Research Logs

Doing your family history can be busy work.  Looking through dozens of books as family history libraries, surfing through websites, searching through databases, scanning through microfiche and microfilms, etc.  If you're not careful, you'll begin to repeat your search or forget where you had found some valuable information.

A great resource to utilize from the very beginning is "research logs."  It is a list of all your search efforts.  You can write your own list, create a spreadsheet, or the Church has a great template available for purchase from the Distribution Center or found in the Appendix of the Member's Guide to Temple and Family History.

This is what it will look like:

To begin, fill out the ancestor's name, objective, and locality.  This will help as a reminder of what you are searching for and keep you focused.  Now you are ready to start your search.

Filling in this form as you go will help you see what you have already accomplished and where you need to go to next.  It may at first start feeling like a waste of time when all of your search options result in nothing.  But writing down your failures along with your successes will be beneficial in the long run.  It not only keeps you from repeating that search again in the future, but it also gives you a list of source materials you can check into for other ancestors.  Although a source may not provide results for one ancestor, doesn't mean it won't be a treasure trove for another.

If you create an ancestor's source book from all the successful sources you have collected and copied, make sure to number each document and write that number in the "Doc. number" column.  This way, the research log can act as a type of "Table of Contents" for your sources.

Have a research log for each of your ancestors to help organize your search efforts.  You'll be thankful later on when you have notebooks, boxes, and cupboards full of source copies.  This will be a great help for finding reason in the midst of chaos.

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I live in the present yet feel for the past
Seeking connections and roots that outlast
The change of the seasons, the distance of time
Stories and people who I can call mine

Someone who's part of me -- Who will that someone be?

For the hearts of the children are turning
Turning to fathers they've never seen
And the hearts of the fathers are burning
With the promise of what will be

Play the song "The Hearts of the Fathers are Turning" by Steven Kapp Perry