After scouring the RootsTech Expo booths for three days, meeting with representatives from each booth, the exhibitor that will make the most difference in my research and genealogy needs is ResearchTies. I’m betting a lot of people missed them because they were back by the crowded computer lab area, but they offered 20 minute lab tutorials which were worth every minute (wish I could have signed up for an hour). Check out a short video highlighting How to use Research Ties at my OnGenealogy YouTube channel.

ResearchTies research log program

ResearchTies at RootsTech 2016

ResearchTies is an online research log where users record genealogy objectives, sources, searches, record results and more. You can add digital images, url links, and import gedcoms*. And the creator and president of ResearchTies, Jill Crandell, MA in history, accredited genealogist, or her staff provides quick customer support.

I’m religious about using research logs when I work offline, especially at a library. But most of my research is done in quick snippets online, when I have 15 free minutes. I don’t record “nil” searches because let’s face it, in 15 minutes I haven’t exhausted the results and there’s nothing “thorough” about my research effort. (You’d better believe I record nil searches if I’ve gone through a microfilm three times–don’t wanna be looking at that puppy again.) But, like I said, ResearchTies is changing how I do all my research.

Organization is a huge key to genealogy research success. I’ve found that when I’m in a hurry and quickly google search a person I’m hoping to find (usually in a new online book offering) I’ve often searched the wrong name (the child v the parent) or left out some vital information in my boolean search. Using an online research log helps me organize my thoughts and get the details of my search right so I use the best queries possible. Then I add the sources I’m searching, record the search and record the results.

Not gonna lie, sometimes I do the search first, then when I strike gold I go back, create an objective, add the source, add the search, add the result. I would never do this offline, honestly! But at least now, after I’ve done the search, I’m not just taking a screenshot and then hitting print. Or worse, grabbing the nearest spiral notebook (maybe even one belonging to my child), taking notes on what I’ve found, because of course, I assure myself, I will file this paper in my non-existent surname files and always remember all the details of this search and url that I’m not bothering to write down. Why do any of us do that?

If there’s a scarlet letter for bad research habits I should wear it. But. Not. Anymore. I am going to be a research log rockstar. Seriously. This program was designed by a genealogist for genealogists and inspires best practices in research. Reminds me of a genealogy meme: “There’s no Genealogists Anonymous because no one wants to quit.” Well there should be a “Poor Research Loggers anonymous” and this is where we should all go:

If you’re interested in trying it out, they offer two-week free trials then to continue you’ll need to sign up for a $30/year subscription which covers the cost of the program/hosting/support. They have a Learning Center for tutorials and email support for anything you don’t understand. You know it has to be good if “research logs” is someone’s favorite take-away from RootsTech. Thank you Jill Crandell and thank you ResearchTies!

*Be judicious about your gedcom import-are you honestly going to research 10,000 names? The answer is No. Email ResearchTies with their recommendations. You’ll be glad you did.

P.S. I’m not being paid for any endorsements. I just happen to be blogging/vlogging about genealogy. 👍 Good luck with your research!


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