriage was with the parents of John Van Hook. The second was with John and his spouse, Sarah James. The third marriage, shown above is between John and an UNKNOWN spouse. We want the son to be a child in a marriage with John and Sarah James, so we will add an existing set of parents to RIN 8. That set of parents will be John and Sarah, in MRIN 2. We click on the New button.
We want to go find that marriage. We click on the Search for Existing Parents button.
If we didn’t know the MRIN, we could have used the Search for Marriage button, but we will enter 2 in the MRIN field and click the OK button.
This is the marriage we want, so we click the OK button.
Now that the son is safely into a real marriage, we will click OK to get out of the Parents screen.
The son is now a child in two marriages. To fix this, we put John in the Principle position, and select his UNKNOWN wife. We click on their Marriage button.
Since we want neither John nor his son to be in this relationship with a non existent UNKNOWN woman, we click on the Delete button. We assure AQ that it is OK to delete the marriage, and…
the Merge process is completed.
Descendant research is the practice of selecting one or more distant relatives, and researching their descendants, instead of their ancestors.
In ancestor research, the focus sometimes shifts to finding more and more generations. In descendant research, the focus is always on “how wide” instead of “how tall.” Descendant research is a lot like harvesting an apple orchard. It is easiest to reach the low hanging fruit.
The current version of Ancestral Quest (14.00.19, Both Free & Full versions) includes the ability to do descendant research using the FamilySearch Family Tree. It is tucked away in the Menu Bar under FamilySearch | Import Family Lines. Be aware that there is a lot of information in the Family Tree which was researched poorly. Before doing large imports from this source, I recommend that you create a temporary file to hold the information, so that you can evaluate it before actually placing it in a good file. To learn how to build this file, and systematically “harvest” your Family Tree, link to the next article on Descendant Research.
For this demonstration I have selected my 3rd great grandfather, and created a file with his as the only record.
This is the Import Ancestors from FamilySearch screen. It was named before descendant research was possible in Ancestral Quest. The first thing you will need to do on this screen is to click the Add Descendants to Person radio button. Since I started with my 3rd great grandfather, and his generation will not be included in the count of generations, I will come back down the descendant lines for 5 generations. This will reach down to my generation. Since all of my siblings are living, I can reasonably guess that most of the people in this final generation will also be living, so I un-click the check box to indicate this. Now I click the Import button.
Since some people will import into a good file, Ancestral Quest gives them one last chance to preserve the integrity of their file. We are using a temporary file, so we will not do the backup.
Ancestral Quest begins downloading records. If the account used to access the Family Tree was a non-member account, AQ will report how many individuals were downloaded, and the process will be completed.
If the account used was a member account, Ancestral Quest will access the temple records for the downloaded individuals. AQ will give a count of how many records were downloaded, and the process will be completed.
110 Year Rule
This Lesson is for Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
The 110 year rule tells us that as a courtesy to more closely related family members, we will not reserve ordinances for deceased individuals born more recently than 110 years ago, without the permission of those living relatives. This begs the question, “How do I find those older deceased individuals in my database?” This is relatively easy, once you know how. (Funny how it always works out that way.)
Start by opening your file. Since you are attempting to reserve ordinances, you will go to the FamilySearch tab, and select the Ordinance Reservation and Tracking System.
After entering your User Name and Password, click on the Sign In button. After successfully logging on, you will see the Ordinance Reservation and Tracking System menu.
Click on the Reserve Ordinances button.
This will bring up the Reserve Ordinances/Create Batches screen. Here you will want to begin selecting those older deceased ancestors, so click on the Add button.
On the Add Names to List screen, you will want to click on Add Selected Local Record(s).
On the Find Individual/Marriage screen, click on Search for Individual.
Be certain that the double arrows on the Advanced button are pointing in this << direction, or you will not be able to click on the Define button.
In the Possible Fields window on the left, highlight RIN, and click on the > button. This will “push” the RIN field into the Current Filter on the right.
When the RIN Field Filter first appears on the screen, it will be showing a range of numbers beginning with the lowest numbered RIN in your file and ending with the highest numbered RIN. This range will be used to limit the number of records which will be selected from your file. You will need to experiment with the values for both the beginning and ending numbers in this range, because there other factors which will be added to the filter which will also lower the number of records to be selected. Lets start with the range of RIN numbers from 3001 to 3100.
Enter these values into the From and To fields, and click OK. This will exclude all records with a RIN lower than 3001, and all records with a RIN higher than 3100. Each condition we place into the Current Filter will potentially exclude more records.
