Friday, July 26, 2013

Follow-Up Friday - Interesting and Helpful Reader Comments for 26 July 2013

It's Friday, time to follow-up on interesting and helpful reader comments to Genea-Musings blog posts.  Here's this week's selections:

1)  On Have You Posted Your Genealogy Research on the Internet? I Practice PMGDOE! (posted 18 July 2013):

*  Christine Manczuk noted:  "Yes, I have my tree on Ancestry (public) and I have started blogging about my direct ancestors by writing up their lives in story/timeline fashion. I try to put as much value into my work so as to pay forward and back to all the other researchers out there. I'm not the only one related to my ancestors! LOL And I have already received so much help from cousins and other interested parties, it makes it all worth it."

*  T said:  "Isn't FamilySearch Family Tree the one anyone can edit? 

"I also have my tree "out there" because I don't want the information to be lost. I have mine on so that only I or the people who have my permission can edit it. I WANT my tree to be found. When I started it was such a mess to sort people I wouldn't wish that on anyone. As long as they had the same first OR last name, they were made the same family. I got the clues I needed from two online trees. It required a lot of reading but I did find it.

"Of course I still have brick walls. I've connected with others looking for the same people. I'm sure if one of us solves any of those mysteries we will be sharing with each other so that we have someone to do the happy dance with."

My comment:  Yes, FamilySearch Family Tree is available for anyone to add, edit or delete content.  The goal is to be open for all, concentrate on sources supporting conclusions, and discussions to resolve issues.

Two other comments were made, which I included in PMGDOE - Different Views About Posting Genealogy Research Online (posted 22 July 2013).

*  The Genetic Genealogist commented:  "My two cents:

"1. Even the BEST genealogical research almost certainly contains errors - not in research or analysis, but in the inherent errors associated with human memory, transcription, etc.

"2. There has NEVER been a genealogist who did his or her research alone; all research has relied on the hard work of others (indexers, transcribers, family members, etc.)"

My comment:  I agree with both of these in general.  I would say that some of the mid-1800s genealogists did their research alone, or with little collaboration, digging in the original town and county records.

*  Linda Schrieber noted:  "I do understand the problems early and now, but I strongly agree with PMGDOE. Better to have many versions out there, some with smaller errors, and some with a mish-mash of copy-paste, than to have only the mish-mash. If the careful researchers hold back, then there is nothing but the mish-mash. No sources, no references or repositories, and lots of lost photos, notes, and memories.

"Future researchers will have a lot more experience, and probably *tools* to help them parse out one from the other, and head them forward.  Gotta trust them...."

*  Barbara McGeachy offered:  "1. I am saving some of my research to share after (if!) I get certified. BCG certification requires that no one has reviewed the work being submitted. I don't want to compromise my application.

"2. I share my research that is straight-forward, and I share the photos I inherited. I have public trees on Ancestry, and a blog where I share my photos and some stories. I attach records I find in Ancestry to my ancestors. Sometimes it takes a while to find a record, and I'm glad if I can help other people. Also, I love photos and I think it's only fair to share the photos I have too. 

"3. I struggle with unsavory history. I am not going to hide it, but I also don't want to hurt living people. Publishing it on the internet would be too public.

"4. I do not put any of my writing on-line. I publish books and give them to family members and libraries. This is because the World Wide Web is really the Wild Wild West! Some people are unscrupulous and steal other people's work. Writing and research are hard work, and I don't want to give thieves an easy opportunity to steal my work. Of course, they could find my books and type them up, but my theory is that thieves are generally too lazy to do that!

"I think if I get to the point where I'm retired from genealogy, I might publish on-line, but I'm not at that point yet."

My comment:  Barbara has two excellent reasons in her list - not writing about your work that you might submit for BCG certification (although an online family tree without notes provided is probably not a problem).  Unsavory history that might harm a living person is certainly an issue to avoid.

*  Tolley Family Historian commented:  "I too have had experiences of someone taking my incomplete data and putting it on-line (before I ever did) with a mish mash of other things. BUT that doesn't affect the quality of MY research. And as that particular gleaner didn't cite me as a source (they seldom do) I don't actually care very much. Putting my own data on-line has actually been a god-send. I have linked up with people who I'm related to, who had really important and novel information, and who put right some of the incorrect assumptions that I'd made. Empowerment only ever comes from sharing data and communicating with others."

