Friday, 26 December 2014

Friday, 19 December 2014

Friday Funny - Family Search: A Gateway Drug to Genealogy?

Found on Family History board by Ginea Merrill on Pinterest

Happy Friday :)

Friday Funny - Genealogy

Found on Genealogist Journal blog - Friday Funny - ADGD

At times, this is true!

Sunday, 14 December 2014

Sunday, 7 December 2014

Surname Studies - Australian Style

I am beginning a Surname Study.  This idea has been prompted by a few things: the new Surname Society, an intense few days researching one-name studies and wanting to reconstruct family groups within Australia.  

I considered a one-name study through The Guild of One-Name Studies (GOONS) earlier this year but I found the scope of the aims very overwhelming, particularly in regards to it's size, the commitment I would need to give and the amount of my time it would consume in order to do the job properly. The Guild describes a one-name, or surname, study as:

one-name (or surname) study is a project researching all occurrences of a surname, as opposed to a particular pedigree (ancestors of one person) or descendancy (descendants of one person or couple). Some ‘one-namers’ restrict their research geographically, perhaps to one country, but true one-namers collect all occurrences worldwide.
In contrast, The Surname Society allows more flexibility in the surname research carried out by its members:

Surname researchers collect data relating to all name bearers, either on a global or restricted basis. Study methods are not mandated by the Society and members are encouraged to develop their own approach to the investigation of their surname to advance their knowledge and expertise in areas such as etymology, DNA, name collection and family reconstruction.
At this moment I am interested in researching my surname throughout Australia's history, beginning with NSW.  I have begun by collecting births, deaths & marriage details from the NSW BDM Indexes from 1788.  I plan to research the surname in Australian censuses & electoral rolls and I'm brainstorming some other sources, such as convict records & immigration records.

So far everything I've viewed is very UK slanted, even the American / Canadian, probably because these researchers are trying to trace their chosen surname back as far as they can go.  I want to limit mine to Australia, and perhaps later to Ireland / UK.  Does anyone have some hints / tips / guidance for Australian resources for surname studies?

Is anyone else in the Australian genealogical community doing or thinking of doing a (limited) surname study, either with The Surname Society or on their own?  I know that there are resources & help available to members of both the Surname Society and the Guild Of One-Name Studies, but maybe we need to form a network for people who are doing (or interested in doing) a study limited to Australia?

What do you think?

Sunday, 9 November 2014

A Way Overdue Blog Binge is Ahead!

I have had a few busy weeks, somewhat stressful and sad nursing my beloved dog who was sick,and then then dealing with the pain and grief and heartbreak.of having her euthanased on Halloween. After dealing with that I needed to turn to my school reports. I have just finished writing my reports which means that I can look forward to a blog binge tomorrow.

At this exact point in time I have approximately 477 unread blogs. So, tomorrow I'll be reading 477 blogs or (maybe deleting the blogs that don't interest me) in order to get it my Feedly under some sort of control again.

I also signed up for Congress & can't wait to meet the other genies and learn from their presentations.

More about this at a later date. Perhaps it should be the topic of the next GeniAus Hangout on Air. 

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Tasmanian Name Index

I have spent a lot of this weekend exploring the Tasmanian Archives & Heritage Office’s (TAHO – LINC Tasmania) new Tasmanian Name Index.  It has been a hot topic on the AUS-Tasmania Rootsweb mailing list during the last week.

I have a few Tasmanian ancestors &, as I live in Sydney, I haven't been able to do much research on them yet.  So having access to digital records is fantastic.  A month ago I contacted the AUS-Tasmania Rootsweb mailing list with a request for a lookup of the children of Margaret Sweeney.  The information I got back allowed me to identify 3 children from her 2nd marriage & 2 children from her 3rd marriage.  It also provided me with the registration number & year so that I could order copies of the children's birth certificates, however as Tasmanian certificates cost about $45 I haven't ordered copies of these (collateral line) certificates yet.

Using the Tasmanian Name Index, I was able to find Margaret Sweeney's children from her 1st marriage.  If found not only their births, but 2 of her daughters, Icey & Ruby, died when they were young.  I found Icey's death register entry, a report on the inquest into her death (cause of death - phosphorus poisoning) which was published in the Tasmanian Police Gazette on 10 December 1897, plus the official inquest findings.  Ruby's death register entry was also available.

