Terry's ORA Tips

Using Online Repository Assistant to Aid Your Research

This page updated 10 Feb 2024


John Cardinal, creator of several companion programs to facilitate genealogical research and publication, has written some amazing software to assist anyone who uses online services to for genealogical research. It's called Online Repository Assistant, or ORA, and you can read all about it on John's website. It is a "browser extension" which when added to your favorite browser adds new features as you browse your favorite genealogical services.

While many of the topics on my website are limited to The Master Genealogist, ORA can be used with any genealogy program, and even with other types of programs. Some of the examples in the Auto Type page mention issues specific to TMG, but the rest of this section applies to users of all genealogy programs.

ORA StatusORA provides two separate functions when viewing a page for a genealogical service. One allows the user to record the status of any item displayed by the service so you can see instantly that you have seen it before and used it, plan to use it but haven't, found it might be useful, or rejected it. The illustration on the right shows a portion of a list of suggested records from Ancestry.com in which several of the suggestions have been marked with various status symbols.

Some early users have said this feature alone make ORA worthwhile for them. But I think the second feature will be even more useful to most users.

ORA Control PanelORA collects the information found in the page – names, dates, places, etc. – and presents it and an easy-to-use format. This illustration on the left shows the ORA OraPanel, where the collected information is displayed, as found on a WWI Draft Registration record on Ancestry.com. The data collected can then be transferred to your genealogy program or another program in four ways:

In the articles listed below I describe in more detail some of the features of ORA and some techniques I have found useful. The articles range from general information suitable for beginning users to fairly obscure techniques of interest only to more advanced users.

General Information
Understanding and using ORA
ORA Basics - An overview of installing and using ORA
Basic Tips & Tricks - A few tips on how to use ORA's basic functions
Template Basics - Understanding how Templates are used  
Transforms - Some tools to transform the data items collected into your preferred format  new 10 Feb 2024 
Enhanced Ways to Copy Data
Customizing ORA to copy data as you prefer
Intermediate Template Methods - Some more complex Templates to format the data as you prefer  new 10 Feb 2024 
Template Tips & Tricks - Some ideas for getting the most out of ORA Templates   
Auto Type Templates - Having ORA enter the data into your genealogy program itself   
Clipboard & Memory Buttons - Copying all data items for Analysis
Using ORA with Census Records - A method for using ORA Templates for census records 
Template Examples - Examples of Templates using the methods described in other articles  new 9 Feb 2024 
Advanced Techniques
Some advanced techniques I've found useful
Using Regular Expressions in ORA - capturing the power of Regular Expressions new 10 Feb 2024
Advanced Template Methods - methods useful in constructing more complex Templates


You can also use the Search function to locate topics of interest.

If you need help in finding the best way to apply the ORA to your application and preferences I would suggest subscribing to John Cardinal's ORA support list, where John and other users are always ready to provide help. And don't forget to consult John Cardinal's very helpful and comprehensive ORA website.

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