My Genealogical Mess!

Oh my, I have really got a mess on my hands, and it's going to take a while to clean up. Here's my dilemma. First problem: I have an ancestry.com account with online trees - yes, plural. I actually have nine -- count 'em, nine! -- trees on ancestry. One of the reasons for multiple trees had to do with the fact that I was a beta tester for Family Tree Maker for the Mac V2 (FTMM2), and I wanted to have a different copy for each fix level in case something went wrong. (And that's a different story altogether.) I was not disciplined about only adding facts or sources to a single master tree -- oh no. I have the same people in multiple trees with different sources attached, and some trees have people that others don't. So that's the first mess to clean up. I need to have a single ancestry.com tree that I'm going to make public. It's not perfect, but the title even says it's not -- the title has the word "Unverified" in it. Hopefully others who find the tree will take its facts with a grain of salt and verify everything themselves. I also have a tree at MyHeritage and Find My Past. I *think* that's it for the online trees. Oops, nope! I forgot that I have one at FamilySearch.

Then there are the trees on my computers (yes, plural again). I have an Apple desktop and a Windows laptop. (No, I don't make things easy on myself.) Oh, and we started out with an Apple MacBook and have taken it on roadtrips, so I'm sure there's at least one tree over there. On the Apple desktop, I have multiple trees in FTM because of the beta testing I mentioned before. Again, lots of overlapping, but not 100%. And I used Reunion on the Mac for quite a while, so I have a tree there that definitely isn't synced with ancestry.com. Going forward, the Windows laptop is going to be my repository for my Do-Over. For a while I was undecided on whether to use Legacy or RootsMagic. As part of my decision process, I imported a GEDCOM of my big tree into each program so I could play around, so I have a couple of test trees in each as well as a Do-Over starter in each. While it was a tough choice (though not necessarily permanent), at this point I've decided to proceed with Legacy -- again a different post. (I'm not even going to mention - much - that I also tried running Legacy and RootsMagic on the Mac Mini under WINE or MacBridge and that I have trees in there. No point since I've settled on the Windows laptop.)

That's just the trees. Then there are the files and images. I have files and images scattered hither and yon, both hardcopy and softcopy. I have so much that I have no idea what I have, so I keep getting the same stuff over and over. Yes, I'm trying to work with a research log, but I have to figure out what I have before that's entirely useful. So where do I have files?

I have paper files in cabinets, notebooks, piles, bags, firesafes. I have digital files on all three computers in various directories and on thumb drives (though I believe [!] that I've copied those all to ownCloud (more on this later). Do I have a naming convention? No, I do not. I'll think I've settled on one, but then I either decide it's not working or I don't remember the convention and can't find where I wrote it down. (Evernote is calling!) And of course, there are media files in the online and local trees as well.

I have paper photos in albums and multiple boxes that need to be scanned. I have photos in Lightroom on the Mac Mini, and it wouldn't surprise me at all if there are some on the MacBook as well. I also have some scanned papers and photos in my ScanSnap organizer on the Lenovo laptop. Hmm, I also have a Flip-Pal mobile scanner that stores scans on an SD card. Yikes! Somewhere else to check.

I mentioned the "cloud". There's DropBox, Box, Google, and iCloud. We definitely don't care for some of the Terms & Conditions of services like Google and DropBox. So we've started using ownCloud on our own server as the standard storage location for genealogy files. Bruce will have to explain that in a blog post of his own.

And I guess Evernote qualifies as part of the "cloud". I've got a lot of files in Evernote. I use the WebClipper a lot to save web articles or images to Evernote, then tag them and put them in some broadly categorized Notebooks. If I get an interesting e-mail from someone, I can forward that e-mail to my Evernote account (since I have the Premium flavor of EN). And I use some iPhone apps for scanning that automatically sync to Evernote, particularly Scanner Pro. (Evernote now has its own scanner app, Scannable. But I got started with Scanner Mini, then moved to its paid sibling, Scanner Pro. I made some mistakes when I first started using it, but now love the capability to scan multi-page documents, make them OCR readable, specify if it's B&W or Color, and then edit for exposure, contrast, and skew. And love the auto-upload to Evernote! It also uploads to other cloud services.)

Just a few other places where I have stuff squirreled away:  Mac apps like Pages and Numbers, Windows apps like Word and Excel, Scrivener, and just a bit in Clooz 3 (which I really haven't learned to use yet).

I'm sure I've missed something. But at least in writing this I now have a master list in Evernote, and I have an idea of all the places I need to look. Now I need to figure out the best process and, oh yes, that pesky naming convention.


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