We want to “push” other conditions into the filter, so we will click on the AND button. Now we are ready to check on the age of the individual.
In the left window, highlight Birth Date and click on the > button to “push” it into the Current Filter.
As the date gets smaller, it moves further back in time, so we want a date less than today’s date minus 110 years. In this example, today’s date is assumed to be 22 Apr 2014, so we calculate that 110 years earlier the date would have been 22 Apr 1904. We want only Birth Dates that are less than that date.
We enter 22 Apr 1904 into the Date field and click on OK. This will exclude everyone born on or after 22 Apr 1904. We now want to exclude people for whom we do not yet have enough information to do ordinance work, and people for whom the ordinance work is already done, so we need to add more conditions to our filter.
We click on the AND button. There are now three groups of records which we do not want to exclude. The first group is people who are eligible for personal ordinances (Baptism/Endowment). The second group is people who are eligible to be sealed to parents. The third group is people who are eligible to be sealed to spouse and children. We will treat these three groups as one group, so we need to show that they are a group. We begin a group by clicking on the ( button.
To find the three groups we scroll to the very bottom of the left window.
The first group we find is Qualified for Baptism/Endowment. We highlight that group and click the > button to “push” it into the Current Filter.
We are not looking for people who do not yet qualify. We are looking for those who do, so we select the Is radio button, and click on the OK button.
To be on our list, a person does not need to qualify for all types of ordinances. They can qualify for one type OR two types OR all three types.
We click on the OR button.
We highlight the next group, Qualified for Seal to Parents. We click the > button to “push” it into the Current Filter, and we accept the Is radio button.
We click on the OR button.
Highlight the last group, Qualified for Seal to Spouse, and click the > button to “push” it into the Current Filter. Click OK to accept the Is radio button.
To close the group and the filter, we click on the ) button. Now our filter is completed.
After all that work, we don’t want to lose what we have done, so we click the Save button, and select a name for our filter.
Now our filter is saved. We can use it as it is for now, and later, we can highlight the RIN range, and modify it to get a different group of names. On a different day, we can retrieve the filter, and change the Birth Date so that we aren’t skipping anyone unnecessarily.
At this point, click OK to exit the filter then click OK to exit the selection process. The selected records will appear on the Reserve Ordinances/Create Batches screen, and you can proceed with your ordinance reservation. At some time after you finish, you can repeat the procedure, but this time when you click on Define, you will next click on Retrieve, and change the range of RIN numbers, and if necessary, the date.
This does not concern Ancestral Quest directly, however some of you may be using the Microsoft Windows XP operating system. On April 8, 2014, Microsoft will terminate support for Windows XP. This does not mean that it will stop working, but it does mean that Microsoft will no longer send security updates or provide technical support for that product. Beginning at that time users of Windows XP must assume that their internet connection is insecure. Please link to the above site for further information about this change.
Suggestions/Questions about AQ Will Do or Subjects discussed here? Leave a Comment.
Direct Links in the Pedigree view
Ancestral Quest includes a feature which allows you to see information from ancestry.com when you are in the pedigree view. Before using this feature, information in the pedigree view looks like this.
To use this feature, click on the View tab on the menu bar and select Ancestry.com Links.
After making this selection, the same section of the pedigree view looks like this.
One slight disadvantage of this feature is that it may cause names to be abbreviated. The original advantage of this feature was that it would give you a link from Ancestral Quest to ancestry.com’s information about each person on the pedigree view.
Ancestry.com was sold, and the new owners apparently do not find it necessary to honor the original agreement with AQ. As a result, Gaylon Findlay is asking users of Ancestral Quest to tell him whether they think this feature should be removed. His request was posted on the AncestralQuest newsgroup in Yahoo. This is what he said.
Ancestral Quest has a feature that was jointly designed by Incline Software and Ancestry.com back in 2001. It has been used by many AQ users over the years to great advantage. I need to learn from those who use it, whether it still has value.
For the benefit of all on this group, let me describe this feature. It essentially has two parts:
Part 1) If you are on AQ’s Pedigree view, and activate the “Ancestry.com Links” from AQ’s “View” menu, then AQ will search Ancestry.com for each person whose name appears on the Pedigree view, this is 31 names if all names are filled in. Ancestry.com will send back to AQ the number of compiled trees that have been uploaded to Ancestry.com, and the number of other records, such as Census Records, Social Security Death Index, Military Records, etc., for each name. AQ will then display the number of trees and the number of other records that you might expect to find in Ancestry.com for each person on your Pedigree screen.
