Why Do-Over?

Have you ever wondered why genealogists might throw out years of work to start over? Or, have you wondered why other genealogists might elect to go back thru their previous work versus trying to break down brick walls?

A couple of genealogy blogs that I follow have pointed out some reasons for undertaking such a process.

In Jacqi Stevens post, Broyles Roots: If You Know, You Know on her A Family Tapestry blog, my (distant) cousin talks about her goal to update her research of Adam Broyles. She points out how the The Broyles Family by Arthur Leslie Keith provided a starting point for her BROYLES research but that she has not depended on it. Instead, she has been carefully working her way thru the generations. Not only are records more readily available now but DNA results can also help document these generational connections.

In Linda Stufflebeam’s recent Saturday Night Genealogy Fun post on her Empty Branches on the Family Tree blog, she discusses one of her 2023 goals which also requires ‘going over’. This goal is to ‘clean up her source citations’. While I know that this should be one of my goals, I have been reluctant to name it as a goal due to the size of such a project. Thus, I wish her luck!

Since one of my goals involves adding/updating biographies for my ancestral line to WikiTree, I’m also going back thru my research. When I created a narrative report for my grandparents, Edward Osmund Briles [LWYR-98X] and Pauline Mentzer [LWYR-9DX], I discovered an excellent example of why I need to pursue this process. With the availability of newspapers and census records in Kansas, I not only have a lot of facts for my grandparents but also an abundance of sources. This report revealed the following types of issues that need ‘cleaned’ up before copying the information to WikiTree.

  • Place abbreviations — Since I use standard place names, the report prints ‘United States’ for every fact which gets monotonous. By adding an abbreviation to the place, I can cause the report to print Coffey County, Kansas instead of Coffey, Kansas United States. Updating this is a two step process:
    • Adding abbreviation to place
    • Making sure the sentence uses the abbreviation for the place
  • Sentences –
    • extra space between words – “He owned” or missing space “In 1954,he”
    • too many words – “he was a ran a threshing”
    • missing information – “In Jun 1922, he .”
  • Facts that could be combined
  • Citations
    • Two or more citations to same source that can be merged
    • Missing information
    • Reference to a newspaper clipping when citation to digital copy exists
    • Extra punctuation

While it will take some time to get this report ‘cleaned up’, the resulting report will allow me to share my grandfather’s story on WikiTree.

Go Over

Have you heard of Thomas MacEntee’s ‘genealogy do-over‘? While I wasn’t ready to throw out my years of research and totally start over, I am thankful that this challenge to ‘do over’ prompted me to not only go back thru my genealogy but also to learn about genealogy sources and processes.

As part of my go-over process, I’ve been (slowly) going back thru my ancestors to

  • Review the sources I have
  • Transcribe the deeds, wills and probate records I’ve collected
  • Utilize the hinting systems to locate additional sources
  • Utilize the available county records on FamilySearch
  • Search newspapers for obituaries, etc.

I am currently working on my 3rd great grandfathers, particularly Horatio Hammond. While I have cleaned up his narrative report and transcribed his will and some of his deeds, I am finding some of my sources are lacking. For example, there are several sources that refer to my old method of filing my notes.

When I open the ‘Hammond.IL.014’ document, I find handwritten notes that are likely from a book.

Since my notes don’t tell me an author or even the publishing information that I used in my citation, I can use WorldCat to see if I can get additional information about the source.

Since my notes include the ‘LDS’ notation, I’m assuming that I viewed this source during a visit to the Family History Library in Salt Lake City. Thus, I can also use FamilySearch to see if I can locate information about the source. Since I’m not sure whether I recorded the title correctly, I opted to do a ‘KEYWORD’ search of the catalog instead of a TITLE search.

From the keyword search, I have 4 results, one of which is titled, “Knox County, Illinois 1855 personal property tax list.”

When I click on the title, a page for the book opens. FamilySearch provides a name for the author which was not in the WorldCat record.

In addition, I discovered that there is a DIGITAL version of the book. Since digital books are searchable, I discovered, that the search term, ‘Hammond’, occurs in the book 4 times. Since I only recorded one instance in my original notes, this is information on the Hammond family that I did not have.

