Saturday, April 12, 2014

Google Drive to the Rescue!

We all have surnames that bring us bouts of hair pulling. Mine is the Gaphardt line. This family appears with so many surname variations. Gaphardt, Gebhart, Gabhart and more! They have presented quite the challenge.

The earliest record discovered was this death record for George Gaphardt, my 3rd great-grandfather. His surname is recorded as "Gephardt". George died July 10, 1879 in Baltimore, Maryland. His residence is listed as "revised" 256 Caroline Avenue.

Last year I started using Google Drive spreadsheets for research. Could this tool help unravel the Gaphardt mess?

click on image to enlarge

In this spreadsheet I entered information found on the Maryland State Archives death index. Death date, age, document number, length of time in residence, address, marital status and place of burial. Goodness, look at the different possibilities! 

Working through the records ... shouts of genealogy joy! What caused my heart to leap? I recognized an address. Catherine Gebhardt, last residence was 256 Caroline Avenue.

Could this be George's wife? Address matches. Age matches. Time residing in this country matches. I believe we may have found my 3rd great-grandmother's date of death. Need to plan a trip to the archives!

With this method I hope to:
  • Discover additional ancestors
  • Prove/disprove relationships
  • Eliminate records
Have a "surname quandary"? Give it a try. Happy adventures in genealogy.


  1. Deb - This is just the tool I need to help me sort all the Frazier, Frazer, Frayer, Frager, Fraser, etc. - Thanks for sharing.

  2. Dee, yahoo! That is exactly why I wanted to share my experience. Can't wait to hear if this method give you results. Keep us posted.

  3. Deb,

    I want to let you know that your blog post is listed in today's Fab Finds post at

    Have a wonderful weekend!