The Genealogy Journey

The newbie genealogist's resource for books, mags, databases, and -- of course -- any free research stuff to be found on the Internet.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Efficient Genealogical Software Still Can’t Prevent Human Error

I’ve mentioned this before: my father has done a great job of documenting his side and my mother’s side of the family. So for now, I’ve decided to leave my family tree alone. With my level of inexperience, I just might muck it all up. What I think would give me the most education (and material to blog about, of course!) is to trace my husband’s family tree.

I’m embarrassed to admit this, but for all the blathering I’ve done about researching my family tree, I’ve actually done nothing but research on genealogy itself – nothing on specific families. Until today.

Today I was able to successfully install the free version of Legacy Family Tree and enter some of Todd’s family’s data. The application is easy to use and full-featured – not something I would expect from a free software application. (Check out Legacy Family Tree’s standard features here.)

As I entered information into LFT, I was struck by how much could go awry. The software may be flawless, but the humans entering it surely aren’t. For example, the compiled Stiff info I have says that Todd’s grandfather’s middle name was Lodowic, but I’m pretty sure I’ve seen it somewhere as Ludwick (or was that Ludowic?). And I don’t know Todd’s sister’s middle name.

Little things like that make me realize that when working with so much information (or so little of it), you do have to be detail-oriented, organized, and patient. If you’re not, or don’t learn to be, you might become overcome by frustration and quit.

For now, my own confusion with the genealogical process and hesitancy with the software doesn’t bother me. After all that research I’ve done the past couple of weeks – checking out Web sites and hanging out in forums – I realize that help is just a few keystrokes away.

~Mary Kaye


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