Thanks to FamilySearch I have additional information about the Hammond family in Knox County Illinois along with information to craft a better source. Also, many thanks to Thomas MacEntee for the challenge to go back thru my research!

Why Narrative Reports

Have you heard of Thomas MacEntee’s Genealogy Do-Over? Did you do a do-over? If you are like me, the thought of starting over from scratch and ignoring all of my existing research was overwhelming. However, his page, Are You Ready for a Genealogy Do-Over?, explains the why one would attempt such a move.

I learned about this ‘do-over’ project about the time I retired. Knowing that there were issues in my genealogy database, I participated in the do-over but started a go-over instead of throwing everything out. I have to admit that I learned a lot in that first year about genealogy standards that had changed significantly during the time I wasn’t actively researching my ancestors.

Essentially my 2022 goals are a continuation of that do-over process. One set of goals is to finish going thru and updating the research I have on the descendants of my 3rd great grandfathers. Another set of goals is to update narrative reports for my 3rd great grandparents.

So, why do I consider these narrative reports part of my ‘go-over’ process? During the process of creating these reports to publish, I am

  • Checking the data entered for each fact for accuracy
  • Checking the sentence structure for each fact
  • Checking the sources for each fact and updating them to current standards when necessary
  • Transcribing documents and entering the transcription in the ‘research note’ field for the citation.
  • Identify holes in my research and attempt to locate records to fill those holes.

For example, the automatic sentence generation failed for a land entry fact for Nelson G. Crawford.

When I look at the source citation for this land entry fact or for Nelson Crawford’s marriage, I find quite a few sources that were created in my early days of doing research that are definitely NOT up to today’s standards. They don’t even provide enough information for me to go back and locate the source.

As I work my way thru the facts and associated sources, I also come across documents that have never been transcribed and in some cases never been scanned. While my 2022 goals only include 18 narrative report reviews, achieving these individual goals will take some time.

However, completing these goals not only ensures that I have documented the events of my ancestor’s life but may also lead to information to break thru a brick wall. Thus, I will continue to add narrative reports to my annual goal list as I work my way back generation by generation in this go-over process.

Do-Over Update

Did you start Thomas MacEntee’s genealogy do-over or go-over? If so, did you make significant progress? I have to admit that I started this project in July of 2015 as evidenced by my blog post: Genealogy Do-Over Week #1. And, based on my current project working with the records for a third great-grandfather, Hiram Currey of Peoria, Illinois and his children, I am NOT finished.

As I’m evaluating the information I have, I have to admit to several deficiencies in my research.

  • Incomplete citations
  • Untranscribed records
  • Sketchy hand-written notes versus actual copies (photocopies / images) of the record

Working my way thru each of the facts and the sources for those facts, I am finding that many of those facts came from various county histories. Fortunately, many of those books have been digitized and can be found on sites such as Archives.org. Thus, I can create a better citation and incorporate notes from the source and attach an image.

Even though I only have information for about 30 years of Hiram Currey’s life, I have several courthouse documents – none of which were transcribed. Like the land dispute court case that I recently transcribed, transcribing the remaining records will likely take some time. However, these untranscribed records are the only records I currently have that tie Hiram Currey to his brothers.

Those records support an unwritten proof argument tying Hiram Currey of Peoria to his son, Hiram Currey of Leavenworth County, Kansas and to his father, Hiram Currey of Champaign County, Ohio. Thus, I envision spending several days transcribing these records in hopes of identifying leads to more records.

Even though I’m not finished, I’m thankful for Thomas MacEntee’s genealogy do-over and the incentive to begin going back thru my files.

Analyzing Sources

I recently have been working on a ‘go over’ for my 2nd great grandfather, George Mentzer. In the process, I utilized Scrivener. I had probably heard about Scrivener, but when I saw it mentioned in the recent Twitter #genchat, I decided to try it. In the process of learning more about Scrivener and genealogy, I discovered Lisa Alzo’s Ancestor Profile Template along with her 25 Genealogist Hacks Every Genealogist Should Know.

I haven’t used my George Mentzer Scrivener project to write his biography (yet). However, I have used it to transcribe the various documents I’ve collected over the years.  My research folder contains the actual document files.


