Data Entry Requirements for Merriam Family Tree


1. Birth Name (including middle names, if known)
2. Birth Name of Father
3. Birth Name of Mother


Date of Birth
Place of Birth (city, county, state or province, country)
Date of Death
Place of Death
Date of Burial
Place of Burial
Spouse's Birth Name
Date of Marriage
Place of Marriage
Spouse's Parents (optional)***
Multiple Marriages - Be sure children are placed under the correct set of parents

NICKNAMES OR AKAs - (Also Known As Names):

Nicknames are placed in the special nickname field on TNG. If transferring from a GEDCOM file, most desktop genealogy programs contain a special field for alternate names. In genealogy, a person's birth name is used for the official name record, so please do not use nicknames or AKAs in the main birth name field.


Divorce Information
Brief Biographical Notes
Cause of Death
Cemetery Where Buried


The genealogy record has sections for notes, as follows:

(1) General
(2) Name
(3) Birth
(4) Death
(5) Burial
(6) Marriage or Other Events

In general, you will want to keep notes brief that are a part of the genealogy record because those notes will automatically display whenever a user is viewing an individual's record. Longer information about historical events can be placed in the media section (see below), and linked to one or more persons.

You are encouraged to use brief notes where they apply. For example, the cemetery in which a person is buried goes in the BURIAL PLACE NOTE FIELD, not in the BURIAL PLACE FIELD which contains the city. A note about a marriage being held at a certain church goes in the MARRIAGE NOTE FIELD, not in the date or marriage place field. A note about the person's occupation goes in the GENERAL NOTE FIELD. Get the idea?


The website has sections for media, as follows:

(1) Photos
(2) Histories
(3) Documents
(4) Videos
(5) Recordings
(6) Albums
(7) Cemeteries
(8) Headstones (also called gravestones or tombstones)

All media that is placed on the website may be linked to one or more persons or families. This means that when a user looks up a person, he/she will see a link that can be clicked on to provide more details, such a biographical history of the person, etc.


Genealogy databases should include appropriate sources. Similar to the NOTE fields, each piece of information will have an area in which a source can be cited, as follows:

(1) General
(2) Name
(3) Birth
(4) Death
(5) Burial
(6) Marriage or Other Events

It is not expected that you cite every single piece of information with a source. You may just enter the initial source information under the GENERAL source heading only. Then later on, as additional sources are found, source information can be entered under Birth, Death, Marriage, etc., as appropriate, especially if there are differences between sources.

If you are entering information for which you have first-hand knowledge, you should enter yourself as a source. There are many examples on the website in which data was received through the personal knowledge of individuals. Once you set up a new source, you should use that same source over and over whenever it applies. There are extra fields to add the source details, such as page numbers, person numbers listed in the Pope book, etc.

Many other sources are already set up on the TNG website, including research originally provided by or given to Kit Cutting of the former Merriam Family Papers website. The Pope book, Merriam Genealogy in England and America, should be cited whenever the person you are adding is shown in the Pope book.


In compiling your information, it will likely be necessary to include parents who are already included on the website, otherwise we will not know how to connect your persons to the main SEQUOIA tree. Therefore, if you have a person on a GEDCOM who is already on our website, please flag those persons by putting an asterisk (*) in their last names. An example follows:

MERYHAM*, William

Also please note that the website is set up to put surnames (last names) in ALL CAPS. So, you do not have to take the extra time and effort to do so, when inputting your information on a desktop program. The TNG system will automatically place the surnames in ALL CAPS when the GEDCOM is imported into our website.

We do not use periods (.) for abbreviations, as a general rule. It has become customary and acceptable in computer databases to omit periods, so please omit those periods in names and places. You may include periods in abbreviations in NOTES, if you wish.


MD not M.D.
Dr not Dr.
MERRIAM, William B not MERRIAM, William B.
St Peter's Church not St. Peter's Church
St Peter's Church not Saint Peter's Church (because St has become standard practice)


It is the policy of Merriam Family Tree not to publish any details about LIVING PERSONS, except for their names only. All other details will be withheld automatically by the TNG software. In order to accomplish this, you must click in the box next to the LIVING designation to make sure a checkmark appears there. Most desktop genealogy programs will have a checkmark to indicate if a person is living.

In addition, it is the policy of MFT to not publish the names of living children who are under the age of 18. So, there are a few additional steps to follow for children, as follows:

1. Make sure to put a checkmark next to the LIVING designation.
2. Type in the first name as Private.
3. Go ahead and input the last name as normal.
4. Under the BIRTH note field, indicate what the actual first name is and click in the PRIVATE box to add a checkmark there, thereby making this note only visible to yourself and the administrators.

When these children turn 18, then MFT will go ahead and put their actual first names on our database.


Just email the administrators at or click on the Contact Us icon on the home page of the website. Thank you for your help!

Kit Cutting, Administrator-Genealogist
Jerry Boor, Web Technician
Steve Merriam, Media Editor
This update: January 2011