Keeping Parents Birthplace in Children's Records or Parent's Records?
This is offered for whatever it is worth. This procedure has resulted in info that has allowed me to find matches between people (and refute others) many times over the years. It is a real tragedy that the US census abandoned parents' birthplaces beginning in 1940, but that's just the way it is, I guess.
Ancestry seems to do a fairly good job of integrating parent info in various records (birth, marriage, death, etc) and merging that data to the parents. There are a few places where it breaks down. You should always check the original to see what additional info is given. Some originals give a birthplace that ancestry doesn't put into its transcription, and thus doesn't get merged. Also, sometimes the record only shows the father and not the mother, but the mother is, indeed, in the original record if you take a look.
However, there is one place where I prefer to keep the parents' info in the child's record. That is the parents' birthplace for the 1880-1930 US censuses.
I have found the parents' birthplace one of those key pieces of info that is very helpful. This info helps in identifying families that have moved, matching children who have moved away, adoptions and step relationships, etc.
If there are ten children and they are all in the 1880-1930 censuses, that would be 50 lines of records added to each parent's Person Tab. Whereas, one would only add 5 lines per child if the info is added (for both parents in one line/record) to each child.
Further, for those censuses, ancestry only "automatically" merges this info for only the inital parent chosen and sometimes the spouse. But doesn't merge the parents' birthplace info for the child in a merge.
So, I have used the following procedures when merging US censuses 1880-1930:
1) First, I look at the original record. I look to see that the birthplace and parents' birthplace of the spouse is the same as shown before (maybe two Mary's, but different info indicate two wives named Mary), different parents info for different children may indicate adopted or step children, and sometimes ancestry just makes a mistake, espcially with carrying a place carried erroneously down a page with quote marks.
2) When I merge, I disregard the birthplace to merge to the parents of the primary parent selected, and those of the spouse. (Often I don't even have parents for the spouse, which would mean ancestry would create a parent without a name.)
3) I have setup a custom fact for "Parents' Birthplace". I add this custom fact to the oldest child, both in one record: "MA MA" or "Maine MA" I use MA for Massachusetts and Maine for Maine because I always forget Maine's post office initials - ha.
4) I will then progress through parents and the rest of the children. If I have looked at the original and know the children have all used the same birthplaces, I can use the Copy and Paste Fact feature that was recently added to FTM. Select the Fact, Control-C, then Control-P will bring up a paste screen showing everyone in that family and I can paste "Parents' Birthplace: Maine MA" to all ten children in one operation.
BTW, if you haven't paid much attention to this factoid in the censuses before, you may wonder why do this over and over for the same child - won't they always show the same birthplace for their parents? The answer is NO, they won't. Information was often given by someone in the house, maybe the wife, maybe the head, maybe the oldest child, or grandma. It is the exception, rather than the rule, if the person actually shows the same birthplace for parents in censuses from 1880-1930.