Wednesday, January 21, 2015

A Bump On A Log - Genealogy Do-Over: Week 3

My progress came to a screeching halt when I read the first requirement for this week's Do-Over task. Setting up a Genealogy Research Log... Using a spreadsheet... What?? I never, ever, used a spreadsheet before. I had heard of spreadsheets. I had actually seen one, once. I did not understand it. It frightened me. I had hoped to live my entire life without needing to know how to use one.


I quickly declared "that's it! I'm out!" This old dog can not possibly learn this new trick! I closed the email and went on to something safe, feeling sorry for myself. (Might as well be honest, right?) I came back later that day and decided that I might as well at least look at the file, that way I'd know for sure I was in over my head.  I cautiously opened the 'preview' and felt my fears confirmed. What was I looking at? It didn't make any sense! I began to weep. (You may notice this is a reaction I have to things I don't understand) And burn with anger, "how can people possibly understand this!" I exclaimed. "I'm definitely out. There is no point". Off I went to something safe again.

the horrible-spreadsheet-monster-that-I-don't-understand
Later I decided to post to the Genealogy Do-Over Facebook group my conundrum. I received several responses all with helpful  answers. First, I was not seeing the tabs on the bottom of the document which pretty much laid everything out. I did not need to create anything, just fill in some blanks. Oh!

Well, I still was not having any part of it. Looked too complicated. I like to write things out by hand. I went off to do something safe, again.

Jump forward several days. And several views of the horrible-spreadsheet-monster-that-I-don't-understand, and I'm beginning to think that maybe I can do this ..... maybe. Maybe this old dog can actually learn a new trick. It would be nice to have all my notes in one place, all my research goals neatly packaged in one form. With one name. That I can quickly locate.

I'll give it a try.

                            What can it hurt?

                                                                Guess I'm back 'in'!


  1. +Anne,

    You can always ask for help.

    Are you OK now?

    I think +DearMYRTLE and I have done a couple of Videos on EXCEL in her Genealogy Community.

    In fact, we takes about the Online Version of EXCEL just a couple of hours ago.

    Is there a specific question or area you want us to cover, OR I can help you with a Google Hangout Video Call (not records), if you want. OR you can jump over to the Cousin Russ community and I can help you there.


    1. Thanks Russ! I'm good now. I think I'm getting the hang of it. :)

  2. If you haven't had a chance to see the Webinar Thomas did today, check it out. I sort of felt the same way but after watching, I can't wait to dive into it.

    1. It's on my to-do list for Monday morning - hope it's not too late.... :/

  3. Anne,

    Here are two links / recordings you might want to watch

    Wacky Wednesday - MSExcel for genealogists

    WACKY: More Excel for genealogists


  4. An entertaining read, and one we can all relate to in one way or another. For me, it's citations. I had never been able to wrap my head around it. Until now, until this group, until I saw that it's not an exact science, until I understood the concepts. Spreadsheets also have concepts where each of those little boxes (called cells) are used for one piece of information. The vertical lines are usually used to define what type of information the cell gets. The horizontal is the instance or example we are looking at. Once you get used to putting the information in cells, you can start using the power of a spreadsheet to group and filter certain types of information. One baby step at a time. Filling in information is the first step. Now, can you help me with citations? ugh.

    1. Oy! I'm probably better at citations than spreadsheets, but neither are fun. However IF I had cited from the beginning I would not be in the Do-Over, and I am learning new tricks and meeting new friends ....