Some people eat, sleep and chew gum, I do genealogy and write...

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Look carefully at the FamilySearch Family Tree notes

In a previous post, I gave some examples of the unintelligible information included in transporting the Notes from into's Family Tree program. The bad news was that the Notes could be meaningless, but the good news is that in some cases, the Notes could have valuable information. There is a definite possibility that the Notes could date back to an original entry in Personal Ancestral File as long ago as 1984. From time to time, I have noticed in my own Notes sections in my current programs, that I have some very old information, preserved after years and years of migrating the information through 30 years of programs.

From one standpoint, this is not just good news, but very good news. The persistence of this old information illustrates that the process of data migration does have a tendency to preserve core information even after a large number of copy processes.

One of the major challenges we face as genealogists is the constantly changing world of genealogical software. For my part, it is comforting to know that, at least in some cases, the programs work and do what they are supposed to do. I have no idea how many times my data has been copied over from program to program as I upgraded versions and moved to new programs, but I would guess it runs into the dozens and dozens of times. So despite these transfers, GEDCOM has remained surprisingly robust and achieved what it was designed to do.

I could only hope that any future iterations of a standard method of file transfer lasts as long as this particular data has persisted. So, instead of being annoyed, how about being thankful? Of course, I will have to keep reminding myself of this as I work through thousands of Notes that need to be deleted as meaningless.

If you do not see any Notes and have no idea what I am talking about, that is also both good and bad. Good that you don't have to deal with Notes from the past and bad because it means few if any of your relatives have contributed anything in the past.

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