Thanks to the Tasmanian Name Index, I now have images of birth & death register entries (plus an inquest) on my computer & it didn't cost me a thing.  It would have cost about $180 to order a copy of the certificates.

I haven't been able to locate any of Margaret's children (to her 2nd & 3rd marriage), who were born after 1900, on the Index yet, probably because births include 'some baptisms collected by the Registrar General (1900-1933 baptisms only)'.  So for births after 1900, there are only some which were collected by the Registrar General.

Some Examples:

To demonstrate what you can expect from the records on the Index, I've included some images relevant to my own research.  

Here's the birth entry for Icey Fowler (courtesy of TAHO LINC Tasmania - Tasmanian Names Index):
Birth register entry for Icey Fowler

For the sake of comparison, I have scanned the certified copy of Margaret Sweeney's birth & 1st marriage records that I purchased & the birth & marriage register entries I obtained from the Tasmanian Name Index below.

Here's the birth register entry for Margaret (courtesy of TAHO LINC Tasmania - Tasmanian Names Index):

Birth register entry for Margaret Sweeney

and the certified copy of Margaret's birth:

The only difference between the two is in the spelling of the Sweeney surname.

The following image is the marriage register entry for Margaret and her first husband Alexander Fowler (courtesy of TAHO LINC Tasmania - Tasmanian Names Index):.   

and here's the certified copy of Margaret's first marriage: 

Again, the only real difference is in the spelling of the Sweeney surname, although there is a different date under 'when registered' on the register entry.

When you find a record in the Tasmanian Names Index, you have a few options to view & / or copy the image.  You can view the image online & then download it, print it, have it emailed to you or use a permalink to send someone the image/s.  If you are a LINC Tasmania member you can also create a list for specific ancestor and add relevant records to the list (guests can also create temporary list. but the list will be lost when you finish your session). 
LINC Tasmania has a video that explains how to use the Tasmanian Name Index.  It is available on the LINC Tasmania website & on Youtube via their LINC Tasmania channel. This explanation includes search strategies such as how to include or exclude search terms such as dates, places & record types.

In conclusion, although there are some limitations to what is available, there are a lot of free resources which you can immediately download & save to your computer or print a copy out.  Free & instant - what's not to love!

Sunday, 12 October 2014

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun (SNGF) - What Date Was Your Grandfather Born?

This week Randy Seaver from Genea-Musings has posted the following SNGF challenge - What Date Was Your Grandfather Born?:

Your mission this week, should you decide to accept it, is to:
1)  What day of the week was your Grandfather born (either one)? Tell us how you found out.
2) What has happened in recorded history on your Grandfather's birth date (day and month)? Tell us how you found out, and list five events.
3)  What famous people have been born on your Grandfather's birth date?  Tell us how you found out, and list five of them.
4)  Put your responses in your own blog post, in a comment on this blog post, or in a status or comment on Facebook.
I couldn't decide which of my grandfathers to choose, so I've chosen both.

Harold John Barnes – 20 October

John was born on a Friday according to

Important events that occurred in history on 20 October include:

1911 –   Amundsen sets out on race to South Pole
1963 –   South Africa begins trail of Nelson Mandela & 8 others on conspiracy
1973 –   USA Watergate: The Saturday Night Massacre
1973 –   Sydney Opera House was officially opened by Queen Elizabeth II
1979 –   The number 1 hit on UK music charts was the Buggles – Video Killed the Radio Star

I found these events on 2 websites: &

Some famous people born on 20 October are:

Snoop Dogg – Rapper
Bela Lugosi – Movie Actor
Mickey Mantle – Baseball Player
John Krasinski – TV actor (The Office)
Michelle Bridges – Fitness trainer guru (The Biggest Loser Australia)
Tom Petty – Singer

I found these birthdays on

John Raymond Curran – 6 July

John was born on a Sunday according to

Important events that occurred in history on 6 July include:

1863 –   Australia - Northern Territory passes from New South Wales to South Australia
1885 –   The first inoculation of a human being for rabies.  Louis Pasteur inoculated a boy, Joseph Meister, who was bitten by a rabid dog.
1905 –   Alfred Deacon becomes Prime Minister of Australia for the 2nd time
1928 –   The 1st all-talking motion picture was shown in New York
1939 –   Holocaust – the last remaining Jewish enterprises in Germany are closed
1942 –   Anne Frank and her family went into hiding in the ""Secret Annexe"" above her father's office in an Amsterdam warehouse to escape being sent to Nazi concentration camps
1955 –   USA – Air Pollution Control Act  was implemented for research into causal analysis & control of car-emission pollution after the killer fog in London left 4 000 dead & created worldwide concern over the effects of emissions pollution

