In the last post I wrote about My Personal Research Goals, and how you use personal goals to identify the types of records you want to find for each ancestor. Why go to this effort? GenDetective uses your personal research goals to look at each person in your tree, comparing them to your goals, and then provides a visualization of your research. Not by each person, instead My Research Progress shows you the people where you have located specific demographic .. and the people where you haven’t!
GenDetective’s analysis should not be confused with a reasonably exhaustive search, which is a detailed examination of a wide variety of records and manuscript collections. GenDetective’s analysis is limited to a comparison to the list of checks you provided: yes, I want to find this record, and this one, but not that one. GenDetective’s visualizations are limited to basic demographic records (birth, death, census, military service, immigration and religious events).
Looking at the screenshot (left), we can visualize our research. Clicking on the Vital Statistics links results in the following screen.
The Step 2 screen shows the research progress for the direct relatives in the area of Vital Statistics ..
- Birth Date
- Birth Location
- Both Parents
- Last Name
- First Name
What do the 3 different colored bars mean? The dark purple is people that we’ve found the demographic for (first name, last name, …). The blue color shows people whom we have not found the demographic for. So, what’s left? The pink color shows people where we’ve located some of the information! For parents, that’s easy; one parent has been identified, but not the second parent. For a date, like birth date, the pink represents an approximate date: circa 1817, between 1818-1821, a date of some form, but not very specific. For a location, like birth location, the pink represents a generic location, a state or a country. Not very specific, but much better than nothing!
Next, click on one of the colored sections of a bar, or on the equivalent link in the bottom section of the screen. The Step 3 graphic shows the people who have an approximate birth date (note the ABT which I use in data entry for about).
In the picture the blue arrow points to a link you can use to print the list of relatives that are showing on the bottom part of the screen.
Lets look at a second example.
This screen shot shows my current research progress into locating US Census records. I can visualize my progress, and by selecting any of the blue bars (I picked 1900) we see the following list.
You can use the Print this list link to send a report to the printer, or, just work off the list on your computer screen! That quickly, with a few clicks of the mouse, we can drill into our tree and identify research opportunities. Isn’t that what we’re all looking for, research opportunities? The more we exploit those research opportunities, the more information we’ve compiled to break through our brick walls.
By using My Personal Research Goals and combining them with My Research Progress, GenDetective is providing a new visual way to research. GenDetective is doing the work you, yourself would do, if you took the time to “study” what you have for each person in your tree. Instead, GenDetective does this work for you, enabling you to do what you enjoy doing .. hunting down more records and clues to each persons life.