Wednesday, July 11, 2012

52 Weeks of Abundant Genealogy Mistakes

Week 28: Mistakes. Genealogy research mistakes are wonderful learning experiences. They can be blessings when they show you how to improve your genealogy research. Which Week genealogy research mistake in your past has provided the most benefit to your present? How did you discover the mistake and what steps did you take to correct it? Sharing about these experiences will help others who are figuring out their own ancestral paths.

I agree you learn a lot from mistakes. Back before I started doing genealogy research on my family my sister decided we needed a family reunion. We contacted all the Hansen relatives we knew, and my Uncle Ralph had visited a bunch of the family and had some very old addresses for a bunch of Hansens we did not know. So we sent out a bunch of letters asking if anyone would be interested in a Hansen reunion. We got back a bunch of positive answers and one cousin sent some group sheets for the Hans Mikkelsen Family she had collected. All the sons were Hansen and five brothers came to Austin, Minnesota from Denmark. Four of the brothers never left Minnesota, but one had a wanderlust and moved first to Montana and finally to North Idaho close to where we now live in Spokane. The next batch of letters contained a copy of Hans Mikkelesen's group sheet and a couple of blank ones for each family to fill in and also make copies and forward to any other relatives. We asked to have the group sheets back by May so I could enter the information into a genealogy program and print out a book for the family reunion in July. Just as I was typing the information into the Enhanced Family Tree program we got a bunch more group sheets from a cousin. She had just got the letter, her husband was a minister and they had moved FIVE times since the address we got from Uncle Ralph and each church forwarded the letter so she finally got it.

Now for the mistakes, since the oldest person in the database was Hans Mikkelsen I entered him as number one in the Enhanced Family Tree program and proceeded  to enter the data from the 350 group sheets I got back. So can you guess what I did not know to do when I entered the data?? Sources, when we got the letters I just piled the group sheets in a pile and started typing, so while I got a lot of duplicates, I do not have a clue who sent which group sheet so the first 500 or so names in my database did not have a source. I have since added sources for many of them, but most are still unsourced. I should have entered me as number one in the file also. Now the third mistake, the Enhanced Family Tree did not have GEDCOM and soon it became evident that I needed a better genealogical program and so I found a program called Family Tree Journal a great DOS genealogical program and started retyping all the information I had entered into the Enhanced Family Tree program. A few months after I finished all the retyping a GEDCOM program was added to the Enhanced Family Tree program. So to summarize be sure any genealogical program has GEDCOM, enter yourself as number one in the database, and record your sources.

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