Monday, August 16, 2010

Madness Monday - genealogy in general

Today's madness doesn't involve an ancestor, or a hard-to-read census page, or someone who apparently got married at the age of 13, or anything I normally would gripe about. Today I've got two things that have been driving me mad.

Number one - I uploaded my file there some time ago, thinking it would help me connect with other researchers, and as another backup (I practice at least triple redundancy with my backups now). After a couple weeks, I started getting some 'merge requests'. At first, this was exciting. Finding people who shared my ancestors! Yay! But then I realized - these requests were for people waaaay back in the undocumented part of my file (yes, I fell into the 'download everyone on the internet' trap at one point in my research, and I'm still trying to separate what's accurate from what isn't). For several months I just combined everyone that I thought matched (and most of them did, from what I could tell). But then a few months ago, I got tired of merging all these people who I wasn't even sure were my family any more. So I stopped. Then yesterday, I logged into Geni, just to see how many of these merge requests were pending, and it was over 170! These matches take 3-4 minutes each to do (maybe it's my computer that's slow?) so we're talking several hours of work just to merge these people. I know there are many genealogists who use Geni, perhaps as their sole genealogy database, that my tree is tied to. Now I'm stuck with a dilemma - do I delete my tree completely? Do I let it sit there unused and unmerged? Or do I 'trim' the branches of the unverified families and add them in later as I verify/correct the info? The last one seems like the best way to go, so I might end up going that route, but with all the time it would take to go family by family...ugh. So yeah, I haven't made up my mind on that one.

The other issue I'm having is the funding for my future genealogical eandeavors - I really want to improve my skills (research, writing, networking, the whole she-bang), as well as join a few professional societies - APG (both local and national), BCG, NEHGS, and start subscribing to a few genealogical publications - Family Tree Magazine seems good and affordable, and the more pricey and professional ones like The Genealogist and the NEHGS Register sound very interesting too. I'd also like to renew my subscription, and maybe try the DNA testing for my paternal and maternal lines. The only problem is - the only way I can afford these things is by selling my truck! Seriously, how do professional genealogists pay for all of this? Unless they make a lot more money than I think they do, or don't care about credit card debt, I don't see how they can afford it. If you have any ideas, tips, tricks, discount coupons, or any other suggestions on how to afford moving towards more professional genealogy research, I'm all ears. Till then, I'll just keep pulling my hair out. :)


Thomas MacEntee said...

Hey Brandt

Secret to affording all those things on your genealogy wish list? Well for me, I am still transitioning as a professional genealogist and I do a combo of credit card debt and 401k retirement money. But I am just starting my business.

I do make money with my writing for magazine, self published books, affiliate ads on my blogs and sites.

My best recommendation right now: find your niche. Something that sets you apart in the genealogy community. Then start building a reputation around that: Facebook page, Twitter, blogs, websites, write for genealogy society newsletters etc.

ironhide781 said...

That is great advice. Thank you!

Jo said...

I'm in the same boat with too many extended, unverified lines, from when I was a young, totally unskilled researcher. I'm starting to think I do need to just start hitting the delete key. It would take FOREVER, but really the only way to help the database.

Good luck in your adventures!!

ironhide781 said...

Thanks! I've been reading Donald Lines Jacobus' "Genealogy as Pastime and Profession" and he has some rather strong words about those who just lift info from printed family histories w/o verifying it first. Sad to say, the first several years of my research were done that way. Had I but known!

Kathleen said...

Check out the National Genealogical Society- they have free educational courses as well a fee based based.
The Family Tree Magazine is great- I look forward to reading the new issues.
170 merge requests! I would 'trim' the branches of the unverified families and add them in later after you verify them.