Part 2) If you click on the number of trees, AQ then pops up an options box. You are given the choice to either do a general search for the trees on WorldConnect (where the public gets free access to the trees that were donated to RootsWeb), or to follow a direct link to the records that Ancestry.com has already identified. If you click on the number of other records, AQ again pops up the options box, giving you the choice of doing a general search for records on Ancestry.com, or of following a direct link to the records that Ancestry.com has already identified.
In order for this feature to work, it requires AQ to do its part, and it also requires that Ancestry.com do its part. To date, AQ still does its part of this feature. However, Ancestry.com has made some changes, and as a result, parts of this feature still work and other parts do not. Ancestry.com has told us that they no longer support this feature, so if our users find value in it, that’s great, but they have no commitment to keep this feature working.
Part 1 still seems to work. I believe that Ancestry.com still sends a valid count of trees and other records for display on AQ’s Pedigree screen.
If you use the “General Search” option in part 2, this still works, and I see no reason why it would ever stop working.
However, the direct links in part 2 require that you are a subscriber to Ancestry.com, and have stopped working sometime in 2011. We found a work-around that allowed some users to continue to use these direct links. The last time I tried to use the direct links myself, I found that they worked from my 32 bit Vista machine, but they didn’t work from my 64 bit Windows 7 machine. That was a few months ago. Today, I can no longer get these direct links to work even from my 32 bit Vista machine.
I know that some on this AncestralQuest newsgroup have used these direct links, and even since 2011 have found a work-around to continue to benefit from them. Could those of you who have used the direct links contact me, and let me know (firstname.lastname@example.org) whether the direct links still work for you, or whether the direct links no longer work? If Ancestry.com has completely disabled the direct links, then we need to remove this option in AQ.
Thank you for your help.
When I tested this feature this morning, I was able to reach ancestry.com while using the general search for trees and the general search for records. When I tried the Direct Links for each, I got this sorry message from ancestry.com.
If you are somehow able to make this feature work, and you would like to have it remain in Ancestral Quest, you should contact Gaylon. If you have tried it and found, as I have, that it doesn’t work, then please let Gaylon know, so that he can remove the Direct Links feature.
Why use an address?
A relative address is NOT what you use to find Uncle Bob’s house, at least not in computer terms.
Let’s face it. One of the main things we use computers for is to store things. We use them to store pictures, recipes, mail, spreadsheets, games, and yes, our ancestors.
If you are like me, you store a lot of things. I store enough things that it would be difficult to find any one thing if I had everything stored in one place. On the other hand, I can’t afford one computer for pictures, one for recipes, one for mail, one for spreadsheets, one for games, and one for ancestors. That’s absurd! Yet the concept of “Divide and Conquer” is a good approach to finding one thing that is buried in a large group of various things. So let’s talk about storage devices and directory structures. Most desktop and laptop computers have at least one hard drive and a provision for attaching other storage devices. The way a computer approaches the “Divide and Conquer” concept is with a hierarchical directory structure. That means that each storage device (or drive) is like a container which can hold other containers, which can hold other containers, which can….
For convenience, we give each container a name. The hard drive is one container, and a flash drive is another. We use the name to let the computer know which container to look into.
Some Geek Stuff
There are two main divisions of operating systems that you are likely to encounter. One is the Windows (Microsoft) type, and the other is the UNIX type, including Macintosh. The way these two systems approach directory structures for storage devices is similar. They both use the name of the device as the first container name, followed by a separator character, followed by either a file name or a container name. If it was followed by a container name, that must be followed by a separator character, followed by a file name or a container name. If it was followed by a container name, that must be followed by a separator character, followed by a file name or a container name. If it was followed by….
This creates a nested, or hierarchic structure. The device name is the top of the structure. Since it is a container name, it is followed by a separator character. If that is followed by any container names, those names would be on the next level down in the structure, and there can be more than one container inside any container.
Microsoft chose to let the operating system assign the name of the top level container. In their infinite wisdom, they reserved the names A: and B: for floppy disk drives. They reserved the name C: for an internal HDD (hard disk drive). Floppy disks are now very difficult to find, because they are so limited in capacity and speed that nobody is willing to even produce a computer with those devices. The A: specification has been altered to also accept devices which read and write various memory cards. The C: specification also accepts SSD (solid state drive) type drives.
The UNIX type operating systems allow the user to choose the name for the device, and typically drive letters are not chosen. UNIX has its own convention for commonly used containers.
