Three new options under Collaboration > Cleaning Up:
Added a few days ago: 1) listing entries where there is a findagrave link, but no cemetery location listed 2) listing entries where there is a findagrave link and a cemetery location, but not the actual name of a cemetery.
Added today: 3) listing entries that have the city or town field filled in, but are missing state and / or county.
I'm going through them to clean up what I can, but please update any that are yours... and even more important, going forward don't create any more examples of anything that needs cleanup. It's an uphill battle if it keeps getting worse.
FYI -- I am working on moving the website to a new website host where the site will have more capacity. For now I have only disabled the ability to upload pictures, while the existing pictures are being copied over to the new host. After this completes, I will update you on the remaining schedule. There will be some downtime while the remaining site is copied over, but it will be as little as possible.
1) As long as a person has their own findgrave memorial page, use only the "Site Information" field for findagrave. Do NOT add a separate source. The separate source will be removed, and so it might as well not be added -- that's just additional work you don't need to do. There is an automated routine that checks the validity of the "Site Information" findagrave memorials, as they sometimes are deleted or merged. Separate sources are not validated.
2) The one case where adding a full source is applicable is when Person 2 is mentioned in the biography of a findagrave memorial for Person 1, and Person 2 does not have a page of their own.
3) When copying in a findagrave link, the system will now go back out to findagrave for the link you put in, retrieve that person's name, and show it. It may have spelling or punctuation differences, but otherwise it should match your person. Please check this and verify it is the correct one. I have found many (including my own) where the memorial referenced is a different person.
A new page is up on the site, a simple sitemap pointing to the site's main features that all hang off of a person's individual page, illustrating how it is all connected. This is also found on the menu under View > Help > Sitemap. /sitemap.php
New feature -- Added is a way to link a marriage to the person who officates the marriage (pastor, justice of the peace, or someone else). When editing a marriage event, there is now a field "Married By" where you can select another person. This is currently only on EDITING a marriage event. Coming soon for adding a new marriage event.
Here's an example: /browse.php?fid=160140 Below the marriage location it shows "By" followed by a link to the person who officated the marriage.
On this person's page is a new section "Marriage Officiant". Clicking this will expand to show a list of marriages officated.
This only handles one person per marriage. If a marriage had multiple officiants, you can list one here, and others in the event notes.
Of course, if the officiant is known, but does not have a separate page here, then just skip this and put the name in the event notes.
Added is the option to track and search specifically for your ancestors, to distinguish them from non-ancestors in your tree. This stops with the 22nd great-grandparents, as the volume grows exponentially large.
1) Under Account > "Calculcate Ancestors" is a page that will prompt you for the root person. Typically this would be yourself, but if you are exclusively researching another person, you can select that person as your root. After choosing the person and submitting, it will churn through the ancestors of the root, and mark them for later reference.
2) After (1), when you browse into a page of one your ancestors, it will show near the bottom your relationship -- parents, grandparents, or the count of great-grandparents.
3) Clicking this relationship will go to a new page listing all branches that have this person identified as an ancestor, showing the root person of each branch. For recent generations, this will show only yourself, but after you go back a few hundred years, and once other users have calculated their ancestors, it will show more.
4) On any page where you can select your own fields to show, including pedigrees and descendant charts, it now includes an "Ancestor" choice. Selecting this will show your ancestors in green.
5) In the search, there is now a search criteria to limit the results to only your ancestors.
If you add or remove any significant limbs in your tree, it would be good to rerun #1, as this does not update itself.
Oh, this is great! City directories don't have all the information that is available in the censuses, but they can give year-by-year information. The censuses cannot do that.
As to your #2, would you consider adding an easy way to note who else using the same surname is living at the same household? For instance, for my Smallwoods in St. Joseph, MO, I was able to use citiy directories to sort out the Smallwoods in that city by families (those living in the same household), and even by occupation (especially if they are working for the same employer). This takes some analysis, as well athe use of back-up sources, but can be very useful. This sort of thing would not be so easy if the surname is common, but can otherwise be quite helpful.
We need to be very careful with city directories, to check the original for the exact town. Many of them cover several towns in the same book. For instance, a directory might list a place like Sacramento, California, but if you look at the original, you might find that the person have lived in the county of Sacramento, but in the city of Folsom. These are usually shown by an address followed by a letter like this: (F). You might have to look at the page near the front of the book to find out what (F) stands for, or it may be listed as a subtitle on the same page or on a previous page or up at the top of the page. This might not seem important, but it is. Even today, for instance, the city of Folsom is quite a ways away from the very distinct city of Sacramento.
Occupations can be a problem, as well. These are abbreviated, and some are obscure. There is always a page near the front of the book listing these abbreviations. I've found the abbreviations to be fairly consistant from directory to directory, so if you find such a page, you might want to copy it and keep it handy (or Ray, you might want to do something with it at this site).
Another idea for Ray: you might also consider doing something like this for FamilySearch.org's "United States Public Records, 1970-2009." These are very useful, especially in modern years when other records are not yet released. I have included a link to one of these in my page at Our Family Tree for MILDRED EVELYN SHOLIN /browse.php?pid=378389
If you use the link, on that page, you'll see it gives the person's name; any aliases; a residence and date for it; a birth date; a phone number, as well as when it was recorded; and possibly three other places of residence, and dates for them. In addition, these records often list "possible relatives." It would be a lot easier if you can set up a smiliar situation for these as you have in mind for the city directories.
Added are options to specify an officiant for christenings or baptisms (found under the "Christening" event) and funerals (found under the "Grave" event), for when that person has their own page in the system. They work in the same way it works for marriages -- type a name, click the "Search" button, and click the correct person in the list that comes up.
People already defined with religous or clergy roles should show in the list with a blue star, making it easier to spot them if the list is long.
On that person's page, this then shows a link back to the first person's page.
The section of the page showing moderators or owners of a person is now hidden by default, removing some of the clutter you may not need to look at often. To show it, go to the bottom and click "Show Moderators/Owners". For new people browsing in, if they click the "Contact This Researcher" at the bottom, this section is shown so they can see who you are.
Trying something new... I'm going to Colorado in July, and wanted to get a list of people online here, who are buried in a few cemeteries there, so I can try to get pictures to post here. So I revived an old option found under Account > Custom Reports.
Here you can create your own reports, specifying the columns that show, the criteria for who shows (using the same logic from the main search page), and the order in which the people are sorted. This shows only reports that you create for yourself.
Below is my example. I chose the first and last name, birth and death dates, grave notes (where the plot information is stored), grouped by the cemetery name, and sorted by the plot, for a few cemeteries I have on my list.
All reports by default will show all people from all branches. If you want only your own, you can add criteria for selecting your own.
As this is all very generic with an infinite number of combinations, I'm sure there are bugs not yet found. Let me know if you have problems, questions on how to use it, or suggestions for further improvements.