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Do you create just one family database OR a database for every family you're researching?

Do you create just one family database OR a database for every family you're researching?

Posted: 4 Jan 2013 6:00PM GMT
Classification: Query
Edited: 6 Jan 2013 7:03AM GMT
Surnames: Bakken Bjornseth Aasness Emerson Emmerson Lystad Torgerson
I'm researching five branches of my family tree.

I'm using FTM V8 and I have a family file/database set up for each one of these five families. However, once I upgrade to FTM 2012 and export the data into Ancestry.com, would it be best to merge all family files into one family file or can I/should I keep them separate? (Note that there are people that overlap in all family files, such as my immediate family. Will that be any kind of a problem if I keep the five separate family files?)

Re: Do you create just one family database OR a database for every family you're researching?

Posted: 4 Jan 2013 6:44PM GMT
Classification: Query
You don't mention the factor that bears most on this subject. How many people are involved?

If you are talking about 100 persons per "family line", by all means keep them in one file is the best answer. You will get operational efficiencies because of centralized things like place names and common report formats and common sources, etc.

If, however, you are talking about 10,000 people per family line, one might want to keep them separate. This is because FTM gets real slow with a lot of people. I can't really say how many people it takes to get real slow. I would be inclined to put them together and when things start to get real slow consider splitting lines off with the Extended Family Chart.

By slow, I mean the time it takes to:

move to the next field when entering items and hitting enter
The index redrawing itself when switching to the Family tab of the People Workspace
The time it takes for a the cursor to become active after moving to a field.

etc

Re: Do you create just one family database OR a database for every family you're researching?

Posted: 4 Jan 2013 6:53PM GMT
Classification: Query
We're talking approximately 500, 800, 1200, 800 and 1000 people per database (and growing). So in that case, I believe I will keep them separate. Thank you.

Re: Do you create just one family database OR a database for every family you're researching?

Posted: 4 Jan 2013 7:06PM GMT
Classification: Query
4500 people in a database is not excessive. What the previous post had in mind was if you were a collector and had merged tens of thousand people into your database.

I assume you have been working on your family for some time so the number of people in your database has not significantly changed in some time. maybe a growth rate of a half dozen people ever several months. This size database can easily be handled by FTM.

If you are planning on merging everyone tree and taking your family genealogy back to Adam and Eve, (not your grand uncle and aunt, but the ones in the bible) then definitely keep separate database.

I have one database for both my wife's and my families. Having one database removes a lot of duplicate entries, in location, sources and in people..

If needed you can report out the subfamilies for specific cousins.

Re: Do you create just one family database OR a database for every family you're researching?

Posted: 5 Jan 2013 9:56PM GMT
Classification: Query
If you plan on sticking with FTM software, keep them separate. I have found that the software starts slowing down when you hit about 2000 people in a database and gets progressively worse as the number of people increases, especially if you add media or sources to your database. If you just want to record names and dates and use another software to manage your sources, then FTM can handle more names.

Frankly, I gave up using FTM after experiencing one too many instances of the software shutting itself down. Also be warned, if you use the description field for any of your events and later want to share a gedcom file or move the data to another software, FTM merges the description and place fields into a single PLAC tag in the gedcom. This is a HUGE mess when uploaded to other programs or even back into FTM.

Re: Do you create just one family database OR a database for every family you're researching?

Posted: 5 Jan 2013 10:12PM GMT
Classification: Query
Thanks to all for the replies. I think keeping the families/files separate would be better (and easier), too.

However, I ran into what might be a potential, albeit minor, problem. When I was in the "AncestryDNA Member Match" window, I noticed that I can only link myself to ONE family tree.

So it seems that if I want to see how I'm related to each of my DNA matches, my only option would be to merge all my family files into one. Am I correct on this?

Re: Do you create just one family database OR a database for every family you're researching?

Posted: 5 Jan 2013 10:26PM GMT
Classification: Query
Yes, you're correct on that.

Re: Do you create just one family database OR a database for every family you're researching?

Posted: 5 Jan 2013 11:08PM GMT
Classification: Query
Yes, as long as you don't have but one or two common "points of intersection" between the files, you can easily merge all the files into one purely for the sake of reviewing DNA results. (Suggest a date in the file name to show it is archival and not active.)

Then continue to work in the separate files.

Re: Do you create just one family database OR a database for every family you're researching?

Posted: 5 Jan 2013 11:16PM GMT
Classification: Query
Thanks, Silverfox3280. That's a workaround that I was thinking of myself. It's nice to have someone reaffirm it for me!

Re: Do you create just one family database OR a database for every family you're researching?

Posted: 6 Jan 2013 4:48AM GMT
Classification: Query
Edited: 6 Jan 2013 5:20AM GMT
It's true that FTM scales very poorly. The more of anything it has to deal with, the slower it is. It shouldn't, however, have much trouble with the numbers you've mentioned unless you have multiple media items per person.

I would merge these tree files, however, if you have a lot of overlap. There's no sense in duplicating information and media. That only invites errors and omissions and wastes your time. I personally would only leave them separate (from an research/organizational standpoint) if I had a compelling reason to do so.

(Edit: Added PS below)

It's generally bad form to include surnames in a posting in a forum for genealogy software. That makes this discussion thread show up in searches people do for those surnames, and this discussion isn't related to researching those names. It only adds to the clutter someone must wade through with an interest in those names. As a Norwegian researcher, I'm sure this is something you can appreciate. There are a limited number of patronyms that we're all researching, and farm names, although more unique, tend to be repeated as well in their many varieties.

We benefit as a community when we restrict ourselves to using the "surnames" field only for postings directly related to those surnames. My advice to you is that you edit your original posting and delete those surnames. If your goal is to connect with others researching similar names and farms, then post something specific in an appropriate forum.
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