#1 Way to Break Down Brick Walls: Updated (2020)

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What is the number one way to break down those brick walls and get unstuck in your family history research? I’ve got a trick to help you with that and make the job faster in the long run. In this episode I’ll show you how to extract census information, so you can filter it to your ancestors fast.

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0:00 Intro
5:37 Research Question
6:45 Researching the 1860 Census
7:05 Extracting data from 1860 Census
7:20 Open Census Transcriptions
8:03 Highlight All on Census
8:27 Copy Command
8:39 Paste Special as Text
9:13 How to insert a column in Excel
9:41 How to Delete Rows in Excel
10:25 How to copy one cell to many
11:33 How to move a cell
12:20 How to resize columns in Excel
12:57 Resize multiple columns
13:23 Bold an entire row
13:35 Freeze Panes – Top Row
15:45 Full Example
16:06 Inserting Rows
16:22 Add Source Citation Info
17:45 Freeze Many Rows with Split
18:58 Creating Filters
19:47 Filter by Surname
21:10 Filter by Gender
21:32 Date Error in Extraction
22:15 Highlight cell with color
23:20 Process of Elimination
24:17 Why Image Numbers
25:14 Davis Men in Bastardy Bonds
26:40 Un-filter columns
27:40 Recap
28:38 Closing information

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Will Carter says:

I really like your site and appreciate all the information you share. I don’t know if you covered this before. When I tried to download the census information to my excel, I had no luck at all. I followed your instructions exactly. Still no joy. I then noticed you did not mention the browser you were using. I was using Firefox. So, I switched to a different browser and everything worked. Thanks again for all you do.

Carolyn M says:

Also, to get easy FAN data in Family Search census, there is an area in the result on the bottom right below the preview of the original document that says: Document Information. If you click on the down arrow you get a bunch of information INCLUDING Indexing Project (Batch) Number. Click on this number. This will quickly bring up everyone in the neighborhood (batch) and you can search by surname and download the whole bunch by changing the number of results (listed at the top of the page) and then clicking Export results. So fast. So easy. You are welcome! XD

Cindy Farmer says:

This works with Open Office and Chrome. It will not work with Open Office and Firefox. Thank you so much for sharing! I love all your videos!!

Colleen Beresh says:

You mention bastardy bonds which is something I’ve never heard of before. Are those records only for Britain or are those types of records available for USA early immigrants? Other countries? Thank you – I learned tons in this video!

nanasewdear says:

Terrific ideas! I don't have Excel but I can't wait to try the basic principle for a mystery ggg grandfather who's parents remain elusive.

sue lane says:

I will subscribe.

sue lane says:

You were so lucky to have the questioned birth just after the census, and a paternal descendant willing to partake of a Y DNA test. I have two questions on our paternal lines, but was only able to test one. A relative blocked the other, more through being an anxious person than questions of paternity. (We are really lucky as DNA tests have not revealed any recent family secrets!) Luckily, on that side of the family I already have a good idea as to who the Father is. Officially he is John Levers Daft, a shoemaker. He doesn't exist, but there was a John Levers a shoemaker not far away and the right age. There was a Shoe Makers Friendly Society in Nottingham, and Mary Daft's father was a Shoe Maker (Cordwainer). John Levers moved to a village east of Nottingham. I rather hope that if he ran away, at least he would have had a stout pair of shoes to run away in! Bless his cotton socks.

Steve Kearley says:

Thanks for sharing these steps and showing how this can be done. Just wish that Ancestry or Family Search would make such index searching possible in their databases without having to go through all the extraction techniques. But absent that, it is always great to find ways to work around that limitation!

Floyd Harper says:

I noticed on Ancestry.com a heart between Gus's name and his birth/death date. What is this and how was it accomplished? Great video and I will certainly use it.

sl5311 says:

This is a stupid question, but can't you just go page to page and look for him?

dbridge276 says:

Last tip.
On the left hand side on the top excel green strip of menu is a quick links area.

