Data entry for genealogy research is very important and it involves historical document conversion that is best entrusted to a data entry company. This is because most of the documents may be handwritten – both cursive and non-cursive handwriting may have to be read. Genealogy projects include those undertaken to trace family histories to know more about one’s heritage, discover one’s past and also understand the medical history of one’s family. Census projects related to compiling historical census data also form part of genealogy research. Whatever the project may be, standardization of data entry is important because it helps to manage large data sets. Consistency in data entry ensures that all data is entered in a uniform manner, on the basis of a set of guidelines understood and followed by many people. It makes the research done more credible and professional; moreover, information can be easily shared among researchers.
Guidelines to Ensure Consistency
When there is large volume data involved, the practical solution is to utilize data entry services. When entering genealogy research data, you can ensure consistency by following certain guidelines. Names, dates and places constitute highly significant genealogy data that must be very accurate if the research is to have any value.
- Surnames can be entered in capital letters which helps in distinguishing them from first and middle names. It also enables easy scanning on pedigree charts and family group sheets.
- The maiden name or birth name can be used as last name. However, for women their maiden name will be forgotten with time. If the maiden name is unknown and the software program has a separate field for last name, then leave it blank whereas if there is no field for last name, check your software program’s instruction on how to enter the last name.
- Follow the European format of DD MMM YYYY (24 Nov 1949) without any commas. It is better not to use a number format for month. Use four digits for the year. You can also use abbreviations like Bef for before, Aft for after, Abt for about, Ca for circa etc for mentioning the exact time and date.
- A uniform method should be followed for entering location: city/ town, county, state and country. Address should be entered without using any abbreviations and a separate field should be used for street name.
Genealogy data should be entered with utmost care. This is one area of research where errors can lead to wrong understanding and faulty inferences. When doing data entry, it is important to use reliable advanced software to make sure that the information entered is accurate. When large volume, comprehensive documentation is involved, the practical choice is to consider outsourcing data entry requirements.