Genealogy Time Saving Tips

Time is a precious resource and the four time saving tips presented in this article will help you make the most of your genealogy research time because once time is gone, it is gone for good and nothing can bring it back. 

I will focus on some of the most practical ideas for genealogists to make the best of this most valued commodity.

Time Saving Tip 1:Goal Setting

If you are going to get the maximum results from your efforts, you need to have a clear, precise and focused idea of what you want to get accomplish.  It is way too easy to get distracted by social media, web surfing, reading emails, etc. and spend your time doing anything other than what you are supposed to.

Having clear goals keeps you maintain focus on what really matters.  For more on proper goal setting, see the article Genealogy Goal Setting Guide.

Time Saving Tip 2:Timeboxing

Another great way to save time and stay focused is to employ the technique called “timeboxing”.  Timeboxing requires you to set a specific time period to focus on a specific task and work uninterrupted for the duration of that time period.  The time period you choose can be as short as ½ an hour and long as 3 or more hours.  You can only work diligently for so long without a break.

The power of this technique comes from the fact that you remove all distractions before starting a timebox and will amaze yourself with how much you can get done in a single uninterrupted time period.  I used this technique in writing this article, completing my first draft in a single one hour timebox.  See the article Time Management for Genealogists for more on this method.

Time Saving Tip 3:Automated Research

Genealogists rely heavily on websites such as and in their search for family records.  They get excited when a “shakey leaf” or “hint” shows up for one of their ancestors that they can investigate.  They are the recipient of free research that goes on behind the scenes at these websites and often discover documents that the didn’t even know existed.

Make sure you take full advantage of this powerful feature by creating a full family tree within these websites.  You can load your tree from a GEDCOM extract or load your ancestors manually.  The bottom line is that you may be missing out on a bunch of new records if you have not taken the time to fully build out your trees online.

Time Saving Tip 4:Research Logs

One of the least glamorous aspects of doing genealogy is documenting our research in a log.  This falls just behind creating source citations as the most dreaded task in genealogy.  But, just like strong antibiotics are to an infection, research logs are a necessary evil.

Good logs will keep you from duplicating work that you have previously completed and following old leads that did not previously did not pan out.  Few have the luxury of completing their research all in one sitting.  Most of us do our research in fits and starts, so knowing at a glance where we left off is a huge time saver.  See the article Benefits of Keeping a Research Journal for a more thorough coverage of this subject.

Well, there you have it, four time saving tips for getting the most from your genealogy research.

Read related articles:
Best Practices


Genealogy Quick Start Guide for Beginners

Applying the Genealogy Proof Standard to your Research

5 Genealogy Mistakes to Avoid

Google Genealogy Research Toolbox

Find Records

Requesting Vital Records

Researching Ancestors through Military Records

Using the National Archives (NARA) for Genealogy Research

Using U.S. Census Records

Finding Homestead Records

Canadian Genealogy Research using the Internet

Researching British Genealogy


Genealogy Source Citations Made Easy

Finding Family History Books

Listening to Genealogy Podcasts Made Easy

Using Cyndi’s List for Genealogy Research

Researching Ancestors Using Obituaries