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
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,”
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
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.