Favourite Genealogy Form – Certificate & Census

Everyone has a favourite genealogy form that they use.  Lots of genealogists love the Family Group Sheets, or the Census History Form, the Individual Worksheet or the Biographical Outline; the list goes on.  There are lots of worksheets and forms that do a great job, I use many of them.  However my favourite is one you will not find on any of the genealogy sites, I developed it myself following frustration with masses of paperwork.

As genealogist we “collect” anything and everything we can about our ancestors.  I often just want a quick reference guide of where I am up to on my research, mainly at a direct ancestor level; say one of my 2 x gt grandfathers.  The question’s I ask myself are – do I have all the BMD certificates, parish records, and the Census forms for this ancestor.  I need a reminder, short and sweet.

I became fed up with the constant shuffling of paper, searching through computer files, folders, etc.   I wanted to know precisely what data I had and what was missing.  Basically what should I be working on.  Below is my Certificates and Census Worksheet, a quick reference guide to where I am up to with my direct line ancestors.

This worksheet tells me many things:
– Do I have a name for my ancestor
– When and where were they born or baptised
– When and where were they married (or not married)
– When and where did they die (burial or cremation)

Some annotations are:
– If it is in red then I have the certificate
– If there is a ‘c’ in front of the date, I have no poof it is a best guess
– If the date is in black without a ‘c’ then it has been seen in parish records
– A ‘?’ after the place name means most likely
– There are date ranges e.g. 1841-51, this means it happened between census’
– A ‘+’ after the date means the event happened later than this date

As you can see it is easy to annotate the base data with other relevant information.

    If you want to try my form then you can download it from here – Certificate and Census Template

    The Excel Workbook has 4 Worksheets (Tabs): Certificates, Census, All Data, and Relation Name Tester.  Note that the ancestors Name only needs to be entered once on the Certificates sheet, it will ripple through to the other sheets.  Don’t enter any data on the All Data sheet.

    Couples in the 18/19th century often used a naming convention for their children.  The Relation Name Tester is a little App that I occasionally use to try and find the first names of a couples parents based on the names of their children.  It sometimes works!

    I hope you have found this post useful.  You may have something similar in your array of forms/sheets, let me know what your favourite form is and why.

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    7 thoughts on “Favourite Genealogy Form – Certificate & Census

    1. I tried to download your Certificate and Census Template but it wouldn't open, save or save as.

      It looks like a great way of keeping track of everything.

    2. Hi Sharon thanks for the comment. I have checked the link and all seems well. I am rather baffled. If anyone else is having a similar problem, please send me an email and I will send the file directly to you….. Tony.

    3. Tony

      These sheets look really good. I have download them and am going to have a go completing them tonight. Can't get my head around your "name" app yet.


    4. Thanks for these, I am forever shuffling, like you said, so this should be a great help. Downloaded and it opens fine.

      Thanks again, Susan

    5. I had a few formatting problems reported to me regarding the form. Hopefully these are all now straightened out. The latest form can be downloaded via the link in the post, alternatively ping me an email or DM me on Twitter.


    6. Hi Guys, well I am learning all the time! I have now discovered why some of you can download and some not. I stored the worksheet on my Google Docs account and the link should allow anyone with it to download… but it has a bug, thanks Google! Apparently it will only work if you are logged into your Google account.

      Now given up with Google Docs – The file is in my Public Dropbox folder and seems to work as it should do. Right Click/Save and Left Click both seem to work ok.

      Sorry to all those who had problems with the download.


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