The big split

Victor H.
  • Victor H.

    Victor H. - 2009-10-20

    Kind folks, I'm looking for advice from those of you who have been here and done this.

    My research began as a search into my own pedigree. It turned into a quest for my surname (Hawk) origins, which led to a giant descendancy tree of the progenitor Hawk. Along the way I picked up another giant descendancy tree (Malcom) as a separate project. So my gedcom now contains all my various pedigree information plus two large descendancy trees. It's a little messier than that but that's the basic structure.

    A great series of books on the Malcoms was published recently by an old friend, and that work basically renders my Malcom descendancy tree obsolete. He has branches and twigs that I have not discovered, as well as access to primary sources I don't have, such as personal interviews and bible records. Further, since his research work continues, and he has carefully documented his work in a large database, I suggested to him that he go public with his data on his own collaborative PGV site centered on the Malcom lines.

    This development meshes with the thoughts I've been having for some years that my site needs a tighter focus. So I am now thinking about disconnecting the unentangled part of the Malcom descendancy from my primary gedcom and going with a smaller, more targeted site directed at the Hawk line and those pedigree lines that have not been so well covered. But I want to move through this process carefully, and I think a good step is to ask for your thoughts - about the gedcom splitting process, the tree obsolescence issue, the idea of keeping a site focused on a surname, or what have you. If I may have your thoughts?


  • Anonymous - 2009-10-20

    Victor, I see two issues in there - splitting your tree up (into 2 parts?); and using PGV for a one-name study. I'll give you my (personal) views on those:

    1 - splitting. As explained on another thread recently (assuming you're not a MAC user) the best tool I've found is gedsplit.exe (google it for a free download). If you first ensure there is a clean break between your HAWK and MALCOLM trees (no connections), export a copy, and open it in gedsplit. There you simply tell it one individual reference, and then to remove all ancestors and descendants of that person. It can either just delete them or remove and save them as a separate GEDCOM file (just in case you want it again later). Then re-import what's left into PGV, and your back in business.  Of course, ALWAYS work only on copy files, keeping the original in case you get it wrong and want to try again.

    A longer process is to take a copy of the MALCOLM tree in PGV (using Clippings Cart) for future use, then manually delete each INDI. How long that takes depends how many you have. It has the benefit of staying within PGV though.

    2 - PGV for one-name studies. No reason not too. You just need to settle on a system. Are you going to have lots of un-connected branches of the name in a single file; or establish different GEDCOMs on your site, then either link or merge them as you find connections. Thats purely a matter of choice. There are various people around doing both.

    Everyone has a different focus for their hobby, one-name, paternal line , direct-lines; or (my own approach) any line at all, providing it has a proven link in the existing tree. There are probably many others too.

    One approach not enough people (me included) stick to is keeping the tree small, but do the research really thoroughly. Cover everything, and backup every fact with source references, commentary etc; accept nothing that you don't have good evidence for. Its an approach the entire hobby is losing as huge web sites let everyone share everyone else's terrible guesswork and mistakes! (excuse the short rant).

  • Wes Groleau

    Wes Groleau - 2009-10-20

    I would suggest teaming up on a collaborative site.  You could be co-admins, and the site would be more attractive to other potential collaborators by being bigger.

  • Victor H.

    Victor H. - 2009-10-21

    @Kiwi: That's a lot of good stuff to chew on. My Hawk and Malcom trees interconnect repeatedly because the families resided in the same general area for 200 years, which is what led to my investigation into the Malcoms to begin with. Can I tell Gedsplit to eliminate everything except the descendancy of my progenitor Hawk? I downloaded Gedsplit and the gedsplit.hlp help file, but it is not playing nicely on my Vista laptop.

    `keeping the tree small, but do the research really thoroughly.` 

    That is really where my heart lies. And I am exactly in that position on my Hawk tree. Not exactly a one-name study but a one-tree study.

    @Wes: I like that idea. That would allow me to keep a hand in and to help with the PGV side of things.

  • Anonymous - 2009-10-21


    GedSplit itself runs perfectly on Vista, but no, the Help file won't, ever.

    However, its not hard to use. As you can see from the icons along the top, you can select ancestors, descendants, or (my preference) "all connected persons" .

    To use the latter, you DO need clean breaks between the ones you want to be deleted and the 'rest', otherwise it doesn't know where to stop.
    If thats not easy for you, try the other options then check who gets highlighted for deletion. You can unselect individuals using the same icon. Its only a little, simple program so not hard to figure it our with a little trial and error (KEEP BACKUPS).

    Perhaps in your case you select your progenitor HAWK, click to select his descendants, then click on "invert selection" to switch to the other side. Anyway, as long as you have that backup, you can always try again if its wrong.

  • roland_l

    roland_l - 2009-11-26

    Hello Victor -

    Hope this "HELPS" (pardon the pun!)

    Opening Windows .HLP files on Vista - -



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