On This Page


The Parent Collection property of a collection indicates the current collection inherits templates from the given parent collection. This effectively shares the templates of the parent collection with the current collection.

Use a parent collection when one or more collections are very similar, such as a set of census collections. Choose one of the collections as a parent for all the others. In the parent collection, add all the templates you want to use with all the collections in the set. In each of the other collections in the set, you may specify templates that require customization for the specific collection.

When a collection has a Parent Collection, ORA merges the templates from the current collection with the templates from the Parent Collection before creating the contents of the OraPanel.

When merging the templates:

  • ORA starts with an empty list of templates.
  • ORA adds all the templates of the Parent Collection to the list.
  • ORA adds the templates of the current collection to the list. If one of the current collection's templates has the same name as a Parent Collection template, ORA uses the current collection's template to replace the Parent Collection's template. The template remains in the sequence defined by the Parent Collection.


Choose Parent... Button

Parent Collection Property before choosing a parent collection

The [Choose Parent...] button opens the Choose Parent Collection panel where you choose the parent collection.

Choose Parent Collection Panel

Choose a Service and Collection in the Choose Parent Collection panel and click the [Select] button.

The Collection pull-down menu includes collections from the given Service that are not child collections and have at least one template.

If you want to remove an existing Parent Collection setting, click the [Reset] button.

The [Close] button closes the dialog panel without making any changes.

After you have assigned at least one collection as a Parent Collection, the Choose Parent Collection panel will include a pull-down menu of all the collections you have chosen as a Parent Collection.

Choose Parent Collection Panel with existing parents

You may choose a collection from the "Existing Parents" pull-down menu. This makes it easier to find a Parent Collection you are using as a parent.


A child collection should not be the parent of another collection. ORA attempts to prevent that arrangement, but there are ways to circumvent it. Don't shoot yourself in the foot: don't assign a parent to a collection that is already the parent of another collection.

Parent Collection Information

After you choose a parent collection, ORA adds information about the parent to the OraSettings page:

  • The name of the parent collection appears to the right of the [Choose Parent...] button.

  • The parent collection templates appear as buttons under the [Choose Parent...] button and collection name.
Parent Collection Property after choosing a parent collection

In the screenshot above, the name of the parent collection is "1940 United States Federal Census". The collection name is a link. Clicking the link will change the current collection to the parent collection. The link is provided as a convenience so you can quickly navigate to the parent collection to review or edit its templates.

The [Tn] and [An] buttons are for testing parent collection templates using the Fields of the current collection. The [Tn] buttons are for Text Templates and the [An] buttons are for Auto Type templates. Hovering your mouse over a button will reveal the template's heading or reminder as a tooltip. Clicking one of the [Tn] or [An] buttons opens the Template Tester panel. That is the same panel that opens via the [Test...] buttons in the Text Templates and Auto Type Templates sections.

Using the [Tn] and [An] buttons, you can both test a template and see its text.


In this example, the "1940 United States Federal Census" collection is the parent of the "1950 United States Federal Census" collection.

Parent Collection Example

As shown above for the [T3] button, hovering over one of the Parent Collection template buttons reveals a tooltip with the template’s heading (for Text Templates) or reminder (for Auto Type Templates).

The 1940 collection has six Text Templates (T1 - T6) and five Auto Type Templates (A1 - A5). The 1950 collection has one Text Template and one Auto Type Template.

The 1950 collection's "House Number" Text Template will replace the 1940 Text Template of the same name.

The 1950 collection's "TMG Census" Auto Type Template will replace the 1940 Auto Type Template of the same name. The 1940 Auto Type Template is [A4]. Its name is not visible in the screenshot.

The OraPanel for a 1950 census record will include the results of ORA merging the templates.

OraPanel showing merged template results