Sunday, February 24, 2013

For the Love of Spreadsheets

                Yesterday I attended DuPage County Genealogical Society’s 38th Annual Conference:  Discovering Early American Roots.  My first session was Jeanne Larzalere Bloom’s presentation Spreadsheets 101: EXCEL, the Genealogist Underutilized Tool on using Excel Spreadsheets.  I have always been a spreadsheet aficionado, so I thought I might pick up some pointers.  She had some good examples of how she documented her research using customized spreadsheets.
                In her syllabus Jeanne cited Gary Minder’s  So of course, I had to go check it out.  This website has also been written up in Dick Eastman’s newsletter.  In the responses to Dick’s article on Gary’s spreadsheets, there was one from Dae Powell of Shoestring Genealogy.  He suggested a key spreadsheet was missing on – one to track city directory finds.  Since I have one of my own for that, I wanted to see what Dae came up with.  I was pleasantly surprised to see 22 forms offered for download on as well as a wealth of other material he has compiled!

                I reviewed Gary’s spreadsheets, which include more than just census sheets by the way.  I liked them enough I bought the package of 40 spreadsheets.  I may not use them all, but it was a fair price for the work Gary has put into the spreadsheets.  Why did I buy these instead of downloading the ones at Shoestring Genealogy?  I liked the idea of having spreadsheets I could actually enter data into on my computer – Shoestring is a download of a PDF file.  You will need a pencil or pen to use those.  Then how do I get them back into my computer or manipulate the discrete data elements?
                Everyone has their own way of managing their genealogy data.  One of these sites may have something that will help you!


  1. Welcome to Geneabloggers!! I've been a member for about five months.

    Regards, Grant

  2. Welcome to the GeneaBloggers family. Hope you find the association fruitful; I sure do. I have found it most stimulating, especially some of the Daily Themes.

    May you keep sharing your ancestor stories!

    Dr. Bill ;-)
    Author of "13 Ways to Tell Your Ancestor Stories" and family saga novels:
    "Back to the Homeplace" and "The Homeplace Revisited"
    The Heritage Tourist at In-Depth Genealogist:

  3. I love spreadsheets! I don't always use them as faithfully as I should, but I still love them. It will be interesting to hear if the ones you purchase work out well for you.

  4. I use a spreadsheet to keep my Research Log & Research Plan. I can do a quick sort to see what I need to look for when in a particular area.
    Theresa (Tangled Trees)

  5. A question: I ordered Gary's spreadsheets in Dec 2012 and have never received them. I have emailed him several times with no response. Have you received your spreadsheets, yet?

    Ruth Stephens
    Ruth's Genealogy

    1. Hi Ruth, I did not have any problem getting the census tools. My disk came within a week via USPS. I was amazed at how many Gary had on the disk.