Tuesday, December 16, 2014

New NameClean Function in RootsMagic 7

One of the new features in RootsMagic 7 is called "DataClean" and is comprised of two separate functions;

*  NameClean finds and corrects many common problems in personal names in your file

*  PlaceClean finds and corrects many common problems in place names in your file

I want to address the NameClean function in this blog post.

Users can access the "DataClean" feature in the Tools menu:

Clicking on the "DataClean" item in the Tools menu list, the "DataClean" window opens:

The two functions, "NameClean" ad "PlaceClean" are shown.  If I want to do a "NameClean," I can only select "Everyone in file" at this time.

If I click on the "NameClean" link, the list of "cleaning" items appears:

The "NameClean" items include:

*  Names in all uppercase
*  Improper spacing
*  Improper punctuation
*  Descriptions instead of names
*  Misplaced prefixes
*  Alternate names inside a name
*  Improper capitalization
*  Invalid characters
*  Abbreviations
*  Misplace nicknames
*  Misplace suffixes
*  Only clean a person's primary name.

I checked all of the boxes on the screen above, and then clicked the "OK" button, and the program worked it's way through all of my names.  The "NameClear" window showed me the progress finding the names to be cleaned:

When the program stopped, it gave me a list of 773 names to be cleaned using the criteria noted above.  The list of names is alphabetical by surname, and I can select any of them one name at a time, or all of them by checking the small box at the top of the window.

With a name highlighted, the Original name (in pink) is shown on the left-hand side of the screen below the name list, and the Cleaned Name is shown on the right-hand side of the screen.  Below the pink and green areas are the Problems to Fix:

I clicked on the three names "_____ _____" in my database, and wanted to make then "unknown unknown".  In this case, I typed the word "unknown" into the fields.  The window looked like this - the "unknown" words were in the green area:

I clicked on the "Clean Checked Names" button at the bottom right, and saw:

The system told me that I now had 3 cleaned names.

Before I do more of this, I want to investigate what the program does for specific Name problems rather than check all of them and then have to fix something later.

For instance, I've noticed that for persons with only a first name and a middle initial, RootsMagic has put the middle initial in the Surname field (e.g., "Cynthia A" is "A, Cynthia" in the name index.  The NameClean function wants to name her "Cynthia A." with the A. in the Surname field.   I think my preference is to put the "A." in the "Given Names" field.  I can do this by editing the "Cleaned name" field on the screen above, or do it in the "Edit Person" screen.  I think I prefer to do it in the "Edit Person" screen.

I noticed that persons with a name like DeWitt or DeCamp when "cleaned" are now Dewitt and Decamp...I tend to go with the names as they are spelled in the records.

Another problem is with persons with the same surname marrying - the "DataClean" is to drop the wife's surname, even though it may be the same birth surname as her husband's.

By using the "check box" system in "NameClean," the user can make these decisions for him/herself.  I think that's wise!

The URL for this post is:  http://www.geneamusings.com/2014/12/nameclean-function-in-rootsmagic-7.html

Copyright (c) 2014, Randall J. Seaver


Devon Noel Lee said...

Thanks for walking through this feature. I can see where this can be helpful but should be reviewed on a case by case basis.

I'm interested in your review of the place clean. I have imported information from FamilySearch and Ancestry.com only to have the names have all sorts of variations. I'd like a faster way to clean up the place names but there are a few challenges I would love to see how they work out:

1. When a Cemetery name is listed in the place.

I like moving the cemetery out of the place it to the Place Details field in RootsMagic. I wonder how the situation is handled.

2. When a Place name changes over time (i.e. county and nation changes).

For instance, prior to 1776, places in New York were part of British America and I like my database to reflect that.

Another situation.... Ontario Canada has been in Canada West; Ontario; and Ontario, Canada, depending up on the year.

So I'd love to see how the Clean Place handles these situations.

Thanks for your efforts on our behalf.

Linda Schreiber said...

I have loved both name clean and place clean.

NameClean: As you run through, the reasons are always at the bottom, and can be reviewed or changed/ignored. I found that I could quickly run through the bulk of them, the all caps, missing spaces, etc, and leave unchecked the ones I wanted to look at more carefully for a later run-through. What would have taken a great many hours..., The bulk-simples were done in an hour, and then I could take time with the others, carefully. And set any exemptions and retain any personal preferences.

PlaceClean: Very much the same. The simples done quickly. Devon, in the cleaning process, you can cut-paste what should be place details out of place to details. Then you go to the Place List and, for me, there were about 35 blank lines at the top of the place list. These were place details I had moved out of places. I could click on each one and it gave the place details, and I could go in and fix the place.

Re historical place names... This is important. I understand their focus on current place names and geocoding, because future researchers want to be able to find the actual location of the site. But I also want to retain Rowan (later Davidson) County. and Wrentham, Suffolk (later Norfolk) in my db, let alone the more dramatic changes. Wish list: Alt names for places, linked with date ranges.....
In the meantime, I just leave those unchanged.