Genealogy Tips

Computer vs paper forms

I recently came across the post Starting your research on the right foot by The In-Depth Genealogist.

While using paper forms may suit some people, I can’t imagine, having used computers for the better part of 20 years for my family history, using paper forms.

For one thing, I can type a lot faster than I can write, so one factor is time.  Another factor is that it is a lot easier to read a typed record than a handwritten one.

Using a computer also saves on paper and printing costs, and finding storage space for paper records.  The only paper records I now keep are those that are sent to me by snail mail – all my other research is kept electronically.

Also, by using a family tree program, such as Legacy, RootsMagic etc., you are still setting up your family groups, but with the added benefit of the program sorting all your individuals alphabetically, making it much easier to find information for any particular person, or family.  Family tree programs also allow you to enter complete citation details, in a lot more detail than you would be able to fit onto a family group sheet.  Some family tree programs allow you to view timelines, so that you can check for any events that may be missing from an individual’s timeline.

By using a spreadsheet program, such as Microsoft Excel, you can not only set up a spreadsheet for the Census Comparison Worksheet, but for a range of other functions.  I find it helpful when working on the Parish Registers, to arrange the baptisms chronologically, and I can then add additional columns to show the marriages. This makes it easier to work out which children belong to which couple.

Computers make it easier to store, organize and analyse your family history data.