Saturday, January 21, 2017

Getting Psyched for Some
Genealogical Spring Cleaning

What?! Spring already?

Don't panic; not yet. While around here, the temperatures have emerged from their typical thirty-something degree lows only long enough to bring lots of weedy growth in the wake of our recent storms, the cold will return shortly.

In the meantime, I've been doing some preparatory work for an upcoming project. While taking a look around at what still needs to be done, I realized just how much clean-up work needs to be tackled in the resultant weeds in my genealogical files, too.

Sometimes, we get so taken up with the content we are adding to our research files that we lose sight of the mess we've left behind in the process of chasing those elusive ancestors. There are trees on free sites, paid sites, desktop-resident sites—all needing some sprucing up. There are emailed queries that could use some follow-up; others that are still waiting to be sent. There is a veritable avalanche of DNA test results on, now, three companies' websites that could use some attention, as well.

Yesterday, I took the time to bite the bullet and try to resolve one longstanding problem with my various family trees. A long time ago—back before anyone dreamed we could use DNA test results to solve our genealogical puzzles—I had made the decision to set up my desktop-resident genealogy database management program with not one, but four separate trees: one for each of our daughter's four grandparents.

What a mess I hadn't foreseen with that decision! Now, everyone wants a link to a full tree for a test-taker's line, not two half-trees. And the dilemma extends to having to make the choice over which of two trees to convert to GEDCOMs and attach to DNA test sites.

I had toyed with various approaches to rectify that sticky detail for far too long, and yesterday tried my best at resolving the issue. After several false starts with various approaches, I finally caved and added the shorter paternal tree to each maternal tree by inserting only the direct line ancestors. This, by the way, may be my only recourse for adding GEDCOMs to sites such as GEDmatch, which limits the size of an uploaded file to under ten thousand individuals. If you remember from my last count, each of the two maternal lines I'm tracing is already pushing that limit—and that's just with one half of the tree entered.

In the process of one task, of course all sorts of other needs come shooting up to the surface. Clean up this! Clean up that! I'm beginning to have a long list of genealogical cleaning projects—and it isn't even spring yet!

The trouble with keeping to a schedule of research output measurements is that we sometimes forget to factor in the time for cleaning up after those heavy lifting sessions. It's encouraging to see the counts go up on our tree stats; there's no perks to cleaning up the aftermath of our research prowess. But keeping our research life organized is the only way to make things workable for future projects, so that simply will have to be yet another goal added to the list of tasks to accomplish.

Above: 1895 landscape by Ukrainian-born Russian artist Konstantin Kryzhitsky; courtesy Wikipedia; in the public domain.


  1. The painting of the Ukrainian landscape might still "work" today near Chernobyl,


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