Some people eat, sleep and chew gum, I do genealogy and write...

Friday, May 31, 2019

Getting the Rest of the Gold out of the Google Goldmine for Genealogists Part Seven
  • Google Help
  • Google Search
  • Google Newspapers Archive
  • Google Drive
  • Google Docs including Sheets, Slides, Forms, Draw and more
  • Google Keep
  • Google Trips
  • Chrome Web Store
  • Chrome Extensions
Overwhelming is a word that applies to most of my interaction with the internet. I am always finding more resources and spending time learning about new programs and new websites. If you have an Apple device, you are probably familiar with the Apple App Store with its about 1.8 million apps. If you are an Android user, you are likely familiar with Google Play and its more than 2.1 million apps. Of course, some apps work on both formats and so the numbers actually overlap but there are still millions of options. It is inconceivable that anyone could know about even a measurable percentage of all these possible apps. Of course, as genealogists, we can skip over games and a lot of other categories, but that still leaves a huge number of options. 

OK, So I decided to ignore both app stores and focus on Chrome extensions from the Chrome Web Store.  However, you should also know that the Chrome Web Store has themes for Chrome. Oh, but you don't use Chrome. Well, that puts you into a rather small minority. Chrome usage continues to increase and the latest statistics at the time of this post showed Chrome with 62.8% of the total world market for browsers with Safari as a distant second with 15.83% and with Firefox at 4.86% and the rest below 4%. See "Browser Market Share Worldwide." You will get different numbers from different websites but the ranking is about the same. 

You may simply use the browser that came with your computer. So, if you bought a PC computer recently, you might be using Microsoft Edge and if you bought an Apple computer, you may be using Safari, but the issue goes not just to the browser, but also to the search engine. Over the past few years, I have been consistently comparing search engines using some common genealogical searches. Google's search engine was and is so much better than any of the others that there was really no contest. 

Yes, there are some Safari extensions, but the ones I find most useful for genealogy are primarily and exclusively for Chrome. The useful extensions are one reason to consider Chrome and why it is so widely used. 

Here are a few of the extensions I use frequently for purposes related to genealogy. I am ranking them in the order that I use them. 

#1 Zotero

Zotero is a free stand-alone, open source project that helps you collect, organize, cite, and share research. It is most valuable to me because it works as a Chrome extension. With this extension and the program on my computer, I can create bibliographies, annotate documents and organize my own book collection. You need to investigate this product if you have anything to do with research or writing. Here is the link:

I have a love/hate relationship with Grammarly. It works as a Chrome extension, but also works with other software products. It has a free component but also has a subscription component. I like it because it corrects my grammar sort of. It is most useful in making my use of comas consistent. I dislike it because it is so limited in its word structure that it gives error messages when the grammar is perfectly acceptable. It is also a good spelling checker. The worst conflict comes from my use of collective nouns and their interaction with number. (In the preceding sentence, the word "number" is used as a collective noun referring to the concept of "number" i.e. singular, plural etc. I could make the error message go away by changing my wording, but I usually just ignore the error message.) But all in all, it is helpful. 

Whenever I think my computer has slowed down, I run a speed test to see if I am just getting anxious or if there is really a problem. Mostly it is anxiety. 

I agree, I am getting a lit bit far out of the idea of genealogy, but I save my blog posts to my genealogy album on Pinterest. 

Technically a browser app which is different than an extension, but it works just the same. It loads into your browser and captures citations from different websites. RecordSeek automatically creates an MLA format source citation for you, so you get the benefit of an official citation, without the frustration. If you aren't using this extension, you should be. 

I suggest you look around and see if there are any extensions you might like. You never know until you look. 

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