Using Excel as a genealogy tool – 1934 Hotel Fire in Lansing, Michigan

Updated: 28 Jun 2020 – new ideas on how to use the tool are given at the end. 

When I create a family tree and have a sufficient number of people on the branches, I copy the list of people off of the “Find Person – list of all people” drop down menu and paste it on an Excel spreadsheet.


Name Birth Death
, Ann  Dec 1817 – England
, Jane 
, Plaque 
– in Hotel Fire, List of dead  11 Dec 1934 – Lansing Michigan
Bristol, Edith Virginia  4 Feb 1905 – Oklahoma, USA 4 Jul 1987 – Almont, Lapeer County, Michigan, USA
Childs, Harriett  abt 1877 – Rhode Island
Courts, Ada M  Dec 1888 – Michigan
Courts, Clara V  Dec 1890 – Michigan
Courts, Edeth L.  abt 1877 – Michigan
Courts, Edwin L  Dec 1881 – Michigan
Courts, Ernest L  Sep 1884 – Michigan
Courts, Ethel B.  Nov 1886 – Genesee County, Michigan, USA 24 Aug 1966 – Genesee County, Michigan, USA
Courts, Louisa L  Jan 1857 – England
Courts, Mabel L  Aug 1878 – Michigan
Courts, Mabel L.  abt 1879 – Michigan
Courts, Phelipp B.  abt 1821 – England
Courts, William  Jan 1848 – England
Crawford, Beatrice L  Oct 1883 – Michigan
Crawford, Betty Jean  abt 1916 – Michigan
Crawford, David K  01 Apr 1857 – Forest Township, Michigan 29 Jul 1930 – Goodrich, Genesee, Michigan, USA
Crawford, Fred A  May 1887 – Michigan
Crawford, Ida L  9 Mar 1881 – Otisville, Genesee, Michigan 12 Oct 1907 – Otisville,Genesee,Michigan
Crawford, Jesse C  Aug 1885 – Michigan
Crawford, John 
Crawford, Millie  abt 1886 – Michigan
Crawford, Nan  abt 1912 – Michigan
Denton, Christine Laura  abt 1880 abt 1975
Dezell, Alice Ortensa  Oct 1855 – South Mountain, Stormont, Ontario, Canada 26 Jan 1922 – Genesee, Michigan, United States
Donald, Mary 
Fairbanks, Eunice C  Aug 1834 – New York
Fairbanks, Hettie Mariah  Jan 1863 – Appleton, Outagamie, Wisconsin, USA
Fairbanks, Zelotes C  Mar 1836 – New York
Ginger, Cora Celinda  30 Mar 1868 – New Paris, Preble, Ohio, USA 01 Aug 1942 – New Paris, Preble, Ohio, USA
Goodwine, Cory  Dec 1885 – Illinois
Goodwine, Everet  Nov 1889 – Illinois
Goodwine, Gilbert Bennett  10 Nov 1909 – Oklahoma, USA 17 Aug 1990 – Marlette, Sanilac County, Michigan, USA
Goodwine, Harriet Sarah  22 Apr 1879 – Michigan, USA 19 Aug 1973 – Marlette, Sanilac County, Michigan, USA
Goodwine, John “Jack” Washington Jr 2 Dec 1848 – Blount Township, Vermilion County, Illinois, USA 30 May 1924 – Potomac, Vermilion County, Illinois, USA
Goodwine, John James  1 Jul 1903 – Vermilion County, Illinois, USA 24 Aug 1972 – Marlette, Sanilac County, Michigan, USA
Goodwine, John Washington  20 Nov 1877 – Potomac, Vermilion County, Illinois, USA 11 Dec 1934 – Lansing, Ingham, Michigan, USA
Goodwine, Lidora Alice  22 Sep 1855 – Ohio, USA 2 Aug 1918 – Potomac, Vermilion County, Illinois, USA
Goodwine, Maggie  abt 1885 – Illinois
Goodwine, Ullysses “Uley” S  Feb 1884 – Illinois
Goodwine, Vesta A  Jan 1892 – Illinois
Goodwine, Wayne  May 1895 – Illinois
Houser, Sarah C  Mar 1865 – Canada
Howlett, Thomas  abt 1840 abt 1914
Howlett, Thomas Henry  Aug 1870 – Michigan, USA 11 Dec 1934 – Lansing, Ingham, Michigan, USA
Kerns, John 
Kerns, Manley W  abt 1901 – Michigan
Kerns, William G  abt 1867 – Saginaw, Saginaw, Michigan, USA
Leeke, Charlotte 
Leidlein, John  03 Sep 1864 – Saginaw, Saginaw, Michigan, USA 11 Dec 1934 – Lansing, Ingham, Michigan, USA
Leidlein, John M.  14 Jun 1915 – Saginaw, Saginaw County, Michigan, USA 18 Apr 1984 – Grand Rapids, Kent County, Michigan, USA
Leidlein, Orea M Oren  3 July 1889 – Michigan 8 November 1955 – Saginaw, Saginaw County, Michigan, USA
Leidlein, Richard A.  23 Jun 1919 – Saginaw, Saginaw County, Michigan, USA 24 Mar 1991 – Saginaw, Saginaw County, Michigan, USA
McFarland, Edgar D. “Richard”  abt 1868 abt 1911
McFarland, Russell Sage  11 Dec 1934 – Lansing, Ingham, Michigan, USA
Meyer, Anna  14 Jun 1866 – Reese, Tuscola County, Michigan, USA 12 Aug 1948 – Saginaw, Saginaw County, Michigan, USA
Monroe, David C  abt 1906 – Michigan 11 Dec 1934 – Lansing, Ingham, Michigan, USA
Monroe, Donald  abt 1901 – Michigan
Monroe, Douglas  abt 1908 – Michigan
Monroe, Douglass  abt 1909 – Michigan
Newspapers, Michigan 
Newspapers, Other states 
O’leary, Mary C  abt 1886 – Michigan
Palmer, Charles Wilson  abt 1866 abt 1939
Parker, Charles Dezell Chas D.  22 Sep 1877 – Canada 11 Dec 1934 – Lansing, Ingham, Michigan, USA
Parker, Donald D  abt 1916 – Michigan
Parker, Harry  abt 1879 – Michigan
Parker, John A  Dec 1886 – Michigan
Parker, John Grant  Jul 1848 – South Mountain, Stormont, Ontario, Canada
Parker, Roscoe G  abt 1919 – Michigan
Parker, William  abt 1823 – Canada
Parker, William H  Feb 1884 – Michigan
Perry, Mary Kathleen  1 Apr 1918 – Saginaw, Saginaw County, Michigan, USA 18 Mar 2013 – Saginaw, Saginaw County, Michigan, USA
Robbins, Elisa Elsa  Lansing, Ingham, Michigan, USA
Sias, Donald W.  11 Dec 1934 – Lansing, Ingham, Michigan, USA
Timblin, Clifford Alvin  18 Mar 1887 – Cameron City, Cowley, Kansas abt 1921 – Michigan
Timblin, Edith  Sep 1888 – Kansas
Timblin, Samuel  abt 1860 21 Jul 1892 – Traverse City, Grand Traverse, Michigan, USA
Voorhees, Vern  1878 11 Dec 1934 – Lansing, Ingham, Michigan, USA
Waters, Florence K  5 Feb 1891 – Saginaw 22 Apr 1971 – Saginaw, Saginaw County, Michigan, USA
Westfall, Daisy  abt 1874 abt 1900
Name Birth Death