I found these events on 2 websites: &

Some famous people born on 6 July are:

Dalai Lama – Religious Leader
Sylvester Stallone - Actor
Kevin Hart – Actor / Comedian
50 Cent – Rapper
Frida Kahlo – Mexican artist
Geoffrey Rush – Australian actor
Peter Singer – Australian philosopher

I found these birthdays on

Saturday, 11 October 2014

Thank You For My One Lovely Blog Award!

During my last blog binge (i.e. trying to get my Feedly under control again) I was caught by surprise to see may name & blog nominated by Pauline Cass for the One Lovely Blog Award!  This is my first year blogging & this is my first nomination / acknowledgement, so I feel honoured.  Thank you Pauleen, for the nomination but also for reading my blog :)

The rules for participating are:
  • Thank the person that nominated you and link back to that blog – see above.
  • Share seven things about yourself – see below.
  • Nominate 15 bloggers you admire – also see below.
  • Contact your bloggers to let them know you’ve tagged them for the One Lovely Blog Award
7 Things About Me:
1.       I am a primary school teacher in Western Sydney.
2.       I really enjoy my job.
3.       I have 2 children.
4.       I am a big reader.
5.       Stephen King is one of my favourite authors.  I think he’s one of the greatest writers of our time.
6.       I LOVE perfume & scented candles.
7.       I love finding out about ancestors I don’t know much about.

Bloggers I Admire & / or Read Regularly are:

Family History Across the Seas (Pauleen Cass) – Pauleen, I found your Beyond the Internet series last night & your week 48 focus on teachers prompted me to search the NSW archives for teacher records.  I now have a list of resources such as teachers rolls, teacher leave cards, teacher career cards, salary registers, results of teacher examinations & the records of the two schools that I know my ancestor worked at.  I’ll be popping into the State Archives on a Saturday morning very soon!

Janelle’s Family Tree Edition (Janelle) – I particularly liked the post about the Victorian BDMs being available for download & transferable to Excel.

Shauna Hicks History Enterprises – Although I haven’t contributed to it, reading 52 Weeks of Genealogical Records in 2014 gives me many ideas for my research.

The Tree of Me (Sharon)  - I like reading Sharon’s responses to Shauna’s 52 Weeks of Genealogical Records.

Kylie’s Genes (Kylie Willison) – I like the variety of topics on this blog.

The Dictionary of Sydney – Not purely genealogical, but this blog has regular historical articles about Sydney - people, places, things & events in Sydney.

Family Tree Frog (Alex) – Alex participates in a few different blog themes.

Geniaus (Jill Ball) – Jill’s pretty much the DearMYRTLE of Australia.

Hack Genealogy (Thomas MacENTEE) – There are some gems here, particularly for computers.

Geneabloggers – This resource provides blogging prompts & is a one-stop shop for finding other genealogy blogs.

Are My Roots Showing? (Jenny Lancelot) – I also like the variety of topics on Jenny’s blog, including her responses to the Geneablogger’s blog prompts.

DearMYRTLE – DearMYRTLE's blog links to her Youtube channel & also to her Hangouts on Air - I watch the recorded versions.

Tuesday, 7 October 2014

Trove Tuesday

After reading other geneablogger's Trove Tuesday posts, I was inspired to find something new on Trove.  Searching for articles about the European Hotel in Bathurst, I came across a mention of my 2nd great grandmother, Catherine Curran, nee Whitelock.  I knew she was a teacher from electoral rolls but I knew nothing else about her teaching career.  I found this hard to read but I'm pretty sure I have it transcribed accurately now.

Source: The Bathurst Times (NSW : 1909 - 1925), Saturday 14 January 1922, page 4

"Mrs C W Curran, of Arncliffe, has been spending a couple of weeks in Bathurst.  She has been accompanied by her youngest son and only daughter and has been the guest of Mr C Ledlin, of the European Hotel.  Mrs Curran is a wonder.  She has been in charge of one public school or another since she was 21 years of age, and even prior to that was mistress of the infant department at Bathurst South School.  She now has charge of Arncliffe.  During her long and active association with the Education Department she has been a keen music enthusiast.  Incidentally she married and contributed to the nation ten fine young Australians, nine of whom are still living and making good.  Her eldest son is 25 years old, and, unless one knew the family, one would never believe that Mrs Curran answered grandmother to at least three children."

