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1851 Canada census - now indexed and online

Using Research Logs and To Do Lists

Question from Bruce:

The beginning training video talks about the importance of Research Logs, then goes on to talk about the To Do List. Does that mean that you can use the To Do List as a research log? Do any of you do that or do you use a Research Log outside of Legacy?

In my first class en route to receiving a Bachelor's degree in genealogy, my instructor told us that Research Logs really are not that helpful. Of course I was shocked to hear this, but then he explained that even if we kept a good log for all our research, the stack of research logs could create a ceiling-tall pile, and we would not be able to find anything. This made sense.

However, I remember one day having a great idea to look for probate records for an ancestor in Venango County, Pennsylvania. So I set aside some time and money to drive to the Family History Library, where I searched its collections. I did not find what I was looking for. It appears that I had the exact same great idea a year before, when I looked for the same record - with the same result. My research log, kept in Legacy, showed me this.

Has this happened to you, too? You're looking at a document and you get the feeling that you've seen this before - perhaps you've looked at it 5 time previously.

If you kept a research log, you might have noted that you already did this research, there's no need to do it again, and again, and again.

Legacy's To Do List functions as a Research Log and a To Do List. It helps you organize all of your past research and keeps track of the research you have planned for the future. If you want to view all of the research for an individual that you've already completed, or marked as Done, just click on the Filter Options tab and mark the status as Done, and click Apply. Your To Do List is now filtered to show you those tasks that are completed. This is the Research Log.

Or, if you want a list of those tasks that you still have to work on, from the Filter Options tab, simply select the status of Open and click Apply. The resulting list is the To Do List.

My professor was right when he suggested that paper research logs can overwhelm you. But Legacy's To Do List overcomes these challenges by helping you organize your past and future research efforts.

An in-depth tutorial of using the To Do List can be viewed in the Legacy for Beginner's training video.


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That story sure rings true with me. I know that I have looked at the same things multiple times. I plan to rewatch my beginner's video and make using the "To-Do" list a priority.

You're so right! I've just recently bought a second copy of a death registration 'cos I didn't keep my To Do list up to date.

It is a very effective tool, for recording my thoughts on what should be reseached as well as where I've already been - as long as I remember to use it properly. ;-)

I must make more of an effort. Thanks for the reminder! :-)

I too neglected to invest the time in research logs when I first started out 15 years ago. I finally figured it out when I received a bunch of PERSI articles in the mail and I had every one of them already! Now I write everything in a research log, both the positive and the negative results.

This is something I am learining to not only do but to keep on task. I don't know how many times I have gone back to the same web page or text file (on GenWeb for example)!! Now I also list ALL the web sites I visit and the results of each visit in the results area to be analyzed later. I even have a generic surname for each family and put all the information for that surname in the results in the "to-do" log for later review as well. It may be time consuming in one respect but it saves the repeat visits and it also logs my last time visted as I post 'closed' for that session.

But what's the difference between the To-Do List and the Research tab under the notes icon?

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