Did you know – Remote Databases

Did you know that if you use Dropbox with Evidentia, and create databases on different devices, Evidentia does NOT automatically copy databases to all devices?
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The image above shows two databases. The ‘evidentia‘ database is currently open, and because it is local, it is displayed in black text. The second database, ‘ThompsonHayward‘, was created on another device, and this device does not have a copy, so it is displayed in blue.

Now the current device KNOWS about ‘ThompsonHayward‘ because it exists on Dropbox, and Evidentia has synchronized the list of available databases.

So why doesn’t the device have its own copy?

The short answer is because the user has never opened the database on this machine. As soon as the user opens the ‘ThompsonHayward‘ database on this machine, Evidentia will keep the copy on BOTH machines in synch.

Why not be proactive and synch to the local machine just in case the user wants to work with that file later? There are several reasons.

  • Not all devices have unlimited storage space. Evidentia tries to limit its use of storage space to the work actually being performed on the device.
  • Users may work with different databases on different devices, and not need or want a copy on all their devices. If they do, they can simply open up the remote database to insure a local copy
  • For performance reasons, Evidentia & Dropbox both have the philosophy of not moving files around unless the user requests it – the user is in control.

So if you see a database in blue, rest assured that it is not taking up any unnecessary space on your device, but a copy DOES exist on Dropbox. If you want to work with it on your current device, just open it and Evidentia will do the rest!

Did you know – Citing a Proof within a Proof

Did you know that you can use one Proof argument to support another Proof argument?

WHY would you want to do that?

Let’s say you are working on a Proof for the Parent(s) of Daniel, and you have a source record that indicates Daniel father was born in Salisbury, MA. If you believe that David is Daniel’s father, it would be helpful if your analysis included the fact that David was born in Salisbury MA.

Now you COULD build that argument right in the analysis field – but wouldn’t it be cleaner (and more complete) to just say “As demonstrated in the Proof of the Birth of David[1] we know that David was born in Salisbury, MA”? Then your reader could reference THAT proof for the complete argument supporting David’s place of birth.

Convinced? Here is how to reference one Proof from another AND get proper citations.

1) First, open the popup editor for the analysis you are working on by double-clicking inside the box.

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2) In the reference Citation popup you can select a proof. This will automatically create the citation for the proof using the ‘Unpublished work, privately held’ template. If the Preparer field of the Reports screen has never been populated, ‘Evidentia’ will be listed as the owner of the privately held work.

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3) After you hit ‘Select, the popup will show the double cross where the citation will be placed.

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4) And when you close the popup, you can hover over the double cross to see the citation

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Now you have an analysis argument based on a previously documented proof – and the proof will be cited in the end notes just like any other source!  (This works in the conclusion box as well.)

Of course there are a few things to be aware of when taking this approach:

  • Your analysis argument is only as good as the weakest proof in the chain.
  • Beware of circular proofs (proof 1 is based on proof 2 is based on proof 1). Evidentia won’t stop you, but this is generally not going to be good logic.
  • If the conclusion to proof 1 changes, Evidentia does not (yet?) flag proof 2 as needing review. Proof 2 SHOULD be reviewed to make sure the argument is still valid.

Did you know – Reordering Claims and Analysis

Did you know you can reorder how claims and analysis are displayed on the screen (and appear in reports)?

The purpose of Evidentia is to help you see your sources in different ways. Organizing your information is a part of this.

On the Catalogue Claims screen, hover over the central area of a row until the cursor chnages to the move icon, then hold down the left mouse button and drag the row to the desired location. Evidentia will save the order of the claims and use that order when displaying claims in the the future.

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On the Analyze Evidence screen, again hover over the central area of a row to get the move icon. Evidentia will not only display the rows in the selected order, but it will also use that order when creating a Proof report.

