Friday, 18 July 2014
The Thrill of the Chase
Not posted for a couple of days. I am drowning in paper!
The tree that I have been working on has numerous large sets of siblings on it and unfortunately, I have been so enjoying puzzling it out, I have let my record keeping get a little out of hand.
Below is a fabulous picture of one of the families involved. Not dated it yet but it shows the parents with their eleven children - all of whom survived childhood! It is going to be quite something to trace all of their descendents.
One of the most interesting things about genealogy, for me anyway, is the detective trail that it sets in motion. So much information is available out there! I have always loved puzzles anyway - the huge Samurai Sudoku grid in the Saturday Times is the only reason that I buy the paper rather than read it online. And don't get me started on the Saturday giant crossword...
For me, working on a family tree is like a giant puzzle. I am always thinking "ok, so that is that person, what happened to them/their husband/wife/sibling". You need to be very logical in your approach to dates and possible timings. The big websites, in particular, have so many records that you must narrow down search periods as tightly as possible or you will be confronted with thousands of possible matches every time. This work seems to suit my brain type. My parents say that I was never happier than sorting things into piles, according to various categories. I rarely actually played with the toys - just sorted and tidied!
My current work has flummoxed (what a lovely word!) even me though. It is shown me that I need to tighten up my record keeping. That is, keeping better records as I go along the trail. With so many names that all have similar dates, it has become a little tangled...
This has led me to the question of software for family trees. Should I make better use of the "tree making" facilities on one of the big sites? If so, which one? Or invest in a better program? How do I make it so that a client can share their tree electronically without needing a subscription to a service? Endless questions and possibilities - much like genealogy in general.
Actually, my head began to ache yesterday with the number of people all called similar things, born to the same two or three sets of people in the same time frame. Suddenly the puzzle was not so thrilling.
It is time to return to my own roots - those of chief sorter and queen of lists. This weekend, before I extend this massive tree any further, I must update my electronic records. It is just not as much fun as the chase though....