PAL: A New Tool for Genealogists

When researching for ancestors, what do you do when you come across a name you think may be an ancestor, but are not certain? Do you add it to your genealogy data base anyway? Do you write it down in a note book? Do you just pass it by?

Terry, our society “techie”, has developed a handy Microsoft Excel spreadsheet, formatted especially for situations like that. Now you can keep all your “maybe/maybe-not” names in one place, without cluttering up your genealogy database or keeping a list of them in a note book. Functional and attractive, the spreadsheet is very simple to use. In it you list the name of the suspected ancestor, pertinent information such as birth, marriage, and death date, and who in your genealogy database you suspect this person might be related to. The database also accepts whatever notes you may wish to enter about the suspected ancestor. The system is named PAL, short for Potential Ancestors List. Each potential ancestor you enter into your PAL database will have a “PAL number”. In your genealogy database, you will keep track  of which of your ancestors might possibly be related to someone in your PAL database by indicating the PAL #  (or the PAL # and the name of the suspected ancestor), in the notes section of that ancestor in your genealogy database. This essentially ties the two databases together. You can list all your “possibles” in PAL, keeping your main genealogy database clutter-free. And if you do prove a suspected link, the information is right at hand in PAL and easily transferred to your main genealogy database.

PAL has room for 2,000 name entries. Instructions for using PAL–should you need any–are located on the same Excel worksheet to the right of where you enter information about possible ancestors.

PAL is a FREE download from this website–just click on the “downloads” link at the top of this page.   There are two versions of PAL—one for Microsoft Excel 2007-2010, and one for earlier Excel versions.  All the column headings, etc. in PAL are protected so that you can’t change any of them by accident. However, if you are knowledgeable in Excel and think you’d like to tweak PAL to suit your own needs, the “unprotect sheet” command does not require a password, so have at it.

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