At the core of cleaning up the database is Legacy’s indispensable Search function.
Things that are questionable or confused but may straighten out someday I put under Research Notes in the meantime. If they don’t fit in there they’ve already gone into a Windows folder called Queries which I may get back to at some future date. Or not. In other words, the long winding road on the way to the Trash.
When the clutter is screaming at me and I have time, (a tricky convergence) I do a Search on Research Notes containing ‘e’. In other words, any Research Notes that contain anything. Then I click through them in the Name List tidying up as I go. If nothing else, it refreshes my view of just how far behind I am.
Here’s something that will give you an idea how organized or disorganized you are with your Sources. Go to Master Sources and highlight the whole list. Then click Show List. This will give you a list of everyone with a source. Then tag that entire list. Say you Tag on ’1′. Then go to Search and search for Individuals untagged on ’1′. That will tell you how many people in your database have no Sources whatsoever. This will make you feel encouraged or totally overwhelmed.
This will not tell you un-sourced events for people who have some of their events sourced, only people who have no sources at all. Either way it doesn’t tell you anything about the quality of your sources. That’s another day.
Sometimes I like to break it down into bite-size pieces. I keep my census records listed individually by year and place. Rather than just saying US Federal Census, it will say ’1880 US Federal Census – Sandusky, Erie Co., OH’ for instance, and the same for each different place. So, it’s possible to highlight all the 1880 censuses and do similar as above to find out who is not sourced by the 1880 census.
For the search I’ll also use two other search boxes, ‘Individual born before 1880′ and ‘Individual died after 1880′. In other words, people who should be in the 1880 census. And then repeat for all the other years. At the rate I’m going I’ll still be working on this next Spring when my Ancestry subscription expires. (And they’re counting on it.)
Under ‘Miscellaneous Searches’ you can choose a focus group, in other words, a particular family line to focus on. It can be more satisfying to work on one line at a time, rather than skipping around and diluting your efforts.
There’s 9 tags so you can mix and match endlessly.
Another thing that works is to make a Descendants book report for a family, any family and then skim through. Errors will glare at you from the page.
If I die before I’m ‘done’ I’ve already left the whole mess to a cousin in my Will.