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Interpretation of Marriage Witnesses etc

Posted: 25 Mar 2020 17:54
by PyreneesPirate
Hello All and Mike T,

A couple of years ago, I started a thread about this in the main Forum and Mike T kindly tried to help me.

I love using AS to input information.

I have entered marriages through AS over the years, since my first purchase of version 3 way back when. I have been using version 6 since inception.

I seem to have witnesses displayed in my database in two different ways...….

1) connected to the actual marriage details of the bride and groom (including just names and not related inc the Minister's details) but not displayed as a separate entry in the linked individual's file.

2) Not connected to the actual bride and groom's marriage details, but displayed as a separate entry in the individual's file with date showing etc.

How I have both, I do not know. OK, some questions.....Is there a way of having both through AS, i.e. the linked individual showing under the actual marriage details along with an entry in the individual's file with date etc? If not how do I convert from one way to the other? If I want both details showing as in my first question, is it a manual exercise?

I suppose the same process applies to Death Certificate as well, when the informant was a member of the family or not related.

Anyway, any help would be appreciated,


Re: Interpretation of Marriage Witnesses etc

Posted: 25 Mar 2020 18:41
by tatewise
FH V6 introduced Fact Witnesses and AS defaults to using them for Marriage Witnesses, Bridesmaids, Minister, etc, leading to your case 1).

Before that AS added such people with Custom Event/Attribute facts leading to your case 2).

So unless you are careful with your AS settings for Associated Individual Types you can get either cases.

AS cannot create both cases, and could result in double facts in FH Narrative Reports.

There is no easy way to convert case 2) into case 1) without writing a dedicated Plugin.

The Give Witnesses Their Own Facts Plugin can convert case 1) into case 2).
But experiment with that carefully before applying it wholesale, and ensure you have backups just in case.
This will not work for Name Only Fact Winesses.

Re: Interpretation of Marriage Witnesses etc

Posted: 25 Mar 2020 19:57
by PyreneesPirate
Thanks Mike,

The convert case 1 to case 2 might be interesting. If I experiment with this plug in, does this remove the entries under the marriage in total i.e. no witnesses remain, even those with just a name are removed (or do they stay) and what about the Minister entry is that separate, so it remains with the marriage? It would make sense for the Vicar to remain with the marriage, wouldn't it?

Thanks again for your help Mike, I really want to bottom this, this time.


Re: Interpretation of Marriage Witnesses etc

Posted: 25 Mar 2020 22:02
by tatewise
I have reviewed exactly what that Plugin does and realised it won't work in your case. Sorry!
It is intended for Census or Residence facts where the Fact Witnesses are members of the same household and need their own Census or Residence facts.

So when it gives each Fact Witness their own Fact it is the same as the original Fact.
Furthermore, it only recognises Census (family) facts in Family records, so does not detect Marriage events.

If you tried to apply it to Death events, every Fact Witness would be given a Death event.

It could be enhanced to cater for your cases, but would need a custom fact to be assigned to each Fact Witness Role.

Re: Interpretation of Marriage Witnesses etc

Posted: 26 Mar 2020 11:05
by PyreneesPirate
Hi Mike,

Thanks for trying to come up with a solution.

Does this mean that I have to run a witness query for all Marriages and Deaths and then convert manually? I have had a little look at trying to set up an marriage witness entry in the individual's record by right clicking the name.....where does the Marriage Witness option an Event? I can't seem to find the Marriage Witness option?

I would like to set up AS to the 2nd version for linked individuals, is this easy to do? Sorry to be a pain!


Re: Interpretation of Marriage Witnesses etc

Posted: 26 Mar 2020 12:44
by tatewise
I have looked up your earlier posting Marriage Witness Info Missing (14742) from 3 years ago.
That investigated EXACTLY the same topic as here, but unfortunately it ended abruptly without any conclusive action.
Please review that thread and explain where you are with Custom Attribute and AS Associated Individuals settings.

It identified the Witnessed Events Query that lists what you are requesting now.
In 2017 it listed 38 Marriage Witnesses, 2 Death Informants and 6 Birth Informants
What does it list now?

I believe that FH V7 will improve the way Fact Witnesses are presented but have no details.
Probably they will appear in all Reports and not just Narrative Reports.
I cannot say whether they will appear in the Records Window against the Individual witnesses/informants.

Re: Interpretation of Marriage Witnesses etc

Posted: 26 Mar 2020 12:51
by Jane
I doubt Witnessed events will appear in the Records Window or All tab, as that has always represented the Data as stored.

Personally I am using Witnesses extensively, as they are easily the most flexible way to store a variety of links between people and the Property box makes it easy to see the witnessed events.

Re: Interpretation of Marriage Witnesses etc

Posted: 26 Mar 2020 17:32
by PyreneesPirate
Hello again,

I suppose I am trying to find the best way of standardising the way witness events are entered in my database. Something must have changed without me really noticing the difference. Anyway, we are where we are.

