Register for Webinar Wednesday: Privacy Issues with Online Family Trees by E. Randol Schoenberg
How to Write a Family History Narrative in 30 Days

Tuesday's Tip - Using the To-Do List with DNA (Intermediate)

TT - Using the To-Do List With DNA

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

Using the To-Do List with DNA (Intermediate)


To-Do List Part I - How to access the To-Do List and general information
To Do List Part II - Entering a task
To Do List Part III - Filtering, Sorting, and Printing

This article on how to enter DNA tasks was a bit of an afterthought so I didn't make it part of the series. DNA is a specialized area and not all researchers use DNA evidence (though they should, if possible).

I am going to give you some examples of different DNA tasks that I use. One of the biggest things I use it for is correspondence. I contact so many people that it is hard for me to remember everything and keep it all straight. In a previous article, Recording DNA Matches, I showed you how I keep track of DNA correspondence as an event. I record this in both places, events and the To-Do List. Do I need to do it in both? I think so. I can run specialized DNA reports using a filtered To-Do List. On the Event List I can see just that person's DNA research which is also important to me. I can also run different sorts of reports using Search Lists of the events so recording it in both gives me a lot of flexibility.

HOWEVER, once I get a positive response I will delete that part of the correspondence from the event. For example, let's say I have sent an email to someone asking them to upload to GEDmatch. I will have that request recorded in both locations, as a To-Do Task and in an event. If they tested with MyHeritage it will be in the notes for their MyHeritage DNA event. If they write back and they tell me that they have uploaded to GEDmatch (THANK YOU!) I will close out the To-Do Task and I will erase that part of the notes in their MyHeritage DNA event. I have it permanently recorded in the To-Do List so at this point I don't need it in both places. I will also create a new GEDmatch event with their GEDmatch number. 

The below screenshots are made up tasks because most of my DNA tasks involve living people. I have a mixture of General and Individual To-Dos. The General To-Do's are things like running updates (for example, the "Snavely Tool") and reminders to watch certain DNA webinars. I also add resources that I need to check out but haven't yet (articles, blog posts, new websites, etc). I have a General To-Do that reminds me to check for new matches on GEDMatch every two weeks (I just keep changing the reminder date). The testing companies will send you an email alerting you of new matches but GEDmatch doesn't have this capability. Bonus info — On GEDmatch your new matches will be in green. They are green for 30 days but the green starts to fade over time so you can tell the newest ones from the ones that were uploaded a couple of weeks ago. These are very easy to spot when you scan your One To Many List.

The Individual tasks are where most of the work is done. I have several DNA categories that I use so that I can filter better and you will need to come up with categories that make sense to you (that is true for the To-Do List in general). I am still tweaking the way I enter tasks for DNA so my mindset might change. I do not enter a Location or a Repository for these tasks. I haven't found it to be necessary.

Example 1
(click image to enlarge)


Example 2
(click image to enlarge)


Example 3
(click image to enlarge)


Example 4
(click image to enlarge)


Did you notice that the first two examples are tagged but the last two are not? I explained why in To Do List Part II - Entering a task. Nutshell version - The first two tasks I have started working on but the second two I have not.

Here is a recap of the benefits of the To-Do List:

  • You will be creating a comprehensive Research Plan and Research/Correspondence Log which means you are more likely to accomplish your goals
  • You will have all of your results recorded, both positive and negative, which will help you re-evaluate your plan and further your research
  • You won't duplicate your efforts because you have forgotten what you have already done
  • You will be able to pick up right where you left off if you take a break from researching a particular ancestor
  • You can print out filtered lists of tasks that you can take with you to any repository that you visit
  • You can print out filtered lists for other researchers also working on the same ancestors so that they know exactly what you are working on and they won't duplicate your efforts

 I hope this series on the To-Do List has convinced you that entering these tasks is well worth the time and effort. 


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.


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

You mention the "Snavely Tool" . Could you explain what this is?

The Snavely Tool is a Chrome browser extension. Its official name is "AncestryDNA Helper." The developer is Jeff Snavely. To read more about what it does take a look at his website.

The comments to this entry are closed.