Wednesday, April 10, 2013

RootsMagic Database Source/Event Cleanup Complete!

Yes, you heard right. My source/event cleanup project that has been going on and off for about 3 years now is complete. I feel a huge burden lifted off my shoulders. Because I have an obsession with order, it made me anxious for the last three years to work in the database without everything being neat and organized. So I would go through spurts of doing cleanup and then stopping to do research and then getting tired of looking at the mess and starting where I left off with the cleanup again.

What was the main problem? Well, the main problem was that I started a database in Legacy 6.0 before the Evidence Explained based source templates were available. When Legacy made them available with Legacy 7.0, I started converting my sources to the proper templates. Then midway, I decided to switch to RootsMagic. Once I did the database conversion, the sources got all garbled again.

The other problem was that I did not like the way that I entered events in Legacy. I had multiple instances with one source each when I could have just had one event with multiple sources. I also added some new events that I had not been using, such as the "census" event.

While I was at it, I also updated a lot of info from new online sources, such as the city directories at Ancestry.com and the 1940 census.

Another problem was that I didn't have the source detail text entered with the source citation, so I added source detail text to each citation.

Now that I've fixed most of this stuff, I've just been doing minor cleanup with my digital files. I've reorganized some of them and changed a few file names. I find changing file names to be tedious, though, so I've just been doing one family at a time. I will probably only change the file names for my direct line ancestor documents. I've decided to start doing my filenames in the format Year LastName GivenNames Description. For example: 1928 Pemberton John P. Birth. This sorts my files by date order. Previously, I did not really have a standard file name format.

Now I need to start working on entering about 5-10 documents that I sporadically ordered from various vital records repositories and such while I was doing cleanup. I have them in a To Be Entered folder sitting on my nightstand.

I also need to attack my paper files and reorganize them. Currently, I have them organized by surname with no sub-folders, but I would like to create sub-folders for each married couple. I would like to get away from paper as much as possible, but I'm not 100% sure that I can part with everything. I definitely cannot part with old family documents. I have all my digital files backed up on Mozy and I have them synced with Dropbox, so I think they are pretty safe. I can probably part with documents that I've printed from microfilm and online once I make sure I have a digital copy.

Then I need to get back to research full-time. Not sure where I want to start. I know there are several records on the families I already have in my database that I need to order. I should probably start there. For instance, I have several citations from the "Michigan Death Index, 1971-1996 "at Ancestry.com, but we all know that an index is not a true source citation. It's just a clue of where to find the original source. I need to run a list of all people in my database with that source attached and determine who I need to order death records for. For some of the really distant cousins or collaterals, I will probably just leave the index as the citation for now.

Once I revisit everyone already in my database, I will probably start to focus on finding sources for another family line. The majority of people already in my database are from the Pemberton line, my mother's paternal line. It's so hard to pick which line to start with, though. I guess I could start with my great-great-grandparents and work each line in ahnentafel order.

So, the major cleanup project is done! What a relief! Now I just have a few minor projects to get on and then I can get back to real research! So excited!

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