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Evidentia Proof Reports on Ancestry.com Family Trees

Editor’s note: I recently engaged a few members of the online community in a discussion about integrating the use of Evidentia with Family trees at ancestry.com. While its pretty common to complain about the lack of quality data in any given Ancestry tree, In that discussion I decried the lack of data fields provided by Ancestry to provide analysis arguments if one wanted to. As you see below, at least member of our community took my diatribe as a personal challenge, so I invited him as a guest blogger – Ed

Paul Harris has been pursing better ways to accomplish genealogical research for twenty-four years, and is still improving. All of his pursuits have involved his passion – problem solving. His background is in aviation, having worked as an airline pilot for almost thirty years. The best part about that work was the freedom to travel and the free time to accomplish research. After seven airline bankruptcies, He has escaped the aviation community, with the exception of radio controlled models, which are much harder to fly than the real thing. He currently owns and operates a print shop in Cary, North Carolina, and continues to hone his research skill.

Paul was active in BETA testing the last release of Evidentia (1.4), and is responsible for Evidentia’s recent colon-ectomy.

I recently saw a ‘claim’ that there was no way to use an Evidentia Proof Report in online Family Trees at Ancestry.com. While I am not a power user of Ancestry Trees, I felt there was a challenge in this claim that needed to be met, so I began to explore the options. The following will expound on what I was able to accomplish.

Viewing the Death Event for our subject, Ancestry.com allows us to add media to the event.


Clicking on the “+ Add media to Death” button opens a dialog that permits you to either upload media from your computer or create new media on the web site.


Using the first option, we can select various files for upload.


Once you select a file, it will upload and display as a link.


In this example, we used Evidentia to create a Proof Report and output it to PDF format. At this point we can add some descriptive information and save our work.


Now, when the Death Event is viewed we see the PDF as an attachment that can be viewed by clicking on the link.


Even though the link says “Download story,” as you can see, clicking it will open the PDF in a separate window. The primary advantage of attaching a Proof Report in this manner is that it retains the full, original formatting of the output report. Returning to the Add Media feature, we will explore the option of Write a Story.


Clicking on the ‘Write a story’ option will open an editor that allows you to compose a story. In this case, rather than actually composing a story in the editor, we have created a Proof Report in Evidentia that was output to HTML format. Using Select All (Ctrl + A) to select and copy the report content in the browser, we then paste that content into this editor.


When we save the story, rather than displaying a link, the story content is diplayed right in the Death Event. The only problem we encountered here was the loss of some formating when we saved the story. As you can see below, the bolding and italics on the headings has been lost. The primary advantage of Write a Story and pasting the HTML report is that it readily displays when the event is opened.


I would point out that if the story is reopened in the editor you can apply bold and italic properties to the headings and they will display correctly when saved.
Another option is to have Evidentia generate a Proof Report in Rich Text Format (RTF). Selecting All (Ctrl + A) in the Word document fails to include the Header. You can double click the Header, Select All in the Header, Copy, and return to the Body to Paste the Header at the top of the Body. Then, when you Select All, the Header will be included when you copy the report.


Pasting and saving the RTF report into the online editor maintains the original formatting.



You can attach Proof Reports to Events at Ancestry.com in two different ways:

  1. Upload a file
    1. Pros
      • Easy to download
      • Consistent formatting
    2. Cons
      • Does not display contents unless opened
      • Cannot edit
  2. Write a story
    1. Pros
      • Displays readily
      • Easy to copy, paste, and edit
    2. Cons
      • HTML – some loss of formatting, though editable
      • RTF – extra steps needed to copy header information

Paul J. Harris
Fan of Evidentia

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