At start-up time, the Windows operating system checks to see what storage devices are attached. After A:, B: and C: drives are accounted for, it begins assigning drive letters (followed by a colon) to the devices it finds, alphabetically within device type. Other hard drives will be assigned a letter next. After hard drives, optical devices will be assigned a letter, and then other devices. In the case of removable devices, Windows seems to maintain a table of device serial numbers and drive letters. When a removable device is encountered, even long after start-up time, the operating system goes to the table to see if this device has been attached to this computer before. If it has, it checks to see what drive letter was last used by this device. If that device letter is currently available, it is assigned to this device, otherwise it assigns the next (alphabetically) available drive letter, and that letter is stored in the table. There are reasons for doing this, and one of the reasons has something to do with relative addresses.
Before Bill Gates ever purchased the operating system which he would later change into MS DOS, the UNIX operating systems were already using the forward slash / character as the separator character in Path names. Bill, being a somewhat proprietary type guy, chose to use the backslash \ character instead. This created potential problems for the C programming language and the Python scripting language (among others) which use the backslash to indicate that the character following the \ is to be treated as an “escape character” which we will not discuss here.
Since Ancestral Quest runs on the Windows operating system, this discussion will ignore the forward slash and escape character problems. We will use the backslash character exclusively. Just be aware that if you are running AQ on a Macintosh, you may want to research relative addressing under UNIX.
Nuts & Bolts
When dealing with Relative Addresses, there are two important concepts: Current Directory and Parent Directory. The default (starting) Current Directory is the top level of the directory structure, or the device name.
In this case the Current Directory is G:\. Any of these directories could become the Current Directory. In the general computing world, outside of Ancestral Quest, there are several ways to change the Current Directory. One common way, and the one used in Ancestral Quest, is to open a file. Programs typically have a default directory where they expect to read and write files. This could be a directory created by the installation process for the program, or it could be the Documents folder. When the program opens a file, the user often is given the opportunity to change the location where the program is to look for the desired file. When the user selects a folder other than the default folder, the program is likely to change the Current Directory to the one selected by the user.
This example shows what would happen of I used Open Office’s Database program to open the database I use to catalog my library. The Current Directory would be set to Books, and the Parent Directory of Books is Database.
If I were taking roll in my Ancestral Quest class, the Current Directory would be AQ Class, and its Parent Directory would be Spread. In the Path statement, the Current Directory is written as .\ or \ and it is placed first in the string of directories. If my Current Directory had been set to Open Office, and I wanted to reference a file in the MPG directory, the notation for the relative path would be .\Spread\MPG or .\Spread\MPG\ or \Spread\MPG or \Spread\MPG\. The closing \ is also optional.
If I were in the Things folder and I wanted to access the MyFriends.odb file in the Contacts folder, the Relative Address would be ..\..\..\Open Office\Database\Contacts\MyFriends.odb. Relative Addresses can not cross from one device to another.
There are places in Ancestral Quest where Paths are used. The first is the Tools -> Preferences -> Files and Folders screen.
This is an example of Absolute Addressing. Each Path shows the device name and the complete path to the desired folder. Four of these folders are on the C: drive. The Backup folder is NOT on the C: drive. The purpose of a Backup is to provide a backup of the data which will not be lost if the device holding the file is lost or damaged. This should always be on a removable drive or an external drive.
These (except the Backup folder) are Relative Addresses. Notice that the Database folder is listed relative to the G:\ folder. The others are listed relative to the G:\AQ Data folder. That is because the first thing you do when you start Ancestral Quest, is open a file. That action resets the Current Directory to .\AQ Data\. From then on, all references are relative to that directory.
Another place where a Path is used in AQ is when you browse for a picture for your scrapbook. Click on the Scrapbook icon (camera). That brings up the Scrapbook Collection screen.
Now click on the Add button.
Next click the Browse button.
Select the picture you want and click the Open button. To understand what happens next review the Path posting. Since the Images folder is inside the Current Directory, which was set when you opened your .aq or .paf file, AQ doesn’t need the drive letter to find the picture.
Ancestral Quest is a Portable App. That means that you can copy your Ancestral Quest 14 folder from the C:\Program Files (x86)\Incline software\ folder or the C:\Program files\Incline software\ folder, depending on your operating system, to your flash drive. You can then execute the ancquest.exe program from the flash drive. If you create a structure on your flash drive where the AQ Data folder contains a folder named Images, just like your hard drive, you can view your images in AQ on a computer that doesn’t even have Ancestral Quest installed. Just copy everything from your Images folder on your hard drive to the same folder on the flash drive.
