DNA Tracker Full Sheet


As usual, I have continued to modify my form and I find that some areas I don’t use the way that I thought I would. I also found a few other things that I wanted to keep track of, so I’m updating my workbook. The workbook now includes an example of how to use the basic information full page sheet, a blank full page sheet, a blank “doubly related” sheet and an example and blank DNA Circle sheet.

ContactedFor the basic information sheet, I decided not to keep track of the Chromosome because I’ve found that to be less helpful that I thought it would be. Instead, I’ve started keeping track of when I contacted a person (I can include a date or a check mark and a smiley face if I got a response) instead of using my notes section for that. I can also indicate if I’ve added a match to my DNA painter profile.

I decreased the area for keeping track of “In Common With” matches because I’ve decided that until I get quicker with using my DNA matches in my research, I’m just overwhelming myself with matches that don’t have a tree.

In the Notes section, I can keep track of details from emails and I can indicate if I’ve added that person’s family “path” into my Public tree on Ancestry.


For my own organization system, I use the DNA Circle sheets as family dividers. In my example, I have a “circle” for John Smith and Sally Jones. I would add basic information sheets for anyone who matches that couple and place those sheets after the Circle sheet in the workbook. I also color code the tabs (right click > tab color) so that I can find the Circle sheets quickly.


I’ve included this new format in the downloads tab titled “DNA Workbook” or you can download it here.


As I work more with my DNA matches, I keep finding additional information that I’d like to keep track of. I really like the Ancestry DNA circles, but unless information in two trees matches in pretty specific ways, the matches don’t show up in your circle. I wish there was a way to add people to a user created circle to help me keep track of those matches.

So I decided that I needed a way to keep track of “In Common With” matches to make a DNA circle of my own. Because I was always jotting notes in the margins of my DNA planner half-sheet, I decided I needed a full sheet version as well.

Full_SheetThis sheet has the original layout on the left, but on the right side, I’ve included an area to keep track of “In Common With” matches. You’ll notice that on the left side, I have included my actual information. That is the email address that I use when exchanging information with people who are a DNA match for one of my kits. And those are my GEDmatch number, FTDNA number and MyHeritage name. Might as well get those out there for my cousins to find me with! I keep track of which chromosome we have matching segments on in the center column.

Honestly, at this point in my research, I mainly use Ancestry and GEDmatch, so if I need more space for GEDmatch kits, I rename the FTDNA and MyHeritage lines and use them for the additional information, but I wanted to show how it could be used.

All of the information on the right side is fictional. I wanted to show how you can customize your sheet by making some words bold as well as how I indicate a number of shared cMs. When I end up with a cluster of matches on a specific segment of DNA, I take a screenshot of that information and print it on the back of this sheet. (I’m not showing the kit details to protect the privacy of those matches, but I would include that as well.) You’ll see that on the left side of the sheet, the chromosome number 12 is in red to show that I have a screen shot of that information on the back of my page.


I still use my half-sheet for people that I share smaller numbers of cMs with or haven’t quite found a connection for or who I don’t have contact information for yet. But I’m finding this full sheet to be helpful for keeping all of my information straight in my mind.

You can find the sheet in the Downloads tab at the top of the blog, or by clicking here. Blank DNA Full Sheet



Russell County Resources – Deaths

Russell County, Kentucky Deaths:

Information found:

Death Registers:

  • Name of Deceased
  • Age
  • Sex
  • Condition (married, single, widow)
  • Occupation
  • Residence (County)
  • Place of Birth (County and State)
  • Name of Parents or Owners of Slaves
  • Place of Death
  • Time of Death (They are giving the date)
  • Cause of Death
  • Remarks

Family Search:

  • 1852 – images 241 – 242
  • 1853 – images 245 – 246
  • 1854 – images 248 – 249
  • 1855 – images 251 – 252
  • 1856 – image 254
  • 1857 – image 256
  • 1858 (cover says 1859) – image 258 – 260 (now seeing the names of towns instead of County only)

1875 – only available to view from a Family History Center or FamilySearch affiliate library

1903 – 1904  – only available to view from a Family History Center or FamilySearch affiliate library (assuming it was moved from the viewable files listed above).

