How I Add Sources into my Database

I’ve said this before, and I’ll proably repeat it again in the future — my side of the family is hard to research! Since I was born in Brazil, to Brazilian parents and Brazillian grandparents all our records are there, and Brazil is not the easiest place to do genealogy work. Not only do I struggle with the language (I can speak and read it mostly) but there just isn’t as much available to me here at home (in Utah) as there would be for any other place in the US. I’m sure if I really took some time at the Family History Library I could do a lot, but I have two young boys and just don’t have that kind of time…I’ll just have to work slowly, but surely, I guess.

Anyway, all this is to say that I did find a record for my Maternal Grandparents’ marriage in Joao Pessoa, Paraiba, Brazil. So, I thought I’d use this document to show my process for adding documents and citations to my database (which happens to be RootsMagic5).

Source: Family Search, “Brazil, Catholic Church Records,” digital image, Family Search ( : downloaded 14 March 2012), Joao de Sousa Lima and Lindalva Ferreira da Silva Marriage Record, 30 Sep 1950; Nossa Senhora do Rosario parish, page 35, entry 131.

Whenever I post an image of a document to the blog I like to cite the source so y’all know where it came from and that it is legit. I just enter in the information I know about it. I try to do this right when I find the source if I’m at home, but if I’m at the Family History Center or Library I take extensive notes so I can add it when I get home. I normally use the “footnote” version of the citation on the blog because it includes a lot more information.

File Naming and Organization
I’ve talked about the organization of my file structure before, so I won’t go into that here. But, I will mention that I recently decided to change how I named the files themselves. I followed Calvin Knight’s file naming conventions for the most part and am slowly renaming my files. So this particular file got the name:

Transcription / Translation
I like to transcribe most documents using Microsoft Word. This way I can easily add the text to my database program and to my blog…making it easier for people to search for the names, dates, places etc found in the document image. If the document is in a foreign language then I make sure to transcribe and translate it into English. I also copy and paste the source citation onto that document as well. So, for the above Marriage Record here’s what I have:

131 – João de Sousa Lima e Lindalva Ferreira da Silva


Aos trinta dias do mês de Setembro de mil novecentos e cinqüenta, na Matriz do Rosario, perante as testemunhas justo Lacerda Ferreira e João Cabral Batista, o Revmo Frei Inocencio ofm. assistiu ao recebimento matrimonial de João de Sousa Lima e Lindalva Ferreira da Silva, o nubente con 25 anos de idade, filho legitimo de Manuel de Sousa Lima e Hosana Maria da Conceiçao, natural e batizado em Cajazeiras, a nubente con 17 anos de idade, filha legitima de Joaquim Pedro da Silva e Ernestina Ferreira da Silva, natural e batizada em João Pessoa, residentes nesta frequezia. E, para constar, mandei fazer este fermo que assino.
(signed) Frei Jorge [Bolchaus.?] ofm. Vigário


On the thirtieth day of the month of September of nineteen hundred and fifty, in the Mother of the Rosary, as witnessed by Lacerda Ferreira and João Cabral Batista, the Reverand Frei Inocencio [ofm.?] performed the marriage rite of João de Sousa Lima and Lindalva Ferreira da Silva, the groom with 25 years of age, legitimate son of Manuel de Sousa Lima and Hosana Maria da Conceiçao, born and baptized in Cajazeiras, the bride with 17 years of age, legitimate daughter of Joaquim Pedro da Silva e Ernestina Ferreira da Silva, born and baptized in João Pessoa, residents in this parish. And, for the record, I had this [fermo] sign.
(signed) Frei Jorge [Bolchaus.?] ofm. Vigário

I make sure to copy the transcription/translation into my RootsMagic “Detail Text” tab for this source and to add the image of the original document under the “Media” tab. (Hint: do this for the first citation you make for this document – in my case, for the marriage of Joao and Lindalva. Once I have added all the relevant transcriptions and media I can choose “Memorize” and add this exact citation to any other fact. If I want to add any comments specific to the fact, I’ll go in and do that as well.)

