Methods:Regularization

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This is one of a series of articles on Genealogical Methods, prepared in association with The Tapestry. See Index for a list of related articles.
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Data. The Glebe Cemetery, Old Augusta, from Chalkley, 1912-1913

Definition

The systematic reorganization of data to place similar data elements in the same order. This is intended to improve pattern recognition for enhanced utility of the data.

Text

The "Tapestry Project" uses a variety of techniques to display information obtained from sources such as Source:Chalkley, 1912-1913. Sometimes these data are presented in the original as in an irregular manner. For example, a cemetery record normally includes information about the persons date of birth, date of death, and often includes family information. Depending on the transcription, these data may be presented in varying order. To make these data more accessible, its often desirable to "regularize" them, by placing the various data elements of each entry into the same order.

As an example, Source:Chalkley, 1912-1913 provides a transcription of the Glebe cemetery in Augusta County. The information given for each person is primarily ordered as:

Name, DOB, DOD, Notes.

Sometimes the information is given in a slightly different order, or some information recorded in a different manner. A number of entries follow the format

Name, DOD, age at death

or

Name, Notes, DOD, age at death

Or in other combinations. Here are some specific examples

Sarah Ewing, born September 8th, 1766; died March 7th, 1793.
Colonel John Wilson died in 1773, in the 72d year of his age, having served his country 27 years a representative in The Honorable House of Burgesses.
Martha Wilson, wife of Colonel John Wilson, died July 10th, 1755, in the 60th year of her age.

These data can be made more accessible by placing the various data elements in a consistent order. Usually, something like

Name, DOB, DOD, Notes.

is most useful. This is especially helpful when the data is displayed in tabular format, as this makes it easy for the reader to search through the data set, comparing a particular data element, such as DOB's. In the case of the Glebe Cemetery transcription the above examples would look something like this:

NameDOBDODNotes
Sarah Ewingborn September 8th, 1766died March 7th, 1793.
Colonel John Wilson died in 1773, in the 72d year of his age, having served his country 27 years a representative in The Honorable House of Burgesses.
Martha Wilson, died July 10th, 1755, wife of Colonel John Wilson, [died] in the 60th year of her age.
See full regularized data set at Data:The Glebe Cemetery, Old Augusta, from Chalkley, 1912-1913
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