Actually, 'easy' may be overstating things a bit because it did take me awhile to set this up, but a lot of that was due to my poor genealogy habits. It was relatively easy to export my list of names from Reunion and import them into Numbers, but the bigger problem was my inconsistency in how I name people. When I have found a married woman whose name I do not know i've used 'Unknown Unknown', "UNK UNKNOWN', '??? Unknown', '???? ????', and Mrs. Unknown. So I decided to standardize how I enter 'unknown' people and that alone took me 4 days!
I also made a few minor changes to my spreadsheet.
- I made separate columns for my first and middle names and my surnames, as well as separate columns for the year of birth and the year of death. That allows me to sort by any of these attributes.
- But the biggest change a made is an addition of a 'Family Branch' column. Reunion uses 'flags' to mark attributes like 'military service', 'unproved relationship', etc. I've created a flag for each of my major lines. This allows me to quickly see what branch a person belongs to, as well as quickly find everyone belonging to that branch. So it made sense to me to add that possibility into my spreadsheet.
Once I got this set up, I saved this as my 'Master Sheet' so I don't have to do it again. Then I duplicated the sheet and labeled it US Census. I added census years across the top, and used Janice's color coding method to figure out where I am.
Here is an excerpt of my 'in progress' Census sheet.
I haven't actually entered any census tracking into this yet, but already it has been worthwhile! I am using dark gray to indicate that a person was not living at the time a census was taken and light green to indicate that he was alive at this time. The light gray indicates that I do not know the person's status that year. It is very easy to see very clearly when I need to do some more research to determine birth and death dates!
There are a few modifications I am thinking of making as I start my tracking.
- I may add a 'check box' to the green spaces to check off when I've found the census record. (Janice uses a different color.)
- I may add a new color to indicate a person was alive but will not appear in the census, usually because they were not living in the US at the time. This will be especially applicable to my PETRINI line who immigrated to the US relatively recently and many of the ancestors never left Italy. This will be a quick visual to remind me to look for Italian records (or German or Dutch, etc.)
- I may bold or italicize names to indicate direct family and other important people. I tend to add a lot of extended family to may database, just 'in case' they are related; people like my great-grandfather's brother's 2nd wife's mother's sister-in-law's sister's children. I don't really need to gather all there census data unless it later becomes apparent that they are related more closely. I'll have to play around with this a little.
After I get my census data tracked, I will move on to adapting Janice's spreadsheet to track BMD documents, but I'll save that for another day.
So what do you think? Would you find something like this useful? Do you have a method that works better for you?
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