Using Spreadsheets as Research Tools
Aaron Goodwin April 29, 2018
Some researchers use genealogy software to record and track their research. Others use word processing software, writing as they go. I’m probably like many in using a combination of both. But in certain instances, neither of these options are as useful as we might like. Difficult research problems that require the collection and analysis of a large amount of data might well be solved by using spreadsheets.Only NGS members have access to full articles of NGS Monthly. Please log in or click here to learn more about joining the National Genealogical Society.
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I agree spreadsheets can be very useful. I have used spreadsheets to analyze information from church records from a particular parish over a number of years and have been able to group together whole families showing a complete history of births,marriages and deaths. Also good for analyzing the names of god parents and marriage witnesses – turned up additional clues of other relatives. Very useful.
Originally Coming from a quanitative research background, I initially created spreadsheets to store and analyze several categories of data. Now by applying multiple filters and/ or sorts I can quickly access information and quickly produce tidy reports. Thanks for this useful article
Nice article on using spreadsheets. I find myself more and more inserting hyperlinks in my spreadsheets to the documents where I’ve gotten the data. If you saved all those deeds, you can hyperlink each deed to it’s image. That way if you want to refer back to it later, it’s just a simple click away.
Great article. I am working with a spreadsheet now trying to separate people in the same town with the same name. I have input information relating to wills and deeds and trying to separate them based on associations (neighbors, witnesses, etc.). Back to work…
I’m using the exact process outlined above for deeds in Perry County, Ohio. It’s been very helpful to follow the confusing transfers and divisions of land from the original owners to their children and other associates. But two volumes of the index are not digitized yet – good thing I’m heading to SLC later this summer.
Great article — thank you! I’ve just created a deed book template, following your example, for several families in 18th-century Edgecombe Co, NC, that appear to be related in order to see what patterns might emerge. I recently used Excel to map out birth year ranges for the children of one of these families (using census records, first land purchases, marriage records, and court records). Doing this revealed a probable birth sequence for these six siblings. Again, thanks for sharing your techniques!
Examples of these spreadsheets would be helpful in visualizing your analysis techniques rather than just a verbal description.