1908 – 1910 – only available to view from a Family History Center or FamilySearch affiliate library

Federal Census Mortality Schedules:

  • 1850 – Russell County – 3 pages – this was to include the “name of every person who died during the Year ending 1st June 1850, whose usual Place of Adobe at the Time of his Death was in his Family.”
  • 1860 – Russell County – 2 pages – same instructions (1st June, 1860)
  • 1870 – Russell County – 1 page – same instructions (1st June, 1870)
  • 1880 – Russell County – 6 pages – “Persons who died during the year ending May 31, 1880”
    • Don’t stop when you get to the pages with “Instructions”. There is one additional page after that.
    • Notice the number in the first column. That is the family number that matches the family that gave the information. Look for the corresponding Supervisor District and Enumeration District (found in the upper left corner) in the Regular Census and then find the Family Number in column two.



  • U.S. Registers of Deaths of Volunteers, 1861 – 1865. Look to the right for the box labeled “Browse this collection” and select “Kentucky” from the dropdown menu. Although this is for all of Kentucky, names are arranged “Alphabetically” (all the A’s, though not in order, then all of the B’s, ect) so if you are looking for a specific person, it wouldn’t be too difficult to find.
    • Information includes: Surname, Christian name, Rank, Company, Regiment, Date of Death, Place of Death, Cause of Death, Remarks.
    • A-K – 182 pages
    • L-Z – 180 pages

DNA Sheet – Doubly Related

As I have been organizing my DNA matches, I have found a surprising number of people who are related through 2 different lines. For these people, I have created an Excel doc that has an area for each tree.


For these situations, I have a page that is intended to be folded in half before adding to my 5.5 x 8.5 planner. If I ever decide that I need a larger book such as a 3 ring binder for DNA information, then I would use all of my sheets “as is”. No folding or cutting in half.

For these sheets, I have included a larger area for notes as well. As I research each line, I can keep notes on communications I’ve had with this DNA cousin as well as notes about documentation that I have found that tie the two lines together.

In addition to the 4 kits that I manage for my Mom and her siblings, I also manage a kit for their first cousin. When cM numbers seem “out of whack” such as when this cousin has a MUCH higher number of cMs than the siblings, I can use the 2nd chart to show that. He may be related through his paternal side (my Mom’s side) as well as through his maternal side – which my Mom and her siblings are not. Even through the 2nd chart will show a relationship that is not part of my direct line, it helps me to understand why the cM numbers seem to be inconsistent.

Click here to download this Blank DNA Doubly Related or find the link in the Downloads tab at the top of the page.


Russell County Resources – Deeds

Russell County, Kentucky Deeds:

Family Search:

The left pages list Grantor (seller) to Grantee (buyer) and the right pages list Grantee from Grantor. Because of the tight binding in V. 1, it is sometimes difficult to read the information in the center of 2 pages. In cases where you cannot read a complete page number on the left page, it can be helpful to look for the same entry for the Grantee, which will be on a page on the right side.

These indexes are arranged loosely alphabetically. All the A’s (although not alphabetical within the A’s) then all of the B’s etc. Within each letter, records are listed in order by book. All of the A’s in book A in order, then all of the A’s in book B in order, etc.

I have found instances where the General Index is incorrect. The index with each book, when available, will be the most accurate. Each book’s index lists Grantor to Grantee, but not Grantee from Grantor. If you are looking for a deed where your ancestor is purchasing land, you may have better luck looking in the General Index.

General Index to Deeds V. 1 – 1825 – 1881Books A-M

General Index to Deeds V. 2 – 1880 – 1922 – Books N-Z and 1-7

General Index to Deeds V. 3 – 1920 – 1937 – Books 8-16

General Index to Deeds V. 4 – 1937 – 1948 – Books 17-26

General Index to Deeds V. 5 – 1948 – 1957 – Not yet available online

Deed Book A – 1825 – 1829 – no index

Deed Book B – 1828 – 1835 – no index

Deed Book C – 1835 – 1840 – includes an index

Deed Book D – 1840 – 1847 – includes an index which appears to begin with the letter C. Skip to image 8 and you will find the entire index.

Deed Book E – 1848 – 1853 – includes an index

Deed Book F – 1853 – 1857 – includes an index

Deed Book G – 1856 – 1862 – includes an index

Deed Book H – 1861 – 1866 – includes an index

(There is no Deed Book I)

Deed Book J – 1866 – 1871 – includes an index

Deed Book K – 1869 – 1875 – includes an index

Deed Book L – 1875 – 1878 – includes an index

Deed Book M – 1877 – 1881 – includes an index of both Grantor to Grantee and Grantee from Grantor

Deed Book N – 1881 – 1886includes an index of both Grantor to Grantee and Grantee from Grantor

Deed Book O – 1884 – 1889 – includes an index of both Grantor to Grantee and Grantee from Grantor

