How Do YOU Use Your Genealogy Software?

How do you use your genealogy softwareHere’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

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