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  • Writer's pictureDevon Noel Lee

The Best Genealogy Research Log Tool Ever!

Many genealogists swear by genealogy research logs. Others dislike them intensely. What options are available for the second group to be less frustrated by them?

Goldie May has a solution for online genealogists that I believe you will like.

How is a Goldie May Research Log Different?

Goldie May has a semi-automatic and automatic research log function that can help to track your searches on ANY genealogy website you visit and any collection on that page.

Any tool that can save us time by working with our natural workflow, then I will fully support. Next to handwriting recognition software, I think this tool is revolutionary.

This Goldie May tool has nearly every tool available for free. However, to capture page citations automatically, then you need to upgrade to the Pro account.

Be advised that the Pro account also has access to the Subway Map feature, which helps you clean up your FamilySearch family tree. So it is worth considering adding to your genealogy budget.

Set Up a Goldie May Research Log

Before creating a Goldie May research log, you need to add a Google Chrome Extension to your account.

At the moment, Chrome and Chrome-based browsers are the only options.

Add this Google Chrome Extension to your browser toolbox

  • Check out this direct link to the Goldie May Chrome Extension.

  • "Add to Chrome" Button.

  • In the pop-up window, confirm you want to "Add extension."

  • Navigate to the FamilySearch website and sign in.

  • In the top bar of your Chrome browser, click the extension icon. It looks like a puzzle piece.

  • Click the Goldie May option to open the window.

The Goldie May window will pop up.

  • If you're already signed in, you'll see the tools ready to go.

  • Otherwise, you'll see a log-in screen.

To start using the research log functions, you need to:

  • Start from a FamilySearch Person Profile in one window.

  • Have the Goldie May Extension open in another window. (See steps above.)

  • From the drop-down menu or from the extension home page, select "Projects."

    • Research logs are best associated with a project for future filtering.

  • Click "+ New Project."

  • Give the Project a Name

    • This could be a research question. Who did Clara Drysdale marry, and when?

    • This could be a quick reference. Clara Drysdale Research.

  • Click "Save"

  • Add a description (or the research question)

  • Click "Save"

  • Click on the FamilySearch Person ID number

    • For instance, the L61H-PQ4 code beside Clara Drysdale’s name.

    • Click on the "Copy ID" pop-up link to copy the ID to your clipboard.

  • In the Goldie May extension, click “Add FamilySearch person to project."

  • Paste the FamilySearch PID from your clipboard into the field.

  • Click "Save"

Goldie May will display vital info for the person and show quick links to relatives and locality research options. If you wish, you can add more than one person to a project for quick access during your research.

Begin Logging Your Online Research

Goldie May offers you two ways to track your research – automatic and semi-automatic logging.

To turn on the automatic logging feature,

  • Click on "Research Log."

  • Toggle on the "Automatic Logging."

  • Research in the window that began from a FamilySearch webpage.

Notice the logging will record any page AFTER you turn on “Automatic Logging”. So, if you have tabs opened before you remember to turn it on, you have two options:

  • “Log Page”

  • Refresh open tabs.

  • Or take a screenshot of a portion of said window.

With auto logging on, Goldie May will track every page you visit, including FamilySearch, the Bureau of Land Management, the National Archives, the Ohio Memory Project, Findmypast, WikiTree, Ancestry, and more. Goldie May will generate a research log entry for every page.

Be aware that while auto-logging if you check your email, attend a zoom meeting, or watch a genealogy video on YouTube, those entries will be added to your research log.

While you can delete anything that shouldn't be in your research log, you might want to try both the auto-logging and the semi-automatic feature to decide which works best for you. Personally, I'd rather delete a log entry than neglect to capture an online source that has my ancestor's information.

To access the semi-automatic feature, do your research in the main window. When you are ready to log an unsuccessful or successful search,

  • Click on "Research Log."

  • Click on the “Log Page” button.

Goldie May will then create a research log entry for the page shown in your research window.

