Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Putting it all together - finally!

Until yesterday, I had many different genealogy databases that I started with the best of intentions - my "master" ancestral database, my wife's ancestral database, and several one-name study databases that I had developed over the past 20 years.

I decided to put all of my ancestral genealogy databases, including the one-name studies, into one larger database that I can work with in every genealogy software package or online family tree website that I submit it to.

My goals were:

* to eliminate as much duplication as possible, since I had some persons in two or more databases. For instance, my Seaver line was in my Ancestral database and my Seaver database.

* be able to improve my source citations, coordinate my notes, and upload my images to one tree rather than several.

* exceed the capabilities of the Generation Maps chart printer (just kidding!).

Before I started, my different genealogy databases had:

* Ancestral database - 20,873 persons
* My wife's ancestral database - 2,139 persons (I had merged this one previously into the Ancestral database)
* My Seaver surname database - 10,510 persons
* My Richmond surname database - 845 persons
* My Vaux surname database - 2,728 persons
* My Dill surname database - 1,816 persons
* My Buck surname database - 908 persons

Now all of those persons are in my "Randy Seaver's Genealogy" database with 38,409 persons in it. I really didn't have many duplicates, did I?

I used Family Tree Maker 16 for my merging process, since I had an FTM file for each of the databases. The process is relatively simple:

1) I created a new, "Randy Seaver's Genealogy" data file by copying my Ancestral file. I kept this one open so that the others could be added into it.

2) To add each additional database, Go to File > Append/Merge

3) Pick the file to be appended/merged from the file folder where they reside

4) The Individuals to Include list appears, and I clicked the >> button to pick everyone, but then I moved persons out of the picked list if I knew that they were in my target database already. This included all of my ancestors and their siblings and spouses.

5) The exact match persons were identified - this took a long time to generate for the bigger databases.

6) A list of Likely Match persons was generated. I just accepted all of them because there were too many to go through one at a time. I will have to sort out the details later.

7) A list of non-matching persons come up - I accepted these without question. These can be accepted 250 at a time in FTM 16.

8) Go to Step 2) and repeat until finished.

When I was done, I had a larger database with some duplicate persons, especially as spouses of my direct line ancestors. I had to go through and merge them two persons at a time. There were also a lot of duplicate facts in the exact and likely matched persons - these need to be weeded out one-by-one.

When I was done, I realized that now I have to have the discipline to only make changes in my "Randy Seaver's Genealogy" database and in no other. I'm going to isolate the "parent" databases in a sub-directory so that I, or my heirs, aren't tempted to work in them. Out of sight, out of mind, I say! I do need to collect all of my client databases in one place too, but I'm going to leave them in separate files.

This process took me more than five hours yesterday to complete, and I worked in the new database today. When I get it "weeded," I will make a GEDCOM of it and load it into FTM 2009, RootsMagic 4, and Legacy 7, plus upload it to the online family tree sites.

Eventually, I will add photographs and record images to the database in one of the newer programs and make that newer program my "Preferred Software." I'm not ready to make that decision now.

Busy hands and minds sure make the time fly! I hardly had any time for blogging? Or checking out GenealogyWise or anything else.


bgwiehle said...

Randy - Include a Master Source review early in your merging process - you may have used slightly different names in different databases to identify the same source. Also there may be sources in the source list without citations which can be deleted.

Family Curator said...

Randy, that is an impressive genealogy day. I'm just curious, have you timed a back-up for this new database?

Well done!

Janet Hovorka said...

Sounds like a challenge Randy. We'd love to give it a try ;-)