Before I get to the comments, please understand that this explains a huge issue with Family Tree. It clarifies how the program functions and justifies the use of "standard place names" and "standard date" format. Also understand that none of this is reflected in the guidebook "Using the FamilySearch Family Tree: A Reference Guide." Thanks to Gordon for figuring this out and making it reasonably clear. Now to the comments. These comments were made in response to my post entitled, "What are the "basic guidelines" for entering information in FamilySearch Family Tree?"
As you imply, basic guidelines for data entry in Family Tree are sparse and hard to find. You have listed a nice summary, but that basic information leaves out some critical explanations that really need to be included. I would like to share information that I have discovered through discussions on the feedback boards and personal experimentation that, when understood, prevent all sorts of frustration with Family Tree and reveal some of the great power and flexibility built into the program.
Date information in Family Tree is stored as two separate pieces of information, the display date and the “standard” or sort date. Comment: This particular idea is new to me. I did not know that FamilySearch kept both types of information. The display date is for other researchers to read and evaluate. It can be entered in many different ways and can be tailored to fit nearly any situation. The sort date, located in the green standard box, is only visible when the date edit box is open. It is for computer use only, to give the program a completely unambiguous date so that the Family Tree program knows exactly the date of the event. The sort date must be set to qualify for ordinances; for children to sort by birthdate in the Family Members listing and pedigree charts; and for the Search and Find routine to function properly. Comment: This comment shows that there is a solution to my objection of standardized place names and also explains some of the random comments I have had from FamilySearch about the subject in the past.
When a date is first entered, a quick-entry list will appear. When the date you are entering appears on the list, you can complete the entry by clicking on the date in the quick-entry list. This will set both the display date and the sort date to the same value. If you desire the date to appear in a different format than what appears in the quick-entry list, finish typing in your entry. Then click outside the text entry box or press tab. Do not press the Save button. The sort date will then be set to the first entry on the quick-entry list. If this is not the correct sort date, click in the green box to choose the correct sort date. After both the display date and the green sort date are set correctly, click the Save button or proceed to enter the event’s place name. Comment: Although this is the heart of how the standardized date issue is resolved, it is a cumbersome process and no notices are given to the user that would allow the user to do this every time successfully.
Place information in Family Tree is also stored as two independent pieces of information, the display place name and the “standard” or keyword/search place name.The display place name is for other researchers to read and evaluate. It should be as genealogically accurate as possible, following any acceptable guidelines for recording place names. It can be tailored to fit nearly any situation. The keyword/search place name, located in the green standard box, is only visible when the place name edit box is open. It is for computer use only, to give the program a completely unambiguous place name so that the Family Tree program knows exactly the unique spot of ground on the earth where the event took place. The keyword/search place is typically the modern name for a place, although many historical names are included in the available choices. The keyword/search place must be set to qualify for ordinances and for the Search and Find routine to function properly.
When a place name is first entered, a quick-entry list will appear. When the place name you are entering appears on the list, you can complete the entry by clicking on the place name in the quick-entry list. This will set both the display place name and the keyword/search place name to the same value. If you desire the place name to appear in a different format than what appears in the quick-entry list, finish typing in your entry. This will most commonly be the case when you are entering a name for a location whose name has changed frequently though history. You will want to enter the most accurate historical name for the time period of the event. After completely typing in the place name, click outside the text entry box or press tab. Do not press the Save button. The keyword/search place will then be set to the first entry on the quick-entry list. If this is not the correct place name, click in the green box to choose the correct place name from the list that opens. After both the display place and the green keyword/search place are set correctly, click the Save button.
Examples of Display Places:
Salt Lake City, Salt Lake, Utah, United States
Great Salt Lake City, Utah Territory, United States
Great Salt Lake City, Territory of Deseret, United States
The Avenues, Salt Lake City, Salt Lake, Utah, United States
105 North 2nd West, Salt Lake City, Salt Lake, Utah, United States
In the red barn five miles directly north of Salt Lake City, Salt Lake, Utah, United States
These will all trigger the green keyword/search place to be Salt Lake City, Salt Lake, Utah, United States.
Please feel free to use this information any way you want, no attribution is necessary. Comment: This is a very generous offer. Thanks again to Gordon for figuring all this out and making it understandable. Please also reformat it any way possible to make it as understandable as possible. Most people I’ve discussed this with do catch on quickly to the concept of two different values and the reasons for them once it was explained. I really wish there were instructions that presented it clearly and were easily available to Family Tree users. On a very regular basis, the Family Tree feedback boards have two complaints:
Why won’t the children in this family appear in birth order? They are listed randomly! Why is your stupid program broken?
2) Why do I have to use a standard name? They are wrong! There was no (fill in place name of choice) in (fill in year of choice)!
If people could see right from the start how the data entry works, these would never be an issue.
Personally, I almost alway use the speed-entry date so I don’t have to worry about mis-spelling “May” and set the green value that way. Comment: The speed-entry date is a reference to the popup menu that appears with a standardized selection list. The exception is with some Norwegian parish records of the 1700’s where there is not a date to be found. All the christenings, weddings, and funerals were held on named Sundays and other feast days and recorded as such. I like being able to enter the date as it stands in the record, such as Dominica 4. Adventus, with my conversion in editorial square brackets so other people can immediately see the date as given in the record and evaluate for themselves if my conversion is correct.
I rarely use the speed-entry place name because currently I’m working with residences that are Norwegian farms. I include the farm name such as Tveit, Stord, Hordaland, Norway. There is no “standard” for that name. My choices for the green name are Tveit, Hordaland, Norway or Stord, Hordaland, Norway. I pick the second one for the green name so when the match routine searches for duplicates or other records, it sticks to the same parish. The trouble with the first, is that there are about thirty farms by the name of Tveit scattered around Hordaland so the match routine would be pulling up names from dozens of different parishes.
I am not a great fan of the term “standard,” as used in Family Tree as you can probably tell. There are people who have gotten the impression that “standard” means “most correct,” even when it obviously is not and have tossed out valuable displayed data, as you mentioned you could see as a problem. I really wish the programmers would replace “Standard Date” with my preference of “Sort Date” and “Standard Place” with something like “Search Term” or “Search Keyword.”
To summarize, there are two types of entries for both dates and places; standard (not an appropriate name) and display (what is seen by the user). In order for some of the Family Tree program functions to work, there must be a "standard" entry. But Gordon points out the importance of preserving the original source notation and therefore how to both use the standard place name or date, while at the same time preserve the real historical place name or date.
This solves the issue of the program showing children in right birth order. The dates have to be referenced to the Standard for this to happen.
This may seem complicated, but it solves a basic issue with Family Tree. You may want to help others understand how this works.