Here’s something I’ve struggled with for a while:
I only want to put good stuff in my database. Everything that’s in my new RootsMagic database has source citations. If I’m not sure about a connection, I don’t put it in. That’s my policy.
This leaves me with a small but high-quality database…but it also leaves me stuck when I’m working on a new family and I’m not sure where everyone fits. For that, I’ve started using private trees on Ancestry. I put in people I’m working on using census records or other low-hanging-fruit sources. It allows me to see where I am and what I’m doing without cluttering up my “real” database with a bunch of crap that turns out to be wrong. It also provides a bit of cousin-bait; anyone who finds those people in my private databases can contact me for more info. For the lines where I want to collaborate, that’s valuable. Because the trees are private, though, no one can take my half-done work and add it to their tree, which is good because I don’t want to inadvertently contribute to all of the junk trees out there. I also like the fact that I can add photos to the people on my Ancestry trees. I like seeing the people I’m working on. It’s hugely motivating for me. Once I’ve seen a picture of someone, I’ll keep plugging away no matter how distantly related they may be.
Essentially, RootsMagic holds my research, and private Ancestry trees are my whiteboards. I stole this process from Amy Coffin at We Tree. I’ve been using it for about a month, and it’s not perfect, but it’s working pretty well for me.
What’s your system? How do you keep your early work-in-progress lines from cluttering up your more mature research?
NOTE: The Ancestry link above is an affiliate link. You can read more about what that means here.
Photo by koalazmonkey