Using Asana in Genealogy

We know from experience that having our own genealogy site dramatically enhances the number of contacts we receive from cousins with the same ancestry.asana_logo 

Many of those contacts turn into team members on cousins teams that collaboratively work to trace our common lineage. 

Our sites offer a common repository to display our research successes as well as our brickwalls in the hope that our work is helping other cousins avoid plowing the same research fields over and over as well as advertising the fact that we don’t have all the answers and need help.

I’ve written about TNG, the software I use for my site in the past.  I’m in the process of creating a new site that will include a number of different engines all in a WordPress wrapper.  The process of developing a site isn’t exciting to most folks, but the project management tool I’m using to document the related tasks should interest them because it can be used on our genealogy research for personal projects as well as collaborative projects.

Asana is a cloud-based free app for non-commercial use for individuals and groups of up to 30 participants.  It is simple yet extremely effective to use to detail plans, tasks, schedules and results.  In a few words, I love it!

Let’s look at the the simple task flow to create a new genealogy website I created in Asana.



There are only two main tasks in the project.  Build a new genealogy website and secure a domain name for it.  The rest of the items are subtasks.

Each subtask has been assigned to me in this project.  I a team project they would be assigned to whomever is going to work on them.




Due dates, subtasks, file attachments and an activity feed are also part of each task and subtask.  Assigning a task to a team member automatically sends them an email noting the assignment, a little about it and a direct link to it in the Asana workspace.

You can add as little or as much text to the description of the task as you want.  In this case, I’ve simply added the address of a plugin that I’ll need.  The space could have been filled with a full set of project notes or subset of them, or it could have been simple notes of instruction in a chatty format to a friend.

Asana will generate a reminder note on the day the task is due if you want it.  It allows you to set priorities on the task, Today, Upcoming or Later in addition to the due date.   Tags can be added to help you search for tasks on larger projects. 

Team members can follow tasks even if they don’t have part of that assignment.  It their assignments are dependent on the completion of tasks by others, they’ll can follow along and watch the progress, read any notes about the progress, issues or changes in the schedule.

In larger projects, many subtasks have subtasks of their own.  A simple click in the task or subtask creates them for you to populate with details, dates and priorities.

if you need to attach a file to the task, simply click on the Attach a File link on each task.  If a thumbnail can be generated from the file, it will appear along with the link to the file. 

All activities on the task are automatically captured in the Activity Feed  section.   The task frame ends with a Comments section.




The main panel lets you sort tasks by your Priority, Projects and Due Date.  I usually sort by date.   Any tasks that have to be completed that day are at the top of the list.  If I finish them, then I can work on the Upcoming tasks, etc.

Because Asana functions as a work organizer, you want it to receive emails as well as the ability to upload files.   Well, it does.   You can forward or send any project related email directly to the project in Asana and it will show up in your project in basket.   The email address is     x+(the project number in the address bar)    The text in the email will arrive intact but file attachments and embedded images will be filtered out.

Speaking of filtering, you can filter your task lists by project names, task names, and tag names. 

The list of projects, tags and people are available in the left panel for everything in each of your workspaces.

Asana offers fairly granular control on what emails you opt to receive and you can add additional email addresses to send the mail from each workspace to.

Links to training videos and keyboard shortcuts grace the bottom of the page.

if you are giving a talk, making a presentation, organizing a breakout session, you need to use Asana.  If you are organizing any genealogy research project, personal or as a group, you need Asana.

Give Asana a try.  I’m confident you’ll thank me for introducing you to Asana right from day one..

Copyright (c) Lee Drew 2013-01-21 07:00:00
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About lineagekeeper

Family history research is a favored avenue of relaxation. It is a Sherlock-like activity that can continue almost anywhere at any time. By leveraging a lifetime involvement in technology, my research efforts have resulted in terabytes of ancestral data, earning me the moniker of Lineagekeeper. And yes - We are all related to Royalty.