This article was published in The Bathurst Times on 4 January, 1922.  Thank you Trove :)

Thursday, 2 October 2014

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun - Did Your Children Know Their Great Grandparents?

Randy Seaver's SNGF topic for September 20 was 'Did Your Children Know Their Great Grandparents?'

My children were actually lucky enough to meet their great great grandmother, Olive Grace Rae.  My sons were 4 & 2 when she died.  Below is a photo of my great grandmother with my oldest just after he was born.  I feel lucky that she got to meet both of my boys.

Olive Grace Rae & her great great grandson

Sunday, 31 August 2014

GeniAus' Hangout on Air - What a Month That Was #NFHM2014

I can now add another achievement to my list of activities for NFHM 2014 - I participated in +Jill Ball's (aka GeniAus) Hangout on Air recapping #NFHM2014.

This was my first hangout & Jill made me feel comfortable being a part of this.  Now this is saying something because I really don't like speaking in front of an audience (I'm even uncomfortable & self-conscious about speaking at grade assemblies).  So a special thank you both to Jill & the GeniAus community :)

NFHM 2014 – 31 Genealogy Activities for Researchers

#NFHM2014 is almost over & this is my round-up of the activities I have participated in:

1. Visit the NFHM sponsors page and consider entering the prize draw for individuals
I entered to win a research voucher with Shauna Hicks.

2. Apply for a National Library of Australia e-resources card and explore genealogy resources online at home if you have not done so before
I have a card but I haven’t used the e-resources much.  I need to add this to my to-do list.  I probably need to have a good look at what resources are available & how they might help me & then make a strategy from there.

3. Visit your State library and see what genealogical information they hold. If distant, do a virtual visit. If you do not already have a State library card, apply so that you can use their e-resources at home.
I also have a card for the Stage Library but haven’t used their e-resources much.  I probably also need to add this to my to-do list.  A Hangout on Air or an alternative format to discuss the resources that are available & how people have used these to further their research might be useful.

4. Check out all the new resources on Ancestry and enter the prize draw to win a year's subscription - major sponsor and prize sponsor.
I use Ancestry regularly.  I also subscribe to their blog which lets me know about the latest resources they have available.  Actually, many of the genealogy blogs I follow alert me to new resources on Ancestry.

5. Have a look at some of the great genealogy cruises coming up with Unlock the Past - prize sponsor
I had a look at the online catalogue of cruises for 2014 –2016.  I have heard a lot of positive feedback about these cruises & the idea of geneacruising is tempting.

6. Visit your State Archives and see what resources they hold and look at their fact sheets and guides. If distant, do a virtual visit.
I regularly visit the NSW State Archives & I’ve used their online search facilities a few times this month.

7. Remember to check out the National Archives of Australia - NFHM launch sponsor

I’ve only really used this site once before, to search for & order my grandfather’s service record.  This month I visited the site to look at their resources & I read their fact sheets. 

8. Attend one of the online events in the NFHM web calendar
I attended several online events this month.  The Society of Australian Genealogists hosted ‘A Smorgasboard of Webinars for the Family Historian’.  I watched 2 webinar repeats: English BDM Indexes – Using Them for Research Success! with Audrey Collins & GENUKI – The World at Your Fingertips with Martyn Killion.

I also watched GeniAus’ Hangout on Air for National Family History Month, the Society of Australian Genealogists’ webinar on Evernote with Cyndi Ingle & Shauna Hicks’ webinar Gold Genealogy Rules: Tips to Uncover Your Family Heritage.

9. Explore your surname in the MyHeritage Last Name Directory - major sponsor and prize


I looked up my surname & found its distribution across the world, most popular given names, & possible family trees connected to my surname.

10. Visit your local genealogy/family history society and see what resources they hold. If you are not a member, think about joining or perhaps join a society near where your ancestors lived.
I didn’t visit my local society, but I did check out other nearby societies online.  

11. Visit the NFHM Facebook page for updates throughout August

Have you Liked our page yet?

I’ve like the page & visited it a few times during August..

