Start a new tree in the software you plan to use for your cleaned up database.
You have two options:
1. Export a GEDCOM file from your old tree, then import it into your new, or
2. Take one name at a time and re-enter the data.
There are pros and cons for both approaches.
- Pro: It’s fast and easy. You’ll be done in minutes.
- Con: If there were mistakes in the old database, they’ll still be mistakes in the new.
Re-enter each name:
- Pro: You’ll be able to check info each time you enter new data.
- Con: It’s very slow AND you may make transcription mistakes.
What have I done? I’ve done it both ways. I used to GEDCOM it, but this time I’ve been re-entering my data one name at a time into the new, cleaned up version. The only thing I am transferring to the new tree is information that I am sure about and that I can (and will) source properly. It is taking a very long time but I’m happy with my end product.
While doing it this way, I found several mistakes.
- I found a child listed as born in 1851, but she’s clearly on the 1850 U.S. census as a one month old baby! Since the census date for 1850 is 1 June, this child was definitely not born in 1851.
- I found a person born before Christ!
- I found an event dated 1009. I know I’ve done a lot of research, but that date is not right!
I guess if you wanted to, you could GEDCOM it all into the new and then re-check each entry. I just like knowing EVERYTHING in my cleaned up database is what and where it should be. That’s why it’s called the “clean-up version!”
If you haven’t done this already, I hope you’ll take some time now to get out your broom and put your genealogy house in order. In another post, I’ll tell you how to clean up the database tree you already have.)
What are you doing to clean up your genealogy database?