I then used the dual screen option to transcribe the documents. I placed the transcriptions in my ‘draft’ folder.


I discovered that I could copy/paste the footnote for the document from RootsMagic into the +fn box on Scrivener.


As I proceeded thru transcribing various records, I also worked on the corresponding events in RM. I copied/pasted the transcription from my Scrivener project into the details. In the process, I also verified other details for the event such as the date.


Now, I have the various events in RM with the corresponding documentation. Since various documents cited differing dates for an event, I unfortunately have multiple dates for the same event.


Since this makes for a very messy report, I turned to the RootsMagic Facebook group to see how others handled this issue. One proposed solution involved selecting one date as the ‘official’ date and marking that ‘primary’ while marking the other dates ‘private’. This solution will ‘clean up’ a narrative report if hidden facts are not included. However, said report would not include the sources for those hidden facts. Thus, others would not be aware of the conflicting data.

Another solution was in a post by Dan Mohn where he discussed his solution for dealing with multiple birth dates. In his blog post, “Grandpa Joe Smith Was Born on __.” Are You Sure?, he discusses the issue and the ‘solution’ he is adopting. Dan is using the Note field for the event to discuss the discrepancy between records.

In a comment by Gina Gaulco to a post by Patrice Houck Schadt regarding the use of Alternate Dates, Gina explains her use of her custom ‘Analysis’ source. In the Analysis Source, Gina writes out her analysis of the various sources and places it in the ‘details’ for that source.

I checked the report options in RM to see if it would be possible to include either the notes or the source detail text in a narrative report and/or an individual summary report. On the main screen to generate a report, there is an option to print the notes.


On the Source settings for the report, there are options to ‘print research notes’ and ‘print detail comments’.


Thus, it is possible to include a research analysis in a printed report. Since I place the transcription of a source in the details for that source, I checked Ancestry to see whether that detail text was transmitted to Ancestry via TreeShare. By clicking on one of my sources from outside of Ancestry, I found that the detail text does transfer — but the line breaks are removed affecting the formatting of the text on the Ancestry side.


I will have to experiment with putting an analysis in the event Notes to see how TreeShare handles the transfer of formatted text in a Note.

In the meantime, I need to write an analysis of the data for several events. This, too, will be a learning curve. Wish me luck!


Research Notes

A couple of years ago, I joined Thomas MacEntee’s Genealogy Do-Over project. The primary thing I learned from participating in this project dealt with a need for continual learning. Thanks to this push, I am learning from many other researchers thru blogs, webinars, YouTube videos, Facebook posts and even tweets. Each of these challenges me to think about my research methods.

This last Mondays with Myrt discussed compiling research notes to support information shared in a tree. Most of the discussion centered around the need for such notes.  During the Wacky Wednesday zoom meeting, participants discussed a research question and worked thru creating research notes on a spreadsheet.

As I participated in both of these events, I was thinking about how I haven’t done a good job of compiling research notes. I recently watched one of Crista Cowan’s Barefoot Genealogist videos on how Crista uses the NOTES feature with her Ancestry tree.

Based on the concepts shared in this video, I have started creating similar notes for my direct line ancestors. To start creating these research notes, I am using a Microsoft Word document so that I can have the notes open and my RootsMagic screen open at the same time. As I work my way thru the various events and associated citations, I am also doing the transcribing, attaching images and updating the sources as needed (in other words a true go-over).

When finished, I copied the text from the Word document and pasted it into the person’s note field. By using the TreeShare feature of RootsMagic, I can upload those notes to the corresponding person on my Ancestry tree.


Even though it will take time to create all of these research notes, I find them helpful and will likely spend the time working thru my tree.

One of the points made during Mondays with Myrt was the need to not only keep such research notes — but to share those notes. Based on Crista’s video on notes, I don’t believe the person notes that I transfer from RootsMagic to Ancestry are public.

AncestryProfile-Notes-Example360bHowever, notes attached to an event can be transferred from RootsMagic to Ancestry. With TreeShare, these notes get separated from the source and appear in the list of sources separate from the original source. Thus, this isn’t an ideal way to share these notes.

In order to share these notes, I could include Notes when uploading data to my RootsMagic website. If that option is selected, the person notes appear at the top of the page in a scrollable box.


