Tag Archives: forms

A reminder about the B&F Forms System

Ancestor Form
Ancestor Form
For a long time the most visited page on this site has been my B&F Forms System page. Originally created back in 2011, my B&F Forms System is a series of forms you can use to help you with your genealogy. The forms are designed to be easily fillable either on your computer, or when printed out (and support both Letter-size paper for North American users, and A4 paper for everyone else). The forms have been downloaded tens of thousands of times from this site (and who knows where else they might be available). I have to thank Cyndi’s List and Pinterest (the Ancestor form, for example, is listed on over 2700 boards) for most of the traffic to the forms.

While people who religiously enter their genealogy information into a computer genealogy program, or an online genealogy service, may think these forms are not for them, I think you might find they are quite useful, for a few reasons.

For the basic Ancestor and Family forms, you can send them to relatives to fill in their information and send back to you. For less tech-saavy relatives, you can print them out for them to fill in by hand and send back to you. For more tech-saavy relatives, you can just send them the PDFs and ask them to fill them out and send them back via e-mail.

The Ancestor Location and US Immigrant Census forms help you focus your research and help you determine what information you are missing about your ancestors.

The Ancestor Location form simply has fields for name, birth date, and birth location for 14 ancestors (two parents, four grandparents, and eight great-grandparents). By taking the time to fill out the form you can see at a quick glance which of these basic pieces of information you are missing, giving you direction on where to focus your research.

US Immigrant Census Form
US Immigrant Census Form
The US Immigrant Census form lets you fill in all the genealogically-significant information from the 1880 to 1930 census years. This information is not the same foreach year, for example only two years ask when someone was married, only two years ask how many children a woman had, only years 1900 and on ask when a person immigrated, and only 1920 asked what year a person was naturalized. Filling out all of this information for an individual on this form gives you a lot of information to follow up on in your research.

These forms and the rest of the forms in the series are also great for people just getting started with their research, allowing them to fill in the forms first, and then use the forms to fill in the information in a program or online service. The forms can also be used by genealogy classes and workshops.

Since the forms are the most used resource on this site, I thought it was worth re-visiting them and bringing them to the attention of users of this site that may not have noticed them. So if you haven’t seen the forms before, then go to the B&F Forms System page now and check them out. You can always find them by going to the Forms link in the menu at the top of the page.

Oh, and if you haven’t checked out the B&F Encyclopedia of Jewish Genealogy, do that too…

iPad Users – free app today that can fill out B&F genealogy forms

If you use an iPad, I’d like to recommend you download an app that is free today, PDF Forms. It’s normally $9.99. It’s free today, and I think will go back to cost $9.99 tomorrow.

The app lets you load and fill out PDF forms. You can then share the forms filled out via e-mail, and you can decide whether to send it as an editable form, or as a ‘flattened’ PDF which is no longer editable. Why would you want a program to fill out PDF forms on your iPad? Obviously, so you can fill out this site’s series of genealogy forms – The B&F Forms System.

B&F Ancestor Form

I’ve tested some of my forms in the program, and it seems to work pretty well. You just put the PDFs you want to edit on either Dropbox or Google Drive, and then connect with the program and it loads them directly. You can edit all the fields on the form, and then save the filled-out form as a separate file, e-mail it (either as an editable form, or flattened), print it, or load it into another program on your iPad that supports PDFs.

For those who do not have a genealogy program on their iPad, this is a good way to collect information while visiting relatives, as well as sharing information with people. Even those who do have genealogy programs on their iPad, can still benefit by using the forms as a way to collect information and to share information. For example, you can fill out a form with the information you know about a particular family, then send it in editable form to someone else and ask them to fill in the blanks.

I’m hoping to come out with some updated version of the forms soon, to take advantage of some new form capabilities, to add support for the 1940 census to the census form, and to make it possible to translate the forms into other languages (such as Hebrew). If you have any suggestions for improving the forms, please let me know in the comments below. Hopefully by the summer I’ll have time to update the forms. In the meantime, go download PDF Forms on your iPad and use the current forms and let me know what you think.

UPDATE: The app is no longer free, but it seems they’re lowered the price to $8.99.

New Genealogy Forms Posted

Thank you to all those who made suggestions for changes to my genealogy forms. The new revised forms, with the changes described in my previous post, are now live on the Forms page.

In addition to the new Ancestor Form, Family Form, Sibling Form and Ancestor Location Form, there is an all-new form called the US Immigrant Census Form. This is the first in a new series of research-oriented forms. I had originally intended to release this form after another form I am working on, but as I finished this one and I though people would find it useful, I’ve decided to post it first.

The US Immigrant Census Form is intended to help those researching people who immigrated to the US during the huge influx between the 1870s and 1930s, although it is useful for those people who immigrated earlier but were living in the US during this period as well. The idea is that each census provides different information that is useful for researchers and can help you find more records.

For example, in 1900 and 1910, the census listed how many children were born to a woman, and how many were still living. You can use this information to figure out if children may have been left behind in the old country, or may have died young. While the country of origin of each person and their parents is listed in all the censuses on the form, the language spoken by each parent is collected only in 1920. This can sometimes be more useful than the country of origin which is frequently vague – ‘Russia’ for example is not a very useful country to have listed in a census form as it could correspond to over a dozen countries that were part of the Russian Empire during those years. From 1900 on the naturalization status of each person is listed in the census, but in 1920 the actual year the person was naturalized is recorded. These bits of information are all very useful for researchers who are looking to use census records as a springboard to getting more information on immigrants to the US.

Thank you to Michael Goldstein who had an early look at the census form and reminded me to add the Military Service field.

As always, please let me know what you think of the forms, and if there are any improvements you’d like to see please post them in the comments.

So go check out the now-improved B&F Forms System.