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Did you know – Complex date range calculations

Hopefully you DO know that when you give Evidentia’s Age Calculator vague data, it will calculate a RANGE of dates that might apply.  For example, I know my ancestor was 83 years old in 1860 – but did he just turn 83? Is his 84th birthday tomorrow?  Is that Jan 1, 1860?  Dec 31 1860?  The Age Calculator takes that into consideration to give you a range of possibly birth dates.

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Like I said, we know this already, right?

But did you know that you can use the Age Calculator to do more complex date range calculations?

For example, what if you know that in 1790 the head of household was between 45 and 54 years of age. How to get a range of possible birth dates? Turns out this is not difficult, it just takes two steps.

Let’s break down the problem.

1) We don’t know if the date this was recorded was Jan 1, 1790 or Dec 31, 1790, or any date in between
2) We don’t know if the head of household just turned 45 the day today, will turn 55 tomorrow, or is really 49 years and 6 months.

So what do we want? We want the earliest possible birth date and the latest possible birth date.

Now the earliest possible birth date assumes that the data was collected on Jan 1, 1790, and that on Jan 2nd the person will turn 55. So if we enter an Age of 54 years 0 months and 364 days, we get our first range.

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What we are interested is the EARLIEST date in this range, 02 Jan 1735.

The latest possible birth date assumes that the data was collected on Dec 31, 1790, and that on that date the person celebrated their 45th birth day. So if we enter an Age of 45 years 0 months and 0 days, we get our second range.

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What we are interested is the LATEST date in this range, 31 Dec 1745.

Combining these two values gives us a possible range of birth dates between 02 Jan 1735 and 31 Dec 1745.

This can now help us fine tune our records search, or compare over-lapping date ranges from other calculations to further narrow possible birth dates or identify conflicting data.

One caveat: the date calculations can be a little iffy when factoring in leap years, so give yourself a buffer. + or – a day for each 4 years in the range should do.

Did you know – Custom Sentences

Did you know that you can customize the sentences that Evidentia uses when generating a report?

Evidentia has sentence templates describing Sources as Original/Derived/Authored, Information as Primary/Secondary/Indeterminable, and Evidence as Direct/Indirect/Negative.

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Each information and evidence sentence has a long version and a short version. the long version is used the FIRST time a classification appears in a report, and includes a description of the classification. The short version is used for each additional appearance of the same classification in the report.

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So if you don’t like our wording – change it!

Did you know – Digitial File Directory repairs

It should never happen, but if the Digital File Manager ever gets out of sync with your file attachments, did you know that the Clean Database function under Options->Database will rebuild the directory from scratch?

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What does ‘from scratch’ mean? Evidentia will go through every source record and identify the title and location of any attached files, and use that information to rebuild the digital directory.

Did you know – Review Required

Proofs are only as good as the current pool of evidence – but what happens when the pool of evidence changes?

Did you know that if you add or delete evidence, Evidentia will flag any Proof based on that evidence as ‘Review Required’?

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Anytime you add a Person/Fact to a claim, or delete a claim for a Person/Fact, Evidentia automatically flags any proof for that Person/Fact as requiring review. You can see Proofs requiring review in the ‘Review Required Proof Report’.  This is also true if you change your analysis of a claim.

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Once you have reviewed your conclusion and made any changes that make sense based on the change in evidence, simply un-check the Review Required box on the Analysis screen.

Not all changes in the pool of evidence will require you to change your conclusion, but isn’t it worth a second look?

Did you know – GEDCOM fields

Did you know that if you plan on exporting data from Evidentia to a GEDCOM file, you can indicate several GEDCOM specific fields?

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Evidentia is better suited for detailed text summarizing your conclusion, but it still provides  you a place to provide a Date and Place for an Event or Fact, allowing these fields to be populated in the GEDCOM for import into your favorite family tree program.

The Description field is useful for Facts such as ‘Occupation’, where Date and Place may not be enough.

If you do not plan on exporting the data to a GEDCOM file, there is NO VALUE in populating these fields.