Like others mentioned in the Mondays with Myrt chat, I am reluctant to put all of my work online since I would like for other researchers to contact me versus just copying my sources, transcriptions and photos. However, if I want others to understand why I connected a son to his father, I likely need to create and share these notes. This will become critical if Ancestry pursues ‘peer review’ of member trees. (See post in the Ancestry.com Facebook community by Crista Cowan)

In the chat log for the Monday’s with Myrt, Tony Proctor makes a case for publishing research notes in a blog (at 10:51:32). Tony also added a comment to the Mondays with Myrt post where he pushed for research notes that discuss the ‘why’ versus those that just restate the ‘what’. He argues for a ‘rich-text’ format that includes items such as scanned images, maps, timelines and tables. By including these items, one can draw the reader from the raw data thru the reasoning to a conclusion. This would be similar to what the genealogical proof standard refers to as a sound and coherently written conclusion.

Because of the need to incorporate images and a variety of formatting, I believe I will have to share them thru a blog versus thru the person notes. Once I manage to write a research conclusion that includes the ‘why’, I will also need to figure out the best way to attach that conclusion to my tree.

Thinking thru this process, I have a couple of questions:

  • Is a blog post the best way to share a written conclusion incorporating images and a variety of formatting?
  • If research notes are published in a blog post, how would one connect them to a person (or persons) in a tree?

Thank you Dear Myrtle, Mondays with Myrt panel members and everyone who participated this week for pushing me to not only think thru the process of writing research notes but to actually work on writing them.

Mrs. E. O. Briles

pauline-portrait-2Known as Mrs. E. O. Briles most of her adult life, Pauline Edith Mentzer was born in Woodson County, Kansas in 1896. Pauline and her twin brother, Paul, were the children of Charles Oliver and Nettie Adell (Wells) Mentzer. Pauline spent her youth in the northern part of Woodson County, Kansas where she attended school.

high-school-diploma-pauline-mentzerIn 1913, Pauline completed the ‘Common School Course of Study’. Her required course of study included reading, orthography, writing, arithmetic, geography, US History, Physiology, civil government, Kansas History, classics and agriculture.

At the age of 19, Pauline married Edward Osmund Briles and became known as Mrs. E. O. Briles. Her first child, Walter, was born in 1917. A year later the couple welcomed a second son, Kenneth.

Mr. and Mrs. Osmund Briles who lives south of here took their eight months baby which had stomach and bowel trouble to Kansas City to consult a specialist, week before last and last Tuesday the baby died and was brot here Wednesday and buried in the Crandall cemetery. The funeral was held to the Christian church Wednesday afternoon at 3 p.m. conducted by Rev. Mr. Lowe of Burlington. Kenneth was a sweet child and will be greatly missed in the home and we extend our sympathy to the parents and relatives in their sorrow.

Based on a postcard passed down by Pauline, it appears that Pauline was hospitalized a few months after the death of her child. img_3330

Pauline must have become an ‘expert’ at moving as the family seemed to have a new address every few years. When Kenneth was born in 1918, the family was living in Vernon (Woodson County) Kansas. During the early 1920’s the family was in Iola (Allen County) Kansas where her husband operated a garage. Her daughter, Letha, was born while the family lived in Iola. Around 1929, the family moved from Iola to Buffalo (Wilson County). It was in Buffalo that her husband Edward Osmund Briles began his career with motion pictures. It was also in Buffalo, that her daughter Roberta was born. Shortly, after that the family moved to Emporia, Kansas, where her daughter, Barbara was born. Even though Pauline would spend the rest of her life in Emporia, the family continued to move frequently. The family first lived outside of the city limits on the East side of town.  Other Emporia addresses for the family include 416 Constitution (1938), 613 Lincoln (1940), 645 Lincoln (1952), 924 Constitution (1953), 138 W. 12th (1957), 1014 Market (1959), 821 W. 6th (1966).

mentzer-pauline-b1896-1966-advertisement-the_emporia_gazette_sat__jul_30__1966_According to a want ad, Pauline was forced to move from the duplex on West 6th when the property was rezoned. She was able to locate that ‘3 room apartment’ and moved to 609 West Fifth.

