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.