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Simon's Ultimate Data File - Microsoft Office 2000 / Excel format

Initial efforts from listers have provided a rich set of data for people from Islay,  I have extended this effort by re-formatting it and placing it into an Microsoft Excel spreadsheet.  I have found searches much easier using the filter features of Excel.  A big thank you to all the original contributors of the data!! (- and thanks to Simon for compiling this spreadsheet!)

All the best,

Simon Sutherland -

Click here to download the file!

This file has been "Zipped" (compressed) to make downloading easier.  The original file is 3.9 Mb, and the downloadable "Zip" file is a mere 924 kb.

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Notes on this spreadsheet:

Now that the data is in a spreadsheet, those that have not played with one before will be wondering "so what ?". So here goes:

Here are a few hints for easier use of spreadsheets, and searching them for information.

First a quick explanation of a spreadsheet ( for non-beginners, skip past this paragraph ):

A spreadsheet is made up of rows and columns. Each column represents some piece of information, such as a date, name or place. Each row represents a collection of such information commonly related to a single item. Specifically, a set of data of births will have a row of data for each person's birth. Running along the row you will see the different information about each birth. Instead of seeing pieces of information with, say, commas separating each piece of information, each piece is now clearly held in its own column; thus making it much easier to scan rapidly down a list of dates, places or names etc.

Since the births, marriages and deaths are in "one place" it is quicker to jump between these different events to try to trace individuals and relatives.

A spreadsheet also provides functions that allow you to more easily view, sort or search through a vast amount of data.

The "little red triangles" in the top right corner of a box in the spreadsheet means that there is a "Comment" attached to that box. I have used it when some information that was made available from a contributor didn't fit the layout or was relevant at that point in the list. For example, a person might have had been married twice and since I only have a layout for one person, I decided to put both wives in a "comment" for that person.

Function #1: Sheets

if you look at the bottom of the window when the spreadsheet is open you will see lots of "tabs" - Baptisms, Marriages etc. Each one of these is a "Sheet" and contains information relating to a single subject; usually given by the name. Clicking on a tab will show you information for that subject.

Function #2: Frozen panes

Most of the sheets that I have created have titles running along the top, above the data. As you scroll up and down the window these titles will stay in place, allowing you to always know what the particular piece of information that you are looking at refers to.

[ If this doesn't work like this then move the cursor to the second row of the sheet and the first column and select the "Window/Freeze panes" menu option and it should now be set - if the window behaves funnily - select "Window/Unfreeze panes", make sure that you are on the second row / first column and try again ]

Function #3: Sorting

Most of the sheets in the spreadsheet are currently sorted by Surname, or something equivalent; which makes searching by surname that much easier. But if you want to find all the people who were born in the same place then it would be easier to sort by place.

To do this, first make sure that there are no highlighted boxes on the sheet [Simply click on any one box to get rid of this] then select the Data/Sort menu option. All of the boxes will then go black, showing that they are all going to be sorted and a window will appear. Now, since we have titles in the first row of the sheet we can use those to define how we want to sort.

Select the "Place" item in the "Sort by" list and click Ok. Select "None" for the others.

[ If the list contains "A", "B" etc, then click on "My list has/Header row" at the bottom of this window]

Now all the data in the sheet will be sorted by place and you can find the relevent people.

[NOTE: Try to remember the original "Sort by" to get back to where you originally were, or hit "Control Z" together to Undo the sort.]

You'll see that you can sort by upto three different columns, for example, Place, Father's Surname, Date.

ALSO - The births, marriages and deaths tabs have an extra column which indicates the first letter of the Father's Surname. This way, using Control Up-arrow and Control Down-arrow in this column, you can more quickly jump to an appropriate place in the surnames list.

Function #4: Filters

Now we get to a neat feature. With hundreds of pieces of data lying around its sometimes hard to see what you are looking for. One way to reduce the amount of data being shown is to use "Filters".

Some of the sheets might already have filters set - see little down arrows beside the title of a column. If not, click on any column in row 1 of a sheet and select the "Data/Filter/Auto Filter" menu command - all columns should now have the arrow.

By clicking and holding down the arrow you will now see a list of all the different items that can be found in that column. For example, clicking on the Place column arrow will show you all the names of places where people have been born. If you select one of these names then only those rows of data, where the place is the one that you have selected will be shown.

To get back to the complete list, select "All" at the top of the list.

This helps reducing the "clutter" but what really helps is by using the "Custom" item in the list. Looking at the "Mother's First Name" it would be a long search if we wanted to look for all the different version of "Catherine" if we had to do it one version at a time.

Using the Custom item we can select "Contains" in the first box and enter "ath" in the second and hitting okay will probably get us all the different spellings of Cath/Kath/Catharine/Catherine etc. It might get us a few we don't want - but thats called playing and its great fun. Plus its a bit easier now :-)

You can set filters on as many columns as you want. So once you have all the Catherines, maybe you now want to see all the Father's called Peter. Do the same as above on the Father's First Name column, this time selecting "Equals" in the first box and "Peter" in the second. Now the set of data will be reduced even further with those births where the mother's first name is sort of Catherine and Father is Peter.

You can keep your filters in place whist you now click on another tab, jump across to the deaths and do another search/filter there.

With a query like:

"Is there information on a Mary Currie with parents ??? Currie and Flora ???"

This is so easy with filters !!!

Please ignore any rows which might be coloured yellow. I was marking those belonging to our family and might not have taken the colour off before I distributed the file.

That's it. I hope that you find the spreadsheet useful. It's slightly quicker to setup than a database.

Please feel free to send me any comments.

Simon Sutherland -