1. Before attempting to use ORA, you must purchase a license.


  2. Install the OraHost program

    For detailed instructions, see the Installation Instructions. Summary:

    • Download the OraHost installer

      Run the installer after you download it. Your browser may warn you that it is not "commonly downloaded".

    • The installer will automatically launch the OraRegister program.

      Have your license information ready.

  3. Install OraExtension.

    For detailed instructions, see the Installation Instructions.

  4. Visit one of the supported repositories.


ORA includes the following components:

  • OraExtension

    This is a browser extension that creates the ORA Control Panel, adds status icons to links, and makes other changes to pages on repository sites you visit. It also creates the OraSettings page.

  • OraHost

    This is a program the browser starts when you open the browser. It does not have a main window and is usually not visible. It provides services to OraExtension. This includes sending text to other programs as part of the Auto Type feature, and exporting and importing settings. When importing and exporting, OraHost is briefly visible via its OraPrompt subcomponent when it shows Open File and Save File dialog windows.

    OraHost includes two subcomponents, OraRegister and OraPrompt.

    OraRegister runs after you install OraHost. It registers the software. This includes storing your license information and configuring your system so that browsers can find OraHost.

    OraHost starts OraPrompt when OraHost needs information from you, such as the name of a file on your PC. OraHost is a background application that is started by your browser and it cannot open any windows directly. It uses OraPrompt to interact with you when the information it needs is not provided via OraExtension.

Control Panel

See the Introduction to ORA slideshow for detailed information about using the ORA Control Panel.

ORA Control Panel on Record


The icon in the upper-left will refresh the ORA Control Panel. If the page contents change and ORA does not detect it, you an use the refresh icon to force ORA to reprocess the page.

Some pages load content after the page is initially displayed. When using the Generic Service for web pages that are not part of a supported repository, you may have to press the Refresh icon to trigger ORA to update the Control Panel and load data that was added to the page after ORA created the initial version of the Control Panel.

Repository Help

The title bar of the Control Panel includes a link to the ORA help page for the current repository. The help page includes repository-specific information that will help you use ORA effectively with that repository.

Moving the Control Panel

To move the Control Panel, click on its title bar, hold the mouse button down, and drag the Control Panel to a new location. Do not click on the icons or the link to the current repository.


The icon in the upper-right will expand or collapse the ORA Control Panel. Clicking the icon toggles between collapsing the Control Panel to show only its title bar and expanding the Control Panel to show its full contents.


The numbered buttons in the Auto Type section near the top of the Control Panel initiate data transfer to your genealogy application. See the Auto Type help page for more information.


The Clipboard controls copy the current record's fields to the clipboard.

Copy the current record to the clipboard. Each field gets a row with two cells, label and value.
Copy the current record to the clipboard. Each field gets a column with two cells, label and value.


With the Memory controls, you can copy the fields from multiple records and then paste them with one paste command. ORA uses the field labels to align data in rows and columns.

Add a record to memory. Each record you add will be included in the set copied by one of the Memory copy buttons.
Copy all the records in memory to the clipboard. Each record gets a column, and each field value gets a row.
Copy all the records in memory to the clipboard. Each record gets a row, and each field value gets a column.
Clears all records from memory.

Data Fields

Record Status

ORA helps you stay organized when reviewing search results. Using the Record Status feature, you assign a status to any record you have processed or intend to process. ORA supports these record status values: Unassigned, Accepted / Entered, Pending, Questionable, and Rejected.

After assigning status to some records, your search results will include icons to indicate the status values you assigned:

Record Status Icons in Ancestry Search Results

You do not have to assign a status to every record you see, and you shouldn't. When its obvious that a record does not apply to your research, ignore the record. However, when reviewing search results and processing records:

  • If you process a record and use it to update a record in your database, assign the Accepted / Entered status, represented by a checkmark.
  • If you see a record that applies to your research, but you do not want to process it at that moment, assign the Pending status, represented by a "P".
  • If you see a record that might apply to your research, but you do not want to investigate the record or person at that moment, assign the Questionable / Might Apply status, represented by a question mark.
  • If you see a record that does not apply to your research, but appears promising enough that you may be fooled into re-investigating the record in the future, assign the Rejected status, represented by the "No" symbol.

You can use the [Show Pending Records] and [Show Questionable Records] buttons on the OraSettings page to open a list of those records and quickly return to one of them to resume your processing or deliberation.


See the OraSettings help page.

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