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Ancestry.com has purchased over time many of the databases associated with genealogy, providing much help to our community. Those new to the hobby often build a database within Ancestry and either leave it there forever or constantly download Gedcoms to use in their software on their PC. If you leave it there, I would question whether or not you have thought about an end product of your research.

I would like to offer a perspective on the question. While I appreciate there are many reasons to be engaged in genealogy, my reason and hence this suggestion is directed at what I consider the main purpose for the research – to write a book(s) to leave for your descendants that they may understand ‘from whence they come’.

One would never write a book which jumped back and forth between periods of time; for example some paragraphs on employment in 1990 followed by early birth years followed by schooling in 1970. You would not record Census years in random sequence. One would write chronologically.

Information in Ancestry is added by person as posted or found over long periods of time. So you might think you have everything and then someone finds more. The same with your own work. You start with the Internet, you move to Ancestry, you visit a hometown, you return to a hometown and so forth. What you find varies widely by time period. What you find is often written by many people in different styles and with typos and improper grammar.

Thus, when you enter this data into your own database, it should be placed within the Notes in chronological order. The information should be put into grammatical sentences and separated by appropriate paragraphing.

So I suggest maintaining nothing in Ancestry beyond name, dates and places of birth, death and burial and concentrating on your database at home on your own PC. I would download whatever I find and copy/paste or type in my own style that which I find in Ancestry or elsewhere.

And never ever would I load a Gedcom into my own database, but rather into a specially named database and work from Ahnentafels or Registers to place into my own database. No one writes in my style nor do they have the same purpose as I have designed for my descendants.

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