13. Download the free August genealogy ebook from genEbooks - prize sponsor.
I didn’t download this month’s free genealogy ebook, but I have downloaded a few in the past.

16. Attend/listen to a webinar or Google + hangout  - why not join Google + and see what other Aussie genealogists are doing?
I watched several hangouts & webinars this month, but this is something I always do anyhow.

17. Early NSW ancestors? - have a look at the Biographical Database of Australia - prize sponsor
I have a subscription & almost forgot about this resource.  I think I need to add this to my to-do list.

18. Read a family history blog or start your own genealogy blog writing stories about individual ancestors or families.
I read many, many genealogy blogs. 

19. Have another look at that brick wall - construct a time line of known facts and relook at everything.
I found another surname variation for Rae this month & again tried to locate my elusive ancestor’s arrival in Australia.

20. Visit your local library and explore the genealogy and local history 
sections. Or visit your local historical society or a virtual visit to an historical society near where your ancestors lived.
I visited my local library.  There really is a great range of genealogical & local history resources available there.

26. Explore FamilySearch and perhaps do one of
their online tutorials. Major sponsor

I watched tutorials on genealogy methodology.

28. Plan to attend the next AFFHO congress in Canberra in March 2015 - Major sponsor and prize sponsor

There are some very interesting talks scheduled & some speakers who’d I’d love to hear.  I subscribed to the Canberra Calling newsletter for updates.

Even though I didn't complete some of these activities, they put the resources back on my radar.  I now need to plan a strategy to utilise these resources more.

Saturday, 30 August 2014

NFHM 2014 Geneameme

This geneameme was created by Pauleen Cass (Family History Across the Seas) to celebrate National Family History Month in Australia.

What are you doing for NFHM?
I am completing some of the 31 Activities for researchers during National Family History Month, as well as continuing my own research & taking part in genealogy education events.

What do you hope to learn in NFHM?
I hope to learn something from every activity I take part in, whether it is something that improves my research, exposes me to new areas of learning or reinforces something I have already learnt.

Do you research at a family or local history library?
I haven’t done any research at a Family History Library yet, but I have used the State Library of NSW & I visit the Local History & Genealogy section of my local library regularly.

Do you do all your research online?
Not all of it, but most of it.

What’s your favourite place to store your family tree?
I store it in a few places & in a few ways.  I have paper pedigree charts & I have online trees at Ancestry, My Heritage & Geni.  I also use genealogy programs.  I store my family tree online, on a USB & a portable hard drive as a back-up.

If offline, which genealogy program do you use? (do tell us its strengths/weaknesses if you like)
I mainly use Family Tree Maker for my database, but I’m also trying out Legacy, Roots Magic & Ancestral Quest to explore their programs.  I am still learning the strengths & weaknesses of each program & their features.

How do you preserve your family stories for future generations?
At the moment I am more in the research stage – I don’t have many ‘family stories’ yet.  What I do know I pass on to my children, & write blogs posts about some of my ancestors.  My next step will be to write biographies of my ancestors & tell their stories this way.  In the future I hope to publish my family history in some way.

Have you any special research projects on the go?  
I am recording baptisms, marriages & burials of my family names in Sussex.  I could see this becoming a one place study or the beginning of a one name study.

What is your favourite family history research activity?  
All of them, whether it’s researching in a library or an archive or on the internet; receiving birth, marriage or death certificates that I have ordered & discovering the facts they hold; watching Hangouts on Air & webinars & listening to podcasts to learn more about genealogy & research methodology; reading great books about genealogy & research; or holding original wills of my ancestors that are a century or more old; solving ‘brick wall’ problems.

What is your favourite family history research place/library etc?
Like +Alex Daw from Family Tree Frog, I love going to my State Archives & holding or seeing the original documents.

What is your favourite website for genealogy research?  
I have too many of them.  The major sites like Ancestry & Family Search, I also use My Heritage, Geni, Find My Past, & The Genealogist UK.  The Cornwall Family History Society has a great website for members, as does Sussex Family History Society.  Then there’s Trove and many other smaller sites.  Google is also fantastic as you can use different search strategies to find things you would never be able to find otherwise.

