What to do

after import into TMG

 from another data source


Many new TMG users and even some long time users import data into a project without any plan as to what to do with the data after import. It is not unusual for data from other sources to be less organized than the user would like. Reasons for this include how the data was previously organized which may be related to an earlier program, the user’s own preferences based on other programs, and various things that just don’t quite match how a user currently wants the data in TMG.

The very first thing a user should do after the data is imported is to review the data in TMG after the import. Was all the data imported? It may be in places that don’t make sense, but is it in TMG?  If all the data is not in TMG, check to see why.  If it is just one or two small pieces of data, enter it as is appropriate.

If a lot of data did not import, look to see why. Also it is not unusual for a lot of data to be imported into “wrong” places. Incorrect placement of data can often be corrected by re-importing the same data into the same project/data set (e.g., overwriting the original import)but with the user selecting some different Import Wizard options. Notes and places are the usual culprits of this kind of problem. [If you change options, it is recommended that you do not change many options at the same time as this make it hard to see exactly what changed). If you cannot figure out why the data did not import, ask for help via one of the TMG Forums or a local user group. If you still are not able to find an answer, ask TMG Tech Support. 

One piece of advice, if you are importing a large amount of data (say over a few hundred people) then, if you can, it might be worthwhile to create a subset of the data to be imported.  Then try importing that subset into TMG.  Review the imported data for completeness, correct placement, etc.  Then try the import again changing options as you feel appropriate.  Doing this with a subset of the data will allow the trial imports to process much more quickly and you can do many tests with a different set of options each time.  When you find that the import is as close as you can get it, import the full amount of data.

Once you know that all data is in TMG, review it for appropriate placement of the data. Again, some data just will not be in the desired fields. Are dates in the Date fields, places in the place fields (generally), other text in the Memo fields, source citations entered in some way as Source Citations, etc.? Don’t bother with nit-picking yet. Just get data basically where it belongs.

Second, open the Master Place List and review it in detail. You may find data that really belongs in the Memo field. Make note of that for later. For actual place data, adjust it to be in the correct fields – city names in the City field, county names in the County field, names of farms, homes, hospitals, colleges, institutions, etc. will normally go in the Detail field, and other data in their fields as appropriate. For some data, the user may wish to create Custom place fields. Review the place data to see that any duplicate places are, in fact, duplicates. If they are duplicates, be sure that each of the duplicates is exactly the same. When duplicate place records are exact duplicates, close the Master Place List, and run the Optimize process then the duplicates will be removed.

Third, open the Master Repository List and review that data. Make sure that there is an entry in the Name-Other field unless the Name-ID# field has an entry in it (an ID#). The Abbreviation field may contain almost any entry that you wish to help you find this Repository. The place fields should have most entries in the appropriate field since you have already worked on the Master Place List above. Still, you may want to add data. You may enter something in the Memo field if you want.

The one big suggested change to your Master Repository List is in the Abbreviation fields. If you have more than a few Repositories, you may want to review the Abbreviations and develop some kind of convention for creating Abbreviations for Repositories. Persons might be entered as last name first, similar places like libraries, courthouses, churches, etc. might be entered so that they group together, etc. When grouping, a library might be entered as “LIB, Some City,” a courthouse might be entered as “CH, Some County, State,” etc.

Fourth, open the Master Source List and review each Source. Many Sources will only have a Title which contains the citation as imported. You _may_ leave these alone and they will mostly be fine. However, it is suggested that you “correct” these Sources by selecting the appropriate Source Type and copy/paste the data into the right Source Element fields. You may also need to create new Repositories or re-select the right one(s) based on the changes you made in the Master Repository List above.

The above four steps will clean up most of the “problems” that many users encounter on importing data into TMG. At this point, you should have a basically “clean” data set and can run most reports fairly satisfactorily. You still may find things that need “cleaning up.” Among these are places in the Memo field or text in the place field(s). Usually this is taken care of with the import option selections as mentioned above. But, some exceptions may occur. Just copy/paste the data to the correct field(s).

Next, I would suggest that you run an Audit report. This report may be very large, so if you have more than a few dozen people in the data set then I suggest running the report to the screen if you are running the report for All persons. Otherwise, select a small subset of the persons to run the Audit report against. Keep in mind that the “errors” found in the Audit report are not always indicative that something is wrong. For example, it may note that someone was born after the father died. This may be the case, and if so, just ignore the “error.” On the other hand, if it reports someone was born after they died then you probably do have something wrong. In other words, review the report entries, and if they turn out to be errors then correct them, otherwise ignore the report entry.

In all of the above, keep the Research Log in mind and add Research Tasks as you come across something to be researched. Then as you go on research trips (across town or across country), you can print a List of Tasks report to help you plan your trip. The report can be all Tasks or just those Tasks that are associated with your destination.

You will want to print some narrative reports to see if the results are as you desire. Most Tag and Witness Sentence will give acceptable results, but you may want to vary some of the Sentences so that the narrative does not read like it was computer-generated. Also, you may want to personalize some sentences so that you can have multiple paragraphs, indents, etc. This part will probably take the longest and many users are constantly making little changes.

In line with the above, you may want to include Exhibits with the narrative reports to see how they appear in the reports. Then, you may want to make changes to the Exhibits as are most appropriate – usually adjusting a photo to the desired size.

Note that this is not the only way to process "clean up" of imported data.  It is one that I use most of the time with variations.  If I see something that will speed up the process, I will often do that even if it appears to be out of the above sequence.


Comments to:  Lee Hoffman

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