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Tuesday's Tip - The To-Do List Part II (Intermediate)

  The To-Do List Part II

Tuesday's Tips provide brief how-to's to help you learn to use the Legacy Family Tree software with new tricks and techniques.

The To-Do List Part II (Intermediate)


To-Do List Part I - How to access the To-Do List and general information


In Part II we will go through how to enter a task. I am going to go over every field/button on the entry screen.

To-Do Item entry screen

(click image to enlarge)


When you are filling out these fields, think in terms of filtering.

1 - Category
This is where you enter what you are looking for. Here are some of my Categories:
Birth Record
Marriage Record
Death Record
Immigration Record
Tax Record
Probate Record
Cemetery Record

How you word this is up to you but be consistent. You don't want to have a Cemetery category, Cemeteries category, Cemetery Records category, and a Burial Location category. You want to have ONE category for this type of record or filtering will never work for you.

Once you enter a Category it will be on the list for you to pick from again. You can start typing and it will auto fill. When you click the drop down arrow to the right of this field you will be taken to the Master To-Do Category List. This works like any of the other Master Lists. You can add, edit, purge unused, combine etc. 

2 - Locality
This is for the location of where the event occurred and not for the repository for where the record might be found. This is an optional field but I use it. If I have a ton of things occurring in Lamar County, Mississippi I might want to concentrate my efforts in that county. I can consult my Locality Guide to see what resources are available and come up with a plan to knock out some of these tasks. This too has a Master List associated with it as described above.

You need to make a decision here. Do you want to format these locations the same way as how you format your Master Location List or not? I personally do not. I enter my locations like this:

Aiken County, SC
East Baton Rouge Parish, LA
Lamar County, MS
Perry County, MS
Richmond County, GA

I normally look at my research based on which county events occurred and I want to use the auto fill to my advantage. Even if I am going to be searching at a state level (e.g. the Mississippi State Department of Health) I still put the location where the event occurred. For example, if I am looking for a death certificate for someone that died in Lamar County, MS I will put Lamar County, MS. The death certificates are kept at the Mississippi State Department of Health (state level) but I will enter that as a Repository. This gives me more filtering options. Even if I know the person died in Purvis (town) specifically, I keep this at the county level. I also do a lot of research in Germany. For those locations I DO drill down to the town because their jurisdictions and recordkeeping/storage is totally different. I need to see things attached to specific towns/cities. By the way, I like to see the word county spelled out but the state abbreviated. This is all personal preference.

Another decision you need to make, do you record the location as it was at the time of the event or what it is now? This is the one time that I record what it is now, specifically, where the record should be located. I can add notes to clarify anything that isn't clear such as, "The event occurred in Marion County but Lamar County holds the marriage records from the 2nd District of Marion County," or, "This event occurred in Marion County, but this section became Lamar County, in 1904." Most of this I have in my brain but you never know who might read your notes so it is always safer to spell things out.

3 - Task Needing to be Done
This is a free form field and there is no filtering associated with it so you can word this however you want. I just put a short synopsis of what I am looking for and many times this will be in the form of a question.

Harold was born in Lamar County, did he also marry there?
No probate found in Pearl River County, need to check in Stone.

I have tried to standardize my wording a bit but so far I haven't had much success with that. I just type what I am thinking at that moment. This field is what you will see on the actual To-Do List so I like to word it in a way that makes sense to me.

4 - Open Date, Reminder Date, Close Date, and the Open and Closed radio buttons
The Open Date will automatically default in when you begin a new task though you can change it. The Reminder Date field is optional but if you use it, you will see a list of tasks drawing close to that date on the Legacy Home tab. You can set how far in advance you want to be reminded by going to Options > Options > Reminder Options tab on the Legacy Home screen. I do use this and I will tell you why when I get down to number 7.

If you click the Closed radio button, today's date will automatically default in. If you manually input the date into the Close Date field the radio button will change automatically. If there is a date in the Close Date field and you click the Open radio button it will erase the date. Just little shortcuts so that you don't have to type and erase as much by hand.

5 - Type
This is one of the filtering categories. It is pretty self-explanatory. I use the Other category for some of the general To-Do tasks I have entered, but most of my tasks are split between Research and Correspondence

6 - Priority
This is a filtering category and I do use it. It helps me divide up my tasks in reasonable chunks so that I don't get overwhelmed. There are also some tasks that I need to do before others because the results of the first might affect the second.

7 - Tag
This one of the filtering categories and it is VERY important to me. If I am actively working on something, I tag it. I can filter so that I can see all of the tasks that are in progress. For example, if I have sent a request for a marriage record I need to see how much time has passed since I made the request. Some of my general To-Dos are things that will take several sessions and I need to keep track of where I am the process. I can also filter by Untagged to give me an overview of all the things I need to do that I haven't started on yet. This feature has been very useful to me. Tagging can be used however you want to use it. I just wanted to show you how I use it as an example.

8 - Sources
This source icon works exactly the same as the source icons located in other areas of Legacy. It is always important to create sources for everything you consult, even if the search had negative results. You can start creating the source at the time you create the task or you can wait until you have finished the task. It is perfectly okay to leave the source citation halfway complete if you want to get a head start. Once you have finished the task you can finish the citation. You can then copy this citation and paste it wherever you need it in Legacy. You can also attach multiple citations to a single task.This is written with the assumption that you already know how to work with sources. If not, you can watch Geoff's excellent webinar (free), Sources and Citations Made Simple, Standard, and Power

9 - File ID
If you use a File ID system for your physical files/items you have at home, you can continue to use this here and it works exactly like it does anywhere else. I do not use the File ID field but many Legacy users do and this gives them an extra layer or organization. For more information, click the little binoculars icon to the right of the field and then click the Help button on the File ID Assistant dialog box. If you go to Reports > Other Reports > File IDs to run customizable reports of your File IDs.

