Today, I had a question from Susan. “If I don’t have excel on my computer, can I still use [the Ancestor Inventory Form]?”

The answer is yes! All you need is a free Google account.

Everyone with a Google account has access to 15GB of storage for e Mail, Photos and Drive. I use Google Drive to keep all of my genealogy files and I can’t imagine not having it. If you’re not using Google Drive, I’ve talked about how I organize all of my files with it here.

Even if you don’t have Excel, go ahead and download the file. If your computer is like mine, it will go directly to your downloads folder. From there, upload the file to your Google Drive account. When you double click the file, Drive will ask if you want to open the file using Google Sheets. Click that button and viola! You can use the file!


A hint about printing. When you try to print a sheet from Google Drive, it doesn’t quite fit on one page. I think that’s due to fonts, but there’s an easy way to make it work without having to do a bunch of editing to the file.

I use Ctrl+P to print. You will see a preview of the sheet and some formatting options to the right. You will notice that that the bottom of the form wants to move to a 2nd page. To fix this, simply change the 100% to lower number and everything will fit just fine. I don’t know if every system is the same, but on my system, to print a Page 1 (census tracker) I had to reduce to 93%. To print a Page 2 (records tracker) I only had to reduce to 99%.


If you already have a Google account but you’re new to using Drive, begin by going to In the upper, right corner, click on the 3×3 grid of squares and then select “Drive” from the menu.


File UploadIn the upper left corner, you will click on “New” and then select “File Upload”. Find the Excel file in your downloads folder and click “Open”. Google Drive will upload and keep the file for you to access from any computer as soon as you log into your Google account.

When you try to open the file the first time, you will be asked if you want to open it with Google Sheets. Once you do that, Drive will keep both version available in your list of documents. You can tell which version to click on in the future by looking at the icons. The Excel file that you originally uploaded will have an icon that looks like a large X. The Google Sheets version has a green spreadsheet icon.


To rename the document (so you can have a different file for different ancestors) click on the name of the file in the upper left corner while the document is open and change the name.


You can also change the name from the main menu of Drive. Just right-click on the file name and select “Rename” from the pop-up menu.