How to Research Like a Pro with Goldie May
Have you ever wished an automated research log could track all the websites you visit during a research session? Me too. I’m excited to introduce Richard Miller, the developer of Goldie May. This new app helps you keep a research log and offers research assistance. We asked Richard to tell us how his app can help us Research Like a Pro. Here’s his guest blog post. Enjoy!
p.s. I’m updating this to add that right now, Goldie May only offers research guidance for U.S. research. Richard plans to add more countries soon.
Goldie May is a new genealogy app we launched at RootsTech last month to help you with your genealogy research. Goldie May provides research assistance, helps you stay organized, and creates an automatic research log of all your research.
If you know or want to learn Diana and Nicole’s Research Like a Pro process, here’s how Goldie May can help.
How to install Goldie May
Goldie May is a Chrome extension and cloud service. Here’s how to install it:
1. Open the Chrome browser on your computer. If you don’t already have it, you can download it from https://www.google.com/chrome/.
2. Visit www.goldiemay.com.
3. Click “Install Goldie May for Free”, which will take you to the Chrome Web Store.
4. Click “Add to Chrome”.
5. Click the black “g” icon in the top right of your Chrome browser to launch Goldie May.
6. Sign into Goldie May with your FamilySearch account.
Create an objective
With Goldie May installed and open, you’re ready to get started. Goldie May currently requires your research to begin from the FamilySearch tree. (In the future there will be other options.) Sign into FamilySearch on the left and choose someone from your tree to research.
After browsing to a person on FamilySearch, you’ll see that Goldie May offers possible research objectives for this person, or you can write your own.
I chose Leonard J. Wilson, and I’ll create a new objective to figure out his exact death date. I’m using Leonard’s first name, not his full name nor any details, because Goldie May automatically connects this objective to the person and remembers all the details.
After creating an objective, I see a list of tasks to help me in my research.
The first task you see is “Check the Timeline for clues.” You can click the gold link to open the FamilySearch Timeline for that person. Get familiar with the events surrounding the person’s life. You may also want to check the existing Sources for clues or gaps.
Goldie May also helps with Locality Research. For birth or death places in the U.S., you’ll see a task to learn about those locations on the FamilySearch Research Wiki, a great place to learn about localities. There are also links to The Family History Guide and other helpful places. (In the future, we’ll support other countries.)
Because I’m looking for a death record, I’ll open the FamilySearch Wiki page for Madison County, Iowa, and learn whether civil death records were kept at the time of Leonard’s death.
Goldie May offers a task list where you can create tasks for everywhere you want to search.
The task list is pre-populated with tasks to search each U.S. census during your ancestor’s lifetime. (In the future, we’ll work with more collections, including from other countries.) You’ll also see the estimated age of your ancestor at the time of each census, and a little commentary for each census.
Leonard would have been a newborn (0 years old) at the time of the 1830 census, and the 1830 census only lists the heads of households, so I’m not going to find Leonard by name in the 1830 census.
Because I want to know about the end of Leonard’s life, I’ll click the gold link to open the 1920 U.S. Census. Leonard should have been 90 years old then.
After opening a search page, you can refer back to Goldie May for details about your ancestor.
What was Leonard’s birth year again? I’ll click the chevron button at the top of Goldie May to get information about Leonard and type it into the search form.
The first result looks like a match. Because I searched only in the 1920 census — not all collections — it was easier to find the person I was looking for. I searched for my needle in a much smaller haystack.
In addition to the tasks provided by Goldie May, I’m going to add a task to check BillionGraves for a headstone.
While you’re researching, Goldie May records and saves every website you visit! You’ll find this log under the “Research Log” tab. Though we had to begin our research from the FamilySearch tree, Goldie May logs Ancestry, Findmypast, MyHeritage, Google, and everything else! To turn off logging, you can use the toggle switch under the Research Log tab, or fully close Goldie May by clicking the tiny “g” icon again. If you accidentally logged something you didn’t want to, you can delete it from the log. You can “heart” the items that are helpful or put a “frownie face” next to the items that were not helpful, including negative results.
You can write a comment on anything in your research log. This can be a great place to copy and paste a source citation. I’ll copy and paste the source citation for Leonard from FamilySearch to my research log.
Even if you’re not a professional genealogist writing a client report, you may find it helpful to write your thoughts as you go. This helps you process and understand what you’re finding. It will also help you remember what you’ve found when you return to it in the future. If you’re a professional, you can copy and paste these notes into your formal report.
The last thing you may want to know is that Goldie May has a screenshot feature. Right-click the tiny “g” icon and choose “Take a screenshot”. Your mouse cursor will become cross hairs. Now you can click and drag a box around something you want to save, like a clipping about the locality, or some portion of an original image.
When you’re done working on this objective, click the “< Back” button to exit the objective. All of your objectives, tasks, and logs are saved in the cloud. You can login to Goldie May from another computer, like at a family history center or library, to continue your research. You’ll know exactly where you left off.
Goldie May is a free tool to assist you in the research process. In the future, we’ll offer additional paid features. If you have any comments or feedback, please email me at richard at goldiemay.com. We’d love to hear from you!