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When is a good time to combine databases?

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#1 Gator99

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Posted 12 February 2017 - 12:25 PM

Hello! I have been using Roots Magic for years. When I began, I created three databases: one for my paternal side, one for my maternal side, and one for my wife's side. So I have three databases.

 

My question is: Would it be better to combine my paternal and maternal databases?

 

Another way of putting this is: Is there any reason to have separate databases?

 

I appreciate the input.



#2 KFN

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Posted 12 February 2017 - 08:58 PM

When you are doing pure research (IMHO) it is Never a good idea to have a family divided into multiple databases. I have plenty of cases where people would be in two or more databases if I did divide the database at some point. Worse yet I would need to enter sources multiple times. All of this multiple entry is hard to maintain.

 

 

 

EDIT:   Thanks zhangrau Don't know why the letter "N" was skipped!



#3 zhangrau

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Posted 12 February 2017 - 10:58 PM

When you are doing pure research (IMHO) it is ever a good idea to have a family divided into multiple databases. I have plenty of cases where people would be in two or more databases if I did divide the database at some point. Worse yet I would need to enter sources multiple times. All of this multiple entry is hard to maintain.

 

it is Never a good idea



#4 JimDavis79

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Posted 13 February 2017 - 06:59 AM

I'm a big believer in One Tree to Rule Them All, including all lines and unrelated persons.  However, if I were a professional genealogist, I probably would keep separate client databases, especially if there was any sensitive information in one.  The RM7 database has no limits that might cause you split trees and branches within your family.  It comes down to preferences, yours in particular.  

 

Pretend with me that you have children and they are now mad about family history.  The setup you have requires them to look in three databases to trace their history.  Collecting their combined history into a single document encounters additional steps.  If close geographically, one might miss intermarriage among the maternal and paternal lines (happened in my crazy family).  

 

I think the advantages of having a single database outweigh those of separating lines.  My opinion, worth what you paid for it!


Best regards, Jim

"When you shake my family tree, nuts fall out."


#5 Renee Zamora

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Posted 13 February 2017 - 07:59 AM

Some pluses of a combined database are consistent Custom Fact Types and sentences, Place Lists, and Sources. You can have multiple trees inside of the same database.  


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#6 KFN

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Posted 13 February 2017 - 09:45 AM

Even when I'm doing community research where I have multiple families that are "probably" unrelated I put them all in the same database.   I can later when I report back to particular people/family/farms create additional databases for them out of the primary.  But the primary is always the only database I update.



#7 David Graves

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Posted 13 February 2017 - 10:54 AM

I too currently have multiple databases: one for my ancestry, one for my wife's.  I can see the benefits of only having one database.  However, my wife is now saying she's interested in genealogy.  Can two people work on the same database simultaneously?



#8 Jerry Bryan

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Posted 13 February 2017 - 12:32 PM

  Can two people work on the same database simultaneously?

 

Short answer with RM: no.

 

Jerry



#9 KFN

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Posted 13 February 2017 - 03:56 PM

I would suspect that most "Desktop" genealogy programs will not allow concurrent use of their databases.



#10 Vyger

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Posted 14 February 2017 - 01:10 PM

Another way of putting this is: Is there any reason to have separate databases?

 

In Short; NO

 

I agree with everyone who has supported the single database concept, the reasons have already been clearly stated.

 

I feel I do have to add that the hope remains for Rootsmagic to better facilitate working with subsets within one single large database, for me this would especially apply to providing the ability to use Duplicate Search Merge within a Named Group.

 

Renee, I believe this is on the list but if not please add, thx

 

Duplicate Search Merge limitations


“Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning.” -Bill Gates

 

 

User of Family Historian 6.2.7, Rootsmagic 7.5.8, Family Tree Maker 2014 & Legacy 7.5 (in order of preference)

 

Excel to Gedcom conversion - simple getting started tutorials here

 

Root


#11 Renee Zamora

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Posted 14 February 2017 - 04:56 PM

Confirming that is on the enhancement request list. 


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#12 Trebor22

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Posted 15 February 2017 - 04:05 AM

With parents from different countries and beginning research on each line at different times I 'naturally' went for 2 databases, I have since started researching my wife's ancestry so now have a third. Never felt the need or seen any advantage in combining  them. I would think carefully before doing so, however as the subjects been raised and given the comments from forum members I will pause to think about doing so :-)



#13 zhangrau

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Posted 15 February 2017 - 04:33 AM

My thoughts on the case for a SINGLE database. My research started as a entire-surname study, and then evolved to include ancestors and descendants of cousins.

