Creating Research Tasks:

Using Keywords and other comments

(Note: This is applicable to all versions of TMG.)

When you create a Research Task, you are attaching a To-Do item to a Person, an event (a Tag), a Source, and/or a Repository.  You may also add a General Task which is not attached to any of those four records.  When you add the Task, you should enter a Task Name, and describe (fully) the Task in the Task Memo field.  You may also enter a schedule of Dates (with ot without comments for those Dates), and Keywords.

It is suggested that the entry in the Keywords field be relatively short  to allow you to see the full list of Keywords  in the Research Task window Keyword field without having to scroll the field.  Keywords can help you find a Task or select certain Tasks for display or printing in a List of Tasks report.  

Keywords may be full word, complete sentences, dates, years, etc.  In order to keep the entry relatively short, it is recommended that  the Keyword entry consit of single words, abbreviations or acronyms rather than sentences.  Military units might be entered as one “word” using underlines instead of spacing. The question is “what does the entry mean to the user.”  Since Keywords are very subjective, users should only use abbreviations and acronyms that have meaning to them.  To some people, “UK” would mean “United Kingdom while to others “UK” would mean “University of Kentucky”.  Each user (or collaborative users) will compile a different set of Keywords for their own use.  Thus a user with a lot of research in Kentucky and very little in the British Isles would use “UK” for the “University of Kentucky”.  If the user shares TMG projects with other researchers then the researchers may wish to collaborate on what constitutes valid abbreviations and acronyms.

I use postal codes for states and countries a lot. Some other abbreviations/acronyms that I use are:

  • ACPL   

Allen County Public Library (Ft. Wayne, IN)

  • ARCH  

Archives (usually in conjunction with another keyword)

  • CD       

Compact Disk (see also DVD)

  • CEM    


  • CENS  


  • CERT   

Certificate (usually in conjunction with type)

  • CLK     

Clerk (usually with a type – County or Circuit)

  • CO      

County (almost always with a county name(s))

  • CSA    

Confederate States of America

  • CW      

Civil War

  • DAR    

Daughters of American Revolution

  • DTH     


  • DVD    

Digital Versatile Disk

  • EKU    

Eastern Kentucky University

  • HS       

Historical Society

  • LDS     

Mormon Church (usually in conjunction with one of the next two)

  • FHC     

Family History Center

  • FHL     

Family History Library

  • FILS

Filson Club

  • KHS    

Kentucky Historical Society

  • LEX     

Lexington (usually in conjunction with KY)

  • LIB      

Library (Usually with name or location)

  • LOC     

Library of Congress

  • LTR     


  • MARR  



Montgomery County (Kentucky)

  • NARA  

(US) National Archives and Records Administration (could be in conjunction with a city or region name)

  • NPRC  

(US) National Personnel Records Center (St. Louis)

  • OBIT    


  • PERSI 

Periodical Source Index (product of ACPL above)

  • RCRD  


  • REG
      Register or Registrar
  • RW      

Revolutionary War

  • SBTS   

Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (usually in conjunction with another abbreviation [ARCH or LIB], etc.)

  • SSDI    

Social Security Death Index

  • SSN    

Social Security Number

  • STL     

St. Louis, Missouri

  • USA    

US Army

  • USAF  

US Air Force

  • USN    

US Navy

  • USNI    

US Naval Institute

  • VOL     

Volume (may be just V depending on context)

  • VSL     

Virginia State Library

  • WWI

World War I

  • WW2

World War 2

As noted, many keywords are combinations of two or more abbreviations.  For example, I may need to note that a record may be research in the Montgomery County, KY courthouse or possibly in the Mt. Sterling/Montgomery County, KY local Library.  Thus I would enter

            MONTG CH LIB

as the Keywords entry.  There is no real significance to the arrangement of Keywords, just that they should be separated by a space to help in reading.  If I expected that I would find the desired information in the library rather than the courthouse, I would probably enter LIB before CH, but it really doesn’t matter.

The Keywords might hold the name of a person who might have information, a family Bible, or some other record. Again in keeping with trying to keep the field entries somewhat short, you might use the person’s initial if that is something that would be easily understood if you didn’t use it very often.  But if the person(s)’ name(s) are in the Task Name then you may not need it in the Keywords.  

Also I try to enter a Task Name that describes what I want to look for.  This may be tempered with how the Task is created.  For example, if a task is to find a marriage record for a person then the Task Name might be “Marriage for John Smith and Jane Dough 1895”.  But if the Task is attached to the Marriage Tag (event) then I might just enter Marriage 1895.  If the name of the person(s) are included (e.g., the Task is attached to the person or the Tag (event) for the persons) then I usually don’t include the person(s)’ name(s) in the Task Name unless there may be some confusion.  

Regardless of any entry in the Task Name, in Keywords, or how the Task is attached, I always give full details of the records for which I am searching.  This might include full names (and variations or nicknames), parent’s names, dates, locations, other witness or principal names (especially if the records may be indexed by those names), and any other details that may help find the information desired.  

Remember that List of Tasks report may be filtered in many ways.  This includes Task Name, Keywords, Task Dates, Task Memo, and much more.   On the other hand, the resulting List of Tasks report may only be sorted in a single order.  Most of my List of Tasks reports are sorted by Task Name although many are sorted by Task Type and Person Name.  I sort a few by Keywords although those are rare as are other sorts.

While I try to keep redundancy out of the Task Name, Keywords and Task Stages Date and Text fields, I don’t worry about redundancy in the Task Memo. But I usually plan not to filter on the Task Memo because it could contain information that is only incidental to the information in the Memo.  For example, an usher in a wedding might be included in the Task Memo, but the name would be unlikely to be one by whom the wedding record might be indexed.  Still, one never knows and that is why the user may want to filter by the Task Memo.

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