Step 1: Microsoft AccessIf you don’t already have Microsoft Access installed on your computer, you’ll need to get a copy. Access is part of the Microsoft Office suite, so you may already have it installed on your computer and not know it. If you don’t have Access, you can purchase it online or from any computer store. The Microsoft Genealogy template will run on any version of Microsoft Access from Access 2003 onward.
Using the genealogy database template doesn’t require any special knowledge of Access or databases. However, you might find it helpful to take our Access 2010 Tour to learn your way around the program before getting started.
Step 2: Download and Install the TemplateYour first task is to visit the Microsoft Office community site and download the free genealogy database template. Save it to any location on your computer where you’ll remember it.
Once you have the file on your computer, double-click on it. The software will then walk you through extracting the files needed to run the database to a folder of your choice. I recommend creating a Genealogy folder in the My Documents section of your computer to make it easy to find these files again.
After extracting the files, you’ll be left with a database file with a funny name, something like 01076524.mdb. Feel free to rename it if you wish to something more friendly. Go ahead and double-click on this file and it should open in the version of Microsoft Access running on your computer.
When you first open the file, you may see a warning message. This will depend upon the version of Access you’re using and your security settings, but it will read something like “Security Warning: Some active content has been disabled. Click for more details.” Don’t worry about this. The message is just telling you that the template you’ve downloaded contains custom programming. You know this file came directly from Microsoft, so it’s safe to click the “Enable Content” button to get started.
Step 3: Explore the DatabaseYou’ll now have the Microsoft Genealogy database ready to use. The database will open with the menu shown in the photo above. It has seven options:
- View Database Instructions
- Add New Individuals
- View Individual Data
- Import Genealogy Data (GED file)
- Add New Families
- View Families Data
- View Families Report
Step 4: Add IndividualsOnce you’ve familiarized yourself with the database, return to the Add New Individuals menu item. Clicking it opens a form that will offer you the opportunity to enter information about one of your ancestors. The database form includes the following characteristics:
- Full Name
- Given Name
- Birth Date and Location
- Death Date and Location