Formulating Objectives

Why are some genealogists more effective than others? One reason may be that these researchers are focused on a specific objective and apply known methodologies to their work. Experience teaches that certain records provide specific types of data, which then can be used to locate additional information. Wandering through shelves and websites hoping to find something that might mention an ancestor is inefficient and ineffective. It is important to have goals to guide our work.

The first step in any research project is to set a goal. Large, overarching goals are good for long-term direction, but very specific objectives are best for directing day-to-day and month-to-month work sessions. ResearchTies facilitates the recording of objectives and displays the current objective at the top of the form. Remembering the objective helps researchers to stay on track and reduce time spent wandering.

To begin, click on “Add Information,” then select “Add Objective.” A ribbon with five objective types will be presented.Add obj

Obj ribbon

Most researchers begin their work with a preliminary survey to determine what research has already been completed by others. After learning what has already been done, genealogists will notice pieces of missing information, dates and places that are not documented and need to be verified, and events in an ancestor’s life that raise questions. All of these can be addressed by formulating objectives to learn more.

When writing an objective, it’s possible to be both specific and a little general. Determine exactly who the question is about. Is a marriage for a person missing? Is a census survey for a family needed? Would it be helpful to analyze the tax records for every male with the same surname in a place for a certain time period? Searching for the marriage of an individual is a narrow search, and searching census records for a family will be more broad. However, the most important concept in writing objectives is that they be achievable. You need to be able to declare an objective “complete.” In these two cases, the marriage objective would be complete when the desired (or available) information has been located. The census objective would be complete when all census entries for all family members are found or determined to be missing. Objectives so broad that they can never be completed are not helpful.

Become familiar with the fields available in each objective type, and realize that there is more than one way to write an objective. For example, searching the marriage records of a place for an individual is essentially the same as identifying the spouse of an individual. The way the objectives are formulated is a personal choice, and the program allows that flexibility. Also, an unlimited number of Searches can be added to any one objective. Whatever it takes to complete the goal, ResearchTies will help you record and remember.

Upcoming Conference

NGS confIn just a few more weeks, ResearchTies will be attending the NGS Conference in Richmond, Virginia (7-11 May). Come talk with us and/or ask questions at booth #505, or attend a class to learn more about the program. “Finders Keepers: Retrieving One Document in a Million, Instantly!” will be held at 8:00 AM, Thursday, 8 May. We will also have a “sandbox” to work with ResearchTies and receive hands-on help at the booth. See you in Richmond!

Happy Birthday, ResearchTies!

It’s hard to believe that we launched ResearchTies a year ago this month. We want to express a heartfelt thanks to all of you who have supported us through the excitement and challenges of a program in its first year! We’re looking forward to another great year full of growth and new features.

Access to ResearchTies at The National Archives (London)

A number of large libraries and archives provide internet access at their facility, but sites on the web may be limited to a specific list of approved sites. This week, ResearchTies was added to the list of sites accessible at The National Archives in London, and our users in the U.K. are now able to access their logs while researching at the archives. If your local repository has these limits, please request that ResearchTies be approved, or notify us and we will be happy to make the request.

A New Way to View your Data

ResearchTies is excited to announce that we have a new way to view the data you have entered into your log. Previously, it was difficult to see the Searches that were attached to each Objective. We now have an expandable view that shows attached Searches and Results with just one click. Use the Find/Select operation to narrow the list of Objectives, or leave it set to return “All” Objectives.

Objective View 1

The “hit” list will look something like this:

Objective View 2

To see the Searches attached to one of the Objectives, click on the Objective. The list will expand.

Objective View 3

To see the Searches attached to one of the Objectives, click on the Objective. The list will expand.

Objective View 4

As always, the entries in the Results columns are hyperlinks to view your documents. In the Action column, the user can add or edit data. As we continue to tailor this program to your needs, we want you to know that all feedback and suggestions are appreciated. Keep those emails coming! We are excited about this new feature and hope it helps you to analyze and view your data more easily and effectively.

Keeping Research Logs Efficient

Here at ResearchTies, we like to keep things efficient. Your time is valuable. Research logs require us to record the same name, same repository, and same sources over and over again. One of the features in ResearchTies designed to improve data entry efficiency is the green “ditto down” arrow. 

When researchers locate a record, it often includes entries for more than one person, such as a family on a census. To fully log this search, the full source citation needs to be recorded for each individual. What if you have twelve people in a family or are looking for everyone named Smith in a tax list? With ResearchTies, you only need to record the bibliographic citation once in the source list. Then, record the results of a search for as many individuals as apply to that search. In the “citation detail” field, record the detailed citation elements for the first person. For each additional person, add a new result and click the green “ditto down” arrow to copy the citation from the previous entry. This way, the full citation is recorded for every result, but the user only typed it once.

Green “ditto down” arrows are available in the results template for recording citation details, film numbers, and document numbers.

Ditto Arros
By streamlining data entry with a few easy tools, users will rapidly record full log information, improving their genealogical research and organization. Give it a try today!

Adding Data into Your Research Log and Using Lists

Have you just begun using ResearchTies? Or, perhaps this is your first time keeping an official research log. Either way, we know that the hardest part of getting organized may be the effort of getting started. So, here are a few tips to help you on your way.

