Thursday, 25 September 2014

Rebuilding my tree. Again.

With a family tree containing over 200 people, over 400 sources and nearly 500 images, why would anyone be foolish enough to start over? Well the answer is simple - the 400 sources and 500 images.

While I was much more diligent with my sources in compiling this tree than I was the first time around, I was not always diligent enough. I have at times revisited people in my tree only to discover that I had not always recorded the actual source of some of the documents I had gathered. There have been occasions when I have found myself asking certain questions: Did this scanned image come from Ancestry? Familysearch? Or some other site? What was the URL/URI for this source? Even what query parameters did I use to find the information? As a result I have decided it would be a good time to go back and (re-)confirm my sources and update the information where I can.

Another significant factor in this rebuild is the sheer number of documents I have been collecting. I have nearly 500 images stored with my family tree - documents ranging from birth, death and marriage certificates, parish registers, newspaper articles, scanned historical texts, photos and more. The size of these documents is becoming unweildy - my family tree database is nearly 1.5GB in size. While this size is not an issue on my desktop, it is becoming a problem on my iPhone and iPad.

I use MacFamilyTree on my Mac and MobileFailyTree on my iOS devices. The two apps work together and share the database, so all my work on my desktop is available on my iPhone and iPad. while this works great the size of the images and pdf files is becoming a problem, so I would like to resize the images where possible to provide a more streamlined experience.

Rebuilding my tree will allow me to resize images and documents to a more manageable size, reducing the storage required on my iOS devices and speeding up transfer times when I update the database. I will naturally be keeping the original images in folders on my desktop and only using resized images in the apps. This will also give me an opportunity to find and remove duplicate documents, which will also help reduce the storage space required on my devices.

As part of this process I will be implementing a new (digital) filing system to help aid discovery of documents and reduce file duplication. I have already devised the new filing system and will be writing a post explaining it shortly.

Maybe I am just creating more work for myself, but I am actually looking forward to rebuilding my tree. Who knows, by revisiting each ancestor and reverifying sources I might even break through some of the brick walls that stymied my research efforts in the past?

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