Organising your research · Researching your family history

My Genealogy Do-over

A while ago, I wrote some posts about Getting organized with Microsoft Access, Getting Organised with Microsoft Access an Update, and Getting organized for my genealogy do-over.  Three months later, I haven’t made much progress. In my previous attempt, I had just been working with the image files, but I knew I had some information (mainly family notices) that I also wanted to include.   I therefore needed to work through all my previous research and pull out any documents that it would be difficult or expense to replace, but to put aside my other research for now.

From 1996, I have been transcribing all the documents and my handwritten notes into Microsoft Word, but over the last few years, I haven’t been keeping up with the transcriptions.  I decided since I was going to be going through my old research anyway, I would pull out my old transcriptions and set up “Templates” in a new Microsoft Word file, which would make transcribing the documents quicker.  I would also transcribe any documents that hadn’t been transcribed yet, as I came across them.

After finishing that step, I then created an index in Microsoft Excel of the files, and added columns for the Ancestor group, Generation, and Person.  The advantage of this index was that by sorting by Generation, Ancestor Group and Person, I could check for double ups.  I found a few family notices that I had two (and in one case three) copies of.

I can now use this spreadsheet to find all the documents for a person (or couple), and then add the information from these documents to my database.

I have modified my database slightly.  Previously, I had the database set up so that there was one “primary” event, and then columns for age and birthplace.  My problem was that I couldn’t include additional events.  I therefore decided that the best thing was to create a separate entry for each event. This is the example of some of the details from my mum’s death certificate.

Mum's death

I keep my Legacy Family Tree open, so that I can use the Calendar to calculate dates.  The advantage of Legacy is that you can calculate a date without having to update any data in your family tree.

After entering all the documents for a person, I then use my Individual Details query to show all the events for a person in chronological order.


This helps me to confirm the documents are for the same person, and highlights any discrepancies in dates or locations.

I use the Vital Record column to indicate which documents I want to use to set up my family tree.  I have set up a Vital Records form, to keep track of which documents that I still need to add to my family tree.

vital records

I will now add these to my new Legacy family tree.  In my 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks posts each Monday, I will share the information I already have for each person, as well as the new records I have found for them.

Background of featured image is a photo from Unsplash – Photo by Aaron Burden