I have run a Witnessed Events Standard Query and I have the following: Marriage 47 events from 43 individuals, Deaths 6 events from 5 individuals and Birth 10 events from 7 individuals. I have also run a custom query on Marriage Witness and I have 75 individuals on that (these have individual entries showing in the All Tab and not linked through the Marriage).

I have run a test Marriage through AS and the Minister is attached to the Marriage, but the linked witnesses have separate individual entries through the All Tab. This must be the way AS is set up at the moment.

As you are both closer to the program and developers than I am, perhaps you can advise on the best way forward for me to standardise going forward please? Perhaps change AS so that we have all Witnesses attached to the event and not in the All Tab and do I have to bite the bullet and change the 75 individual records and link them to the Marriage event etc?

I appreciate your help.


Re: Interpretation of Marriage Witnesses etc

Posted: 26 Mar 2020 19:59
by tatewise
The choice of which method you want to standardise on is really in your court.

Back in 2017, you were very keen to use Custom Attributes that appear in the All tab and Records Window.
Following my instructions then, you set AS to use those Custom Attributes for Marriage Witnesses.
That is why you are getting those Custom Attributes for Marriage Witnesses now.
Earlier in this thread, you stated that this was your preference.
I can explain how to achieve that for all the other Birth, Marriage, Death and other cases.
It will need all the Fact Witness cases listed by the Witnessed Events Query to be converted by hand.

However, you are now considering Fact Witnesses linked to the principal Events may be a better option.
I can explain how to achieve that for all cases if that is your preference.
It will need all your Custom Attributes to be converted by hand.

Re: Interpretation of Marriage Witnesses etc

Posted: 27 Mar 2020 08:10
by PyreneesPirate
Hi Mike,

Thanks again for your help.

Having read Jane's response, about the Witnessed Event in the Records Window / All Tab, it made me think on which way is the best way going forward. You mentioned that there will be changes to Witnessed Events in a newer version of FH. I assume these changes will be linked to the Cogged Wheel witness option in the Property Box?

I am more aligned to the FACT WITNESSES Option now that you have both explained a bit more about it, I assume I will need to change AS to reflect this and manually move the 75 I have as Marriage Witnesses. If you can explain how to do that I would be more than happy.

Thanks again,

Re: Interpretation of Marriage Witnesses etc

Posted: 27 Mar 2020 11:19
by tatewise
Before we change anything, may I suggest you familiarise yourself with the Fact Witnesses features of FH.
Then you can make a more informed decision on whether that is the way forward you prefer.

Presumably, you have only ever added Fact Witnesses to events via AS and not investigated them further.
You are correct that the cog Menu option Witnesses... on the Facts tab of the Property Box is fundamental.
Similarly, you can right-click on any Fact in the list above and choose the Witnesses... option as shown below.
Notice the triple blue balls icon associated with Fact Witnesses options and facts:-

FactWitnesses.png (97.41 KiB) Viewed 303 times

Via the dialogue shown above, Fact Witness options include Add, Edit & Delete.
Click the Help button for a detailed explanation of the features.
When you use AS it is automatically adding Fact Witnesses to Birth, Marriage, Death and other events.
Notice the Role of a Fact Witness is not necessarily a Witness but may be Informant or Minister or Bridesmaid.

In the Help identified above it refers to Sentence Templates in the Tools > Fact Types dialogue.
When you open the Fact Definition dialogue for a Birth, Marriage, Death or other fact, the Witness Roles defined for that fact are listed and the Roles... button allows them to be managed.
So while the rest of a Fact Definition dialogue specifies the characteristics of the Fact itself, the Witness Roles dialogue specifies the characteristics of the Fact Witness Roles for that Fact.

It is crucial that a Fact Witness Role definition exists for every Fact Witness Role type in your database.
Although AS automatically adds Fact Witnesses to events, it does NOT ensure Fact Witness Role definitions exist.
See Knowledge Base > Family Historian Birth & Death Informant & Other Witness Roles for an explanation of which Roles are defined by default in FH and how to define others that you wish to use.

Hopefully, that explains how AS and FH work together, and when you are happy to proceed I can give specific instructions where necessary. If you have any questions then please do ask.

To identify all the Fact Witnesses and their Roles in your database there are two Plugins available.
See thread Witness reporting (11976) and run both List all Witness Events and List Name Only Witnesses.

Eventually we will also need to find all your Custom Attributes that need converting to Fact Witnesses.

Re: Interpretation of Marriage Witnesses etc

Posted: 28 Mar 2020 14:34
by PyreneesPirate
Hi Mike,

Looked at the tutorial.

Run both PlugIns and have the csv results.

What is the next step please?


Re: Interpretation of Marriage Witnesses etc

Posted: 28 Mar 2020 14:56
by tatewise
Well, that depends on which direction you are travelling :D
You last said "I am more aligned to the FACT WITNESSES Option now" but that is not conclusive.
So the first step is to confirm which of the two strategies you now prefer to adopt henceforth.
You may have made up your own mind but you have not told me.