I would say that a good 75% of the questions I get via email have to do with “how do YOU do this?” The other 25% are straightforward research questions. Don’t get too hung up on the “how do YOU do this” sort of stuff. There are some things that are considered “standard” in the genealogy community but a lot is just how you prefer to do things. Some people that write me are really paranoid about doing something wrong. All you need to do is think about why you are doing something and does it really matter if you do it one way or another and then it will make sense.
Something that has a standard format is dates. We record dates as 04 February 1850. We do it this way so that there is no way the date can get confused. There is a real reason why you should do it this way. Consistency is also important with dates because we share data between programs and between people in different countries. There really needs to only be one way to enter a date. 04 Feb 1850 is considered just fine because it is still in the same format. For more information about dates and other things that have true standard formats, click HERE.
Now an example of personal preference (and this is from a question I got this week). “Should I record a census event or should I record a residence event and use the census as the source for that?” This one is totally up to you. I can tell you the way I do it but in this case there really isn’t a right or wrong answer. The most important thing to remember in situations like this is to be CONSISTENT. As long as you are consistent you will be fine. Now to answer the question. The way I do it is that I actually have a census event. I will name my event 1850 United States Federal Census. I transcribe the family details into the notes section and then copy the event to all of the family members. I use the census as a source for as many things as I can glean off of the record.
Copyright © 2014 Michele Simmons Lewis