Throughout her life, Pauline was socially active. In 1934, Pauline joined the First Christian Church in Emporia. She was an active member of that church until her death.  In 1960, Pauline was a member of the ‘Harmony Builders Class’ in the church. Besides hosting or attending family events, Pauline was a member of the East Sixth Avenue Club and the Whittier Unit.

mentzer-pauline-b1896-1932-airplane-rides-the_emporia_gazette_sat__jun_11__1932_Although most would have viewed Pauline as a typical wife and mother during the 30s and 40s, she was not always ‘traditional.’ In an interview with a correspondent for the magazine, Motion Picture Herald, Pauline told the reporter that she was going for an airplane ride. This interview was published in Oct. 1932. Since the June 11, 1932 issue of the Emporia Gazette includes an advertisement for those airplane rides, it is possible that this young mother did partake of this adventure. Pauline also worked in her husband’s business — The Lyric Theater. The 1936 directory for Emporia indicates that Pauline was a cashier for The Lyric Theater.

Pauline’s husband, Edward O. Briles, died in 1956. After over 40 years of marriage, Pauline faced life as a widow — but continued to be known as Mrs. E. O. Briles.







Winnie Letha Currey Crawford

Aunt Winnie to many, grandma to me

img_3337Family was important to Winnie Crawford. It was her quest to know more about her grandmother (her mom’s family) that started my genealogy journey. At the time, it was hard for me to imagine growing up without knowing your grandparents — or at least something about them. Even though my Briles grandfather died when I was 4, I grew up hearing stories about him. That was not true for Winnie. All of her grandparents had died before she was born.

Winnie Letha Currey was born in 1903 in Leavenworth County, Kansas. She was the seventh child born to Hiram and Winnie (Hutchinson) Currey. As a young child, Winnie’s contact with family members was limited to her immediate family. Both the Currey and Hutchinson families dispersed around the turn if the century leaving few aunts, uncles, cousins living in the vicinity during Winnie’s childhood.

Around 1908, Winnie’s family moved from Leavenworth County to near Plainville, Kansas, where her dad rented land to farm. By 1913, the family left western Kansas and moved back to Olathe, Kansas.

Winnie’s letters provide the best picture of her childhood:

Feb 1982

I don’t know for sure but the Hutchinson family were around Liberty Mo and Dad went there to William Jewell and met my mother. The Currey place was a few miles form Lansing Kansas. The kids all left but after Gma & Gdad Currey died Uncile Will stayed on married & raised his family there. Aunt Jesse died before we left Lansing for Plainville Kas. My dad was a barber at Lansing owned his shop but sold it to farm at Plainville.

… I went with mother when Earnest was a baby to visit Aunt Nora & I faintly remember an old lady smoking a corn cob pipe, who she was I wouldn’t know.

Mother died in May. We went to the Children’s Home June 11 — Herb didn’t go and Myrtle wasn’t there long til she went to Aunt Mary’s in Denver Col.

Mary and I stayed together till she got married. But to go back – The court took Littens license away so dad had to take us back till Mary & I finished grade school. Then he was going to put us back into a home. I got Aunt Joe De Shazer to take Alma & found a home for Earnest. Then Mary & I lied about our ages went to work. I always kept track of the kids as I do now.

We were on the farm when Alma was borned. Just renting. We were burnt out for 4 straight years. So we moved to Olathe & dad went to hauling freight in Kansas City. The reason I stay with Liberty because Aunt Nora (mother did too) would tell me about their dances and one time got to KC form N KC and an old man came and set by me & called me Winnie and began to talk of the past. So that in itself told me mother lived around there.

Mid March

My dad was a jack of all trades except for his carpentery. In that he was tops. He could heal a headache, backache and aches of all sorts with his hands. He did it only for his family. I don’t know what it was in the census. But he was a barber while we were in Lansing. Had a barber shop of his own till he sold & we went to Plainville on the farm. When we were on the farm there was a hill not far from our hose & dad tunneled into it lined it with straw and stored our spuds, cabbage & spuds etc in it. They kept all winter.

crawford-leon-b1894-1919-wedding-photo2Winnie married Leon Crawford in Dodge City in 1919. When asked about how she got from living with a cousin in North Kansas City to Dodge City, she said she went to Dodge to help Myrtle because Myrtle was having her first baby. (Myrtle was married in Dodge City on 24 Mar 1917. Dorothy, Myrtle’s first child, was born in Feb 1918 in Ford County, Kansas.) When asked about meeting Leon, Winnie said he would come over to Myrtle’s house and the four of them would play cards. Winnie and Leon were married in Myrtle’s living room on Christmas Eve, 1919.

