Wednesday, April 9, 2008

How I Entered My Data

Here are some comments about how I entered data. I was using Personal Ancestral File (PAF) version 2.31 to record my genealogy data.

I did not use the "Co." abbreviation for county name. I wish I had since this can sometimes cause confusion. In later edits I fixed this problem in some of my genealogy files.

When the full name of a person isn't known I often use the word "Unknown" in the field where the missing name belongs. This is especially true in the case where a woman has children out of wedlock. In this situation I always enter the name of the father as "Unknown Unknown."

In the case of surnames such as McCoy I enter the name as "Mc Coy". This was done because programs which automatically capitalize the surname to "MCCOY" make it impossible for the reader to know that the name should only have two captial letters in it.

I entered place names in this order: town/city, county, state. In the case of burial a fourth piece of information, the cemetery name could be entered: town/city, county, state, cemetery name. In PAF only 16 characters are allowed for each of the 4 place name fields, so sometimes the cemetery name is truncated. You can usually find the full name entered in the note. In the notes I used a period (.) in the first position of lines between paragraphs. Why I did this is a long story. It was to keep the paragraphs from closing up on each other when printed by some programs.

When I send a GEDCOM you get everything I know. I don't hold back information. If I know a source citation you will find it in the note. If I think there is a conflict about data that has been recorded I discuss it with a "Problem:" note.

The last line in any good GEDCOM file is the TRLR, trailer line. It has those 4 characters "TRLR" in the line and I always check to see that they are there before I send out the file. I use an "editor" or "word processor" to make this check. If you have a similar program that comes with your version of Windows you should do the same thing once you get the GEDCOM. There is no point loading the file if the "TRLR" line isn't there.

If you incorporate any, or all, of my data into your own genealogy file then you may consider the data to be yours and you may share it in any way you see fit.

Good luck with your genealogy. And, if you have shared your information with me, thank you for sharing.

Dick Henthorn
5403 76th Avenue
Hyattsville, MD 20785-1705
(301) 459-0535

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