Once I show the list of people on the tree, I then copy the list and paste it onto an Excel page.

The names and dates fall into columns on the Excel spreadsheet so I can work with them much easier.

I can add columns and label them such as census dates, military, baptism, marriage and then put an “X” in the person’s row if I found the record for the person.

I create columns for baptism, school, marriage, military, city directory, and grave, because those are usually the records that one can find in the various web sites.

By having those columns I can put an “X” for the records I’ve found and I can see at a glance which records I still need to find.


The list of people and the Excel file above comes from a tree I created about a 1934 Lansing, Michigan Hotel Fire. I needed a way of sorting through the list of people that are on the tree and a way to manage the records as I found them.

I saw the story in a newspaper and thought a tree for the hotel fire would help people answer the question of how an ancestor died.

Many times all that is found about the relative is a death index with a date but nothing else. By creating a tree for the “event”; The Hotel Fire, and putting on the tree all the people affected by the hotel fire, a person looking for information about a relative will come across the tree and see exactly how the relative died.

Below is the link where you can find the Hotel Fire story.

Hotel Fire 1934 Lansing Michigan News


I’ve created other event family trees that allows genealogists to see exactly how their ancestors met their deaths or survived a tragic historic catastrophe.

Here is a list of some of those event family trees.

1863 Hunley – The crewmen of the Hunley – Civil War
1893 Train Crash at Kingsbury Indiana  in Boston news
1934 Hotel Fire – Lansing Michigan
1949 Cape Girardeau Missouri Tornado 21 Killed
1959 Yellowstone Earthquake
1961 OLL school 8th grade graduate class
1965 RU HS graduate class

By grouping people together in the various events I can have a record, in one place, of all the people involved in the event.  I can create individual trees for any one of the families if I wanted to expand the history of that one particular family.

By having all the people in one place, also allows me to make connections between family members, connections which would be lost if the people are on separate trees. 

NEW IDEAS for the use of the tools (Excel spreadsheet and Group family trees).

The grouping of people on one tree can be used for family gatherings such as weddings and reunions or any time when various branches of the clan gather together.  

The group tree for Julie’s wedding will contain all the people who came and will be a good way of managing relationships between the family branches.  An Excel spreadsheet for the tree, will be an easy way of managing the gifts and thank you notes.  

The Excel spreadsheet allows you to handle huge amount of data. Data that you might want capture about an event.

I hope this post has given you some new ideas for recording the lives of your relatives or friends.

Related blog post: LIST OF PEOPLE ON A TREE – (AGOSTINA BOLENA FAMILY TREE) October 4, 2018

Thank You

Jose from Clarkston, Michigan, USA




2 thoughts on “Using Excel as a genealogy tool – 1934 Hotel Fire in Lansing, Michigan

Add yours

  1. This is awesome! This is going to really help me in organizing my research. Bravo for creating tree information on events for others to benefit from.

    1. Thank you for visiting my blog and for the nice comment. I am glad it has helped you. I am sorry it took so long for me to see it and reply. Stay Safe and have a happy new year.

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