This article appeared in the November/December 1997 issue of Everton's Genealogical Helper.

The Master Genealogist Tips

By Lee H. Hoffman

A computer consultant with more than 20 years in
genealogy who has used TMG for over five years.


Research Log
How do you keep track of all the things that you want to research at the library, courthouse, cemetery, etc.? TMG not only has a place to enter those tasks, but helps you know where you are in doing that research. Nearly all genealogists keep a "to do" list, and TMG has incorporated that into the program where you can enter a new item at any time or annotate an item with notes on the progress of your investigation.

Research Log entries will more often be made about a date, place or some detail of an event in someone's life. However, you may want to log a reminder to acquire a copy of a source, make a note to look at a will book at a courthouse, or review all courthouse records for a person or group of persons. To enter a task, press F12 to access the Research Log. A Task Entry is thus attached to a person, event, source, repository or may be a general topic.

Each entry is given a Task Name that is a descriptive reminder to you about the task. When you enter a new task, the current date is assigned as the Design Date of the task although you can change it as desired. Then you will enter other dates such as Planned, Begun, Progress, Completed. For each date, you can enter a small note to the side as desired.

Keywords would be entered next. These keywords would be used to help quickly find those tasks for a specific trip. I enter code words (mostly abbreviation or acronyms) indicating those places that I often visit. If I think the information may be in two or more places, I will enter both as keywords. Then after visiting one place, I will annotate the task with what I found there. If I didn't find all the information I wanted, I will remove that keyword code if I don't want to visit that location for that task again. Following the Keyword field is a place to keep track of the expenses of this task.

Now, you enter the Memo field, possibly the most important entry. This is a free-form field into which you can enter as much or as little as you wish. At times, you may consider the Task Name sufficient (e.g., "Get copy of John Doe's Will at Courthouse"). Just make sure that the Task Name and the Memo contain enough information to help you in your research. I often have only a List of Tasks for a particular location when I go there, and cryptic Task Names and Memos are often very frustrating at best and a cause of a second trip at worst.


List of Tasks Report
Now that you have all those entries in the Research Log, you can generate a List of Tasks that you can use on that trip to the courthouse, library, etc. to organize your work. Just enter the Custom Report Writer and define the report.

Your first report will probably contain all the entries that you have made in order to see what you get. This is easy, just accept the default Focus of All Tasks and generate the report. You will likely want only those for a certain place or person or whatever. In that case, select "Filtered Group" on the Focus tab of the Report Definition Screen and enter the filter that tells what tasks you want printed. It may be as simple as:

                            Memo              Contains              [?]              END

or it may have something about keywords or whether a task is incomplete. Whatever the case, you are sure to find that the Research Log and the List of Tasks report are invaluable help to you on those trips.


                           Further information about The Master Genealogist can be obtained from Wholly Genes, Inc., 5144 Flowertuft Ct, Columbia, MD
                           21075, on the TMG website <> or tollfree at 1-877-TMG-FAMILY. TMG Tech Support is available at
                           1-410-715-2260 or by e-mail at <>.

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