Monday, March 14, 2011

Reconstructing Families- Membership Lists

When we finally were able to come home and examine the membership lists. It was discovered that there were actually 4 separate lists. One for each of the years 1576, 1586, 1594 and 1603. The last three were fairly similiar in format, with the head of the house being listed first, followed by the spouse and then children. Each entry had a relationship qualifier except the head of house, similiar to that of a census. Some of the spouses were listed as "su mujer" meaning his wife, or "viuda" meaning widow or "la de" also meaning widow. The children were labeled as "sus hijos" meaning his/her children. While most of the lists only had su mujer for the wife's name, the 1603 list included the wife's entire name, with given name and surname.
1603 Membership List- wife's given and surname included

Over 2 years time, I extracted the names in the 1603, 1594 and 1586 lists.  Each list had approximately 500 families with anywhere from one to ten people in the household. Some of the households even included extended family such as siblings, nieces/nephews or grandchildren; and some households included servants. It was very interesting to see the different combinations.

Once I extracted the names from these 3 years, we had to find a way to take the information I had entered into an excel spreadsheet as households and migrate the information into a genealogy program. I really did not want to retype all the information. We felt that using the spreadsheet was the best way to first analyze the data. We spent two years searching for a program that would be the correct tool. Finally, my husband Bob found a genealogy software program called "Gramps." This program would allow you to import the excel data into a file format that could then be imported into Gramps. Once the information was in Gramps, I then exported the file and worked with the families in RootsMagic, which is my current genealogy software program of choice. My husband Bob was kind enough to spend the time, manipulating the data in my excel spreadsheet, then importing it into Gramps for me. When the hard part was done, then I would put it in Rootsmagic and begin looking at the families.

If you want to know more about the Gramps software which is available for free, you can click on the underlined word Gramps.

Now that the families have been in Rootsmagic for about two years, a Trejo cousin, Pam Oborn has been working with me to combine the families with other families we already had connected with Parish Records, mainly baptisms. We also had to combine the families from the three lists. We have finished this process with the 1586, 1594 and 1603 lists, and I am going through one more time to see if there are any obvious family matches that we missed in this combining process.The goal is to get close to 500 families with about 1500 individuals.

After working with these families for 4 years, I have become very well acquainted with them. It has been a fun project to work on and watch the families as they grow and progress over the years. Some families have gone from a couple to a couple and as many as 12 children.  In my next post, I will give the details about the family of Bartolome Curiel and his wife Maria Perez and how I found all 12 of their children, by combining the lists and then comparing them with baptism records. Stay tuned...........

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