Friday, April 18, 2014

How I Use Excel in Genealogy

Genealogy lends itself well to forms. Forms to organize our information, to see where our holes are, to gather like information, and many other reasons. Excel is a great tool to use to organize your information, because if you can't find a form to suit you, you can use Excel and make your own. Here are the different ways I have used Excel in genealogy:

1. Timelines: I love timelines. I make a timeline for a person (usually a man because there's more information). I put the left column as DATE, then WHERE or PLACE, then EVENT, then SOURCE and last THOUGHTS or TO DO. Here is an example of what I do:

2. Cemetery directory: I am on the cemetery board for the local cemetery and we are putting up a cemetery directory. The directory manufacturer recommended Excel for it, and I would've used it anyway. They would've done it for us if we provided the information. However I'm kind of a control freak and wanted it correct, or at least as correct as possible. So my headings there are for Name (alphabetized last name first, then first name, then middle initial or name), Date of death (abbreviated DOD) and included because we have too many Anna Andersons, etc, Block and Lot. FYI we have 5 Anna Andersons, an Annabelle and an Annie; three of those Anna Andersons have the same middle initial. So I am helping by listing the date of death. 

3. Transcribing marriage index: I started transcribing the marriage index of the county where I live and want to put it online. The index book already had headings so I just used those: Bride's Name, Groom's Name, Date of License, Volume and Page. Really if you are transcribing any kind of index or census, Excel would work well, but maybe not for transcribing an obituary. 

4. Documentation: I like to keep track so I don't look twice for the same info. Did I find great grandma in that 1900 census? So I use my Excel spreadsheet to keep track. My columns are named Last name, First and middle name, DOB, Marriage date, DOD, Birth record, Marriage record, Death record, Census records, State & City records (state census and/or city directory), Immigration, Land record, and Other (where I put military). 

5. Others: I also use Excel to keep track of my goals, make financial statements for clients, and keeping lists of potential clients. 

Do you have other ways to use Excel in genealogy. Feel free to comment below or leave a link to your blog. 


  1. Did we really post this on the same day? Weird.