10a - Task Description
This is where you can write whatever you want and you have 1 million characters to do that. I usually expand the information that I put in the Task Needing to be Done field. I talk about what I am looking for and what I hope to find. I record some theories here. Any information that impacts this task, such as past negative searches, I record here. Notice that you have access to your Special Character ribbon. You can also use special formatting such as Bold, Italics, and Underline by using the standard Windows commands (CTRL-B, CTRL-I, CTRL-U). You will see the formatting codes in the dialog box but they will preview/print correctly. I personally do not add any special formatting. There is also a Strip HTML button that you can use to get rid of all of the hidden formatting codes that are embedded in text that you have copied and pasted from a web site. 

10b - Results
This one is important. When you close a task, you need to record your findings, both positive and negative. You don't want to forget about those negatives searches. When you go back to review everything that you have done to try and obtain a certain piece of evidence, you want to be able to see what all you have already done. This will keep you from repeating yourself and it will help you decide what your next move will be.  This dialog box is set up identically to the Task Description box and it has all of the same capabilities.

10c - Repository
This screen is set up differently. It is very important to add the repository because this is an important filter that you will use when you want to create a list of everything you need to do at a specific library, archive, courthouse, etc.

Repository tab
(click image to enlarge)


You only need to add a repository once. You can then go to the Select button and you will be taken to the Master Repository List, the same list used by Master Sources, both SourceWriter and Basic. Once that Master Repository List is open, you have all the options available to you that you have on the other Master Lists. You can also add Media here but so far I haven't used this option.  You can also add a new repository and it will be added to the Master Repository List. Here is what it looks like once you have selected a repository. I have used one out of the Sample File because Geoff added a nice picture of the Family History Library.

Repository filled in
(click image to enlarge)


11 - Copy, Paste, Load, and Save
These buttons should be familiar to you. You can Copy a To-Do Task to the To-Do Clipboard and then Paste it to another person which saves you typing when you are doing searches that apply to more than one person. This also helps you keep your entries uniform so that your filtering will effective. You can also Save up to 10 different To-Do Tasks and then Load them as needed. Again, this saves you time when you have some tasks that you do routinely and it keeps your tasks uniform. This works the same way as the Event clipboard.


Here is a task that has been completely filled out.

Completed Task Description
(click image to enlarge)


I want to point out a couple of things. I consider this a Correspondence task and not a Research task. If I had gone to the courthouse in person I would have made this a Research task. At the time I thought this was a high priority. I don't remember why but I am guessing that the results of this search would impact something else. The task is not tagged because I only tag those tasks that I am actively working on. It was tagged when I sent the letter and stayed tagged until I received a response. 

I try to keep things short and sweet and I did in this case. I wrote a one liner description that shows what I was thinking. I also recorded that I had sent a letter. Notice that I actually opened this task an entire month before I sent the letter (so much for that high priority!). 

The source icon is colored in because I have attached my source citation. 

Here is the Results tab:

Results tab
(click image to enlarge)


Again, short and sweet. How much I write has a lot to do with what sort of task it is. If this had been a negative search I would have written my thoughts on where I should go next and I would have created new tasks to follow through. I put the book and page number of the record as a quick reference but this is not my full citation. My full citation looks like this:

Marion County, Mississippi, Marriage Book D: 208, Simmons-Entrekin, 1880; Circuit Court, Columbia.

Here is the Repository tab:

Repository tab
(click image to enlarge)


You will see that I have used privacy brackets in the name of the repository. I explain why in Tuesday's Tip - Working with Addresses Part III (Intermediate)

The To-Do List Part III will show you how to use sorting and filtering to your advantage.


Find tech tips every day in the Facebook Legacy User Group. The group is free and is available to anyone with a Facebook account.

For video tech tips check out the Legacy Quick Tips page.  These short videos will make it easy for you to learn all sort of fun and interesting ways to look at your genealogy research.


Michele Simmons Lewis, CG® is part of the Legacy Family Tree team at MyHeritage. She handles the enhancement suggestions that come in from our users as well as writing for Legacy News. You can usually find her hanging out on the Legacy User Group Facebook page answering questions and posting tips.



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I could not access "To Do List Part 1" via the link given above. Has it been removed?

I just fixed the link :)

Is it possible to sort the "To Do List" by location. Say, I have a trip to Boston planned. Is there a way to recall all tasks that can be preformed at that location?

Jim, Yes you can. Part III of this series covers filtering and printing. If you have put all of your Boston tasks under the location of Boston you can filter and print by that.

I have used ToDo forever, and find all the filtering wonderful. It is a huge element in all my research trips. But I have always thought that having the "Task needing to be done" as a required field is really weird. As you say, it doesn't filter (nor does it need to, with all the other fields available), and like you, the info I put into it is always duplicative of either the Category or Description field. I'd rather just not use it, but am forced to.

The "Task needing to be done" is the required field. All of the rest are optional but they are the ones used for filtering. You have to state what your task is.

Can you enter more than one repository? Or do you enter them into the description or result window?

If you want to search for a particular source at two different repositories you need to have two separate To-Do tasks. Normally what I do is I enter the first task and if that search is negative at that repository then I enter the second one.

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