Saturday, April 30, 2011

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun - "Problems" in your genealogy database

Hey genea-philes (that's Kathryn Doyle's Twitter/Facebook moniker), it's Saturday Night -- time for more Genealogy Fun!

Your mission, should you decide to accept it, is to:

1)  Open your genealogy software program (on your computer or online), and use the Help function to determine how to make a "Problem Report" or "Data Error Report" (or something similar).

2)  Create a "Problem Report" or "Data Error Report" in your software for the persons in your tree (either everyone in the tree, or for a selected number of generations of your ancestors. 

3)  Tell us what type of problems or errors that your report found.  Tell us how many errors were found.  Tell us what problem or error surprised you. 

4)  Tell us in a blog post of your own, a comment to this blog post, or a comment on Facebook.

Here's mine:

1)  I decided to use the "Problem Report" in RootsMagic 4.  I can find this by doing a Tools > Problem Search > Problem List from the main menu. 

2)  I left all of the problem definitions checked so I get a complete list.

3)  The Problem types in this report may include:

*  Individuals without sex entered  [57]
*  Proper order of events [61]
*  Birth before parent's marriage [128]
*  Birth before parent's birth [2]
*  Birth after father's death [31]
*  Birth after mother's death [8]
*  Age at death should be less than 100* [28]
*  Age at marriage should be between 14* and 70* [129]
*  Father's age should be between 14* and 70* [26]
*  Mother's age should be between 14* and 50* [50]
(Note:  ages with * can be adjusted)

I had over 11 pages (520) problems reported in my 39,700 person database.  I've added the number for each one on the list above in [brackets] above. 

There were some surprises - and therefore items that are real problems.  I found a father at age 131, and a mother at age 2.  Doing these lists one at a time was really helpful.  I can now save this list as an RTF file, set it up in a separate Window beside my RootsMagic tree, and fix the problems one at a time.  Where's my to-do list hiding?

4)  See the above!

I realize that doing this may not be a lot of FUN, but it is absolutely necessary to do once in awhile because I am not a perfect person when it comes to data entry. 

I hope that the responses provide a broad spectrum of software programs so we can all learn from the experiences of our colleagues. 

Can online family tree databases provide error or problem reports?  I don't know, and am interested in finding out.  If not, they should!


Caro said...

Thanks for the challenge, Randy. You can find my entry here:

Mel said...

Here is my post on the problem reports from my three databases. I've got alot of work to do!

Sara Greenleaf said...

Thanks Randy - this was a very useful exercise! My results here:

Elizabeth O'Neal said...

My error file is too big to post and gave me a headache just looking at it. My database is over 20 years old and has been through so many incarnations and has had so many other people's cr@p added to it that it's a mess. I'm starting over in RM.

Unknown said...

Randy was correct; it wasn't exactly fun, but it was necessary. My software doesn't generate the results in the same way, but I did check all the items in his list as best I could. Note that my software lumps all the date and age items into one rtf file called "Date Feasibility"
In 3289 entries, I have 89 persons with "sex unknown" and a 40% error in "Date Feasibility." I didn't understand "proper order of events."
I've saved my reports and will get to work on this.

Reba Mc said...

Thanks for the challenge - and for the work I look forward to undertaking. Most of my errors appear to be "marriage date missing." In my database of 5100 I have 60 pages of errors. I definitely have some work to do.