Why didn’t I think of this before?

The more I spread my family tree out on the internet the more cousins I drag in (willingly, of course.  Just this month I have had four new cousins find me through Facebook and I’ve made two new ones through my DNA test.

I love finding new cousins, really I do!  But, I’m finding that despite my stellar ability to remember which great great grandparents had which kids, I lack when it comes to, say, remember where I put my glasses 5 minutes after I was wearing them.  I also have trouble in some cases remember which new contact connects to which line in my family tree.

I could keep a list, but then I have to put the list somewhere.  If it’s on my computer I have to remember where on my computer it resides and what I named it.  I also have to include enough information so that I know which Joao Pacheco we’re talking about (I have many).  It is tedious just to think about it.

As I was inputting some information the other day, it dawned on me that there was an easy solution.  Why not make a custom field in RootsMagic where I can note my connections on each individual.  Then, if I designate the field as private only I can see it.

I created the field then tested it out.  I was able to create a simple report that showed me the individual in my database and the researcher who is associated with them.  It took less than a minute.

Why hadn’t I thought of this before?  It’s not like database management wasn’t what I did for a living for 20+ years.  And, it isn’t like I haven’t created all sorts of custom fields on RootsMagic.  Some times I make things so difficult!  I like it when the database does the work for me.


Getting A New Computer: Prep Work to be Done

My blogging has been light this month for which I apologize.  I am getting a new computer for my birthday from my family.  It took me two weeks to select one with in the price range that would be a step up from what I have.  My computer is 7 years old so probably anything built after 2010 would be a vast improvement.  I decided on a refurbished HP.  I’ll be moving from 2 gig of RAM to 8.  It will be like a dream come true.  It will be delivered on Tuesday.  I’ve very excited!

This isn’t the first time I’ve bought a new computer.  I got my first computer in 1983, an IBM PC 5150 (Intel 8086).  I remember that we paid $5000 for it and we were considered special because we paid extra to have a hard drive installed.  Since then, I’ve had a 286, 486, a Compaq, a computer that should not be named (but I will:  Packard Bell), an AST, an eMachine, and the last one a Dell.   Before arthritis took over my fingers, I was handy with a screwdriver and would upgrade them myself.  Of them all, none was built as solidly as the very first IBM.  It became obsolete before it broke down.  Unfortunately, you can’t get by with a floppy disk drive, 10 MB hard drive, and a RGB monitor anymore.  It’s hard to believe that you ever could!

Now starts the hard work:  preparing to move everything to my new computer.  I made a list of the tasks that needed to be done:

1.  Backup all my personal files.

I admit it.  Despite having computers crash on me in past and eat all my data (thank you Packard Bell), I’ve been negligent where backups are concerned.  When I moved to a new computer in 2009, I backed up everything and I still have those backups.  I did another complete backup before I moved 3 years ago.  I’ve done sporadic backups of my genealogy database and other personal files since then, but I have not backed up my genealogy documents or some recent photos.  Well, this is my chance!

I made a list of backups I need to verify or do.  I came up with 15 different types of files that had to be backed up.  Everything from my genealogy databases to email to the simple program I use to keep track of my checkbook.

At first, I thought I would use Google Drive and Picasa to do my backups.  I ran into some unforeseen problems (i.e. Picasa refused to upload 52 of my photos that had too long of file names).  After I am reinstalled and running, I will backup files to Google Drive.  I want to have an off site backup.  It’s just that I can’t work out all the kinks in four days.  I bought a 32 gig memory stick instead.  None of the ones I had were large enough and I didn’t want to split file directories.  I’ve been working on this since Thursday.  All that is left is my music files and Thunderbird email.

2.  Software programs will need to be reinstalled.

Like most people, some of my software is on CDs and some is only on my computer (from downloads).  I made a list of everything that was on my old computer that I would like to reinstall on my new computer.  I’m moving from Vista to Windows 7.  I have some software from Windows XP.  I do not know if it will all work or if I really want it anymore.

Next step was to find all the software.  I had to move around several dust bunny piles to dig out the 3 CD holders.  It’s amazing how many empty CD cases I have.  Everything I want is now in a pile ready to go.

3.  I may need some cables.

About 3 weeks ago, I though I should put this plastic bag of cables in the donation bag.  What was I going to need them for?  Well, my new computer doesn’t come WiFi enabled.  It only has an Ethernet card for internet access.  Not to worry.  I see at least 5 different cables in my plastic bag.  Before I moved three years ago, I didn’t have a router.  I should have everything I need to plug into the modem until I get a WiFi adapter.

4. Waiting for delivery.

This may be the hardest part.  My computer doesn’t come until Tuesday.  I’ve taken photos but don’t want to upload them since that folder is already copied.  I don’t want to create any folders or do anything that might have to be moved.  I think I can do it for four days.  Maybe.

I should be ready to roll come Tuesday.  My backups will be done and I’ve already got a stack of software to install.  Oh yes, I am ready and eager!


SNGF: Source to Person Ratio

This is part of the Genealympics Challenges and Saturday Night Genealogy Fun at Randy Seaver’s Genea-Musings.

My assignment is to calculate my source to person ratio in my database.  I use RootsMagic.  It was easy to find the total number of people in my database: 9, 856.

Calculating the sources took a little light bulb power.  After searching through the help screens and online, I didn’t see an easy way to do this.  Creating a Source List meant counting the entries on 77 pages.  I didn’t really feel like doing that.

I found a solution.  I created the Source List report as a .txt file.  I opened the file in Microsoft Works Spreadsheet.

Each entry appeared as a Source and a Footnote, each on a separate line.  I noticed the report generated blank rows sporadically.  Instead of deleting those, I sorted the list on column A.  I deleted all the entries that started with the word “Footnote”.  I deleted a couple of duplicates and some screwy looking test entries. Then, I arrived at my source number:  1,710.

Randy says to divide the number of sources by the number of people.  My ratio is .173 (to infinite and beyond).  My ratio is too low to earn a medal…I’ve been disqualified :(

Looks like I need to work on getting sources into my database.  Most of my early sources are still on paper in my binders with the family group sheet.  They were once in my database.  However, two mishaps (upgrade from Leading Edge DOS to Windows and Converting from Leading Edge to Family Origins) wiped out all off the sources I had input over the first 4 or 5 years.

It’s like I’ve failed a genealogy drug test.  I’ve been disqualified.  LOL

(Thanks for the fun challenge, Randy, even if I didn’t make it to the medal round.)