Deed Book P – 1889 – 1892 – not currently available online

Deed Book Q – 1892 – 1897 – includes an index of both Grantor to Grantee and Grantee from Grantor

Deed Book R – 1896 – 1900 – includes an index of both Grantor to Grantee and Grantee from Grantor

Deed Book S – 1900 – 1903 – not currently available

This is all of the Deed Books listed as of Sept. 4, 2017. Additional records listed:

Commissioners deeds, 1875 – 1909 – not currently available

Commissioner’s deed books 1-4, 1877 – 1945 – not currently available

Report of commissioners of division of land, 1876 – 1955 – not currently available

Non-residents land register, 1875 – 1899 – not currently available


DNA Sheets for Genealogy Planner

I have jumped into the DNA pool with both feet. To say that it has become an obsession would not be an overstatement. And as I learn more about it and begin to interact more with DNA cousins, I have had to develop a system for keeping track of information. If you have Russell County connections and you are on GEDmatch, I would love to have your number to compare with my kits! I will add my kit numbers to the About Me tab.

I love the format that Ancestry uses for showing you how another user is connected to you based on their DNA plus Tree. If a person has a DNA match to you AND they have a tree with a common ancestor in it, they show that person’s path to the ancestor right next to yours. And if you are related through more than one person, they will show you that as well.


I want to be able to keep track of these connections as well as be able to track when a person’s DNA results are also on another cite – especially GEDmatch.

I have created several different sheets, but I thought I’d share them one at a time. I keep tweaking them as I use them more, but I’m pretty happy with this first sheet. After I post each sheet, I will update the Downloads tab at the top of the page to include every sheet.Sheet_Example


My sheets are designed to go into my Genealogy Planner, so there are 2 sheets per page which are made to be cut in half and hole punched to fit in a 5.5 x 8.5 planner. The layout is landscape and the margins are .25 on the top and bottom, .2 on the left and right.

My first page is like a “Contact” page. I have the person’s name, if known. Many times, I won’t know a person’s real name until we connect through the messaging system on Ancestry or through email if I’m using GEDmatch. You don’t want to keep referring to someone as DrummerBoy once you know their real name! I have the Excel sheet set up so that the name that I type in this area also shows up on the side of the sheet so when I am flipping through my pages, I can find the name faster.Name



On the right corner, I have Paternal/Maternal. I simply delete the text that doesn’t apply. I keep these organized in my Planner based on my Maternal and Paternal Grandparents. Below that line, I have 3 lines for the surnames that we match on.

You can also see that in the middle, I have a column to keep track of which chromosome(s) we have in common. You cannot find this information on Ancestry, but any site that has a chromosome browser will allow you to see this.

In the next section, I keep track of user names User_namesfor each of the sites that I use. It’s not uncommon for someone to have their results on more than one site, but they don’t always have the same name. So a test might be “B.C.” on Ancestry, “Aunt Barbara” on FTDNA and her full name on MyHeritage. GEDmatch assigns every kit with a number, but the person uploading the information gets to decide if they will use an alias or a real name.

In an area to the right that’s not meant to be printed, I have a chart to help me keep track of how many shared cMs each of my kits has with a cousin’s kit(s). I then use Jing to take a screen clipping of this information and I paste it into the area titled “cM shared”. On the right side, I have not merged the cells so that if I only have information for 1 person who matches 1 of my kits, I can use the lines to add that information instead of a table. So far, I have always ended up merging those cells and using my table, but I wanted to leave the option in there. I also try to always tell where the numbers are coming from because the different sites do not calculate shared cMs the same way.


In the bottom section, I have the Ancestry-like relationship chart and a blank line for me to enter the calculated relationship.



I prefer rounded corners on my boxes, so these borders are created by adding a shape on top of the cell. You must click in the center of the cell or your text will not appear because Excel will think that you are adding to the shape if you click on its border. If you find this frustrating, you can always delete the shapes and add a border around each cell. Text wrapping is turned on, but you can force a line return by typing Alt + Enter if you want to force the female name onto the 2nd line within the cell.

I have a 2nd sheet within the Excel workbook that includes blank lines for notes that can be printed on the back side of the contact sheet. Sometimes, my notes are nothing more than the date that I tried to contact a person, and I do have a short area for notes on the front for that. But sometimes, if a cousin and I are researching together, I also keep notes to help me remember what I’m keeping my eyes out for.


I hope you find these forms as helpful as I have! There will be more DNA sheets to come over the next couple of weeks!

Click here to download the Blank DNA Planner Sheet.


