Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Family Historian - data conversion comments

Now that I have "real" genealogy software, I had to convert my existing data. The initial steps were relatively simple - export from PAF to GEDCOM, import GEDCOM into Family Historian, hope for the best. Unless a really obvious error is flagged by the import process, you can only look to see that everything looks approximately okay (because we all have photographic memories and can remember all the details of the hundreds or thousands of people in our family tree off the top of our heads, right?), then look at some sample individuals you do know well to see exactly how everything has translated across into the new software.

First comment: I really should have some official sources for myself, my brother and my parents. My dad was the only one with an external source - look, I can prove he exists as I have a copy of the birth announcement in The Times (London). Turns out I (or, rather, my genealogy software a.k.a. my other brain) even know what hospital he was born in!

Second comment: for census records I had previously been adding two separate events/attributes in PAF, one for the census and one for the residence(assuming the address was more specific than just the name of the village). Family Historian enables you to attach both a place AND an address to any fact, so I would now need to go through and consolidate the census information together into one fact. Also on the address front, there's a nice feature to list all the places in your database, identify the near-duplicates, check out which records they are attached to, and tidy them up so they are recorded exactly the same if appropriate - nice!

Third comment: I use the Notes field in PAF to record the research process for that person, search terms I used, records I know exist and might be useful but that I can't access, general comments or snippets about that person, and more. This has come across a single note for each person but can now be split up into different types of notes in Family Historian (including notes that apply to the family group rather than the individual).

Fourth comment: I seem to be avoiding looking into the whole source citation area - I suspect there is some cleanup required on this part of the conversion. A perfect time to tidy up all those sources, but possibly a big job. I'll ease into it by reading the chapter in the Family Historian guidebook first!


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