Saturday, July 30, 2011

My New Site

A little under two weeks ago, I announced to some of my cousins and aunts and uncles on my mother's side that I had just put up a new genealogical website at allenandliz,com.  As of today, I am linking this blog to that site, and will use the blog to announce updates of the website.

Today, the site now includes genealogical information on the families of all four of my grandparents.  I am in the process of adding Liz's and Jane's families, but I ran into a slight hitch.  At the risk of boring anyone who happens to read this, I'm going to talk (write) it through here.

My data includes at least three categories of persons: The first is RELATIVES of one or more focus persons, The complete set of RELATIVES is all the ancestors of a given person and all of the descendants of those ancestors.  To expand on that, taking me as the focus person, my RELATIVES include me, my parents, grandparents and great grand parents all the way back, my children and grandchildren and any great grandchildren, my neices and nephews including their children, my aunts and uncles including all the great aunts and great uncles all the way back, and my cousins of whatever degree, that is, the children, grandchildren and so on of all those aunts and uncles and great aunts and great uncles.

The second category I'll cal CONNECTIONS.  My CONNECTIONS are the spouses (including partners) of my RELATIVES and all of the OTHER relatives of my RELATIVES and their spouses.  (If every couple had children, I wouldn't need to specify spouses.)  An easy example of OTHER relatives is the grandparents and cousins of my grandchildren on their father's side, as well as theri father himself.  None of these folks are related to me.

One thing about CONNECTIONS is that the CONNECTIONS also have CONNECTIONS, and so on.  Sometimes it is difficult to determine exactly why a particular person is in my data, especially if they are a distant CONNECTION.

The third category I'll call ASSOCIATES.  These are unrelated people who I want to include for variousreasons -- perhaps they officiated at a wedding or baptism; perhaps they are neighbors who might turn out to be RELATIVES or CONNECTIONs -- there are lots of reasons to include them,. and I haven't always been careful to put down my reasons for including a particular person..

One reason for including an ASSOCIATE is the hope that I can discover a link so that the person becomes a RELATIVE.  But on the way I ,ay enter a lot of CONNECTIONS and RELATIVES of that person who do not turn out to be demonstrated RELATIVES of my focus people.  An example will make this clearer:  I entered a person I know who js descended from the British peerage.  It turns out she is my 25th cousin -- that means we have a common ancestor 27 generations back, or about 600 years ago.  Now I am interested in keeping in my data the people who form the link between me and my friend, but I am not terribly interested in the extraneous people I entered along the way -- especially those who are not even her RELATIVES but are merely CONNECTIONS.

There is also a group of people in my data who I did not enter directly -- people who I imported wholesale from GEDCOM's produced by other people who made them available on the internet.  There are people form at least two such sources -- at this point I have lost track.  Of these people, some are RELATIVES of my focus persons and some are CONNECTIONS.  The thing is, CONNECTIONS can be CLOSE CONNECTIONS or more distant CONNECTIONS.  There are two difficulties -- First, it takes a goos deal of work to determine how close a CONNECTION a given person is, if I don't know already, and second, further research often demonstrates that CONNECTIONS are really RELATIVES or the CONNECTIONS are closer than I thought.

Well, as I have written this, I have realized that despite the fact that they seem to clutter up my data, I am going to leave everybody in for now, regardless of whether they are currently RELATIVES or  CONNECTIONS of my focus people.  It does no harm, and I can clean it up later.  What I haven't said, is that I have also figured out what I have to do to determine who to remove as I get time.

Writing this has helped me think through the course I will follow.   If you have read this, I hope I haven't bored, or confused, you too much.

I'll recast some of this as an explanation and post it elsewhere.