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The following article is reprinted from the "DrumkeeranFolk" webgroup, with the kind permission of  the author, John Blest.  John is the foremost Drumkeeran researcher on the web, and through his efforts in founding and administrating the group, has added immeasurably to all who trace their liniage to this beautiful, remote village in County Leitrim.





Data Mining
 

I recently looked at a web site devoted to Data Mining and read the
following definition:

Data mining (also known as Knowledge Discovery in Databases - KDD) has been
defined as "The nontrivial extraction of implicit, previously unknown, and
potentially useful information from data"

Now while that description is very technical and somewhat intimidating,
there is a less technical application that can be extracted from this
concept.  We can train ourselves to convert the research data we receive
into very useful information and knowledge.  Let's take a typical example:

What follows is data taken from the Census of 1901,Innismagrath
Parish,  Lisacoghil townland, and is the data from a single household in
that townland:

Mary Gilhooly, age 47, Head of household, Shopkeeper, widow, b. Leitrim
Mary F. Gilhooly, age 14, daughter, b. Leitrim
John Gilhooly, age 13, son, b.Leitrim
Delia Gilhooly, age 12, daughter, b. Leitrim
Edward McGrail, age 35, brother of head of household, widower, b.Leitrim
Elizabeth Mary McGrail, age 7, daughter, b. Leitrim
Theresa McGrail, age 4, b. Falkirk, Scotland
Stephen McGrail, age 1, b.Falkirk, Scotland

Some deductive logic which we all do when searching our ancestors leads to:

Mary Gilhooly was nee Mary McGrail
Edward McGrail was probably married in Leitrim
Edward probably went to Scotland
Edward's wife died within the past 2 years, probably in Scotland
Mary's husband could have died up to 12 or so years earlier
Mary was probably married 15 years ago maybe longer
There are 12 years difference in age between Mary and her brother.

Now we all are familiar with that!

The Genealogical "data mining" comes in when we relate the information in
this data base to information in another data base.  Now I am not a McGrail
nor a Gilhooly, although my great uncle, Patrick Blest was married to a
Gilhooly; but when I get to the LDS library next time, I will surely look
up the availible census or other information for Falkirk, Scotland.

What will I be looking for?

Other McGrail's
Other Drumkeeran Surnames
Reasons why someone from Drumkeeran would go there
Other possible birth records of children who died
Location of baptismal records for the 2 children born there

Why would I do that since they are not "my" lines.

The census data was unusual
Lisacoghil is only 2 townlands from where my FLYNN relations come from.
Perhaps someone in my lines accompanied Edward to Scotland
There might be an enclave of Drumkeeran people there
I'm curious as to who the godparents of the two children are
Broaden my understanding of why, and when people left Drumkeeran for other
places
and where they went to.
My family probably knew Edward and Mary.
To build on the Drumkeeran data base

This is what I call Genealogical "data mining"

In order for it to be effective there has to be numerous people sharing an
interest in a small target locality and avidly sharing information with all
others in the group.  The effect, as we are now seeing with the data
exchange going on in our group is quite powerful.

Like gold mining, where most claims were not productive, "data mining" will
also be barren of new information; but  sooner or later one hits "pay
dirt", and makes it all worth while.

There is so little in the public record on our little piece of Ireland that
the only effective way to reconstitute our collective heritage is to
squeeze every bit of knowledge and information out of all the data we find
and share it with our Drumkeeran "cousins"; found, and not yet found!

-John Blest
DrumkeeranFolk