Mining a Dataset

On Monday, Memorial Day, I got lucky and had a few hours of quiet time as the kids played down the street.  I took the time to watch a webinar Dear Myrtle did with her Cousin Russ a couple of weeks ago titled “Information Overload.”  The webinar was about how Cousin Russ is approaching the huge job of looking at all of his shaky leaf hints on Ancestry.com.  He found that if he looked at the records for each person it was a slow process.

He took a new approach and started tackling the hints by dataset.  With this method, he researches what each dataset is and then creates a template citation for the dataset.  This way when he looks at the hints he only has to change certain parts of the template not write a new citation each time.  A flow is created and things move faster.

I decided to try the concept out.  I remembered that Randy Seaver had written a blogpost about how to look at record hints by dataset.  I did a quick search and found the blogpost here.  Each ancestry tree has its own number and each dataset has its own number.  Randy has a URL you can put in your web browser that will use both of the numbers and magic happens to create a list of hints for a specific dataset.

I decided to look at all of my FindAGrave shaky leaf hints.  I created a citation template in notepad and went to work.  Some of the hints were gravestone’s I had already identified so they were quickly confirmed.  I was able to update death dates for about 75 people Monday night.  Each gravestone photo was downloaded to my computer, metadata added to the photo, information and citation added to Family Tree Maker, and hint confirmed.  It was great to clean up a bunch of missing information in my database.

I was surprised how well this work process worked.  It was very efficient.  I do not plan on tackling all of my ancestry hints at this time.  I may take a look at a specific database every now and then though.  As always, there is already a long to-do list to work on and paperwork to catch up on.

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