Building a surname database can take quite a bit of time. Entering the information that you see in books or microfilms can be tedious, especially when all you want to do is KEEP SEARCHING! But it can be so rewarding when you begin to see connections that you hadn’t seen before because your information in Excel is formatting to help you see items that are easy to overlook when reading documents individually.

While adding information one line at a time will be very helpful, it can be even more helpful if there is already data in the document that you can begin to compare with. When I begin to research a new family – or when I look for information on a family that I haven’t researched in a while – I always turn to FamilySearch first. The search form on the website is easy to use and the format of the information is perfect to transfer into an Excel document. Keep in mind that this type of searching will only return results from data that has been indexed within FamilySearch – not necessarily from each microfilm that is available using the technique discussed in the last video – which you can watch in the “Video Tutorials” tab at the top of the blog.

In this video tutorial, I will show you how to search a specific database for a specific surname and then to download the information directly into Excel. Depending on your search terms, this can provide you with information on every person with a specific surname over a specific time frame to begin filling your database with very little typing on your part!

I will also show you how to quickly get rid of rows and columns of information that you don’t need and then how to combine different Excel files into one combined database. Finally, I will show you how to quickly adjust the width of the columns to make the page more readable.