One-Page Research Form

On my way home from RootsTech I was inspired to renew my research on my brickwall ancestor, John H. McKee. I started by writing down my research question: When did John McKee die? Followed by a research plan. To put my research plan on paper I pulled out a form I had developed a while ago but that I haven’t used lately. It turned out to be really helpful for the task.


I started with recording everything I already knew about John by referencing the facts and sources that are already in my tree.

researchform001 - Copy

Then I made a list of my “next steps,” or sources I wanted to look for. During this part of the process I searched a few online catalogs and wrote down books I wanted to check, online collections to browse, etc.

researchform001 - Copy (2)

Turning the form over I was able to make notes as I worked. Of course, for such a difficult ancestor, I need more space to write, and for that any printable research log you like will do. Once I exhausted what I could access online, it was time to make some trips to offline sources. Last weekend I made a trip to the Allen County Public Library, where some of the Dayton City Directories I needed were available on microfiche.

researchform002 - Copy

Unfortunately, that trip alone didn’t answer my question, however, the directories allowed me to reduce the upper limit of the date range for John’s death from 1857 to 1856. I made note of this on my form. If I had found an answer to my question I would have recorded it at the bottom under “conclusion.”

researchform002 - Copy (2)

I have found this one-page research form to be easy to take with me and easy to keep my thoughts collected in one place. If I need more sheets for notes or research logs, this makes a great cover sheet to summarize my work on the problem. I hope you will find it useful for your research or inspiration for making your own one-page research form!

If you want to use my form you can download it HERE.


3 thoughts on “One-Page Research Form

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  1. What a cool form – thanks for the copy…I will probably amend it a bit to use…but will add a link to this post to my toolbox for others to read. As much as I love using technology, sometimes a pencil and paper really is best for working through problems…

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