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Finding all ancestor census records to add to the Lost Cousins data base

Discussion in 'How to decide who to enter' started by RonO, Jun 13, 2018.

  1. RonO

    RonO LostCousins Member

    Has anyone found an easy way to find all census records for our "cousins" so they can be entered on our summary page? I've taken family members who are on the 1841 census forward to see if they are on the 1881 and 1911 records, and entered them, but since I have a very large Ancestry tree, this method is very difficult and time consuming. Also, I could possibly miss some, so I wondered if there is somewhere in the Family Finder that could help.
    • Great question Great question x 1
  2. PhilGee

    PhilGee LostCousins Member

    One approach would be to:
    1. add a custom fact called "lostcousins"* with the census year for everyone you have entered on LC on your Ancestry tree
    2. download your Ancestry tree as a GEDCOM
    3. use "Family Tree Analyser"* to list the census data that has and/or has not been entered - the tables can be saved as files
    4. add custom facts to the tree every time you add new entries (otherwise it gets messy :eek: )


    * See this discussion for further information on FTA and the custom fact variations accepted.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 14, 2018
    • Agree Agree x 1
  3. Tim

    Tim Moderator Staff Member

    You beat me to it Phil. There is also a discussion here that could be useful.
  4. RonO

    RonO LostCousins Member

    Thanks, I'll give it a try.
    • Thanks! Thanks! x 1
  5. Tim

    Tim Moderator Staff Member

    I create a custom fact called Lost Cousins with the census year as Phil mentions

    FTA now recognises this custom fact and when you go to the Lost Cousins Tab in FTA, you will see a report that looks like this:

    e.g., 559 Found is how many Custom Facts you've added and 40 is the number of census records without a corresponding Lost Cousins fact. i.e. 40 people to add to Lost Cousins :)
  6. peter

    peter Administrator Staff Member

    Tim, can FTA produce a listing of everyone living at a given census date (irrespective of whether census facts and LostCousins facts have been recorded)? This would be really useful.
  7. Tim

    Tim Moderator Staff Member

    Yes I believe it can. Below is just a snip of the standard Colour Census report, Green cells show I have found a census fact for that year, Red says the census fact is missing, Yellow says I have found the census but have not yet added it to Lost Cousins yet and that Black one is telling me that the person was likely to have been out of the country at the time. You can click on any of these columns and it will sort it for you. I've displayed the birth and death dates to show why some cells are left grey. So this does show the date range of when they could potentially have been alive.


    In this random snip, I have sorted by the 1881 Census year.


    Alternately, all of this data can be download to excel and you can use filters to do pretty much anything then.
  8. peter

    peter Administrator Staff Member

    Thanks, Tim - very helpful.

    What I had in mind was that LostCousins members could put this information into Excel and do the same with the entries on their My Ancestors page, then sort alphabetically and compare the two listings. Only slight snag is married women, but as long as the maiden name has been entered that is easily overcome.
  9. Tim

    Tim Moderator Staff Member

    It's going to be a bit more complex than that. I've used the "Show more Detail" option at Lost Cousins and then copied that data into excel.

    The format from Lost cousins looks like this:

    and the data from FTA looks like this:

    Using the concatenate function in excel, I can make the second set of data look like the data from LC, but it might be easier to work on the LC data to split the surname and forenames into separate cols.

    But if you weren't going to use vlookup to find the matches, then yes sorting and visually comparing the 2 lists would work.

    Fortunately I don't need to do this as I invested the time in creating the "Lost Cousins" custom fact and added it to the individuals in my tree and I let FTA do all the hard work for me.

    Attached Files:

  10. peter

    peter Administrator Staff Member

    I just thought it might be an easier option for Ron and others in his position - and it sounds as if it would be, especially for anyone who doesn't have a family tree program (not that I'd recommend relying on an online tree).
  11. Tim

    Tim Moderator Staff Member

    Yes. Having a list from LC and a list from FTA and crossing out the names that match on FTA would give you a list of new people to load.
    But this does get a bit messy as wives will get added in their married name and will also appear in the list to load as well.
    And the downside to all this is that when you want to check again, you will have to do the whole process again, as in check every name to leave a new list of names to add.

    I would most strongly recommend the custom fact approach.

