The Family Tree Do Over

Many genealogists have decided to start off 2015 with a push to re-examine their family trees.  I’m not sure who issued the challenge, but many bloggers like Thomas MacEntee have accepted the challenge to examine and clean up their family trees.  The goal is to retype their family tree in an effort to prune their tree, address issues of missing or poor sourcing and generally clean up their tree.  Other genealogists, like DearMyrtle, have decided to not redo their entire tree, instead focusing on each direct relative and proceeding through their tree one person at a time looking at:

  • Events
  • Sources
  • Media files
  • Identifying missing information

Personally speaking, I began this task two years ago when I got serious about joining DAR and proving my many DAR Patriots.  I recently discussed tree pruning in Is It Time to Prune the Family Tree?  Many of us at one time or another, set about gathering a lot of names.  Sometimes we decide that we have a little bit of information about a lot of people, but not a lot of information about a few people, particularly our direct ancestors.  I did prune my tree, however I did not throw out all of those “extra” relatives.  Instead, I archived a copy of my tree and removed everyone from 3rd cousins (I kept the 2nd cousins & spouses) outward from my “new smaller tree”.  Why keep all of those distant relatives?  After reflection, I decided those relatives were valuable and may come in handy down the road.  If I pursue any DNA analysis, now or in the future, I may need those relatives to complete my search for living descendants for comparative DNA tests.  Why redo all of that work?

New GenDetective report

New GenDetective report

If you are participating in this genealogy challenge, these GenDetective reports may be a good place to begin:

Over the coming weeks I will blog about one or two GenDetective reports each week that will help you improve your family tree!

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8 Responses to The Family Tree Do Over

  1. Commentor says:

    Thomas MacEntee is leading the charge and running the show via this FaceBook group page.

  2. Stephanie says:

    In my attempt for a Genealogy-Do-Over, I decided to purchased Gen Detective. I uploaded my Gedcom file to Gen Detective but it has been over 4.5 hours and it still says “448000 family tree lines read please wait…” I was wondering if this is normal and did not want to stop it if it is almost complete. Thanks, Stephanie

  3. GenDetective says:

    Hi Stephanie,
    It depends on the speed of your computer, the size of the tree and the amount of detail compiled for each person. 448,000 is a huge tree, it make take several hours to analyze. Be patient. If you are working on that many people, is it possible to export just a line at a time to the GEDCOM so you don’t have quite so many people to work with ?


  4. Stephanie says:

    My tree has 28k people in it, some sourcing but not a lot. Does it have to go through this process every time I want to use it? If that is the case I could export a smaller Gedcom. FYI it is still running has been since 11:30 am PST…Stephanie

  5. GenDetective says:

    Hi Stephanie,
    The tree with 28k people should process in 30 – 45 minutes if it is a fairly new computer; longer if it is older. No, you would only process your GEDCOM file if you have significant changes to your family tree, a lot of changes to many people, or a lot of additional people added, or if you are planning a research trip. If you are working through one person at a time, you know what you’ve changed, I would only process after you have done the work for a 1 – 3 weeks of work or even monthly. If you are adding sourcing the source reports for the person wouldn’t be current, but all of the events would remain the same which wouldn’t have any impact on the geographic mapping or the majority of reports.

  6. Stephanie says:

    Hi Sandy,
    My computer is only 4 months old and has 16 mb of ram. I went a head and stopped it after 6 hours and compiled the Gedcom with only 3k people and it worked. Thank you for your help.

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