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Success Stories & Research Suggestions, 52 Threads

Success stories, suggestions, and hints for users of the website.
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ThreadStart DateLast PostMessages
Finding Orphans2-20-2010 by Ray Gurganus2-20-2010 by Ray Gurganus1
In this case, "orphans" means people in the database who don't have any parents, spouses, or children.  Periodically it's good to search for these in your data, as these are often mkistaken or duplicate entries that can be deleted, or people that need to be linked to their relatives.

To search for these, put into the search options "parent names is blank", "spouse names is blank", and "# children equal to 0".  A screenshot of this is pictured in the search examples...
Entering places2-6-2010 by Ray Gurganus2-6-2010 by Ray Gurganus1
Just a reminder -- When entering place names for the US, Canada, Mexico, and many European countries, try to find the county or province where a city is located, rather than entering only city.  To do this, try clicking the globe icon on the right, after entering a state/country and city.  This will bring up different websites to help you identify where it is.

For the US, another very exhaustive site to check is http://geonames.usgs.gov -- if it's not here, it probably doesn't exist.

If you're not finding it, this may indicate a spelling error, or that it's incorrect altogether -- both of which would be good to correct.  If what you have is correct as far as you know, but still can't find a county, go ahead and leave it like that.  But at least you tried.  Thanks.
Happy New Year!1-5-2010 by Ray Gurganus1-5-2010 by Ray Gurganus1
Just a wish for a happy new year, and a Thank You to everyone who contributes.  We're up to over 153,000 records now.  That may not seem like a lot when you consider the that other sites advertise, but when you consider that these are 153,000 unique people (more or less, as some duplicates are not yet cleared up), and all linked into a common tree, it's a little more impressive.
Counties12-30-2009 by Ray Gurganus12-30-2009 by Ray Gurganus1
Just a reminder that as you are doing data entry, try to identify the county where possible, rather than only entering a state and city -- unless the city is not locatable in any county, or could be in multiple counties.  To do this, try clicking the globe icon to the right of the city field.  This has several benefits:
  • It may point out errors, where you might have put in the wrong state or the wrong city, or misspelled the city.
  • This gets it counted on the state and county pages, and findable if someone is searching by county.
  • It enables the city to be plottable on a map (where it shows a map pin, click and choose "more on this location")
  • It saves you typing, as when you choose a county, you then get a list of cities to choose from.
To find existing ones, you can find these by going to Actions > Index, search by Place, and put in State = (not blank), County = (blank), City = (not blank)...  or go to Account > Places.
Questionable?11-6-2009 by Ray Gurganus11-9-2009 by Ray Gurganus4
I received an email saying generally "Had been told your research was a bit questionable and much of it couldn't be verified."  Now there was no mention of which page(s) this refers to, or whose researchers these page(s) belong to.  But it is still a statement to consider.  So one request and one question:

1) Try to be relatively thorough in the sources you quote, so that someone reading the information will have the impression of where this information comes from, and where to go to get more information.
2) Do you have any other suggestions on how to improve either the functionality or the content so that readers are not left with this impression?
Permission for Living People8-23-2009 by Ray Gurganus11-4-2009 by Ray Gurganus2
Just a reminder -- if you post information on living people, or if you have an imported gedcom that contains information on living people, please be sure that you have explicit permission from those people to post...  or else mark them with the "living - private" checkbox.
Recording cemeteries10-12-2009 by Ray Gurganus10-12-2009 by Ray Gurganus1
I see some people recording the names fo the cemeteries in the "notes" field related to the date & place of death.  I'd like to suggest that this instead be recorded as a separate "Grave" event, and the location & name fo the cemetery there.  This is so that:
(1) If you or someone else wants to get a list of all people at that cemetery, you can. and
(2) The data entry work will be automated, as it comes up with all existing entries for the state and county in question.
Feasibility & Duplicate Reminders10-10-2009 by Ray Gurganus10-10-2009 by Ray Gurganus1
Just a reminder to encourage you to take time to go through the people listed in the Feasibility and Duplicate Report emails you get each month.  Until you do, anyone in the public who browses into your information sees wrong or lacking information.  There is much in genealogy that we don't know or that we can't find.  But the fact that a child cannot be born before his parents, and cannot be born after his parents die (except for the 9 months after a father's death) is irrefutable, and needs some attention.

As the administrator I keep track of the numbers of errors and duplicates that are reported each month.   If they persist for a researcher over several months, and are not cleared up, then I will go through and try to do so myself.  It looks bad for the image of the website for people to browse through and see information that is clearly not correct.  I see this all the time in family trees on Rootsweb.  I can't do much about it there, but here I can.

But you probably will want to try to fix it yourself, as you know your data better than I do.  Thanks for your help, and let me know if you have any questions.
Does anyone have information on....?5-5-2009 by Ray Gurganus5-5-2009 by Ray Gurganus1
I was reading a recent email in a genealogy discussion group, and there was the frequent question "Is anyone researching the ____ family and have any information about ____?" where if you fill in the blanks with various names, and the question has probably been asked a million times.

One of the primary goals (albeit a very long-term goal) of this site is to make this question obsolete.  If every researcher who has any information on any one our ancestors puts all of this information in only one shared place, one page per ancestor, then there's no need to go hunting for who has what information, and copying what someone else has to our own private copy of what really is our shared tree.  Instead it would all be right there in one place.  Yes, we have a long way to go to get there, but it's a worthy goal to have and work towards.

So I put this out there as a suggestion for all of you.  If you're on email lists or discussion boards, and you see someone else asking about one of the ancestors we already have online here, post a reply with a link back to the page in question, and encourage the other researchers to contribute here and work towards this common goal.  Then you, the other researcher, others on the list, and future generations all benefit!  Thanks!
Increasing traffic3-9-2009 by Ray Gurganus3-9-2009 by Ray Gurganus1
Want to see more people browsing and potentially integrating into your branches?  Try replying to listservs and message boards where others are posting about ancestors you have, and include a link back to the relevant leaves of your branch.

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