Sunday, August 22, 2010

Rookie Mistakes - dealing with the LIVING

There are SO many mistakes to be made, when you're a newbie genealogy researcher.
For me, combine youth (in my early 20s, when I first really started compiling), crazy enthusiasm, and the onset of the Internet - And Rootsweb.
Plus, a boring job.

Bad Combo.

There wasn't much more than Rootsweb and the beginning of the Genweb available online, and I had a job that literally paid me for, like 5 months, to do genealogy. It was accepted by my boss. I needed to "be available" when work came up, and the rest of the time, as long as it wasn't Horrible Internet searching (yikes!) or gaming, I could do what I wanted.

So I filled in the entire Royal Family.
Did I need that in my database? NO.
Do I need it now, taking up space? NO.
But... it's there. And I suppose it's fun when I find more and more lines connected to the Royal Family - I don't have to do all the leg work behind it. Still, I wish I'd taken more time to actually LEARN the history, instead of just copy/paste from others on the Web.

This was before flash drives. Even before burning CD's was a norm. I was working for a computer software company that was still DOS-based, and sent out on floppys. Not the BIG floppys, but still.
So, moving from home to work wasn't easy. I had to back up my database and restore each time.

And somewhere in my export.... I exported with "replace LIVING for all living persons". Oh My God.
Something like 4000 names suddenly became LIVING instead of their real information.
I didn't realize, of course, until after a month or so of updating this database at work.... the call was, deal with the LIVING, or lose everything I'd done recently. I chose the first option.

And for 14years, I've had pages upon pages of LIVING in my database. No idea who these people are. Some of them first cousins and resources and family bible stuff - Real Bonafide Living information that I wish I had. And it's all gone.

Tonight, after months of when I get a down moment, which isn't so often, I'd delete these LIVING. 50 or so each time.
And tonight, I am proud to say that I have deleted all the LIVING from my database. Yeesh. I have no idea what I deleted, because it wasn't information to begin with - generations of... 8 children LIVING and marriages of LIVING and so on and so forth.

At least now they're not in there taking up space.

Hindsight.... really... if I'd only known then what I know now.