In March I wrote about using note apps for genealogy, and how I was planning to use OneNote to organise my genealogy in preparation for a trip to Scotland where I plan to do some research. I’ve been quiet here on AFamilyHistoryBlog over the last couple of months largely because I’ve been trying to organise my notes, etc, ready for this trip.
Well I haven’t gotten on with OneNote as quickly as I had hoped! I began by creating a few notes about people in my family tree, starting with the earliest known members of my Walker family line, and their relatives, which worked OK. But when it came to creating a “Genealogy Index” (as suggested in the various examples of using note apps for genealogy that I had read about), I found that OneNote struggled to cope with things like copying large spreadsheet indexes of ancestors into it!!!
Alongside OneNote, I had started a spreadsheet (initially in Excel) of my known ancestry, at first to help me work out the Dollarhide reference system (with some tweaks of my own to that system). This spreadsheet has expanded to include details of persons; dates, places, note of sources, etc. After a while I copied the spreadsheet into Google Sheets, which I can save/access on a smartphone/tablet so that I can access it while on my travels. Having done that, I’ve continued to work on the spreadsheet in Google Sheets, and its working very well.
The spreadsheet has let me see clearly where the most recent gaps in my ancestry begin to occur, which prompted me to have a look into some of these, to see if I could fill any of them! Several of these gaps are parts on my family tree which I have not actively looked into before. I soon found clear details, that were new to me, about several lines of my ancestry, which take me back another 2 – 4 generations in those lines. I have already updated the CADZOW tree on the site, with my finds in that branch of the family, and posted some comments onto my Facebook feed. Other parts of my ancestry still need to be updated on the website!
The spreadsheet has also allowed me to analyse how many ancestors I know in each generation and the date-range of each generation (which is something that I’ve thought of trying to do for a while). So below is the present (May 2017) snapshot of what I know about my ancestry.
This shows the number of ancestors in each generation that I have forenames for. I don’t necessarily have women’s maiden names, or dates of birth/death for the oldest generations in any line. Numbers in brackets “(? x)” represent a total which includes possible ancestors that I’m not yet certain of! And “x / x” represents the number of individuals / and the number of places in my ancestry that they occupy (i.e. where cousins married, therefore their grandparents each occupy two places in the ancestry. So “2 / 4” = two grandparents, occupying 4 places in the ancestry, the effect of which doubles each generation further back you go).
|SURNAMEs of Matt’s 2x Great-Grandparents;||3x Gt [iii]||4x Gt [iv]||5x Gt [v]||6x Gt [vi]||7x Gt [vii]||8x Gt [viii]|
|Generation no. > 5||6||7||8||9||10||11||futher gens.|
|WALKER||2||4||2 (? 4 )||1||–|
|BLACK||2||4||4 (? 6 )||4 (? 8 )|
|HUTCHISON||2||4||8||4 / 8||4 / 8||2 / 4|
|HART||2||1 (? 4 )||(? 2 )||(? 4 )||–|
Known Individuals / (Places on tree)
|31||49 (?52)||46 (? 52)||25(?29)/ 33(? 37)||19 / 23||12 / 16||15|
|Total; Possible Individuals;||32||64||128||252||504||1,008||2,016|
|Total; Places on tree;||32||64||128||256||512||1,024||2,048|
|Birth Date Range;||1772 – 1832||1731 – 1803||c.1694 – 1779||1683 – 1749||1622 – 1723||1587 – c.1704|
|Death Date Range;||1840 – 1925||1795 – 1883||1768 – 1854||bef.1728 – 1839||1688 – 1813||1688 – 1780|
|Mar. Date Range;||1816 – 1856||1766 – 1824||1728 – 1798||1732 – c.1769||1678 – 1746||1615 – 1722|
Another thing that I’ve begun to try and do with Google, and the help of the Google Sheets, is to map where my ancestors come from. I’ve created a Google Map, on which I’ve started placing markers for the place of birth of each ancestor (where I know it). Its a good way to visualise where my ancestry is from. Due to my forthcoming trip to Scotland, I’ve begun by focusing on the Scottish branches of my family, and to show an example below, this is what I get for the WALKER and CADZOW sides of my family (my paternal Grandfather’s ancestors); very concentrated in and around West Lothian.
Last week I took up an offer of 1 month’s subscription to Find My Past – for £1 (the usual monthly subscription is about £10.). Once subscribed, I made sure to disable the”auto-renewal” on the site, and I’ll double check this before the month expires – because I don’t want to be charged £10 every month hereafter!
I thought that the Find My Past subscription might come in useful while on my forthcoming Scotland trip. Then having subscribed, I decided to blitz trying to find all the census records that I can for my ancestors. So this is what I’ve spent much of last week doing.
Here the Google Sheets came in useful again. On sheet 2, where I’ve listed all my ancestors in Dollarhide number order, with separate columns for birth, death, and marriage details, notes, and source details, I added columns for each available UK census date. Then against each ancestors I coloured in the relevant cells to indicate which census dates I might find them recorded in. This made it easy to see who to look for and when. I began searching for the census records on Find My Past, working down the Dollarhide list, beginning with one grandfather who was born before 1911.
As I worked my way down the list I found a lot of records, some of which added new details about people, and in one or two cases added new people to my ancestors. I downloaded all the scanned images that I could, and copied transcription texts into word DOCs which I saved on my computer. In the spreadsheet I changed the colour of the relevant cells to indicate where I’d found records, and noted whether I had found images, transcriptions, or both.
There are still gaps where I’ve not found the records. But I’ve now got a good spread of census records, which I’m pleased with. So with that I’m going to have a lot of things to update on my family tree pages on AFamilyHistoryBlog .