I love the “thrill of the hunt”.  Looking at a timeline and thinking, “I wonder if they….” and then looking for the record.  Finding new names in birth records and the “AHA!” of finding a connection in a probate record.

What I DON’T love is entering the data in my genealogy program!  To be more specific, entering the source citations.  I love seeing a “solid” group sheet print out – you know, a group sheet with little missing information.  Rarely am I thrilled to see how long my citations list is!  It SHOULD give me a feeling of accomplishment – a pat on the back for a job well done.  But for some reason, it just doesn’t.  I look at that list and feel weary knowing the work that went into it!

But NOW, I have a new “picture” to look at and to have a goal of seeing no blank spaces without flooding me with memories of typing in the information it took to get there.

I recently switched from FTM to RootsMagic 4 for 1 simple reason.  The CHORE of entering citations in FTM was a nightmare for me!  To figure out which category of citation would eventually trickle down to the correct format for what I was holding in my hand was torture – so I just didn’t do it!  I find RootsMagic much easier to use for the citations – thank you RootsMagic team!

But you know what motivates me more than anything?  Check marks.  That’s right, check marks!  When I double click a person’s name, I see a screen with a timeline of events that I’ve entered into the database along with 3 columns for check marks.  1 column tells me if I’ve added a note for that event.  (No check marks there yet, but they’ll be coming)  1 column tells me if I have a source entered and the last column tells me if I’ve uploaded a media file for that event.

Talk about motivation!  As soon as I see empty boxes in those columns, I’m on the search.  Where did I find that?  Have I scanned it yet?  If it came from the internet, do I have the address?  If the web site still exists, have a taken a screen shot of the information (along with any introductory information) in case the site disappears some day? If I can’t find a record, then where did I get that information?  Time to start looking for confirmation!

And how long can I make this list?  I see important dates that are missing as well as sources that are missing very easily.  Much better than THINKING my database is complete when there’s actually a stack of papers somewhere with information that needs to be added.

For me, this is not work, this is completing a list – and being the type A personality that I am, that’s all I need to get me off my duff and into my files!

Yesterday, I read a post from Randy Seaver at Geneamusings in which he talked about cleaning up his database.  I have had a hard time getting back into the swing of research after my “nothing but school work” period, so I thought that cleaning up my database would be a good idea too.  I was amazed at the number of times people were entered twice (I know that has something to do with my merging gedcoms, so I’m not blaming the program) and I learned alot about how to take care of those duplications (after a bit of hair pulling, I must admit!)  But I also got into a very methodical method of going through the branches to look for the duplications and while I was working on an individual, I’ve also been updating those sources and media files.  I love it!

If you’re like me and you’ll make a “to do” list just so you can mark off a task you’ve just completed, then you’d love this too!