For a while now, I have been wanting to cleanup my research database. Maybe not quite as drastic as a “do-over,” but definitely the case to clean up some of work that doesn’t meet the standard of scholarly research.
I have taken some time over the Christmas holidays to formalize my thought process and codify a workflow.
Tools being used
Here’s a list of what resources are being used:
RootsMagic is my preferred database software. It has hooks into the three websites that I have been using for research, in that it will provide hints to each of those websites. So, as new records become available at each of those sites, it will let me know. It will also house the “completed” research and will be the origin of any of my published research.
GenSmarts also is integrated into RootsMagic for research suggestions, both online and offline. If run outside of RootsMagic it can also provide suggestions for research in areas that it sees that I need more work.
Evidentia is a tool that I have had for awhile, but never really made use of. It is now the space where I do my evidence analysis. It took me a little bit to get comfortable with. But, now, after spending sometime with it, I can catalog source information pretty quickly.
Let me now explain how I plan to go about this.
Since I am wanting to review each family included in my files, the logical place to start is to create the initial list of families. Thankfully, RootsMagic allows me to create a list of marriages. I generated this list and copied it into Evernote. From there I added a couple of columns to show status information for each marriage I currently have in my file.
Unsurprisingly, I start with family #1 and will perform the following steps for each individual listed on the family group sheet for each family.
Review WebHints for each individual for new sources
I just check each of the WebHints that RootsMagic provides to review any pending WebHints from each of the websites provided. I maintain subscriptions with Ancestry.com and MyHeritage.com so I am able to review any of the suggestions they have provided.
If there are pending WebHints, I will enter them into Evidentia, cataloging all claims that each hint provides. I
(For the first time through the list of families, I am entering all confirmed WebHints into Evidentia as well.)
Review research in Evidentia
Now that I should have everything for a given individual in Evidentia updated, I review and analyze each claim on a given event. If I am confident that I have met the conditions of the Genealogical Proof Standard, I write a conclusion based on the evidence provided.
Update RootsMagic with new information
One of the nice things about Evidentia is that I can export a GEDCOM file containing the results I my evidence analysis for a given individual. So, I don’t have to type this information over again.
After importing the new GEDCOM, I check to see whether or not any duplicate individuals have been created. If so, I merge those ancestors together.
Update To-Do Lists
If any of the found information closes out a task on my existing To-Do List, I take care of that.
I also take the time to add to my To-Do Lists any new research suggestions from GenSmarts. These will be the focus the next time through the family list.
I am leaning towards using GenSmarts directly to be my To-Do list, as well as be a research log. I will cross that bridge when I complete the initial cleanup.
Update Online Trees
Now that I have “sound” research to publish, I will update accordingly each of the three places where I have my data published, Ancestry, FamilySearch, and MyHeritage.
Rinse and repeat.
In closing, I hope that my brief thoughts above about a process will help you to think a little differently about your research processes. We each have to find out what works for us. I think I have found one that works for me….for now.
Please let me know you think about this process. I love to hear some feedback or suggestions on ways to improve this. Feel free to comment below.