Miscellaneous Workbook For One-Name Studies

© Julie Goucher, 2019

Some months ago I said I would share how I kept spreadsheets full of unprocessed and unrelated data prior to it being added to my software database. Apologies for a long wait, I hope this post goes some way to helping those with questions.

I use Excel, but this will work with the Google and Mac equivalents. Also the aesthetics will look different if you are on a tablet Apple or Android, or on a laptop etc.

When I open Excel and create a new workbook I create a series of sheets, these are the tabs at the bottom (or might be at the top).  The first sheet is always a guidance sheet, this tells you a variety of things, depending on the purpose of the file.

If you look at the download of the 1837 onwards GRO download which can be found HERE you can see an example, the first sheet is the Guidance sheet, the next three sheets are the births, marriages and death sheets.

In my Miscellaneous data workbook I have the guidance sheet, and instead of having different workbooks, each with a sheet of different data I have moved the individual sheets to the Miscellaneous workbook. That way, each different data group retains the columns for each field header and yet there are not lots of different spreadsheet files.

There is a trade off, a workbook marked Miscellaneous is not exactly helpful, but the alternative is lots of different spreadsheet workbooks, and one worksheet containing a variety of field headings means the amount of columns could and, in my case did, mean the open workbook went off the screen and I had to resort to scrolling across, which was just unhelpful.

I should point out that for each study (or database) I have a Miscellaneous workbook. My file names are defined as:

  • BUTCHER – Miscellaneous
  • ORLANDO – Miscellaneous
  • VIRCIGLIO – Miscellaneous
  • EUROPE – Miscellaneous

The first two are my One-Name Studies, the third is a surname study that is unregistered with the Guild of One-Name Studies currently, and the fourth is my gathering of data resources for European Ancestors.

The first lesson in the Practicalities of a One-Name Studies course, looks at spreadsheets, their uses, creations and why they are not a great fit for storing a One-Name Study long term – correct tool for the job!

My method is effectively using a spreadsheet as a holding pen. Once I add the data to my database, which is generally when I have expanded the detail beyond one person, I annotate the line as done, eventually deleting the sheet from the workbook.

Whilst the sheet maybe removed from the Miscellaneous workbook, it moves to the archived workbook, just in case I want to refer back to it in the future.

About Julie Goucher

Genealogist, Author, Presenter, native Guildfordian, avid note taker and journal writer. Lover of Books, Stationery & History; Surnames, Butcher & Orlando One-Name Studies. Pharos Tutor for all One-Name Studies/surname courses as well as Researching Ancestors from Continental Europe.
This entry was posted in Genealogy, Introduction to One-Name Studies (Pharos course 901), Practicalities of a One-Name Studies (Pharos Course 903). Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Miscellaneous Workbook For One-Name Studies

  1. Christopher Dallison says:

    Hi Julie,

    That guidance sheet I find invaluable – I cannot even remember who gave me this tip. It’s especially useful if you have/develop a lot of work sheets, enabling you keep track of your thought pattern from weeks or even months or perhaps years ago.




    • Hi Chris,

      Hope this finds you well? I frequently mention it in the Pharos courses, so you might have heard it there. Tessa Keough does a similar thing and has mentioned it on her video’s relating to spreadsheets. I find the guidance sheet and my research log together often help me if there have been many months since I last looked at or worked on the spreadsheet.


      • Christopher Dallison says:

        Good Morning Julie,

        Thank you for reminding me – yes – it was Tessa Keough.

        I had used spreadsheets for many years in a workplace environment and it never occurred to me to use this kind of summary. I have adopted a similar idea for my work in databases.

        I also keep a monthly Research Diary and Research Log in Evernote – as suggested by Kerry Scott in her book “How to Use Evernote for Genealogy”.

        All these “logs” help the ever dwindling grey cells to keep track!

        Kind regards,



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