Facts and More Facts
When adding information to my database found in the document I like to have the transcription/translation open next to my database so I can read it as I go, like in the image above. You could also print it out if you’d like. So for this particular document I was able to add this source citation to the following facts:

  • Marriage – Joao de Souza Lima & Lindalva Ferreira Da Silva – date and location, as well as adding the names of the witnesses (they may come up later).
  • Birth – Joao de Souza Lima – made a note that the marriage record gave the groom’s age as 25 at the time of marriage which supports the birth date I have of 4 Jun 1925. It also lists the birth place.
  • Relationship to parents – Joao / Manuel and Hosana. I added a note to this citation that they are listed as Joao’s parent’s in his marriage record. Because this “relationship” source shows up for any of the children, I wanted to specify that it only proves they are Joao’s parents…not necessarily true for any of the other children. (this is an item I’ve requested RootsMagic look into as I’d like a better way to distinguish the relationships I’m citing)
  • Birth – Lindalva Ferreira da Silva – I added a new birth fact because her marriage record states that she was 17 years old but the birth date I have from family recollection would mean she’d be 15 years old at the time of marriage. Either I have the wrong birth date or she lied on her marriage record (was there a certain age she needed to be?). Either way, I now have both facts listed in my database with their corresponding notes so as my research continues I know where these “facts” came from. (See yesterday’s post about dealing with false information.)
  • Relationship to parents – Lindalva / Joaquim and Ernestina.

Depending on the document you may have more or fewer facts associated with it. By citing everything you can get out of a document you can decide how true a fact is.

Posted by on 27 March 2012 | Posted in Da Silva, Lima, Marriage Record, Organization, Researching, Roots Magic, Sources | Comment

Embedding Source Info in the Metadata

So what to do about all the digital files that I’ve organized? First, remember that I gave everything a title that makes sense and is easy to search for. Now, I thought I might like to include the source information with the digital file. Instead of typing on the photo file, I wanted to use the metadata.

What is metadata you ask? Why, it’s data about data. Metadata describes how and when and by whom a particular set of data was collected, and how the data is formatted. What does that really mean? Well, it is a listing of information about the item. For example if it’s a photograph your metadata might include the name of the camera, the day and time the image was taken, the image name or number, etc.

So, what I want to do is add a title and the source citation to the metadata so it will follow the image around wherever it goes. Basically, this is the modern way to write on the back of the picture. The information will stay with the image.

Here’s one of my source files for Troy’s g-g-grandparents Mathias and Pauline Lund. I have a few records for them including census’ and death certificates which are jpg files and a city history which I’ve saved in word and pdf versions.

The titles are crafted to make the file easy to find. If you look at the contents of this folder as a list (above) you can tell right away what each file is.

I could also view the images as thumbnails. Still, the titles really help me know what’s what because the images are so small. This way I don’t have to open every image.

There are multiple ways to edit the metadata. You could use something as robust as Photoshop or as basic as just right-clicking the file, choose “Properties” and then the “Details” tab. You can change the data there.

I wanted to be able to print my image with the source on the same page, like a caption. I chose to use Picasa, a free image editing software from Google. So, here’s what I did.

Open the source screen in Roots Magic 4. I used the “footnote” version of the source citation (on the right). I just highlighted it and copied it so I could paste it later.

Then, when I open the image in Picasa’s edit window I add the citation under the comments area. That’s the grey bar at the bottom under the image.

Now when I select File>Print I have the option under “Border and Text Options” to add the comment below the image when it prints.

I also added the citation in the windows properties dialog because I want to be sure that it will travel with the image if I ever send it to someone.

Now, another thing I can do with this file is save it as a pdf. This makes it really easy to share without having to print. I use cutePDF as the “printer”. If you install this program, then cutePDF shows up as a printer option. Then save your file with whatever name you want. Here’s the example of Mathias Lund’s 1880 Census for you to check out.

Download the pdf here.
This makes it really easy to share documents and make sure the sources go with them.

Posted by on 4 June 2011 | Posted in Organization, Sources | 3 Comments