Monday, January 30, 2012

Reviewing my database

I've been busy sorting out my electronic files, and putting them into the correct folders, continuing on from my last post.

Next objective is to use these records and review each against the information input into my genealogical database. I use LeisterPro's Reunion for Mac.

I've only just started, and I can see what a big job its going to be going through the whole lot (800 names). I made some classic beginner's mistakes in the early days.

One was merging other researchers information into my own file, without first ensuring it was consistent with my own. For example, these contributors had a variety of ways of citing sources:- from the very vague, to the very exact. Some had chosen to use "free form" citation sources rather than set field ones.

Also, the other researchers that contributed appear to have also used free-form citations. Ben Sayer from the MacGenealogist explains the dangers of using free-form here GenealogyTools.

I had also been a bit haphazard with my citations in the early days. Improving as I went along, but not stopping to go back to rectify anything until now. Having further appreciated the importance of citations, due to my academic work towards a library degree, I realise the importance now of correctly citing sources to confirm the value of your research.

Source citation is a huge area of contention by some in the genealogy field. I don't want to debate it here, other than to say that I feel that citing sources is hugely desirable, however any research done is better than none at all. Some don't treat their research as seriously as I now do (or realise the significance), and I can respect that. However, I would treat any research without reliably cited sources in the same way I as I do anecdotal information. A useful starting point, but I'd verify every "fact" along the way.

One load of records I had never input was Census records.  Looking at the field types available in Reunion for Census source citations, I can see why. None of the fields appear to match up with the ones you'd need to accurately cite the Census record.

Ben Sayer has another video clip which explains how to move all your sources safely from free-form to field defined. Which looks great and easy to use, if a bit time-consuming. However, the one video I need to see is the one that which he explains how to convert the existing fields in the Census source to user friendly ones that we require. You have to have membership to watch this video, and at the moment I don't have this.

However, reading the reviews on his site, make me wonder if I should convert to Family Tree Maker for Mac 2 instead? If I were to do it, now would be a good time. Or shall I wait and see if a Reunion 10 comes out soon?

Do you use a Mac? What software do you use? Have you had my experience with Reunion?

Anyway, I have a lot more work to do, and a decision to make before I can progress any further.

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