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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

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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.

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!

Class on July 20

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Riverton FamilySearch Saturday Seminar

On Saturday, July 20, there will be a class on ResearchTies at the Riverton FamilySearch Library. Come learn how this new tool can assist you in planning and tracking your work, as well as preserving and filing digital results of your research. The seminar will begin at 9:00 am with a keynote address, and the ResearchTies class will begin at 10:15. For more information, click here. Hope to see you there!

Hurry, introductory rate ends soon!

The $25 introductory special for ResearchTies will expire on May 31. Subscribe now and take advantage of this low rate for early subscribers. Starting in June, the annual rate for a personal ResearchTies account will be $30 a year.

Extend your subscription!

bonusWhen you subscribe to ResearchTies and tell others about it, you can obtain an extension to your current expiration date. If someone you refer to the program decides to subscribe, ask them to send the email address of your account in an email to to inform us that you are the person who referred them. Your expiration date will be extended by three months. Refer more than one person, and you will continue to extend your account.

Talk to your friends and spread the word!

Managing Data tutorial

manageA new tutorial has just been published in the Learning Center. As we work through our research, we occasionally need to edit or delete data that was previously entered. This tutorial teaches users how to edit or delete various items in the log. Most of the data is managed through the lists and is accessible from the “List” icon on the blue toolbar. Objectives, Searches, and Results are managed through the “Search” function. This allows the user to easily locate the desired item, especially after the log contains a large volume of material.

Link to Learning Center

Learn CtrWe have added a link to the Learning Center so users can access the tutorials while they are signed in to their account. Click on your user menu and select “Learning Center.” Keep that feedback coming!