Why Do-Over?

Have you ever wondered why genealogists might throw out years of work to start over? Or, have you wondered why other genealogists might elect to go back thru their previous work versus trying to break down brick walls?

A couple of genealogy blogs that I follow have pointed out some reasons for undertaking such a process.

In Jacqi Stevens post, Broyles Roots: If You Know, You Know on her A Family Tapestry blog, my (distant) cousin talks about her goal to update her research of Adam Broyles. She points out how the The Broyles Family by Arthur Leslie Keith provided a starting point for her BROYLES research but that she has not depended on it. Instead, she has been carefully working her way thru the generations. Not only are records more readily available now but DNA results can also help document these generational connections.

In Linda Stufflebeam’s recent Saturday Night Genealogy Fun post on her Empty Branches on the Family Tree blog, she discusses one of her 2023 goals which also requires ‘going over’. This goal is to ‘clean up her source citations’. While I know that this should be one of my goals, I have been reluctant to name it as a goal due to the size of such a project. Thus, I wish her luck!

Since one of my goals involves adding/updating biographies for my ancestral line to WikiTree, I’m also going back thru my research. When I created a narrative report for my grandparents, Edward Osmund Briles [LWYR-98X] and Pauline Mentzer [LWYR-9DX], I discovered an excellent example of why I need to pursue this process. With the availability of newspapers and census records in Kansas, I not only have a lot of facts for my grandparents but also an abundance of sources. This report revealed the following types of issues that need ‘cleaned’ up before copying the information to WikiTree.

  • Place abbreviations — Since I use standard place names, the report prints ‘United States’ for every fact which gets monotonous. By adding an abbreviation to the place, I can cause the report to print Coffey County, Kansas instead of Coffey, Kansas United States. Updating this is a two step process:
    • Adding abbreviation to place
    • Making sure the sentence uses the abbreviation for the place
  • Sentences –
    • extra space between words – “He owned” or missing space “In 1954,he”
    • too many words – “he was a ran a threshing”
    • missing information – “In Jun 1922, he .”
  • Facts that could be combined
  • Citations
    • Two or more citations to same source that can be merged
    • Missing information
    • Reference to a newspaper clipping when citation to digital copy exists
    • Extra punctuation

While it will take some time to get this report ‘cleaned up’, the resulting report will allow me to share my grandfather’s story on WikiTree.

2 thoughts on “Why Do-Over?

  1. Linda Stufflebean

    A “do-over” or “go-over” also often leads to new records now available online pertaining to an ancestor. Well worth the time and effort and thank you for the mention.

  2. Marian Burk Wood

    I’m also going over my genealogy (a process I began a couple of years ago) and one of my challenges is “The Bronx, New York” versus “Bronx, New York.” Both are correct, but I’m going to cut “The” to shorten and tighten. Enjoyed your post.

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