Microsoft Excel · Organising your research

My Index in Microsoft Excel

In my earlier post,  mentioned that I had indexed my “documents” using Microsoft Excel.  This is a screenshot of this index.

My Excel index

In the first column, I have the folder the file is in.  In my previous post, I mentioned that when I first started transcribing my research, I set up a Microsoft Word file for each Lever Arch folder that my original paper notes were in.  When I set up the new date files, I kept them in a folder to correspond with my original Lever Arch folders.  Around 2006, I was running out of room for the Lever Arch folders, and most of my research was now conducted online, so I split my research into original documents and my handwritten or typed notes, and I split the original documents into either Certificates and Letters, newspapers clippings etc.  I continued to use this system until 2011, when I decided to keep all the research for the year in a folder to correspond to that year.  In 2015, I found I was downloading so many records, I then started a folder for each month, and last year (2019), I even started setting up a folder for every day from April to June, because I was downloading so many documents.

The second column of the spreadsheet is for the file name.  I like to keep the date in the file name for two reasons.  Firstly, it’s so that I know when I accessed or received the document, so that I have that information if I need to enter the source citation into Legacy Family Tree at a later date.  Secondly, because I find it easier to file my research in date order, since that’s the way I have always filed it in the past.  I have thought about trying to refile it into family groups, but I have found I’d end up with either too many files in a folder, or too many nested folders.  I use the date in reverse order, so that the files are sorted by date.

The third column is my Ancestor group.  1 is for my ex-husband and I, 2 for my parents, 3 for his parents, 4 for my paternal grandparents, 5 for my maternal grandparents and so on.

The fourth column is for the Generation – A for ancestors, AS for another spouse of an ancestor, C for a child of an ancestor, CS for the spouse of a child, and D for their descendants.  To make it easier to remember the ancestor group number, I only go up to ancestor group 57, and then after that I use EA for an ancestor from an earlier generation, EAS for their spouses, EC for children, ECS for spouse of children, and ED for their descendants.

My fifth column is Type – I leave this blank (although I put an inverted comma in the field, so it sorts first) if I have an “official” document, I enter Family if the information came from a family member, or Redoing research should replace.  I decided  it would be easier in a genealogy do-over to redo my research, as it would be easier to determine which records I might have missed in my previous research.

My sixth column is Child.  I found when I was working on the files I had for/from my sisters that I had so many documents that it was easier to work on one sister at a time.

In the past, I had started my do-over just researching my ancestors first, but this time I decided to do an ancestor, and then to work down and do their children, grandchildren etc before going back another generation.  I decided to do this because there are so many free resources that I can use to research my family here in Victoria, Australia, that I want to complete these families first before I subscribe again to Ancestry, or FindMyPast.  As I mentioned in my last post, I was offered 75% off at MyHeritage, so I decided to subscribe.  Since I use Legacy Family Tree, I am able to have a look at any hints as I am adding people to my family tree.

I have used this index to enter the information I have for each person into Legacy Family Tree.  At this stage I am only entering birth, baptism, death, burial and marriage information for each person.  I wanted to get the basic information in Legacy first, so that I can then generate an index to use later for my Access database, to add information from my old research notes, and also to use for documents like Electoral rolls and Directories, that often have information for people from different branches of my family.

 

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