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I'm Jennifer, and I'm an Occasional Genealogist... sort of. For over ten years I've been a professional genealogist. I started researching my own family nearly 30 years ago. Like many of you, I started as an Occasional Genealogist. I had to squeeze research in while in school and while working full-time. Then I got my first genealogy job and for awhile, it was genealogy all the time. Now I have two kids. I do other people's genealogy constantly but my own? Coming up with ways to do great genealogy, despite all the interruptions, is now mandatory.

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Simple DNA Project Tracking Form for Evernote

As part of my post "Is DNA the 'Magic Bullet' for OGs," I'm providing another Evernote form for Freebie Friday. This is a super simple form (table) to keep track of a select set of test information. When I say simple, I mean simple. It does not keep track of any DNA information, just identifying information and relationships. I use this as a quick reference for test ids. I also keep a handful of other information I might want to see when deciding who to include and what analysis tool to use.

Part of the reason this is so simple is it is a table, not a spreadsheet. That means it cannot be sorted (i.e. reordered). Most of the tracking you'd want to do related to DNA, even tracking correspondence, would be better done in a spreadsheet or database. Then you can filter and sort and possibly do more, depending on your skills.
Here is how I use this form.


I enter the person's real name IF I know it. The project I initially created this for involved a core set of tests from researchers I've known since before any kind of DNA testing was available. It is also easier in correspondence to refer to an administered test by the testee's name rather than "the test you administer A000000" which just takes more time. If you need to compose an email on a mobile device, you will be glad to use a name rather than a wordy description.

Ancestry User Name

This is not JUST their AncestryDNA user name. Trees are often available on Ancestry.com even if the person tested elsewhere. I record their Ancestry.com user name but I make a note if they have not tested there.

FTDNA "name"

Family Tree DNA doesn't show you the test ids so you have to identify people by the "name" they listed. If I know their number and they don't have a GEDmatch id, I also enter it but it won't help on the FTDNA site.

GEDmatch ID

Enter their GEDmatch ID. I don't worry about their GEDmatch user name or email on this form because I only need their id to run any tools. Remember, this isn't a correspondence log or spreadsheet of results. I keep it simple so I can see info "at a glance."

For the previous three columns, I "browse" these to see where people have tested. I want to see the GEDmatch column filled in so I use this to consider who to email and ask about/suggest GEDmatch, too.


I record email addresses here sometimes. I also list the tests of children or other relatives. With children or grandchildren in particular, they can't have any DNA the parent doesn't have so I often exclude them from the initial analysis, so it doesn't look like I have a strong set of matches when it's really one immediate family. I may also include other relatives here until I decide I want to give them their own line. That's why it's called "other." Use it how your project dictates but remember, this is a simple table.


Most Recent Common Ancestor. I always list the MRCA for the project I am working on but I will also make a note if the actual MRCA is from a different branch. You may wish to list all shared ancestors, just be clear. I do include the project MRCA's child so I can see how well represented the family is.

Relationship to [focus test]

Replace [focus test] with the name of the person, otherwise this column is useless. I use the abbreviations 1C for first cousin, 2C1r for second cousin once removed, etc.

I have some serious branch overlap in some lines so I list all the ways the person is related. If it is multiple ways, I include the name of the child of each MRCA next to each relationship (and yes, sometimes there is one MRCA with two different relationships because they descend from two children of the MRCA). I also list the relationships if the "Other" column lists relatives' tests.

If you want more details about tracking relationships and the type of brief notes you should be recording for each match, in Evernote or directly at the testing company, try my free course, "The Road to DNA Success."

If you are looking for a way to deal with your own tree full of "kissing cousins" (cousins of yours or your matches that married each other and messed up your DNA results!), "The Road to DNA Success" is the prerequisite for my course covering a proven technique for dealing with this problem. Sign-up today to learn more.

Below this form I pasted in a cousin chart from the Internet so I didn't have to look one up everytime I needed it. I'm not providing it because it isn't mine. Just Google "cousin chart" and you can copy one of the image results that works for you.

I would love to hear feedback about this form. If you are dealing with a different type of project or have a different background, this might not work. I want to know what kind of project you did or didn't find it helpful for and why.

I'm providing this because DNA is so new, there aren't as many organizing "templates." Keep in mind, this is a quick reference, not a data tracking form. I don't plan to add more columns to this form, it is as wide as I can comfortably use it in Evernote. To me, that indicates anything more needs to be kept somewhere else.

I do use some highlighting to alert myself to tests of interest. You can also create links to other Evernote notes, web pages, or even documents. Don't try and keep track of all your matches in one form! This is for a specific project and should be a relatively small group of matches.

Let me know what kind of project this worked for or didn't work for and why. You can also share your modifications (still include why) so others can learn from what worked for you.