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First steps - how to record everything


Trying to start my mothers side of the family tree.

Her father is not named on the birth certificate but I have some leads to try to find out more about my grandmother. I also now know I can get hold of a copy of my grandmothers death certificate so I can find out more from that.

I've also already got quite a bit about my dad's side of the family and also my husband's family from other family members.

I'd like to pull it all together in one place, preferably on my PC so that it's easy for everyone (kids & oldies too) to understand. Is there an easy way to do that? I've thought of playing around with excel as I have quite a bit of experience of that but then maybe there are some purpose built templates that would make life easier.

Any ideas re recording info greatly appreciated.
I use Family Tree Maker 2011 which comes with 6 months Ancestry free. It can also be added to existing accounts.

They have just released Family Tree Maker 2012 which syncs with your own tree on Ancestry.

I use Excel and find it suits my purposes really well.

I use page 1 for the sequential listing of all events by date. Column 1 have the date of the event, column 2 is blank but used for key markings if I think one individual is part of a particular family branch.
Column 3 is the name of the individual with a brief description of the event:
10 May 1550 John ALVEY s. of John & Mary (GREEN)<[maiden name where known]
Column 4 I use to denote burials and WILL dates (I also put the whole line entry in bold)
Column 5 is used for the location of the event and where I got the data from.

Page 2 to draw my main family tree (using borders)
Pages 3 and on I use for "playing about" with "what if situations" with main and sub trees.

You obviously know how handy Excel is for searching. I would recommend a row height of 12 and view it at 75%

If you want, PM me and I will send you a sample page.