*  Anonymous said:  "Online trees (almost always sourceless) often provide clues that lead me to real sources. An un-sourced name is often enough to allow a breakthrough."

*  Colleen G. Brown Pasquale noted:  "I only look at information that has sources. Then I go to those sources & verify the information. Like you, I use that as a starting point to uncover more sources to verify & add to the original information."

*  Anonymous (Dave L.) offered:  "As far as how you evaluate the online trees, I'd say you're on the right track. They're not inherently evil, nor are they inherently trustworthy. Online trees need to be evaluated just like any other source.

"As far as how much you include in your own tree, that's entirely your call, depending on what your goal is. Some people are interested only in the direct line ancestry and begrudgingly include parallel families only because they are a research aid. I'm pretty much at the opposite extreme, as I'm fascinated by the concept of how we're all related to each other -- thus, I'm building my family forest (admittedly, though, with an emphasis on my tree and its immediate neighbors). There's no right or wrong answer to this part of the question."

*  T said:  "I'm doing it the same as the rest of you. For whatever reason, there doesn't seem to be any interest in any of my family for any genealogy. I think everything I've found before 1800 was in a book sometimes leading to a document that I had to buy. I have connected with 3 family members who are tracing other siblings of my parents or grandparents. Other than that, zilch. Nothing. No other trees on Ancestry and the ones on FamilySearch are the hodge-podge of misinformation I've quoted here before. So we collaborate and get our trees to agree. It produces a few happy dances and a lot of bloody foreheads. With so little research and cited relationships it's slow going. My brick walls have all boiled down to deaths that are not recorded. It amazes me that one spouse can be traced to the Mayflower and the other dropped out of a space ship in 1800. I'm afraid I'll grit my teeth so hard I crack a tooth one of these days!"

4)  On Using the Correspondence List in RootsMagic (posted 24 July 2013):

*  Shannon Thomas commented:  "I am a Legacy user and in the to-do list you can put an item in and mark it as correspondence but I prefer to use Evernote to keep track of email from different people. I create a new note for each email and tag with surname and any other necessary tags."

*  Mitch Clendenning noted:  "I had not noticed the correspondence list before. Thanks for the heads up! I entered a few emails, and found it best to enter all the emails in a thread into a single entry, separating the email bodies with a date heading.


My comment:  I like that better than doing a separate item for each "Sent" and "Received." 

*  Lisa offered:  "I use the correspondence list but very sparingly because it has not been developed enough for me to be useful. For instance, I would like to be able to link the correspondence to an individual, or a family (or, but this is pushing it a bit far, to a task, or even a research plan) and then be able to look up the correspondence from there.  And, as you say, the ability to add an attachment would be the icing on the cake.  Meanwhile RootsMagic continues to be the best genealogy software ever!"

*  McElrea ONS said:  "Thanks for this topic, Randy. I am a new RM user and this is new to me. Like you, I had trouble over the years and finally started saving my emails as .txt files. They are listed under the surname, then the researcher and are read and shared easily with that format. I agree there needs to be more to this tool, especially linking to an existing subject in the file."

*  Laura noted:  "Instead of the Correspondence list, I am using the Research log to enter emails and other correspondence in RootsMagic. The Research log is much more flexible than the Correspondence list. I can link the research log to a person or have all the Correspondence in one Research log. And I like being able to sort the Research log, Research items by a column and choose which column to sort on when printing.  There are various ways to set up what to enter in the Research item fields.

"I put a setup note in the Research log objective box which explains which box to enter what information in a Research item item as a reminder."

My comments:  Thank you for the suggestions.  I will try the Research Log suggestion and see how that works for me.  I need to see if the Research Log gets exported in a GEDCOM and imported by the other programs.  I'd hate to lose all of that useful information if I change genealogy programs.

Another thing I thought of was to create an item in Evernote for each correspondent, headed by surname, writer and subject and put all email items in a thread in one note, plus any attachments.  

5)  That's it for this week - thank you to all of the Genea-Musings readers who valiantly sally forth and defeat the dreaded Captcha security system which keeps almost all of the spam comments out of my Blogger system!

Copyright (c) 2013, Randall J. Seaver

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