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My name is Colleen and I find dead people.

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18 April, 2009

Database Overhaul

I just ordered RootsMagic 4. I downloaded the free trial about a week ago and decided that it's time to switch from FTM, which has been good for most of my research, but the version I currently have is such a monster I'm hoping to cut down on loading and navigating time. FTM 2008 takes at least 2 full minutes to load sometimes, and never less than a full minute. The need for instant gratification can be a burden. But I also like the source formats in RM4.

I've been debating for quite some time about revisiting all my data and the incorporation of a new software program is a good chance to do just that. I am currently off work for 2 to 3 weeks. I'm going to use as much time as possible to manually add data into the new program. I can start loading it into the trial version until the CD arrives (I prefer CD to download); RM will incorporate the information in the trial version into the installed version later.

I'm entering information manually instead of importing the gedcom for several reasons: One, I'm hoping it will jump start my research. Two, it will give me a chance to first, identify the pathetically few sources I have and second, to make a to-do list for each entry to rectify the lack of sources. I just find it less mentally overwhelming to do it this way and I suspect it will help me focus my attention on the person I'm entering instead of seeing a database full of names I have to support. Three, I think it's time I start gathering information from cousins and relatives about my ancestors that I may not have known so well. Perhaps my paternal Kovaleski/Kinney cousin connections on Facebook will help with that!

At any rate, start bookmarking this site again; it will be the central location to track my progress and perhaps help others get a perspective on a database overhaul. I will be using Randy Seaver's tutorial on RootsMagic4 found HERE to help me with this endeavor. I was also hoping to use a resource brought to my attention by Dick Eastman called GedXlate, which is a free program that extrapolates information from a GEDCOM and formats the data in various document formats including an excel spreadheet. I'm not sure if this will help or not, but will experiment with sorting and other excel features to see if it will make it easier to use in navigating between the data in my gedcom and the blank database I'll be adding to in RM. It may not work however, given the notes I've entered into FTM for individuals do not appear on the spreadsheet. We'll see.

Keep your eyes tuned in as I embark on what seems an enormous task. Makes me kind of glad I've only gotten back to the mid 1800's in my family tree!

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