Winnie and Leon lost their 1st child, Betty Jean, on the day she was born in 1921. Six years later, their son Eugene was born. Eleven years after that, their youngest son, LR, was born and she would bury him in 1961.

Winnie was a typical wife and mother for that time period. She raised a garden and canned the produce to help put food on the table. During World War II, Winnie opened a room in their house so that wives of the US Army pilots would have someplace to stay. When the family moved from Avenue G to 2nd street, Winnie continued the practice of renting out rooms. The bedrooms on the second floor were rented to students going to college across the street. When those same students couldn’t make it home for Thanksgiving, they would be included at the family table.

Winnie hosted family dinners on a regular basis. She was a good cook and enjoyed baking. Pecan, pumpkin and cherry pies were always part of a holiday meal. Homemade noodles, gum drop cookies, and frozen salad were some of the family favorites. Even when she traveled to Emporia for those holiday dinners, she would bring the pies, the gumdrop cookies and the frozen salad.

green_quiltWinnie was also a quilter. She hand embroidered quilts for her son and granddaughter. Her grandsons also were beneficiaries of one of her quilts. Her green pom-pom quilt was her pride and joy. She created this quilt for their bedroom. This quilt has been repurposed into table runners by her great-granddaughter and shared with the family.

img_3Winnie and her husband, Leon Crawford, celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary in 1969. Seven years later, Winnie would sell the family home, move into an apartment and bury her husband.

Winnie later moved to a first floor apartment in the high rise on Central where she tended the flowers on the East side of the building. It was in this apartment that my genealogy journey began. We would sit and discuss my findings, go thru the albums and talk about her life.  I will always treasure my memories of those weekends spent with her.


Preparing for Ancestry Sync

TMG –> RootsMagic Cleanup

Randy Seaver recently discussed the upcoming ability of RootsMagic to sync with Ancestry and what he is and isn’t doing to prepare for that in his blog post, “Dear Randy: What are you doing to prepare for the RootsMagic program sync with your Ancestry family tree?” While reading Randy’s blog, I realized that I was in the middle of such a preparation with my work on my census facts.

My genealogy data was migrated from The Master Genealogist version 9 to RootsMagic. When I selected The Master Genealogist (around version 4 or earlier), it was because I wanted something that allowed me to add citations for each event. Thru the TMG community, I developed my research and documentation skills. I also applied several TMG ‘hacks’ — especially if they helped visualize the events in someone’s life.

tmgcensusOne of those ‘hacks’ was a modification to the census tag developed by Terry Reigel. It took me some time to implement this hack, but once completed, it allowed me to see the family in the timeline for the head of the household.

Since RootsMagic would not handle the ‘split sentences’ in the census-head or census-enum tags, I did have to modify the sentences. I was able to do this in TMG prior to the migration. Because, I liked how the census tags worked, I did not modify them in TMG but let them migrate into RootsMagic as custom event (fact) types.

As I began to learn to use RootsMagic with Family Search, I realized that my custom fact types were not lining up with the corresponding fact type on Family Search. Since the tree on Family Search is a community tree, I’m very hesitant about making changes – but also want to see more documentation for my ancestors. Thus, the conflict — my custom fact types would ‘foul up’ the Family Search tree but the census records have not been sourced. Because of that conflict, I decided to figure out how to revert my custom fact types (census-head and census-enum) to the standard type.

Knowing that there wasn’t an easy way to do this from within RootsMagic I turned to the SQLite Tools for RootsMagic community. There, I found directions on how to setup SQLiteSpy so that it would read and modify the tables in the RootsMagic database. Once I had this software downloaded and correctly configured, I used the SQL script, Facts – Change Fact Type to change all of my census-head and census-enum fact types to the standard census fact type. Since this SQL script directly modifies the database, I copied the database and worked with the copy FIRST. That allowed me to make sure the script was doing what I wanted without the danger of corrupting my data. Once I knew it was working, I backed up the data and then ran the script on the original copy of the data.

