Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Tech Tip Tuesday: City Directory Study Using Excel

Today's tech tip is I'm not sure a true Tech Tip, but it is about using Excel to conduct a research study. As I've written before, I've been researching the Mariani family of San Francisco. Trouble is, by 1880 there were three Mariani families in San Francisco. Mine had a few sons and so did the other two. They quickly can get confusing in the city directories.

Using Excel, and free time, I created a workbook of the San Francisco city directory entries. The first tab has the listing of all the directories and the link to them. The second tab has the snip of the actual page they appear on with the documentation of page number, etc. The third tab is my database listing of each and every piece of information from the directory. Once I finished, I could sort by street and see who lived in the same houses generation after generation. I could sort by name and follow a person through their homes, and I could sort by date and see how many lived there during that particular year.

When I completed this, I added all the data from the census records as well as all the data from the Great Registers.

Now I have a big picture of every Mariani man (and many women!) who lived in San Francisco since they first appear in directories in 1863. I have been able to make family trees for the original families and when I find a newspaper article about a Mariani in San Francisco, I can usually figure out which Mariani they are talking about using my own database of 2390 entries of Marianis in San Francisco throughout time!

 

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