Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Finding Bresee/Briese data in the WorldConnect database

My favorite "user-contributed" database is the Rootsweb WorldConnect database, which has almost 500 million names in it (some of which are duplicated by people with more than one database, or by several people submitting the same name in their database). This database also has the "Ancestry World Tree" entries in it. I prefer the Rootsweb presentation of the data to the AWT presentation - hands down!

There are lots of entries for:

Bresee - 1581
Bresie - 409
Bressie - 1117
Brissie - 140
Brusie - 437
Brussie - 25
Brazie - 441
Brazee - 1531

Bries - 1081
Briese - 882
Brees - 5522
Breese - 11470

Well, that's a lot! Too many. But many are after 1800 which I am not going to pay a lot of attention to at this point.

I went looking for the early settler names (from the Albany records - Hendrick and Anthony Bries and Christoffel Bresee/Brazie) and found many databases with several generations of descendants.

Many of these databases have the same name, date, place and spouse data. This is good from one point of view - they don't disagree. But how many of them copied data from another database? My experience is that the best user submitted databases have dates and places in them, indicating that the dates and places probably came from some reliable source record - town records, church records, Bible records, probate records, etc.

This type of data mining is dangerous without source record backups. However, I find that doing this to identify families that others have put together helps me relate corroborative data in other sources to these families.

As I identify the potential "best" databases on WorldConnect, I go to the earliest ancestor in the line and click the "Register" link at the top of the page to generate a genealogy report (up to 6 generations). I then click on "Printer friendly" to save the page to my computer files, and then print them out.

At this point, I'm going to start a Bresee/Bries database in FamilyTreeMaker and enter the families from the WorldConnect databases and use that as a basis for putting families together so that I can verify birth, marriage and death dates and places as I run across them in other sources.

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