Russell County Resources – Marriages


Russell County, Kentucky Marriages:

Information found:

Marriage Registers:

  • Date of Marriage
  • Groom
    • Name
    • Residence (County)
    • Age
    • Condition (I think this is number of marriage)
    • Place of birth (County)
  • Bride
    • Name
    • Residence (County)
    • Age
    • Condition
    • Place of Birth
    • Remarks

Family Search:

  • 1856 – image 232
  • 1857 – image 234
  • 1858 – image 236
  • 1859 – image 239 plus an additional page at the end of the death register records. Image 261 (This is an easy one to miss so be sure to check it out!)


Family Search:

Marriage Book 1 – 1826-1854 Index to Brides, Grooms, Ministers, Witnesses and Others

Marriage Records V. 1 – A register of marriages

Marriage Records V. 2 – Marriage Bonds and Certificates 1854 – 1860 – contains an alphabetical index of grooms

Marriage Bonds V. 2 – Marriage Bonds and Certificates 1861 – 1867 – contains an alphabetical index of grooms. Some loose permissions as well.

Marriage Bonds V. 3 – Marriage Bonds and Certificates 1867 – 1875 – contains an alphabetical index of grooms. Some loose permissions as well.

Marriage Bonds V. 4 – Marriage Bonds and Applications 1875 – 1878 – contains an alphabetical index of grooms. Some loose permissions as well.

Marriage Bonds V. 5 – Marriage Bonds, Applications and Certificates 1876 – 1880 – contains an alphabetical index of grooms. Some loose permissions as well.

Marriage Bonds V. 6 – Marriage Bonds, Applications and Certificates 1880 – 1883 – contains an alphabetical index of grooms. Some loose permissions as well.

Marriage Bonds V. 7 – Marriage Bonds, Applications and Certificates 1883 – 1886 – contains an alphabetical index of grooms. Some loose permissions as well.

Marriage Bonds V. 8 – Marriage Bonds, Applications and Certificates 1886 – 1889 – contains an alphabetical index of grooms. Some loose permissions as well.

Marriage Bonds V. 9 – Marriage Bonds, Applications and Certificates 1889 – 1892 – contains an alphabetical index of grooms. Some loose permissions as well.

Marriage Bonds V. 10 – Marriage Bonds, Applications and Certificates 1892 – 1895 – contains an alphabetical index of grooms. Some loose permissions as well.

Marriage Bonds V. 11 – Marriage Bonds, Applications and Certificates 1895 – 1999 – contains an alphabetical index of grooms. Some loose permissions as well.

Marriage Bonds V. 12 – Marriage Bonds, Applications and Certificates 1899 – 1901 – contains an alphabetical index of grooms.



Russell County Resources – Births

Unless you’ve been on a long vacation, you’ve probably heard that FamilySearch is ending the microfilm lending program on Friday.

Update: Due to a software glitch that was preventing people from ordering microfilm, the deadline has now been extended. You may still order microfilm through Sept. 7.

I have ordered my fair share of microfilm so I was sad to hear this announcement. But actually, this is good news for us because they are working toward making all of these records available on their website for free! So as they end their lending program, they are ramping up their digitizing efforts! In fact, they are currently digitizing 1500 rolls of microfilm daily and are getting those up on their site as quickly as they can! Their goal is to have this project completed by the end of 2020.

So I wanted to begin a list of all of the digital records available for Russell County, Kentucky. I will focus first on FamilySearch, but I do intend to list records from other sites as well. This will be a work in progress and I plan to compile each blog post into one tab at the top of my page – Russell County Resources. I’m also going to make a few notes as I go so that I don’t have to look at a record to know what it contains.

Click on the following links for go to each set of these records. (Text in red is a link.)

Russell County, Kentucky Births:

(These are not birth certificates, but birth registers.)

Information found:

  • Name of child
  • Sex
  • Condition (living/still born)
  • Place of Birth (County)
  • Name of Father or Owner of Child
  • Maiden name of Mother
  • Color of child (white/mulatto/black)
  • Residence of Parent (County)
  • Remarks (such as “illegitimate” or “twins”)

Family Search:

  • 1852 – images 184 – 186
  • 1853 – images 188 – 190
  • 1854 – book cover says 1855, but dates are for 1854. Page 4 is filmed twice. images 194 – 198
  • 1855 – images 200 – 203
  • 1856 – images 206 – 208
  • 1857 – images 211 – 212, filmed a 2nd time with 1 additional page (also filmed twice) – images 215-218
  • 1858 – book cover says 1859 – images 221 – 224
  • 1859 – no book cover image but the assessor note at the front says 1860 – images 226 – 229
  • FamilySearch catalog says this roll also contains 1903-1904, but it is not included.

