Genealogy Research: Taming The Monster

by JL Beeken on 7-22-2014

Legacy Family TreeCuz likes to do her genealogy research by subscribing to various paid databases all at once and then finding every possible shred she can on one person at a time. I tend to take the wide angle view instead.

Granted, my genealogy database is a bit excessive since I research the collateral lines as well, i.e. siblings of the direct lines and all their descendants. So, to date, it’s over 15,000 individuals.

I post 40 charts of all those lines at JGEN covering about 99% of my database minus the Living.

Generally I do a Focus Group search in Legacy and work on changes to one chart at a time taking note of how many changes I make so I don’t update online if there’s only 1 or 2 changes. I try to make at least 6-10 before I update the publication date and bother my subscribers.

This has been going on for quite a few years now. I’ve also done various focused searches on the whole database, such as missing marriage information or missing birth information or everyone without a gravestone photo or people marked Living who may no longer be with us.

This has led to a lot of research repetition. When there are that many people to search some of these searches get abandoned part way, I forget what I’m doing and start from the beginning again.

Getting a Grip on Repetitive Research

There’s an easier way to go about this I’ve decided. Probably the easiest way is to tag everyone I’m interested in looking for and then delete their tag after searching for them and move on to someone else.

At this point I’m only interested in finding birth, marriage, death and burial information. If I find something else, good. Sometimes a cousin shows up and offers more detail so I get sidetracked there for awhile. My main Cuz is off scanning box loads of photos and other documents (finally!) so I’m trying to stay out of her way doing my own thing.

First thing I did was a Search for anyone Not Living.

Tagging, Legacy Family Tree

And then I tagged all of them.

Then I did a Search for the In-laws so I could delete their tags. Nothing against the in-laws. Just not interested in focusing on them right now because there’s 2,500 of them. I can come back to them later in my spare (ha, ha) time.

Tagging, Legacy Family Tree

Under the Search options is Missing Information.

Missing Information, Legacy Family Tree

I ticked off the boxes I want and chose (bottom right) ‘Only ONE or more‘ meaning anyone with any of those fields missing, not all of them at once.

I tagged this search list with a different tag number. Then I did a search of the first tag number AND this tag and tagged that search list.

Research Tag, Legacy Family Tree

The final tag number doesn’t matter. In my case, it’s ‘6’. I came up with about 6,300 people who I need to search. In other words, about 80% of my peeps do not have a full complement of basic information.

After I’ve found new records and entered and sourced them I delete the tag for that person or couple. If I don’t find anything I still delete their tag so I don’t come back to them again.

I thought I could get through about 100 people a day since I’ve done this all before. Not the case. Searching only FamilySearch and Find A Grave using the Internet Search options I’m finding so many new records (and new people) maybe I can get through about 10-20/day so it’s going to take me over a year at this rate.

At which time it will be time to start all over again.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Jana Last 7-25-2014 at 1:11 PM

Hi,

I want to let you know that your blog post is listed in today’s Fab Finds post at http://janasgenealogyandfamilyhistory.blogspot.com/2014/07/follow-friday-fab-finds-for-july-25-2014.html

Have a wonderful weekend!

Reply

Steve S. 8-04-2014 at 12:10 PM

Another resource that has just “opened up” in a big way is genealogy books in ebook format.

Amazon recently introduced its Kindle Unlimited program, which allows you to borrow and read as many Kindle ebooks as you like, for $9.95 a month. I wonder if genealogists have grasped what a godsend KU may be. Here’s why:

In the genealogy section of the Kindle ebook store on Amazon, along with the how-to-climb-your-family-tree books, there’s a huge number of reference and raw-data collections, from histories of specific families to ships’ records, newspaper abstracts, etc. The problem with such books in the past has been that you didn’t know until after you purchased one (whether a print or a digital copy) if it contained information relevant to your own research.

With Kindle Unlimited, this pig-in-a-poke problem vanishes.

Here’s what you could do to further your research without gambling on books that may or may not have anything of use in them (to you). With a Kindle Unlimited subscription, you could borrow ten genealogy ebooks (the maximum allowed at one time). Then you could flip through them, or use your Kindle device’s search feature, to find any information of use to you. If you don’t find anything, then you can simply return them and borrow ten more.

I know that these days, there are tons of information for ancestor hunters available for free or for a subscription fee at the dedicated genealogy websites such as Ancestry.com.

But there’s still a lot of data locked up in various small-press books and books by individuals writing their own family’s story. Kindle Unlimited gives us genealogists a virtually cost-free way to unlock those books — at least the ones that have been committed to ebook format (and you might be surprised how many there are).

By the way, you don’t even need a Kindle device to read Kindle books. You can download a free Kindle reading app for your smartphone or laptop that will do the trick. (Also BTW, I do NOT work for Amazon.)

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JL Beeken 8-04-2014 at 2:40 PM

There goes any free time I thought I might gain by being more efficient with my research.

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