The Amateur Genealogist Blues

This is for those who are considering publishing their genealogical data on the web. This is not trivial. I am going to try it, of course, though the waters look very cold and deep. It’s like this:

When you have collected enough data that you can’t remember it all off the top of your head it’s time to use software to help you get a grip. A few years ago I bought an excellent genealogy app called Reunion. One of the things Reunion has taught me is that I must document everything, and I mean EVERYTHING, I learn. Every birth date, death date, marriage date, census record, draft notice, marriage license, whatever, has to have a citation for where I got the information. This is not just to help me remember where I got information. It’s also for anyone who might look at my data and wonder where I got it. Naturally, we budding genealogists find this out well after we have already built our first glorious edifices of genealogical TRUTH (that’s in ornate old english script in case you can’t tell) based largely on unremembered web sources and family stories.

When I realized this it had me singing’ the Amateur Genealogist Blues

Soooo, I had to re-research everything I had already found in order to know where I got it, since if I ever want my data to be taken seriously by other genealogists they must be able to check my claims. Not that my sources are all that great, but I can cite something now. Ya gotta start somewhere.

I haven’t finished by any stretch, but I have enough so I feel comfortable showing it to the world. The next step is to get it onto the web in a form that is usable by the genealogical community. I would like to contribute to the Great Task, and perhaps my data will benefit from the knowledge that must be lurking out there.

Reunion is not a web platform, though, so I needed one. Not just a collection of pages, but a searchable database that meets the requirements of the genealogical community. The only choice, really, is TNG, short for The Next Generation. TNG will import data from Reunion using the standard GEDCOM format. It was a chore to get it to look like the rest of the site and there are many image files and other details that don’t transfer without some time spent on the Learning Curve to tweak the code but it serves its purpose admirably so far.

As long as I’m working the day job and playing music on the side it will be slow going. For now I’ve loaded TNG with raw data, enough for people to play with.