In the Quick Start Video Tutorial, Gaylon Findlay, the author of Ancestral Quest, talked about why it is a good idea to enter any Place Names as City, County, State or Province and Country. He said the following:
“It is common practice in genealogy to record places in four levels, as city, county, state or province, and country, for US and Canadian places, and similar geographic distinctions for other countries…
…there are several tools in the program that let you sort or select places. Sometimes it is desirable to select based on city, or state or a country, for example. If you always place the city in the first position, then when the program filters on the first position, it will always be selecting on city. If the program is filtering by country in the fourth position, then by always placing the country in the fourth position, you will get consistent results.”
So what do we do about chapels or cathedrals for christenings, and cemeteries for burials? My suggestion is to remove them from the Place Name. I use Other Events to accomplish this.
I will describe the process for Burial Place, where the cemetery name is moved to the Description in the Cemetery Event, and you can do something similar by moving the chapel or cathedral to the Description in the Christening Event. These Events are pre-defined, but I alter them slightly. In the Christening Event, I change from Descriptions None to Description 1, and I alter the sentence to remove the Place, and include the Description. The Date in the Christening Event will allow AQ to place it in the correct order among the Other Events. (See Event Sentences)
In the Cemetery Event, I add one Date. I don’t add Date to the sentence because the date is already reported in the Burial Date. I add the date to allow AQ to place the event in the correct order among the Other Events. I remove Place from the Event, along with the Code to put it into the sentence. That will be shown in the Burial Event.
Here is a record for Ann Clark:
St Marys is listed as the place of the Christening. The cemetery is listed in the Burial Place, and there is no country listed, but lets take care of the Source where we found the Burial information first. I found this source on the Internet at findagrave.com. I’ll click on the S button by the Burial information.
I plan to place FindAGrave into a pre-defined Type called Internet, so I select that Type and I click on the Add button.
I enter the information for FindAGrave and I click the Repository button.
This is the first Repository I am creating, so I can’t just select it from the list. I must click on the Add button to create it.
I enter the information that I and others could use to locate this repository, and I click on the OK button.
Now that the Repository is created, I Select it from the (rather short) list.
Since this database comes from information contributed by many people, I listed the author as Contributors. I selected the quality of the source as Secondary Evidence, because even though they often include photos of the headstones, the headstones themselves are secondary evidence. I click OK.
I Select the Source I just created.
In the next few screens I will use information from the FinaAGrave page.
I will use the Memorial number and the URL.
I type Memorial= and copy the number from the FindAGrave page. I want to be able to link directly to this page from Ancestral Quest, so I click on the Attach button.
If I leave Photo in the Item Type box, Ancestral Quest will try to interpret the URL as an image, and that will not work, so I open the drop down window and change the type to Other. Next I copy the URL from the FindAGrave page.
The Description caption has changed to Filename or URL. I paste the URL into that box, and I click on the OK button.
The URL is now attached, and I could link directly to the FindAGrave page by clicking the View button, but I will let you try that on your own. I will click the OK button.
We now show a Source for the Burial, so we will tackle that new version for a Cemetery Event. We click the Add button.
We highlight Cemetery and click the Edit Type button.
Now we will alter the standard version of the Cemetery Event. We will add Date so that AQ will know where in the list of Other Events to place this when we finish with it, but we will not add Date to the sentence. We will remove Place from the Event because it is already in the Burial Place. We will also remove the code which displays the Place from the sentence.
With the Event altered to our liking, we click the OK button.
Now we Select the updated Event.
We fill in the Date and Cemetery information and click the OK button.
The information in the Burial Event and the Cemetery Event are both found on the FindAGrave page, so we want both to point at the same Source. We will click on the S button by Burial.
The Burial Event already points to the Source, so we click on the Attach to Other Events button.
We highlight the Cemetery Event, then we click first on the Attach button, then the Close button.
Click the OK button to save the citation.
Correct the Burial Place (remove cemetery and add country) and begin the same process for the Christening Place. Remember to change St Marys to Saint Marys. Abbreviations are typically, but not always understood by native speakers of a given language, but they are less often understood by non-native speakers, and not often at all by non-speakers of that language. Abbreviations are also responsible for such errors as LO being interpreted as either the Logan Temple or the London Temple. I go back to the old acronym, KISS. Keep It Simple Smarty, or did I misunderstand one of the abbreviated terms in that acronym? Try working through the process on your own, and let me know how you did.
The Modified Register Book report uses sentences, and will show us how we did.
The place names now conform to the expected City, County, State or Province, Country format, and all the information is retained.