I was reminded that I haven’t talked about one of the tools that I have used for this process. Dr. Jones talked about it, and the 2nd Life Study Group talked about spreadsheets.
I happen to use EXCEL after working with it for a number of years.
Not sure how clear this will be for the Blog, so I will try to explain it.
First, in my Genealogy Program, I have it automatically assign a number to each person (PersonID). The number is unique for each person in the file. If a person is deleted or merged with another, that number will not be reused. It was very helpful during my clean up because I knew and can see the Persons ID. That is the first column
The next three columns are Last Name, First Name, Middle Name, as it appeared in the Census Records. Census records are reflected in the 5th column lasted as the Residence Fact. That fact has the Census Year, the State, the County / City and the jurisdiction within that city. Here we are talking about Baltimore Maryland. So, the next to the last column will reflect what is on that Census Record. The last column is the House Number of the Family Number. Using filtering and sorting this really helps show households for a given Census Year.
In this example each of the people with red boxes around 1900 Maryland Baltimore Independent City / Ward 13 House # 939 were folks living at that location.
In the example, based on the dates, two brothers, and a wife are in that household. There are others in the spreadsheet, but just showing the example.
To keep track of the Females in the file, I used the Yellow Hi-lite to remind me that this name is a female. I wanted to stand out, when doing searching in the Census.
If I don’t know a Persons Name, First or Last, I use 5 Underscores. It’s a visual indication that “I don’t yet know the persons name”. You can see that I don’t know the female (Elizabeth W) birth surname.
But, I know that she was married in 1875 to Charles Howard, the gentlemen listed above her name (clearly by accident). When she got married, I then knew to look for Elizabeth Howard in the 1880 Census. BUT, I wanted to keep in mind that I still didn’t have her birth Surname, so when a Female gets married, I move her birth surname to the column after her middle name or initial.
The Birth, Marriage, and Death Dates are important. So they are tracked, but using their complete full name for the Birth and Death information. Visually, it shows the start and end of a persons information, along with the Person’s ID.
I know that I don’t have to look for Elizabeth in the 1910 Census, because she died in 1906. But, I can also tell that I need to look at the 1910 census as the three people listed here have blanks in those census years.
As this was developing, I had been tracking everyone in the file. But at this stage of this file, keeping my goal in mind, I only focused on what I now know to be two brothers and their households.
Looking at the Census Records are one thing, but to be able to step back, using a spreadsheet, I have been able to see how these households “stuck together” over time. Then to be able to realize that the households were in the Same Block or just down the street, as was seen in the Maps that have been posted here.
Working with this spreadsheet has been very helpful in resolving some of the conflicting information that I ran into and resolve in the past couple of days.
Learning: Learn to use some basic sorting and filtering that is available in a spreadsheet.
PS: I was able to generate data from my genealogy program when I wanted to start using a Spreadsheet. I had not started to us it, until I went through the video that Dr. Jones made available to us, and the 2nd Life Study Group talked about it.
But like setting a goal for this project, it took a bit to figure out how to use this tool to my advantage. Not to try to track everyone, but to be focused on what the tool was going to be used for.