Did you ever try entering extracted census data into your genealogy program's text editor? The capabilities vary from one genealogy program to another, but most of them cannot handle columns of information very well. In many cases, you will find it easier to use a spreadsheet program for displaying such information. Gary Minder's CensusTools will help you do just that with most any Windows or Macintosh genealogy program.
Gary now offers more than forty genealogy spreadsheets, providing researchers with quality creations to help you electronically record, preserve and archive family history data.
Using a spreadsheet is a great way to record and analyze your genealogy data in a format similar to the original source. All of the CensusTools spreadsheets faithfully reproduce actual census document formatting, providing you with a professional appearing product suitable for printing or including in your published family history. The result won't be an exact copy of the original document. In fact, it should be far easier to read and analyze than the original.
All the original information, including all the columns, will be in the spreadsheet, assuming that you manually transcribed everything. There is no automatic importing of data; you will have to enter everything manually. However, the result is great when you can sort, filter, and analyze in many different ways. If you are already familiar with spreadsheets, you'll love CensusTools.
CensusTools spreadsheets are also valuable analysis tools. For instance, the Tracker series allows a researcher to analyze all available census data for an individual on a single worksheet. You can quickly trace the important aspects of your ancestors' lives.
The following is a copy-and-paste from the CensusTools web site:
U.S. Federal Census
Starting with just a 1790-1920 U.S. Federal spreadsheet, the CensusTools collection expanded to include 1930, available separately and included in the 1790-1930 file, and several U.S. special census records. Complimenting the Federal spreadsheet files are the 1850-1860 Slave Schedules, 1850-1880 Mortality Schedules, 1883 List of Pensioners, the 1890 Surviving Veterans and Widows Schedule and Dawes Roll.
Often overlooked as a genealogical resource, many individual states conducted their own census operations, usually at 10 year intervals between federal enumerations. Of particular interest are records from 1885 and 1895 which can help bridge the 1880-1900 federal gap caused by the loss of most of the 1890 records. CensusTools currently offers state spreadsheets for Iowa 1836-1925, Kansas 1865-1925, Massachusetts 1855-1865, Minnesota 1849-1895, New Jersey 1855-1915, New York 1825-1925, Rhode Island 1865-1935 and Wisconsin 1836-1905. Each set collection features the main spreadsheet as well as a Tracker and Checklist.
CensusTools went international with the release of spreadsheets for Canada 1851-1901, England 1841-1901, Ireland 1821-1911 and Scotland 1841-1891, all similar to the U.S. Federal in design.
The CensusTools Cemetery Data spreadsheet enables a researcher to record data in two generic formats. The "Cemetery Listing" worksheet is formatted to record multiple burials in a single cemetery. By using the "Family Listing" worksheet, family members buried in different cemeteries can be grouped together.
Passenger Manifest Data
Though there is no standard format for passenger ship records, the CensusTools Manifest spreadsheet includes common, genealogically significant data fields to record your immigrant ancestor's arrival in America. This spreadsheet also includes two worksheets, a "Ship Listing" and a "Family Listing", similar in purpose to the Cemetery spreadsheet.
The CensusTools Genealogy Research Log is a tremendous resource which allows the user to check off data types researched for any person in their database. There are over 125 data types listed, from the obvious like birth certificates to the obscure such as tombstone rubbings. In addition, there is a column listing 40 online data sources with links provided for easy access. Say goodbye to the frustration of forgetting what data types and sources have already been reviewed for an ancestor!
Family Group Report
The CensusTools Family Group Report can be used in place of commercial genealogy software. Finished worksheets can be shared with family and friends via e-mail, printed for hard copy records or book projects, or exported from Excel in HTML format for a web page presentation.
All CensusTools spreadsheets were created with MS Excel and saved in Excel 97 format. A version of MS Excel for PC or MAC at least as recent as 97 is required to use the spreadsheets. My compatibility page provides more details. PDF versions of all worksheets are available for anyone without access to MS Excel or to those who just want high quality extraction sheets.
[End of copy-and-paste]
The simpler genealogy programs will not allow you to embed spreadsheets into your text notes. However, all the more sophisticated genealogy programs will allow you to attach spreadsheets and use them in printed reports. The most common method is to create the report electronically in .RTF or .DOC format, then use your favorite word processor to perform final editing, formatting, page numbers, page breaks, headers, superscript reference note citations, columns, etc.
I experimented with a few CensusTools spreadsheets and must say that I was impressed. Gary states that the spreadsheets are only designed to work with Microsoft Excel for Windows or for Macintosh. However, I encountered no problems when I used them with NeoOffice for the Macintosh. NeoOffice is a modified version of OpenOffice.org for the Macintosh. It has a modified user interface that is friendlier to Mac users than the original OpenOffice user interface. I am sure that the spreadsheets will also work on OpenOffice.org although I did not try that. Both NeoOffice and OpenOffice.org are available free of charge.
Gary Minder now offers more than 40 spreadsheets for census, cemetery, and passenger manifest data. All the downloads are free. However, he does suggest $10 donations via either PayPal or the Amazon Honor System. Ten bucks seems likes bargain to me.
For more information, or to download a few spreadsheets yourself, go to http://www.censustools.com.