After running the script, the census citations in my RootsMagic database lined up with any census citations on Family  Search. Step one accomplished!

Besides changing the custom fact type to the standard, I had two other potential issueds with my census facts. The first involved the sentences. It appears that what was in the memo field in TMG was dumped into the note field in RootsMagic while the sentences pull the information from the description field. Thus, all of the information I had entered about the individual wasn’t being pulled for the sentence. Since almost all of my census facts had witnesses associated with each fact, individual reports and web output was showing extra sentences/facts for other members of the household.

So, my next step was to move the info in the note field to the description field while also removing any witnesses. Since I couldn’t get the SQL scripts for this process to work (they do exist), I resorted to doing this one person at a time. With over 10,000 census entries this is no small task. I started with my ancestors who were living in 1850 and worked thru their descendants. However, I’ve been researching several neighbors and other potentially connected families and their descendants. Thus, I needed some sort of report that would help me know who was left to do.

The SQLite Tools for RootsMagic came thru again! On their site, I found a link to the “People who share a fact with a principal list” script. This particular script just creates a list, it doesn’t modify the database. However, the script must be run with the RootsMagic database closed. I have the script saved in my SQL directory. Each time I want to run it, I open the script with Notepad and then copy and paste it into SQLiteSpy. Once executed, the script will create a list. I copy the info in that list and paste it into a blank Excel spreadsheet. That way, I can close SQLiteSpy and open RootsMagic and still have a list to work with.

Once the data is in Excel, I do a multilevel sort: Fact, Surname1, Given1, RIN1. This allows me to easily delete everything but the census records. Armed with that list, I just work my way thru the records. I’m down to about 1300 census events.

Will this be worth it? Because this is cleaning up my data and making it easier to see corresponding census records on Family Search, I will continue until finished. I’m also hoping that by using the standard ‘census’ fact type, this data will also line up with Ancestry. My wish is that all of my census data will keep me from having shaky leaves for those same census records.




ancestryblogFor the past few months, I have been slowly whittling away at the green leaves on my Ancestry family tree – Heartland_Genealogy. When I look at the pedigree view, it looks pretty good since almost all of the leaves are gone.

I have to admit that the initial pedigree view is somewhat deceiving since expanding the pedigree on almost any branch will produce green leaves.

hintsThis morning, I made the mistake of looking at the ‘View People with Hints’ page and discovered that I have lots of work yet to do.

Yes, that is over FIFTEEN THOUSAND records to look at and see if they fit someone in my tree.


That’s a lot of records to look at!



Some might assume that I’m just a collector of names when they look at the summary for my tree. After all, I have over 9000 names and only a little over 1500 records.  However, those stats are deceiving!

Some in the genealogy community have stated that they don’t worry about the green leaves and continue following my previous research pattern. However, I have found these hints to actually be helpful since they


  • force me to review my data
  • allow me to update citations to current standards
  • allow me to download and attach the images
  • attach documentation to my Ancestry tree

rootsmagicFor years, I was using my computer program — Master Genealogist — to record the events and sources for those 9000 people. About 2 years ago, I switched to Roots Magic, continuing the process of recording events in the lives of my ancestors and their descendants and then documenting the source of the information.  My sources are not up to the standards of Evidence Explained. Nor do I have images attached to anything entered before 2014.

Even though my Ancestry data is daunting, my RootsMagic data provides a better picture of my status. I do try and cite the source of my data!

Getting these two trees in sync in one of my Christmas wishes since RootsMagic is working on the ability to sync with Ancestry.

websiteMy other Christmas wish is that I will be able to update my web site with my RootsMagic data. My website was created with SecondSite from my Master Genealogy data. John Cardinal, creator of SecondSite is working on replacement software that hopefully will be able to accomplish this task. I anxiously am waiting for an announcement that the new software, GedSite, has been released.

The numbers on Ancestry may look overwhelming, but knowing they will lead to new information and help me improve my current documentation, I will keep working to reduce that number.