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Using Spreadsheets to Take Control of Sources

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Profile manager: Judy Bramlage private message [send private message]
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This page contains an example of a spreadsheet that was created in Excel but can be done using Google. The purpose is to determine where you stand in collecting and entering sources for your ancestors or any other list of people you are concerned with.

First you make a list of the people you want on the spreadsheet; for example, all ancestors for four generations or all of your mother's mother's ancestors for ten generations. Create the list with last name first, first name.

Next load it in a spreadsheet in a single column. Now insert a column to the left of the Names column for the generation number, if desired.

You are now ready to enter the other column headers in: Birth, Death, Marriage, Military, and other like columns like education as you desire. To the right I always put the census years. You may start with 1850 or with 1790 depending on the scope of the people's birth years then go out, one column each to 1940. Then I make each column as small as practical so I can see the header that I make repeat on each page.

Now go through and fill in the birth and death years for each person as you know them or, in this case, guess them. I now sort the list by birth year to make coloring it in easier. Using the color feature, I next color in with a dark grey those field that I will not be using for that particular individual. For example, if she lived from 1860 through 1911, I would shade in those census years up through 1850 and 1920-1940 since she couldn't have appeared on those censuses.

Next I go back and with a light color shade in those fields that I have sources for, including over-shading the birth and death dates if I have those certificates. Next I go through my records to determine whether my sources are complete for the census records I have for these people. When they are, I color them in, maybe typing the state abbreviation also.

Now I am ready to print out the page and go hunting.

See below for an abbreviated form of this table where I inserted an X for the dark shading I would otherwise have used.

2Ashley, Emil Emmert18891944 XXX X
3Ashley, Josiah T18591903 X XXX X
1Ashley, Velcia Pearl19181984 XXXXXX
4Ayers, Anna Marie18401945
4Babcock, Harriet E18251885 XXXXX

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