Are you part of a Facebook genealogy group? If so which one?
I belong to several Facebook genealogy groups, but I don’t really make use of them.  Most of the groups are focused on a locality or using technology or organising your genealogy.  Some of the groups I belong to are: Australian Settlers DNA Group, Australian Convicts, The Organized Genealogist, Australian Genealogy, South Australian Genealogy, Australian Family History & Genealogy, County Donegal Ireland Genealogy & Technology for Genealogy.

Do you use webinars or podcasts for genealogy? Any tips?
I use both webinars & podcasts.  I find them interesting & informative, & it helps me feel like I’m part of the genealogical community.  I also watch a lot of Hangouts on Air & Youtube videos to further my knowledge.

Do you use social media? eg Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn
I do use social media.  I use Facebook & Pinterest, but also Google+.  I don’t think I’m really utilising social media for genealogy.  Though it’s probably not technically ‘social media’, I follow a lot of blogs.

What genealogy topic/class have you learnt the most from this year at a webinar/conference/seminar?
I learn from every single thing I participate in.  Maybe the topic I have been able to implement immediately is using Excel to improve & organise my research.

Do you have a favourite research strategy to knock down your brick walls?  
Keep at it, read & re-read everything you have carefully, follow other immediate family members (e.g. if you can’t find where your grandmother’s father was born, get certificates for your grandmother’s siblings – the information might be on one of these).

Have you used DNA testing for your genealogy?
Yes, through Family Tree DNA.  I had my MTDNA tested & also Family Finder for autosomal DNA.

Have you made cousin connections through your DNA tests?
Yes, I joined the Curran DNA project & even though I wasn’t able to take a Y-DNA test, my autosomal DNA & the family I knew about was enough to link me to the person who runs the DNA project & at least 1 cousin in Australia.  This was especially lucky as this cousin knew nothing of my grandfather & his family so I was able to fill him in on his missing part of the family tree.

Do you have a wish list of topics for NFHM 2015?
I would love to see more online events. +Jill Ball, the idea of a 12 Hour GeniAus Hangout on Air event is terrific!  I don’t know how much I could contribute but I’d definitely be watching!

It would also be great if there was somehow an online or a ‘watch later’ component to other events.  There have been many events on offer through societies or libraries that I would have loved to have been a part of but I haven’t been able to attend because they are on when I am at work.

The idea of having streamed or levelled topics, particularly in methodology could also be interesting.

What do you most love about your family history research?
I am always learning something new, whether it is about an ancestor, about history, or about uses for technology (some of which I’ve used in my teaching job).

Sunday, 17 August 2014

Genealogy Learning Activities

I've added a page to my blog, Genealogy Learning Activities.  This is a list of genealogy learning activities I have participated in.  I regularly watch webinars, videos and Hangouts on Air about a range of genealogy topics & have decided to start sharing these.

Excel for Genealogy

Over the last 2 days I have been watching hangouts & reading discussions about using Excel for genealogy.  I have learnt how genealogists use Excel to make research logs, to do lists, simple timelines & timelines to answer specific questions.

I started to use Excel for genealogy to create databases of baptisms.  I have been researching family surnames in Sussex lately & decided to make a database for baptisms for each surname that I am researching.  I thought that recording all instances of a surname would be more beneficial than simply identifying events of known ancestors.  This will enable me to reconstruct family groups as I continue my research. 

I watched Lisa Alzo's webinar Research Recharge: Turning Old Clues into New Leads on Legacy Family Tree Webinars & she discussed using research logs.  She showed an example of Thomas MacEntee's genealogy research log, which is a free Excel spreadsheet available at  

DearMYRTLE has been focusing on using Excel for genealogy in her Wacky Wednesday Hangouts on Air this month.  On August 12th's Wacky Wednesday hangout, More Excel for Genealogy, +Julie Goucher shared her presentation on how she uses Excel for research logs & to do lists.  Julie has made this video, as well as a copy of her Excel research log spreadsheet & her presentation on how she uses them on her blog, Anglers Rest.

I have never used a research log before as I didn't need one, but earlier this year I had a few months when I didn't have the time to research.  When I did have the time to continue, I found it hard to pick up where I'd left off.  Using a research log would have helped a lot in this situation.

Another potential use for Excel would be in creating timelines for my ancestors.  I have found a few good examples of how people have used them for this purpose & I can see how they would be beneficial to me.  Jenny Lanctot discusses how she uses Excel for simple timelines & also how she uses timelines to answer specific questions in her blog, Are My Roots Showing?.

How do you use Excel in your genealogy research?