First thing I did was to create a list of all the people in my database. I could have kept this as a digital file and highlighted within it, but I wanted to use my pretty highlighters and I get some odd satisfaction out of actually crossing things off a list. This list will help to make sure that I get everyone. I've found more people to add to my database, but I've decided not to add them to the list. I'm trying to add them and all their details properly the first time (and they'll get their turn the next time I decide to do this).
For each person in my database I am:
- Checking that all facts have sources.
- Making sure that all sources have source detail to tell me what the source said and why I added it to each fact. Nothing annoys me when I am trying to figure out who was in a census with someone and it's not in my database. The record is there, but not the transcription. I like being able to see the information I want quickly and not having to waste time trying to decode someone's awful handwriting for the 10th time.
- Research for person in online databases. So many new databases have come online recently. I keep pretty good track of what is new, but I will never remember all the places that family members lived. So it's is good to go back through everyone and see what new resources are available to find them.
- Check Find A Grave. Add person if not listed. Request photo if not found. At one point, I thought I would just visit and take all these photos myself. But that is not realistic, especially for all those collateral lines. Now might not be the best time to request photos with the snow and cold weather, but I've already gotten 5 photos back. Plus my requests will be waiting when someone wants to take a walk through a cemetery on a warm day.
- Compare RootsMagic database on my computer to my online tree on Ancestry. I love my Ancestry tree and all those little leaves. Probably because I'm smarter than those leaves. I don't just add everything it suggests, I evaluate the sources and add them if they fit. But I love those leaves because sometimes they find sources I would never cross my mind. Keeping my Ancestry tree current with my research should help to get more leaves that fit my tree.
- Make a list in Evernote of sources to check at the Allen County Public Library on my weekly research trips.
My goal is to do 5 people a day. There are over 1800 people in my database, so I'll be able to finish this clean up before the end of 2012 if I keep doing a little every day. I am skipping all the people in one branch of my tree that I think has a bad connection. Whenever I finish a surname letter, I'll write a blog post on what I found. I've written about the unknown surnames already and will post about the letter A tomorrow. Currently I'm working on the Bs which will take a while since there are 6 main family lines under that letter.
What are you doing to improve your database?