Saturday, March 22, 2014


n important genealogical habit to acquire is that of making daily research logs. For anyone who is not familiar with research logs, here are some links that will help you understand their purpose and design:

I confess that at first I balked at doing research logs. It seemed to me that stopping to note every search performed would slow me down and spoil the fun of the hunt.  However, if you don’t keep track of your research, you are very likely going to repeat searches you have done before and thus waste your precious time.

I have solved my dilemma by using Snagit®, a screen capture program (  This is one of my favorite tools and is worth the $49.95 price for a full version license. It is a one-time purchase with no annual fees.  The software works on both PC and Mac. (I am not getting credit for promoting this product—I just love it and want to share it with you.)  Snagit® has many uses, but today I am just addressing its use for research logs. You can read and see demonstrations of its many features at

Today I did research on my Marsh and Park lines. As I found useful items about either surname, I would capture the relevant portion of the text, click SHARE and under the drop-down menu under WORD, I would click NEW DOCUMENT. This automatically sent my research to a new Word document. You will see a little box pop up on the bottom right of your screen that says “Capture successfully sent to [the name of the Word document].”  I then went to Word and named the document (for example, Park research 22 Mar 2014). This document was ready to receive more research.  As you continue your research, you can create new documents for other family surnames or topics.

When I am capturing research, I am careful to also capture the information necessary for a citation (URLs, titles, authors, copyright information, etc.). At the end of my research session, I save my Word documents. I can then add comments to my research, transcribe information, craft proper citations and discuss any conclusions drawn.  I may or may not elect to print the documents for filing in their appropriate binders.  Using Snagit®, I can zoom along in my research, archiving information as I go. The flow of the “hunt” is not inhibited. 

We all know how time consuming a reasonably exhaustive genealogical search can be. Snagit® can help us document where we have been so we can plan our future moves. You can get a free 15-day trial at

If you don’t have the funds to expend on Snagit®, you can do your research logs the old-fashioned way. Here are some links for research log forms:
Whether you use Snagit® or some other method, it is important to maintain research logs.


Dover Publications, Inc., Mineola, New York, Electronic Clip Art, "Victorian Decorative Letters," 1999.

Dover Publications, Inc., Mineola, New York, Electronic Clip Art, "Advertising Cuts of the 20s and 30s," 2003.

Dover Publications, Inc., Mineola, New York, Electronic Clip Art, "Full-Color Old-Time Vignettes," 2002.

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