Tuesday, October 2, 2012

EMBARRASSMENT... File Details to Fix!

I believed I only had a few details to fix on my family tree.  A few non-standard place names.  A bit of confusion about whether that town was in Staffordshire or Worcestershire in that particular year or decade.  And when was that state formed?  A bit of research to do.

But a day or so ago, after checking out Randy Seaver's details of how to make a Place List Report for a specific town, I realized I have a large number - so very many - errors, omissions, and misplaced family or individual Notes standing in for "Place" in my database.  Awful.  Totally embarrassing.  A bit overwhelming as well, when I realized the scope of my accumulated errors.

Some of my family tree individuals came from a first cousin of mine who was amazingly helpful when I was just beginning to start researching.  In fact, I found him after posting a message on a surname board - and there he was, almost the next day!  He was very thorough with his database details, but he was using a different program.  And when I eventually saved it all over to my new program, there were a few quirky errors and misplacements etc.  I never fixed them.  Not at all.  I decided I'd get to them when I had more time after I retired.  That was over 4 years ago and one total knee replacement surgery plus 2 home moves ago.  No more excuses.  I certainly have time now.

It seems that some of my notes - a sentence or two about the individual or family - are added into the Place line.  In fact, I suspect I may have deliberately typed those specific notes into Place, not thinking about how that section could be used for research purposes in future.  As you can imagine, I have Event Places very erratically written:  sometimes city, with or without county, sometimes with word County or abbreviation Co. or co., with or without state or province or shire occasionally abbreviated, with or without country in full or abbreviated or not.  Can you see 12 ways to write a Place for an Event?   Sigh.  Often with a little add-on:  "see bro. next door", or with "2nd wife, all wives' kids" ... Little notes to myself for a quick see-it-at-a-glance research note.  Of course, I never used Research Notes.  In the beginning I'm not certain that I even knew about Research Notes or logs in the software - I just put bits of info here and there so I wouldn't lose it!

That was then.  This is now.  And WOW, do I have lots of cleanup to do in my tree.  Ohmygoodness!  Very pink cheeks here.

I've begun to go through my family tree, checking and standardizing the Place for each detail/fact/event for Me, Mother, Father, Father's Mother, Father's Mother, Mother's Father, Mother's Mother, and a few more.  Already I see three errors for Place:  one for birth place, one for death place, one for burial place.  Back to those documents and check things out more thoroughly.  I'm going to go through my direct line first, not collaterals at the same time.  That feels totally overwhelming, so I've decided to go one direct ancestor at a time, step by step by step by step by ... You get the picture.

I had no idea my input was so sloppy or non-standard.  The ones I've put in over the past few years are not-quite-perfect, which is very encouraging.  Whew - I did learn how to do that properly - very reassuring to see.    But most of the early individuals are quite mixed.  Some are great, others are awful.  The information is all there, but needs to be using a standardized format, and the Notes need to be cut/pasted into their correct section.  It doesn't take long at all, thank heavens.  Only takes sharp eyes, a sharp mind, and time.  

Thanks Randy for your clear details on how to do a specific research report - which brought up this very important problem for me.  I'm determined to have my tree looking more professional and detailed so any of my kids, grandkids, and cousins can look things up and always know what they are seeing is correct.


Jenna said...

Oh gosh, good luck to you Celia. Me...I'm afraid to even look at my data!! *shame* Which is very interesting because I am very data-oriented at work and deal with so much data each day. I guess I'm sick of data??? :)

Celia Lewis said...

Thanks for commenting, Jenna - I was totally shocked at the state of my event details re Place. Double-sigh. Oh well, another project to do this winter, starting now!


Family, friends, and others - I hope you enjoy these pages about our ancestors and their lives. Genealogy has become somewhat of an obsession, more than a hobby, and definitely a wonderful mystery to dig into and discover. Enjoy my writing, and contact me at celia.winky at gmail dot com if you have anything to add to the stories. ... Celia Lewis