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My todo-list includes answering some emails. I want to include a reference to the email that allows me to quickly find the email to answer in my Thunderbird inbox.

The name of the sender or the subject of the email is a solution when these are unique: I include the subject in the todo-list and when I effectively want to answer the email I copy the subject from the todo-list and paste it into the quick search field of Thunderbird. Among the few hits it's quick to find the one. This is not feasible for senders with lots of "no subject" emails.

A workaround: I can include a characteristic part of the email text. And when looking up the email do a search enabling email "body" search. This is, however, terribly slow.

Is there a quick and easy solution to look up a given email in Thunderbird?

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You could and should use Message-ID field in the header. To be able to find it easy just customize your search.

Go to Edit -> Find -> Search Messages. From the search field select the last option "Customize ...", in the text box of the new apperead Window write Message-ID and click Add and then OK ( tested in Thunderbird 11.0.1).

Now you have a new field to search by, select it write your ID in the search field and Voilà.

I do this to connect a "TODO" list with an email. The search is reliable and faster than "From+Subject".

I just wish I could add this to "Quick search...".

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The ThunderLink plugin provides a custom thunderlink://messageid=... protocol handler. With the plugin, you can put such a URI of the current email to the clipboard, and use that in TODO lists, web links, etc., and a click / invocation of that link will immediately get you back to the email in Thunderbird!

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Message-ID should help you. When you put the Message-ID in the search field, it will find the mail, and only that one (provided you did not store duplicates).

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I tried it and the search did not find the mail. Are you sure that "body" search searches in the header as well? – user73573 May 20 '11 at 9:10
Message-ID is part of the message header. Searching for it in the body will give no results. You have to either search whole messages or headers only. – Florenz Kley Jun 15 '11 at 8:48
@Florenz Kley, You can search directly by Message-ID by adding a custom search field, see my answer. – Radu Maris Aug 14 '12 at 12:52

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