What is a list?

Before starting to record objectives and searches, it is helpful to populate the database with the people, places, surnames, repositories, and sources that you use regularly. Information can always be added as you move along, but to get started it is helpful to add content tailored to your research. 

What is a list? In ResearchTies, whenever you add a new person, place, repository, source, or surname, the item is added to the appropriate “list.” This eliminates the need for duplicate data entry, because each item is typed only once. For example, if you go to the repository list and add “The National Archives”, the next time you need to record “The National Archives” as a repository for a source, start typing “National…” and select “The National Archives” from the drop-down list. 

How do I add new items to a list?

To add content to a list, click on the list icon on the blue toolbar at the upper left of your screen. (It looks like a piece of paper.) From here, you can choose which list to edit. For example, if you have been doing research in Portland, Oregon, click on the list for “Places.” Next, click on the “+Add” icon at the upper right of the list. When the template opens, add “Portland, Multnomah, Oregon” to your list of places. Now, when you record searches and results, begin typing “Portland . . .” in the Jurisdiction field, and the full place name will show in the list. Click on it, and keep going. This pattern of data entry works for all the different lists.

What about people?

People’s names can be entered by hand, or by uploading a GEDCOM from your family tree software program. To import a GEDCOM, open your family tree software program (such as RootsMagic, FamilyTree Maker, etc) and create a GEDCOM of the families you are currently working with. Then, login to ResearchTies and click on the “Import GEDCOM” button at the left of your home page. Click the “Choose file” button, and select the appropriate GEDCOM from the file menu. Then, click “Upload My File.” After the upload process is completed, all the people, IDs, surnames, marriages, and dates will be added to your ResearchTies lists.


The best first step in using ResearchTies is to add the main information that you work with regularly in your research. Add names, places, repositories, surnames, and sources that you will need to record over and over again. This first step will provide some content to work with as you get started on your journey to better organization.


ResearchTies at RootsTech 2014

RootsTechRootsTech Speaker Badge

February 6-8, 2014

Salt Lake City, UT

ResearchTies is excited to be participating in the popular RootsTech Conference in Salt Lake City next February. You will find us in the large and lively vendor hall where we will be giving short presentations and answering questions. We will also hold a 50-minute session during the conference titled, “Digitally Organize Research and Note Files with ResearchTies”, where attendees will learn best practices, tips and tricks. Jill Crandell, creator of ResearchTies, will also be a panelist in the discussion, “Game-Changing Trends in Simplifying Research Tools for the Masses.” We look forward to seeing you there! 

Expo Hall

Booth #204

Class Session

“Digitally Organize Research and Note Files with ResearchTies”

Panel Discussion: Gordon Clarke, Moderator

“Game-Changing Trends in Simplifying Research Tools for the Masses”

ABSTRACT: New development opportunities in research assistance, research logs, descendancy analytics, and new visualizations that make research easier.

Ongoing improvements

Working imageComputer programming is an interesting process. While fixing a bug or creating a new feature, it isn’t uncommon to cause a different problem. We’re having a few growing pains and hope that you will be patient with us. I recently discovered that the contact form on our site had stopped working. Even though someone sending a message was told that the message was sent, it wasn’t. If you have sent us feedback or questions recently and have not received a response, please try again. The contact form has been fixed, and you are always welcome to send an email directly to We would love to hear from you!

ResearchTies at Conferences

Jill Crandell giving demos at ResearchTies booth

Jill Crandell giving demos at ResearchTies booth

ResearchTies has had a busy summer! Throughout July and August we participated as vendors at several genealogy conferences across the country.  From July 30-August 2, ResearchTies attend the BYU Conference on Family History and Genealogy in Provo, Utah. With over 700 people in attendance, we loved visiting with many of you who came and saw us at our booth. One lucky winner even received a free year subscription! Throughout the conference, ResearchTies owner and creator, Jill Crandell gave hands-on demos and live classes highlighting the many features of the program. One of the questions we received was how to get more training to use ResearchTies effectively. This gave us an opportunity to point out our online tutorials. These can be found at our Learning Center. (Stay tuned for our video tutorials!)

Between August 22-24, ResearchTies participated in the Federation of Genealogical Societies Conference in Fort Wayne, Indiana. With over 2000 genealogy enthusiasts attending, we enjoyed sharing ResearchTies with many new individuals. We also loved visiting one-on-one with many of you and sharing more details of the product. Many of you went home eager to tell your friends. ResearchTies is currently offering every subscriber the opportunity to extend their subscription. Every time you tell a friend about ResearchTies and they subscribe, we will add three months to your subscription. Just have your friends email us and let us know that you recommended them. 

Lots of hopeful winners!

Lots of hopeful entries!

During the conference, we had many people enter our drawing. Congratulations to our two lucky winners who won a free subscription to ResearchTies!  But, do not worry if you were not one of them. We have a 2-Week Free Trial availableJust click on the “Free Trial button” at the top of our homepage, and you’ll be on your way to better organization. Thank you again to all of those who visited us at our vendor booths. We look forward to communicating with you further and sharing the joy of organized research. Stay tuned for webinars and video tutorials coming soon!  Visit our website and  social sites to learn more.