One Task Down…

With the wedding Thank You notes finished and in the mail, it’s time for me to focus on the next project; the combined address book for both sides of the family. I have a rough version done – basically enough to complete a mail merge, so we didn’t have to hand address the envelopes on the Thank You notes. Of course, this isn’t going to be a quick and easy project, because I’m picky.

I’m not going to be happy with just a paper address book, as I want to be able to do a mail merge for envelopes on Christmas cards. With over 50 people on the Christmas card list this year, there is simply no way I have the time to hand address them all. However, I don’t want a lot of redundant information – I’d like to be able to list the mailing address and telephone number for each family once, rather than duplicating it for each member of the household. This has prompted me to try a sort of 2 part address book – one part being the “Household” information (household name, mailing address, telephone number & Christmas card records) and the other part being the “Individual” information (full name, birth date, anniversary, cell phone number, work phone number, email address(es), website/blog, etc.), with a way of linking the Individuals to the Household, so I know where everyone belongs.

With all the information in a database, I’d like to be able to generate a few different reports. Ideally I could create a Birthday List, with all the individuals listed chronologically by calendar year. I tried doing a birth date report before, but unfortunately it factored the year in, as well. Rather than having all the January birthdays, it had January of 1967, and then maybe July of 1976, and then January of 2005. I would like it to list January, then the date with the person’s name and maybe the year in parenthesis after that, so I know how old they’ll be.

Another report I’d like to generate would be an address book page. I know I can’t be at my computer all the time, and having a physical copy of an address book is convenient sometimes. Having all the information in a database means I should be able to generate a view I’d like; what I want is to be able to have one page per household, with all the household information at the top, and the individuals belonging to that household and their information below. That way when information changes, I can just print out a new page to replace the old one.

Of course, all this is easier said than done. I have a basic idea of what I need to do; I have a database set up with 3 tables – one with Household information, one with Individual information, and one linking Individual id’s with Household id’s. In some cases, it feels silly giving an individual an entry; some people I have little contact with outside of the annual Christmas cards, and so the only information I have is a mailing address and the names of individuals living there.  Figuring out how to generate and format the reports exactly how I want will also take a little doing. But I think that in the end, it will be worth it to have an address book that manages all the information I need, in a format I want.

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