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Surety values on primary names


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#1 ricko

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Posted 01 January 2012 - 11:04 AM

The problem I was experiencing in previous versions of TMG where the summary surety displayed in the details window for event tags seems to have been fixed in TMG8, but it is not fixed for the primary names.

When I open the Tag Entry dialog for the primary name for some of the individuals in my project, the summary shown on the details screen does not reflect the values seen on the citations. All I need to do is hit OK and the values are then correctly updated.

Optimize does not help. Neither does the .PJC file edit suggested by support which apparently only fixes event tags.

It there any shortcut to fixing the surety for all of the thousands of individuals without going through them one by one? I also don’t want to change the last edited date which I need for its intended purpose.


I'm getting the idea that the surety feature is not used very much. Unfortunately, I have been lulled into making it critical to the interpretation of my data. I have entered many estimated dates with a surety of 0 as a research aid. I can suppress their output in reports generated with TMG, but I was dismayed to learn that there is no support in Second Site, my primary reporting tool.

Richard O.
Richard Otter

#2 Lee Irons

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Posted 01 January 2012 - 01:22 PM

I'm not using the surety marker functionality in TMG because it does not use the standard rating system of original vs. derivative, primary vs. secondary, and direct vs. indirect. Roots Magic 5 does and Family Tree Maker 2012 does, but TMG 8 and Legacy Family Tree 7.5 do not.

In my humble opinion, none of the genealogy software developers have gotten the whole information evaluation stuff right. There are actually two different types of evaluations that need to be performed.

Roots Magic 5 comes the closest to doing it right. They have a source citation quality rating of each source citation linked to a tag, which rates a source citation based on original vs. derivative, primary vs. secondary, and direct vs. indirect. They then have a "proof" rating of each tag, which rates whether the actual data that comes from the source citation is correct or applicable to the given person. However, they only have three levels of proof: Proven, Proven False, and DIsputed. They should allow users to define their own "proof" levels, since every genealogist I know does this last step a little differently.

So, for TMG to get this correct, they would need to do what FTM did in its 2011 release, which is to keep the surety levels, but give the additional capability of the program calculating the surety level for you based on selecting whether a source citation is original vs. derivative, primary vs. secondary, and direct vs. indirect. As you can see, with three different quality ratings, this would enable a surety calculation of 0 to 3. The additional step TMG would have to make is to have a separate "proof" rating of a tag as it applies to a principal or witness person. My recommendation is that TMG allow users to define their own proof ratings (anywhere from 3 to 10 of them, with the default being 3 ratings of "accepted," "accepted with qualifiers," and "disputed"). There would have to be a proof rating field in the Tag Entry window next to each Pinrcipal's name and would have to put a rating field in each Edit Witness window. TMG could then go the extra step of creating a sentence variable for the proof rating to be used in narratives.

Edited by Lee Irons, 01 January 2012 - 01:27 PM.


#3 efcharvet

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Posted 03 January 2012 - 12:09 AM

Lee, you are certainly right about this issue. Recording evaluations of citations and sources is horribly ambiguous in TMG.

The guys who wrote Root Magic 5 really thought about this issue and did a great job, I think, however, adding "Unproven" - a neutral proof statement - would be an improvement. I wish TMG would mostly copy what Roots Magic 5 has done.

(On the other hand, I would have to think hard about implementing your "user defined proof evaluation rating system" with 3 to 10 variables. It is overkill to me.)

Thanks for bringing this up! Hopefully, TMG will tackle this issue in Version 9




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