Monday, November 16, 2009

My Genealogy Weekend

I spent this weekend watching football and working on my new family tree. I only get to do this every 3 weeks or so because it's an all-day process where I pull out notebooks and make a mess on the table.

This time I finished entering all the California death certificates and started the Oklahoma ones. Each state gets it's own source label (Death Certificates - California, Death Certificates - Oklahoma, etc.), because the records come from different repositories. It's just easier for me to input one state at a time.

Death certificates are (usually) rich with information. You can find birth dates and places, death dates and places, spouse names, occupations, parent names and often birthplaces, residences, cause of death, and name of the informant--which is often a family member or friend.

For each fact I entered in my fancy new database, I'd include the respective death certificate as a source. When all is said and done, it can take a while to mine all the information off of a detailed death certificate. That's why this is an all day process.

This weekend also provided an opportunity to work with RootsMagic 4 some more. I am getting better at navigating the program. When I screw something up, like attaching great-grandparents to the wrong kids, I can fix it now without much searching for help.

RootsMagic has two features I'm starting to use a lot: notes and to-do lists. I am a list maker in real life, so this is right up my alley. You can write notes about a person or event. What you write shows up in reports. For example, my great-grandfather was a physician and signed several of the death certificates of ancestors. I included that observation in the "notes" section of certain ancestors' death facts and it will show up when reports are printed. I think you can check a box so notes don't show up if you want, but I haven't made it that far yet.

The to-do list is wonderful. You can record each item on your to-do list and print them out if need be. You list a task, rate it's urgency from 1-10, and make notes on what you've searched, what still needs to be done, etc. It's sort of like a research log for any given task. I love the to-do lists.

As of today, I have a whopping 89 people in my new database. I've got a looooooong way to go. But you know what? All those folks' lives are recorded and include citations, glorious citations. The result is very cool when I create mock reports.

Hopefully, I can carve out another day to play with this database between now and the holidays. I need to finish the death certificates (Oklahoma, Arkansas, Louisiana, Texas and Missouri).


  1. I admire your perseverance. How are you entering your data? Are you entering sources and then creating the people named in the source? Or are you creating a person, then gathering and entering all sources for that person?

    Sorry to read you're under the weather today. Hope you feel better soon.

  2. Hi, I really enjoy reading your blog and think it is deserving of the Kreativ Blogger Award. Please stop by and pick up your award and follow instructions, Congratulations, Earline

  3. Amy, I loved your description of your genealogy weekend. Sure looks like you are on the right track of organizing your material and doing it right. Can you picture my place, stuff is all over, all the time. A real mess. Also, glad Earline is giving you the Kreativ Blogger Award.

  4. Ah, yes, good old obits. Seems like a lot of my past year has been spent in in "obit orgies" (SC and TX in my case). But it is fun getting all that information, isn't it? (Do we get transcribing brownie points for this?)

  5. Mitch, I'm going to try to explain how I do it, but use "being sick" as an excuse if it doesn't make sense.

    I add a person to the databse when I have at least one decent source for that person.

    BUT when it came to the Oklahoma death certs., I built a source template for those first, because I had so many that came from the same place (State of OK) and the people died in he same county. Then all I had to do was add the person's name, death date, certificate # etc.

    So my answer is, it really depends.

  6. Hello Amy.....I always enjoy following your posts. I have picked you to receive the Kreativ Blogger Award. Please stop by "Our Twigs" to pick it up.....Louise

  7. Thanks for describing 'when' you enter a person in the database - I've been waffling about that - and I think your practice sounds good.