Saturday Night Genealogy Fun: Run a “Problem Search” on Your Family Tree

Can you believe January 2024 is almost gone? This is the last weekend of the month and it’s time for Randy Seaver’s Saturday Night Genealogy Fun challenge.

This week’s theme is all about our software:

1)  Have you run a “Problem Search,” “Problem List,” or “Consistency Check” or similar in your genealogy software or online family tree?  Do it now, and tell us which program or online tree you used and what your results were.

I am in the midst of cleaning up my 4X great grandparents’ sources in RootsMagic 7 so that is where I ran my search. Like RootsMagic 9, Problem Search is exactly where I went to run the list.

Since I’ve used this function in the past, I wasn’t surprised by the list that was generated. Although I think there are a few typos that need to be corrected, I’d say more than 90% of my list items are not issues at all.

Most of the people appear in the list with the comment “Unknown Sex.” That’s because I always list unknown children who died young. For example, say an ancestress said she gave birth to 10 children with five living in 1900 and I don’t know who the other five missing are. Those five children are listed with the name Unknown and, obviously, their sex isn’t known by me either.

Another problem that appears is when I have marriages for men late in their lives. The problem message is “over 71 years old at time of marriage” or some such statement. Those marriages are correct since I seem to have had a few ancestors who were determined to make sure they had a wife who outlived them.

I also learned long ago that the software doesn’t recognize “abt” or “after” with dates. Therefore, my entry about a person who was born in 1934 and married “after 1940” because that tells me she was still alive but I don’t yet know who she married appears with the comment “Married at 6 years of age.” I ignore those issues, too.

The last error that appears most often is “Parents married after the child’s birth.” That also isn’t really an error as, more than once, I’ve come across families in which the parents really did marry after the child was born. Two of my Scandinavian 3X great grandparents didn’t get around to getting married until they were on Child #3. Similarly, I have examples of the first baby arriving six, seven or eight months after marriage, not 9 or more months.

There are a number items in the list that I do need to go in and correct that are typos. I have one person who was 1,000 years old when they die. Clearly a typo!

Thank you Randy for this week’s challenge. It’s an excellent reminder to run the Problems list every so often.

2 thoughts on “Saturday Night Genealogy Fun: Run a “Problem Search” on Your Family Tree”

  1. Those pesty “not really a problem” problems. You can click “not a problem” and they won’t be on the next list.

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