Today is the day that was established to honor those who died while serving our country. Can you identify your ancestors or cousins whom we would honor today? Although I am aware of some of my cousins, I cannot readily name them.
However, my genealogy program is a database. Thus, I should be able to use the program and create a list. Unfortunately, searching for this type of information in a database requires that data be entered accurately. And I can attest to the fact incomplete or missing data in my file will impact my ability to pull this information.
Knowing that my mom has a couple of 2nd cousins who died during World War II, I started trying to create a list of those who died during that war. My first step was to create a group. This feature is located under the command palette, whose icon is located in the upper right corner of RootsMagic 8.
Opening the list of commands, I scroll down to GROUPS. Since I want to create a group, I’m looking for the command to ‘Add, delete or modify the list of gorups’.
Clicking that choice opens the GROUPS window. This window shows my existing groups and has buttons to add (new), edit, delete or rename a group.
To create my group, I click on the NEW button. A window opens prompting me to enter a name for this group. For this example, I’m going to name my group ‘WWII Deaths’.
That opens a window titled RootsMagic Explorer that shows a list of everyone in my file with boxes for checkmarks to indicate group membership. Since I’m creating this group from scratch, I want to use the MARK button.
Clicking the MARK button opens a pull-down menu showing my choices. Since I’m wanting to create a list based on the death date and place, I want to use the ‘By Data Fields’ choice.
This opens a window that allows me to select data fields and create a ‘sentence’ defining my search. Sometimes figuring out this ‘sentence’ is trial and error. This is also where incomplete data can impact the results. For my first ‘trial’, I’m going to search for those people with a military fact who died between 7 Dec 1941 and 2 Sept 1945. I am using 7 Dec 1941 as my start date since that is the date in which the United States was attacked.
When I click the OK button, the software searches my file and finds 9 people that have a military fact who died during the specified time period.
To finish creating the group, I have to click on the OK button and then click on the SELECT button in the lower right corner of the window. If I forget to click SELECT, my group is not created. That closes the selection window and returns me to the group window, where I have to again click OK to close the window.
The easiest way to review my group is to use the INDEX on the side of the PEOPLE screen. The default for the Index is to SHOW EVERYONE.
When I click on the ‘Show Everyone’ box, a menu opens showing the groups I have created.
If I scroll down the list, I can locate my newly created WWII DEATHS group.
Selecting the WWII DEATHS group causes the index to display the members of this group.
Looking at that list, I have several people born before 1900 who were included on the list. I have two options to ‘clean up’ this list. One option is to look at each person in question, evaluate their information and then remove them from the list if they don’t meet my criteria.
For example, Lloyd William Barnes is on my list with a death date of 14 Dec 1941. He also has a military fact, but it is dated 1918.
Below his parents is the GROUP information. When I click on the word GROUPS, it opens a list of all of my groups on the right side of the person window.
Scrolling down, I can locate the WWII Deaths group and remove the check mark by that group and then close the person window. That removes him from the list of people in the group under the index.
I can continue working my way thru the group one person at a time, or I could edit my group and add a statement to help narrow the selection. In this case, I might add a statement requiring the birth date to be after 1900. To do this, I follow the same procedure used to open the GROUPS menu. Then I scroll down to locate my group, WWI Deaths.
This time, I want to click on the EDIT button. This opens the RootsMagic Explorer window where I can mark/unmark members in this group. Since I’m editing an existing group, I usually check UNMARK and select prior to going back in and editing my selection. This makes sure that those I don’t want in the group are removed. Once I’m back in the RootsMagic Explorer window, I select MARK and pick BY DATA FIELDs as before. My previous ‘sentence’ is still there. I only need to ADD to it. Thus, I’m gong to add a 4th line for the Birth Date is after 31 Dec 1899.
Clicking OK causes the program to search using my new criteria. Five people are now marked. This is where I need to remember to click SELECT after clicking the OK button.
Working my way thru these 5 people, I can verify that I have information entered for each of them about their death during World War II.
Using this process, I created groups for the Korean War, World War II, World War I and the Civil War.
Korean War Deaths
- John Frederick Christy
World War II Deaths
World War I Deaths
Civil War Deaths
- John Nelson Ralston
- John Wesley Roberts
While creating these groups is the easiest way I know of to identify these cousins deserving to be honored this Memorial Day. However, this method is not perfect. (Remember, it depends on the completeness and accuracy of my data.) Since I remembered writing about a service member who died when his plane crashed, I expected him to be on my list. And, he is NOT.
My blog post, Plane Down, identifies him as 2nd Lieutenant Gene Marion Ashmore.
Checking what information I have for Gene Marion Ashmore, I can verify that he has a military fact. However, his death date is outside of the dates I used for my search. It is a few days AFTER the official end of World War II. Thus, the computer did not add his name to my group of WWII Deaths.
Since I would like to be able to include him in my list of WWII veterans to be honored on Memorial Day, I can manually add him to the list. If I click on GROUPS (below his parents) and then scroll down my list of groups, I can locate the ‘WWII Deaths’ group.
When I return to the index and select the WWI Deaths group, I can verify that he has been added.
As my database grows, I will either need to remember to update these lists as I identify a veteran or use the GROUPS menu to edit the group.
How about you? Can you identify people in your tree to be honored on Memorial Day?