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My genealogy software has a Match and Merge function, as do some competitive  programs. This function performs nunerous processes, but normally permits one to take a GEDCOM from another researcher and merge that data into your own, at the same time identifying possible matches so that duplicates are not created. The following comments do not fully explain the Match and Merge function since they differ between each software version, rather, the comments address some cautions about the process.

I merged two databases only once, about six months after I started researching my family. I found a lady with the maiden surname I carry. Her husband had my mother’s maiden name. I excitedly added 1,100 names to my data using a GEDCOM  only to determine much later that the husband was not a relative. Bad mistake!!

So I had some good data and some useless data. But that was only the beginning of the problems I had created.

Since my professional background was as a Management Consultant, shortly after starting research I laid down some characteristics I wished to be consistent within my data. Just as my clients wished a standard product modified to their company, I wished the same thing for my project.

Here is a partial list of my “Standards” for data:

  • All birth, death, marriage and burial location data will include a county;
  • All birth, death, marriage, etc data will have no abbreviations except Cty;
  • Notes will be arranged in chronological sequence;
  • Paragraphs will not have indents but line up to the left edge;
  • Book titles will be italicized, not underlined;
  • Legal document writings will be italicized;
  • Proper grammar and sentence construction should be used.                                                                                                             .

There are a few more but they all come under the heading of “consistent …… and readable”

It would be a miracle if another person used my “standards”, so I have always entered by hand data coming from another database, except for the 1,100 of long ago. If the Notes were consistent with mine, I would Copy/Paste.

While there are certainly accidental exceptions to “my standards”, generally my Register Reports provide a standard look and feel when printed and ultimately combined into books.

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