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12 February 2010

Genealogy: Data Entry Tips

Family History Center Guidelines, 
provided by Gary V. Deutschmann, Sr.

Full Name Joseph F. Smith, Jr. (always use full punctuation)
Joseph F. Smith (father of JFS, Jr. - NOT Sr.)
Partial Names Joseph F. \\, Jr. (use // in FTM/FTW for proper indexing)
\Smith\ (if spouse exists)
1m Smith (no spouse, childrens list)
2f Smith (unmarried female child of Smith)
3u Smith (unknown gender child)
4m Smith (numeric is birth order)
Unknown Name \\ (if other data available)
(blank) (no data available)
Nn. Smith (ONLY for no legally given name)
Split Given Emma(alt0160)Lou Smith (alt0160 creates a hard space)
Split Surname Liana \Su Chan\ (forces indexing under S)
Whole Name \White Cloud\ (NOT White Cloud \\)
Roman Numerals Joseph F. Smith VIII (III through VIII no comma)
Joseph F. Smith, IX (IX forward use comma)
Name Suffix Joseph F. Smith, Phd. (NEVER - use suffix or title field)
Name Suffix Joseph F. Smith, Sr. (NEVER - adopted suffix)
Name Prefix Rev. Joseph F. Smith (NEVER - use title field)
Name Change Johann Smitherington (ALIA - John Smith - AKA in FTM/FTW)
Nicknames Honest John (NICK Only - NEVER in ALIA or AKA)

It is preferred that the children of one marriage or partnership
NOT be included on the page with the step-parent, even if the child or children lived with the new parent their entire lives.
This is to avoid confusion to other genealogists. It is acceptable in your own private databases to do so, but clearly indicate the relationship in the Lineage section and also make additional reference to same in the Notes section. 

If a child is Adopted, so indicate in the Lineage section.
If the child's true name is known, this is the name that should be placed in the name placeholder, the name taken at adoption should be placed in the ALIA field (AKA field in FTM/FTW).

Divorces are usually bitter events that affect everyone
involved. Genealogists close to or involved in the event
oftentimes omit those sections from their database or alter
them to be inaccurate representations of the childrens parent.

Your personal Genealogical Database is a permanent record of the FACTS associated with the Lineage of the Individuals
contained therein. Purposely introduced errors, can have
exponentially devastating effects in the years to come.
Please keep all data entered as accurate as possible.

Always use full name of individual, if middle name is known
use the full middle name, not the abbreviation or letter.
Always use Maiden name or \\ if unknown, Never married name.  

Unknown given name of unmarried children, use numeric and gender in lower case or 0 and gender if birthorder is unknown.
Only use Nn. if person was never legally named, such as a
stillborn child, NEVER use Nn to indicate an unknown given name.
Only the exact name given at birth, normally the name shown on the birth certificate, shall appear in name placeholders.

Titles and/or adopted Suffixes should NEVER appear with name.
Titles and/or adopted Suffixes may appear in the Title field.
Earned degrees shall NEVER appear in the name placeholder.
The Suffix Sr. is adopted by the parent of a Jr. and shall
NEVER appear in the name placeholder.
NEVER use the Roman Numeral I behind any Surname.
NEVER NEVER NEVER use I, II, III, etc. to differentiate
individuals with the same name in a database.
The Roman Numeral II is NOT the equivalent of Jr. for most
European or American born individuals. II normally denotes
a rank of succession. If in doubt use Jr. unless the actual
birth certificate or bible notation shows otherwise.

The ALIA field (AKA placeholder in FTM/FTW) is for legal name 

changes only. The ALIA field is NEVER to be used for Nicknames.
Pre-version 6 FTW users, preceding the Legal Name used in the
AKA field, the use of doubledashes --John Smith in the AKA field helps to differentiate in the indexing program AKA's shown.
Nicknames are not Legal Names, nor or they universally used by family, friends, classmates, co-workers, etc. A family member may use one nickname, a classmate another, etc. 

DO NOT place nicknames of individuals in the ALIA or AKA fields, use the NICK placeholder (in FTW use the Facts Fields).

European Standard 15 January 1998 (NEVER 15/1/98)
American Standard January 15, 1998 (NEVER 1/15/98)
Unknown Day January 1998 (NEVER 1/98)
Unknown Month and Day 1998 (NEVER '98)
Unknown Year January 15 (Avoid if possible)
Unknown Year Prefered Abt. January 15, 1998 (Year only is estimated)

Always spell out the month, never use numerical data only.
When a month and day are known, try to estimate the year and place either Est., Abt, Cir., etc., It is understood if a month and day are shown, they take precedence over the year shown.
Make it a practice to NEVER estimate a day or month if the year is not known.
The use of double dates is not encouraged, due to the fact that the new calendar was adopted at different times in different locations. The date in your records was recorded using the calendar of the period, double dates tend to confuse the issue.

American Standard Special Location, City, County, State
County Hospital, Rolla, Phelps, Missouri Holy Cross Church, Ballwin, St. Louis, Missouri

Consistancy is the keynote in data entry.
Use the standard addressing for the applicable country.
Show the country if not in your present country or if the
country is unusual, changed names, etc.

Spell out completely all location names. USA states may be
abreviated, but if you share your files internationally, then
spell out the name of the state.
NEVER put the cemetary name in the Death Date Location field.

INTR, INTE, etc. are NOT available tags, CEME is preferred.
Use Facts Tables and Notes fields ALWAYS.

Documentation It is preferable that all data be sourced as to where the information was obtained. However, a SOUR is NOT Aunt Hilda or the Berg Family Bible, these are personal sources to the data entry person and should be indicated in the Notes Field, NOT in the SOUR field.
Any entry placed in the SOUR field should be obtainable by any person using the information shown in that field.

Examples of Sources are:
Certificate of Live Birth #1234567, St. Louis County, Missouri
Death Certificate #5678901, Trimble County Courthouse, Tennessee
1880 Census of Pike County, Kentucky, Film #RP78TL880
Church Records maintained at St. Richards Catholic Church,
Branson, Missouri, Archive Section 1940-1950, Nuptuals.
Holt Family History, ISDN 456789, from Reference Section of
Clark Library, Burlington, Winslow Township, Arizona


  1. Thanks Paula, very helpful and you are a blessing to all who know you.

  2. I cannot take credit for writing this one, only sharing it with much to learn.