I would create a button to allow me to click just once to bring of the paste special box, and if possible the text radio button selected.
I am posting via iPad, and pc is shut down so I’ll have to try another day to create this to reduce the number of mouse clicks needed.

dbridge276 says:

Great info, I will have to have a play with this technique.

Once all the data is collated I would create a pivot table to see the most common names/data.

dbridge276 says:

If you place the cursor on the cell above the row number and left of the column A you can then click on any of the column or cell separation lines to expand the column or row.

Additionally if some of the header titles are too long for the text in the cells, it is possible to force the two works to be split onto two lines, just position the cursor in the white space between say two words, hold the Alt down and press the return key, hey presto header is two on two lines in one cell, you can now make the column narrower.

L Forbes says:

Outstanding video! BTW, the paste special command in Google sheets would be, copy the selection that you want to paste into your sheet, right-click on the cell where you want to paste your selection, then click "Paste special", and then click "Paste values only".

doverson28 says:

Fantastic Video. Where did you find the records for an illegitimate child. I am trying to find my great-grandfather's dad.

vickie bernhard says:

Now I am so curious. Did you find the father??

Casey Zahn says:

Great update, Connie! I used the original video to sort my Browns in eastern CT…yes, my mind was a "Brown out." This makes it so much easier. Thank you for teaching us!

Nicole Davis-Brock says:

Extremely helpful! Thank you so much.

Stephanie Mulvey says:

Thank you, Connie. This is very helpful.

Nancy Shaner says:

I always check the neighbors. Found the gr gr grandmother, mother to my illegitimate gr grandfather. We had not knows about him until he went to live with his father at age 10. We suspect the parents would not let them marry. She was a neighbor. My most puzzling ancestor is a James Brown, Born Canada and worked on a ship. Shipping was a big industry on that river. Lived St Lawrence Co NY 1820, 1830 then followed the Mormons west and died in Illinois. HIs daughter my ancestor was raised by fellow Mormons who had treked to Illinois also. But the puzzler is that I have 17 DNA matches with a Brown family in VA. Ancestry is suggesting they are the family of this James Brown. You have to be careful what Ancestry suggests. I think most likely I am related by way of a different Brown family in another areaof my tree. And that family was from VA, but Ancestry did not relate them that way. PUzzled by this.

Jacquie Vickers Pioneer Research says:

Absolutely awesome information!!! I love how you show us to do filters on Excel because I did that before at work, but not in the past 5 years and it's so easy the way you explained it. Thank you so much. Now I'm going to do this spreadsheet for all my peeps! I'll be done about 2095! lol But seriously, thanks for being so clear in your explanations of things we might not use everyday or forgotten how to do!

Thomas Kilcoyne says:

Thanks for sharing this technique. It's a very logical strategy. It does work with Google Sheets. One must use Paste Special and select "Values only." The spacing worked well.

Michael McCullough says:

I tried this paste function into excel on my mac. But it pasted everything into one column. What am I doing wrong?

right side up says:

Anyone in Victoria, Australia know of a guy called John James Rainford?

Miss Lissa Day says:

There are rare occasions that Ancestry has not indexed people on the census page. I've seen it for people in my tree at least twice maybe more. So It would probably be useful to check to see if at least the heads of households are indexed on each page before entering the information into a spreadsheet. Or at the very least keep in mind that while Ancestry is amazing it's not perfect, so you might have to be extra vigilant at times.

aldale says:

The only thing I don't care for FAN is the whole 'traveling salesman' possibility. In other words, it's just another assumption that the parent was a local.

Stephen Peterson says:

This is one of the most helpful genealogy videos I've seen. Thank you.

Katrina says:

When I paste from ancestry everything goes into one column. Not sure what to do

Annette R Lansing says:

This copy and pasting doesn't work in Firefox browser (everything converts to one column), but it works exactly as you describe in Chrome. This is AMAZING, Connie. I'm not a slouch when it comes to Excel, but you taught me a couple new tricks. The whole FAN searching has new life. Thank you! Thank you!

June Butka says:

I used your Trifecta Strategy and found my great grandmother's obit. I also found out she was a Seven Day Advent in Auburn, Maine.

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