Analysis is good for the soul. Sometimes.

One of the things that’s been keeping me quiet these past few days is a little bit of (free) software that I’ve just been introduced to. FTAnalyzer is an amazing piece of kit that can make an enormous difference to your family tree.

Even the best researchers make the occasional error – whether it’s a typo, or just getting something not quite right.  I’m not one of the best researchers, though I try to be thorough, and not accept any information without some reasonably compelling evidence.  FTAnalyzer is a quick download, and very user friendly. There are links on the site to take you through how to use it, but to be honest, once you open it up, it’s pretty much self explanatory.

Having downloaded the software, you’ll need a gedcom file to analyse. Some folk start off with a small tree just to test out, but I didn’t have the motivation to do that, and went straight in with exporting my 9000+ person tree from Ancestry.  You don’t need to use an Ancestry tree, any gedcom will do the job.  Open that file in the FTAnalyzer software, and in a minute or so it will analyse all of your work.  Under the ‘Errors/Fixes’ tab you can identify potential data errors, ‘loose’ births and ‘loose’ deaths.

It took me a few minutes to work out what loose births and deaths are, but basically they are the ones that you’ve either left as unknown, or haven’t formatted quite correctly. The ones that the system didn’t like in my tree were the ones where I had written the dates without writing the name of the month – for example, I have now replaced 5.11.1843  with 5 November 1843.

It’s easy to download/print the lists of potential errors, to make checking quicker.

The ‘Locations’ tab  gives a comprehensive list of countries, regions, sub-regions, addresses and places.  This is something I’ve wanted for ages – when my other half suggests a trip out, and I really want to know if we have anyone buried nearby….

There are research suggestions, and a ‘Lost cousins’ area, which identifies Lost cousins facts recorded.

What I hadn’t anticipated, was that in checking off the potential errors, I have found new evidence, and even new ancestors, which I’d been unable to find previously.

All in all, it’s a really cool new toy.

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