Sunday, March 22, 2009

Bragging Rights

In January I blogged about my resolution to clean up all of my genealogy files on the computer. Since I am a Mac and Reunion user I found some tips about doing this on the Mac Genealogist blog.  Ben Sayer does an excellent job of explaining things that the Reunion manual pretty much leaves unexplained in detail.  His video demonstrations can be played and replayed until it soaks in.  It was there I thoroughly learned how to create place lists and begin the clean up process.  

Beginning in January, with 20 large files, my goal was to finish them in six months, but satisfied if it took all year.  Do you enter information and think eventually you'll return to it and add a county or check the spelling?  Then you never do?  Yes, I'm guilty of that, too!  I used a variety of sources to determine the locations.  Because of county boundary changes, I had to consult books such as Redbook American State, County and Town Sources edited by Alice Eichholz and also Map Guide to the U.S. Federal Censuses 1790-1920 by Willam Thorndale and William Dollarhide.  

I also checked places through Google searching and maps.  Another helpful source was RootsWeb Town Search 1.0.  This is a quick way to determine the location of a town, city, village, but county boundaries and formations need to be checked.  

Once the places were cleaned up, I began checking the notes and unlinked people.  There were other odds and ends that I discovered.  I didn't always use Reunion, so some old data had been transferred wrong.  One thing I learned early on was not to merge somebody's data into mine. Even with match and merge features it can be a nightmare.  Their data entry may not match and then the work begins again to clean up the files.  

Overall it was a great learning experience.  The final tabulation ... I cleaned up data on 228,774 people and 44,774 places.  Whew!  Now I can move on to another project.  However, looking back at the time spent on this, I resolve to always take the time to do it right when I enter information into my genealogy files.  

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