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 scroll down to the blue download box in the right sidebar.  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.

NARA “Request Pertaining to Military Records” form

NARA standard form 180, “Request Pertaining to Military Records”, is available for downloading on this site. Go to the blue download box in the right-hand side bar.

Colorful “Omaha Newspapers” Chart

Now Available for Download

Society member Karen Tippets, whose microfilm extraction work is responsible for most of the almost 120,000 listings that appear on the Omaha Obits  web site, has put together and made available for download, a colorful “Omaha Newspapers” chart. This horizontal bar chart is in PDF format, and lists all 48 newspapers that have been published in Omaha since 1852 to the present. The chart also shows the years that each of the 48 papers were in publication. (Trivia: Omaha’s first newspaper, the “Western Bugle”, was in business from 1852 to 1853.)

To view or download this chart, click  Small green HERE.

New Addition to Omaha Obits site

Thanks to society member Mike Warne, the Omaha Obits site has a new feature: Omaha Funeral Homes. This listing covers every funeral home in Omaha from 1866 to the present. This list shows Firm Name, Address, From-To (years of business), and Former Firm Name (if any).  Omaha was officially incorporated by the state legislature on February 2, 1857, and the first funeral home made its appearance 9 years after that.