1903 – 1904  – only available to view from a Family History Center or FamilySearch affiliate library (assuming it was moved from the viewable files listed above).

1905 – 1906 – only available to view from a Family History Center or FamilySearch affiliate library

1908 – 1909 – only available to view from a Family History Center or FamilySearch affiliate library


  • 1852 – 3 pages
  • 1853 – 3 pages
  • 1854 – 4 pages
  • 1855 – 4 pages
  • 1856 – 3 pages
  • 1857 – 5 pages
    • 2 pages not included on FamilySearch. These pages are duplicates of the first 2 pages of 1875.
  • 1858 – 4 pages
  • 1859 – 4 pages
  • 1867 – 1 page
  • 1874 – 4 pages
  • 1875 – 6 pages
  • 1878 – 5 pages
  • 1903 – 4 pages – Beginning to see town names for Residence instead of County only
  • 1904 – 3 pages
  • 1905 – 1 page
  • 1906 – 1 page
  • 1908 – 1 page
  • 1909 – 4 pages
  • 1910 – 1 page

Adding a simple photo border with Gimp

It’s funny how something so simple can make such a big difference. Adding a border to a digital photo can help to make the image stand out on your page so much! It can add some contrast and helps to draw your eye to the subject – especially when looked at a photo that has faded with time.

1945 Betty in snow   1945 Betty in snow with border

(WordPress is adding the white border and shadow around these pictures.)

These short videos will teach you some basic skills that we will eventually be putting together into more creative projects.

So whether you are adding a photo to a web page, newsletter, calendar, genealogy report or PowerPoint presentation, learn how to use the free photo editing software, Gimp, to add this simple border to a digital photo.

Don’t have Gimp? See my last post to learn how you can download this free software.



Simple (FREE) Photo Editing

I LOVE photographs! When I run into family that wants to show me photos of my ancestors, I’m just in heaven!

I recently had an email from a “cousin” who asked me if I knew how people were adding text to digital images because sometimes extra information – sometimes called “metadata” – we add to a photo with a photo viewer on the computer gets lost when we share the photo with someone else – especially if their computer is not using the same operating system that we are.

There are a lot of photo editors out there and many of them are quite pricey! And let’s be honest, if we’re spending money, we’d rather be getting access to new records or perhaps ordering a new dna test for a relative! We don’t want to have to spend a lot of money to do basic tasks like adding a border or text to a photo or document.

I thought this would be a good opportunity to make some video tutorials. I’m planning to start with very short videos showing very basic things that I think everyone would like to do including adding a border to a photo and adding text to a photo. I’m thinking of building toward a nice Christmas project, so if you’d like to try to learn some basic photo editing tools, I hope you’ll join me. I promise to keep the videos short and simple!

So I want to talk about a program that is available for Mac as well as PC and is FREE. I wanted something robust enough to do some major editing to photos if a person knows how to do that but is also easy to find tutorials for if you’re a beginner who wants to learn how to do more. The program I recommend is called Gimp.


Gimp is open source software and it is pretty much a duplicate of Photoshop except that most of the icons look different. If you go to YouTube and look for videos on using Gimp, the list is quite long! So for really heavy photo editing, you’ll want to look for tutorials on that. And if you see a tutorial for something on Photoshop, chances are really good that you’ll be able to figure out how to do the same thing using Gimp once you are familiar with their icons.

If you’d like to work along with me, you’ll need to download Gimp from their site.  Once you are on the downloads page, the website will automatically determine if you are on a Mac or PC and will give you the link for the download. If they are not correct, there are options to select the version that you need. I used the “download directly” button.


Once you have downloaded the file, you will need to find the .exe file – probably in your downloads folder.


Click (or double click) the .exe file and the program will open. Click on the “Install” button.


The process of installing and starting the program did not take long, but don’t be alarmed if it seems to take a while as it looks for fonts and other assets that you already have on your computer.


If you use multiple monitors, like I do, you may find that there are different parts of the program on different screens. This allows the user to have as much work space as possible. I have 3 monitors and found a “dock” on each of my two side monitors. I pulled them onto my main monitor to take this screen shot.


If you’d like to bring everything onto one screen, go to the “Windows” tab at the top of the screen and select “Single-Window Mode” from the drop down menu. Once selected, this option will remain enabled until you turn it off, even if you close the program.

6 - Single Window Mode

And now, we’re ready to begin! So if you’d like to give the program a try, I recommend that you download it and get ready to do a little editing. The options available with the program are incredible!