I’ve been doing genealogy research for a long time and I’ve learned a lot about what NOT to do and sometimes I have an overwhelming desire to start over!  When I first started researching my family, I documented nothing.  How could I possibly forget the joy of finding that piece of information?  SURELY, I didn’t need to write that down!  Eventually, I saw how wrong that was and I did start adding sources.  But it was a simple “1880 Census” or “Death Certificate”.  Later, I started adding page numbers or ED numbers for census records etc.  But the same source might be listed 1 way for 1 fact and a totally different way for another fact.

Then there were better explanations of proper source citations so I started trying to add details to my sources as I was seeing in the examples.  In the meantime, I had updated my software several times and the source templates were different every time, so I now have the same sources listed several different ways and the perfectionist in me is very frustrated.  I truly want my research to be complete and as professional as possible.  And I feel like I’m at a cross-road of sorts because I’m ready to upgrade my software once again to Family Tree Maker 2010.

One part of me wants to transfer my tree to the new software and then wipe out ALL of the sources and re-enter them one at a time so I can “do it right”.  But that’s crazy!  I don’t have time for that!!!  This is one of those types of things where I put it off and put it off because if I can’t do it right, I won’t do it at all.  (Much like I put off learning my 2008 software because the format was soooo different from what I was used to!) 

Maybe it would be a bit of a time saver to download my GEDCOM from Ancestry for my new software and at least have those sources automatically entered for me and then go back and add the sources that are missing.  I probably have more people on my Ancestry tree than I do in my FTM database anyway and the time I could save just by not having to enter source data for every census record would be substantial.

I’ve never had the desire to have thousands of individuals in my tree.  I really want to feel like I KNOW the people I am researching.  Bottom line, that means that I usually add children’s name that aren’t my direct line and perhaps even their spouses, but I don’t usually go beyond that.  I’m not the type to click on the “Add this family to your tree” button on Ancestry and I don’t intend to start that now.  So my tree has fewer than 2000 people in it (wow, that actually seems pretty big to me now that I see that in print!) but that includes my side as well as my husband’s side.

Admittedly, I haven’t opened my FTM 2010 yet, so my idea may not even work, but that certainly seems like a better way to go than the “start from scratch” method.  And it’s not like doing it that way would wipe out my FTM 2009 database.  Plus, I’m working with each family to create my research logs a little at a time, so that would be a good time to confirm sources and fill in blanks, right?  Perhaps the new software has a “fix the sources” button kind of like the “Resolve Place Names” button in the 2009 version?  If not, maybe that’s a suggestion for the next upgrade!!

Thoughts?  I’m certainly open to suggestions!

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