Creating a Table From Slave Schedules on Family Search

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US Black Heritage Project Home Page

This tutorial will show you how to easily create a table with all recorded slave owners in a county.

Step one: Choose to search records.

Choose to Search Records

Step two: Scroll down and Choose "Browse All Collections" on the left

Use this search bar

Step three: Type "slave" in the search bar. That's enough to bring up the two slave schedules. Pick one and click it.

Choose 1850 or 1860 slave schedule

Step four: Choose more options. Under "Add Life Event" choose Residence. Type the county and state of interest in the location box.

Type in the location by County

Now comes the only original thought in this tutorial. I don't claim that no no one has ever had this thought, just that I have never seen it before. In the "Last Names" box, enter a* b* c* d* e* f* g* h* i* j* k* l* m* n* o* p* q* r* s* t* u* v* w* x* y* z*

Press search and Tadaa! All the slave owners recorded in the county. Sit back, pop open a root beer, and bask in the glory of a job well done.

Oh wait. There's more. The spreadsheet bit. Sorry about the premature soda consumption. Onward ...

Step five: Scroll to the bottom of the screen and choose 100 for number of results to show. We need to choose to display 100 records per screen because ...

931 results!

Step six: In step six we'll be downloading the data screen by screen. Click on "Preferences" at the top of the page. Choose XLS and make sure "number of results" is set to 100. Click "Export Results."

Choose XLS

Now repeat step six by scrolling to the bottom of the search results page and clicking to go to the next page. Click export again. You will end up with several exported xls files on your desktop. Repeat step six as many times as necessary. Sorry, I looked for a way to accomplish this all at once, but nothing doing.

This is the end of the tutorial, but don't grab that root beer yet. You still have work to do. Alas, I cannot accompany you on this journey. You now have however many spreadsheet files, most with 100 people in them. How to combine these files so you have one file with everybody in it will depend on the spreadsheet software you use.

You only need two of the dowloaded columns - arkId and the fullName.

The spreadsheet

The fullName holds the names of the slave owners. arkId holds part of the URL leading to that persons record on the slave schedule. To form the entire URL prepend the partial URL with

If you had "prepend" in today's "$20 Word Bingo" game ... score!

Step seven: Create a new spreadsheet in your chosen software. Import each downloaded file to your spreadsheet. It will likely create a new sheet for each file.

Step eight: Create a new sheet. You will only be using two columns. Combine the multiple lists from each sheet into one long list by copy/pasting the names into column one of your new sheet and the ark links into column two.

Caution: Family Search often tacks on a few extra entries at the end that are from the correct state, but wrong county. Scan the county column and remove any slave owners from the wrong county.

Step nine: Here comes the most time consuming part. To put the names in the spreadsheet in alphabetical order by last name, move the last name so it is first in each name field. Now sort the names into alphabetical order.

In Google sheets, to sort by name, but keep the links with the right names, click the upper left corner box to highlight all the active cells. Go to "Data" in the menu and choose "Sort Range" then "Advanced Sorting Range Options." Choose the column that has the names and A to Z. Now sort!

Step ten: Create a new free space page in this format "1850 Slave Schedule, County State" or "1860 Slave Schedule, County State." Link the new space page to the correct state page on the 1850 Slave Schedule, Slave Owner index or 1860 Slave Schedule, Slave Owner index Add the slave owners by county category on the page.

Step eleven: Create a table by using the cvs to table tool. Choose "Tab/pasted from Excel" in the drop down. Now highlight all active fields on your spreadsheet and copy/paste the contents into the left box on the tool. Scroll down to see the preview to make certain it looks correct. Copy/paste the table code from the right box onto the space page and click save. See 1850 Leon County, Florida for an example

Root beer's waitin'. I'm done.

Thank you to Dave Ebaugh for creating these instructions for the USBH Project.


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