Friday, May 10, 2013

FTM 2012: Preparing for PA Public Death Certificates

Following up on my previous post about Pennsylvania Birth and Death Certificates, I wanted to illustrate how you can use FTM 2012 (and probably some previous versions) to make a list of all the people in your tree who did or may have died in PA between 1906 and 1962, the current range of years for which PA death certificates are available to the public.

Go to the "Publish" part of FTM where you can create reports and charts and select "Custom Report" under "Person Reports". I changed the report title to "Pennsylvania Deaths 1906-1962".

Filter in all deaths which occurred in Pennsylvania
Choose "Selected Individuals" and in the pop up window, select "Filter In".

Think about the parameters you want to use. You need the list to be restricted to people who died in Pennsylvania so let's start with that. As shown in the example image to the right (click for larger view), make sure "Vital Facts" is selected, in the first drop down menu, choose "Death", the next one "Contains" and the bottom one "Place", then in the text field type "Pennsylvania". Click "OK". On the right, there should now be a list of everyone in your tree who died in Pennsylvania.

Filter out deaths before 1906 and after 1962
Next, we need to restrict it to deaths between 1906 and 1962. This is a two step process. We want to take the current list and remove anyone who died before 1906 and after 1962. So click "Filter OUT" this time and select "Death" for the first drop down box, "Date" for the bottom one, and "Is before" for the other one. In the text field, type "1906". Click "OK" and you've now filtered out all deaths before 1906.

Click "Filter Out" again, change "Is before" to "is after" and type 1962 and click OK. Now you have a list of everyone who died in Pennsylvania between 1906 and 1962.

Filter in all individuals who have no death data
But wait! What about all the people who you don't have any death data for but might have died in Pennsylvania within these years, people who you might want to find death dates for? Half the reason we look for death records is because we don't know when an individual died, right?

To do this, you need to go back to "Filter IN". With the first drop down box still set to "Death," in the bottom drop down box choose "Any Data" and in the second drop down box choose "Does not exist", as shown in the example to the right - then click OK.

Filter out any individuals who never lived in PA
because they probably didn't die in PA
You've now included everyone who has no death data entered which means you're going to have a lot of individuals who never set foot in PA or who were born too early or too late to have died between 1906 and 1962. This means we need to do more filtering out so choose "Filter out" again but this time, tick "All facts" instead of "Vital facts" and in the first drop down box, select "Residence". We're going to filter out anyone who never lived in Pennsylvania by choosing "Does not contain" in the second drop down box, "Place" in the bottom one, and typing "Pennsylvania" in the text field. Click OK.

Of course, just because someone lived in Pennsylvania doesn't mean they died there but it's the best we can do. If you don't know where someone died, all we can do is rule out the ones who probably didn't die in PA because they never lived there as far as we know.

Filter out any births before 1806 and after 1962, since
they probably didn't die between 1906 and 1962
Lastly, we want to rule out anyone who was born too early or late to have died between 1906 and 1962. So click "Filter out" again and go back to "Vital facts". Choose "Birth" from the first drop down menu, "Date" in the bottom one and "Is before" in the middle one. The date you choose is up to you - I figured most people don't live to be 100 years old so I put in 1806. Click OK. Now do it again but with "Is after" and the date changed to what you think is best - I went with 1962 because even though infant deaths were unlikely by this point, you just never know.

Click OK on both popup windows and FTM should regenerate the list in the preview window accordingly. It should now be a list of all deaths in Pennsylvania between 1906 and 1962 and of all people who lived in Pennsylvania and may have died between those dates. With the list, you know what names to look for in the PA Death Index. Of course, once the records are available on, you'll probably gets lots of hints popping up but you can check with this list to find which ones didn't register a hint.

One last option: if you have a lot of people in your list who have no birth data and want to remove them, do another "Filter out" and set it to "Birth > Any Data > Does not exist" OR "Birth > Date > Is blank", whichever one you prefer.

If you want to save the list, click the last icon in the toolbar in the Options window on the right. This saves the editable list so you can always modify it later instead of recreating it but you can only access it in FTM. If you want to export a copy of it, click "Share" in the top right hand corner and choose "Export to..." - I usually go with PDF or, if I want it as a spreadsheet, CSV.

I hope this helps people who are researching Pennsylvania genealogy but remember, you can use this technique with any place or dates. I often find myself thinking "Who else in my tree might be found in this collection of records?" and I use this method to figure that out. If you are not confident using this method with different parameters on your own, feel free to ask me how to create a specific type of list and I'll post step by step instructions.

This is the kind of geeky crap I do on my days off from work!

1 comment:

  1. I almost gave up my FTM 2012 because it froze on me a couple times, but showing the power of filtering in this article as well as your other genealogical management articles, gave me the courage to keep it.