The “Log Page” feature is particularly handy when browsing through images. Perhaps you believe your ancestor is in a collection, but you must advance through hundreds of images to find them.

You likely do not want to log entries for each non-relevant page. Therefore, log only the specific pages you need by clicking the “Log Page” button.

How will Goldie May log a page I have visited before?

If you attempt to log a page already in a project, Goldie May will bring the page to the top of your Research Log list with all the activities you did before. That way, you reduce duplicate entries in your log.

Hover over the 'time' near a logged entry to see when you visited (or how frequently) that page with auto logging on.

Customizing a Logged Entry

After creating a log entry, you can edit it or add additional details.

  • You can change the title.

  • You can click the hyperlink to reopen the browser to that specific entry.

  • Heart – use this to remind yourself of successful searches.

  • Thumbs Down – use this to remind yourself of negative searches – searches that could/should have been in the record collection but were not found.

  • You can add an abstract – this field is primarily for the key points that you found on the record. Save full transcriptions to your genealogy database or family tree.

  • You can add comments – This field is useful for analyzing the data in the source.

    • For free accounts, use the comments for copying & pasting notes and source citations.

  • Citations – Goldie May will strive to automatically gather citations for the pages you visit.

    • Not every page makes that easy, so you might have to edit this field.

    • For those pages without the proper information, you can copy & paste it into the field.

    • Pro Tip: You have to be an individual record or image on Family Search and Ancestry for the citations to work.

  • Create a screenshot – this option will add images to your log.

    • Right-click on a browser window with your mouse.

    • You'll see a screenshot prompt.

    • Place crosshairs at the place where you want to start your screenshot.

    • Hold down your left mouse button and drag to the rest of the image you want to capture.

    • When you release, Goldie May will capture that screen.

What happens when you find collections or websites you want to explore but don't want to add to your research log?

  • Right-click on the hyperlink in the main browser window.

  • Click "Add this Page to tasks.”

  • The reference collection or website will appear in your tasks list to explore later.

This method is great for card catalog items to remind you what you want to research. Without it showing up on your Research Log that researched it.

↪️ Want more genealogy research tips and tools? Check out our FREE Research Guides.

Free Family History Guides

Search or Filter Your Research Log

In time, you may want to search your research log for specific collections, genealogy websites, and more. Goldie May makes it possible with the Research Log search box.

Simply key in a term such as:

  • Ancestry

  • Gmail

  • Find A Grave

Goldie May will filter your results to entries with this information in the [title, description]. Goldie May also allows you to filter based on other characteristics such as “is:liked” or “has:screenshot”. You’ll see all available search operators when you click into the search box to begin searching.

Research Log On The Go

With Goldie May, because it's cloud-based, you can use the family history center or other archive and library computers and open the Goldie May extension from Google Chrome on the library computers. When you log out of the computers, your work is ready for you when you get home.

Export the Research Log

While Goldie May’s virtual research log can migrate across our computers, you may want to print out a research log or include it in a research project.

The best way to do this is to export the research log into a file format that a spreadsheet can read.

  • Scroll to the bottom of a research log.

  • Click on “export log as CSV or TSV.”

  • Your computer will open a “Save as window.”

    • This file will not save any images to your computer as part of the Goldie May research log.

    • Whether to CSV or TSV will depend on what your spreadsheet will accept. Try both.

  • Open the downloaded file in a spreadsheet program such as MS Excel, Google Sheets, OpenOffice Calculator, or Apple Pages.

  • You can then format and adjust the spreadsheet to meet your needs.

In short, the ability to export your research log and modify it in a spreadsheet program means that you do not necessarily need to keep your research log in Goldie May, but you can generate the initial log.

The Revolutionized Research Log

As you may remember, I'm not a fan of research logs because you do not create them in the natural and efficient flow of research. With the Goldie May Free Research Log tool, I am changing my tune. Anything that speeds up the recording of our research process, I can fully support.

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