    The first time I decided to use the custom Lost Cousins fact, I used the list from LC, found the individuals on my tree and added the custom facts, exported a new gedcom into FTA and then it showed me a list to add to LC. It is an investment in time, but well well worth it in the long run.
  12. peter

    peter Administrator Staff Member

    Maiden names aren't a major problem - they're shown on the 'Show more details' page and it's not difficult to write a conditional formula to copy them across.
    Not necessarily - if you enter everyone the first time you run the check all you need to do from then on is add new relatives as you find them in 1881. That's what I do.
    Using custom facts depends on having a family tree program - not everyone does.
  13. Tim

    Tim Moderator Staff Member

    I don't believe this to be a true statement. Are you suggesting that there are members of Lost Cousins and members of this forum that record all their data on paper? Even if they used Excel they could create a custom fact. I even created custom facts in GenoPro.

    As you keep saying Peter, members of Lost Cousins are pretty smart and have been researching their family for a number of years, and where ever they started I'm sure they would have evolved at some point from paper to a recognised gedcom compliant Family Tree Progam.
  14. PhilGee

    PhilGee LostCousins Member

    On Ancestry, you add a "FACT" for the person of interest and select the fourth item of the list "Custom Event". Though, as Tim says,

    or even "evolved from Ancestry ...."

  15. peter

    peter Administrator Staff Member

    There are certainly some LostCousins members who use spreadsheets - whether they are members of this forum or not is irrelevant since anyone can view this discussion, and in any case I'm interested in a package of solutions that can work for everyone.

    However I actually had in mind the large number of members who use an online tree.
    I wasn't aware that you could create a custom fact at Ancestry, and don't recall ever seeing one in a public tree. Has anyone confirmed that it's possible to create a LostCousins Fact that will be recognised by FTA?

    It's important to offer as many solutions as possible if we want more members to enter more relatives. For someone like me who has already entered 900 relatives from the 1881 Census, creating custom facts for all of those relatives would take many, many hours - possibly days - whereas the spreadsheet solution would be unlikely to take more than an hour. Of course, for a member who has only made 9 entries, or even 90, the sums will be very different.
  16. Tim

    Tim Moderator Staff Member

    Yes Peter, I create my custom facts on Ancestry On Line. Very easy to do.

    Here's a snapshot from Ancestry, with 2 customs facts that I commonly use, Lost Cousins and Children Status.

    Lost Cousins custom fact works as described previously and Children Status is very clever, FTA uses the data you add and in this case 2 Total and 2 Alive and compares it to how many children you have entered in your tree. There is then a report telling you the families that you are missing children.


    Here's just a snip of the report from FTA, on the 1st line I have found all the children but 2 of them have died and I don't have their deaths recorded yet.
    3rd line looks like I have 5 children to find, better head off to the GRO and see if I can locate them!

  17. peter

    peter Administrator Staff Member

    Thanks, Tim - it certainly seems easy to do, but I'm still worried about how long it would take - the user would be starting from a My Ancestors entry, then they would have to find that person in their tree (making sure not to select someone with a similar name), and finally they'd have to create a Custom Fact and enter a census year.

    All of that is surely going to take considerably longer than it takes to create entries at LostCousins in the first place? Even for someone who has no entries at all it's going to roughly double the time it takes to add relatives to their My Ancestors page.

    And if it takes twice as long to enter relatives, surely some people will only enter half as many?
  18. PhilGee

    PhilGee LostCousins Member

    Though I use FTM, my primary database is a series of spreadsheets, which allows me great freedom with adjusting data and creating different trees. I have recently seen an Ancestry tree with the "Children Status" on the 1911 census entries (they must use FTA ;) ) and have been adding suitable entries to create the needed event for the marriage* (previously, it was included on the relevant census entry for the person as a "description/comment"). It also makes it easy, when creating a tree from a selected part of the data, to insert a custom "Married" event for someone where I don't need the full set of family members - otherwise the marriage information would not be included. GEDCOMs are created by a (relatively) simple program and new events usually just need a small edit and re-compile.


    * In keeping with the "Children born alive to present marriage", though it is attached to the mother on the census
  19. Tim

    Tim Moderator Staff Member

    It is easy to do Peter, and I will always be trying to help people to do the right thing. And when they're staring out at LC, that is most definitely the right time to add the custom fact, and we should be encouraging them to add it to help them know who still to add, which also helps LC and every other member there.

    And I think your logic is wrong.
    I'm sure you've mentioned previously how long most LC members have been researching their family? 10, 15, 25 years? It takes less than 3 seconds to add a custom fact. If these people have invested all that time, energy and money in pursuing their family then a few custom facts that makes their life easier in finding who to add to LC to me is a good investment in time.

    This does take time to do, but I've done it for everyone I've added to LC. And I would encourage everyone to take full use of these custom facts and the FTA reports to make their lives easier.
  20. peter

    peter Administrator Staff Member

    Tim, the reason I asked Ron to post his question on the forum was so that he got a range of responses. Ron and other members can decide what will work best for them, just as each of us have.

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