 

I've now been researching for over 28 years, and my database includes over 395,000 individuals - approximately 83%of them connected in a single main tree. The remaining 17% are from side projects to study friends' genealogy, to explore certain historical families, to explore certain historical themes (innovators and scientists), etc. As I've said many times, in order to believe my research conclusions, one must be able to trust my sources, so I make an effort to document every fact/event with a source & citation. I'm a source lumper, as opposed to an extreme splitter, and I currently have over 13,000 sources and over 2,200,000 citations, from 1,800 repositories. Yes, I spend time nearly every day, usually several hours per day, on this hobby.

 

By storing everything in a single database, I have been able to show how my various relatives are related (ninth-cousins who are married, for example) as well as showing connections in various ways to Europe's ruling dynasties. When I share reports with the younger generations, they really enjoy seeing their historical connections. If I had kept separate databases for each of my side projects, those connections might not have been documented.



#14 Jerry Bryan

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Posted 15 February 2017 - 07:37 AM

For most users, most of the time it's better to have only a single database. I won't repeat all the reasons, as they have been pretty well covered. But that doesn't mean that additional databases are never warranted. 

  • I am not professional genealogist who charges customers, but if I were in that situation I might find it better to keep a separate database for each customer. I'm not sure what's best in that case.
  • If I'm importing GEDCOM from a colleague, I always import the GEDCOM first into a separate database, do some cleanup of things like place names and sources, and then export the data out of the separate database and import it into my main database.
  • If I'm trying new features of RM or if I'm trying new ways to manage sources or sentence templates or facts or anything like that, I often try out my new ways in a new, test database - sometimes called a play database or a sandbox. I think that's only common sense. But sometimes I get into a bind where I have put new data into the play database to see what it will look like and then I have to worry about getting my data synced back up before deleting my play database or else making my play database into my production database.

In any case, I don't think that RM (or really, any desktop genealogy software) makes it very easy to split and rejoin databases or for multiple users to collaborate on a single database or anything like that. So choices you make about such issues are very hard to undo if you change you mind or if situations change.

 

Jerry



#15 Trebor22

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Posted 15 February 2017 - 02:30 PM

I have been interested by all the comments on this subject but to expand / clarify slightly on my previous post I have 3 databases of 'my own research' and lots more from family who have sent me gedcoms. I have never thought to import any into one of my own databases, its fantastic to see others research, compare it with my own, use it as sign posts to further my own research and often further contact on where we differ in our conclusions. I've just never seen it as an alternative to 'walking that path myself'.

In many ways I am still happy with my 3 databases arrangement but I can also see the weight of opinion against my position - definitely something I should ponder!!



#16 John_of_Ross_County

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Posted 15 February 2017 - 03:53 PM

You could always try a combination of your three databases.  Call the file "Test" or something like that.  If you don't like it, delete the "Test" file.



#17 Trebor22

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Posted 16 February 2017 - 03:10 AM

You could always try a combination of your three databases.  Call the file "Test" or something like that.  If you don't like it, delete the "Test" file.

That's a good idea and I will try that approach as part of my pondering!! Chatting last evening it seems my wife is likely to 'adopt' her family database when retired in a couple of years so my decision is simplified a little to just my 2 parents files.



#18 JimDavis79

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Posted 16 February 2017 - 07:13 AM

One last post from me on this topic.

 

Zhangrau, I think your database might be one of those "national treasures" we all admire.  I do hope it is extremely well backed up, in multiple geographic locations.  I also hope you have plans on who succeeds you (eventually) in stewardship of all that information.

 

There is at least one genealogy software that permits multiple users to work simultaneously in the same database, and that is TNG.  It does require a web hosting solution and some sysadmin understanding, but there are many users worldwide.  One can give users various privileges, such as suggesting changes or making changes.  One can designate trees and branches of trees in which user activity is allowed or restricted.  I use my installation both as another layer of backup (online versus local) and for collaboration with family members.  My approach is to share access to data through TNG, since another user needs only a web browser, but only allow suggestions and GED download.  I don't keep all my media files in the TNG instance, but could if I put in extra effort.  I use RM7 as my master, and it is backed up six ways from Sunday.


Best regards, Jim

"When you shake my family tree, nuts fall out."


#19 KFN

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Posted 16 February 2017 - 07:46 AM

I generally dont like to advertise other software, but.... webtrees is another genealogy program that supports collaboration. It is also web based, open source and free.

It does not have much in the way of reports, but users generally don't care since they can share conclusions to the world.

#20 Gator99

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Posted 17 February 2017 - 07:42 AM

Wow, I could not have asked for better responses. Thanks to everyone. I am moving everything into one database ASAP! This forum is a great resource. Now I know where to go for RM questions.







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