Tuesday, June 4, 2013

RootsSearch Chrome Extension

During a computer user group meeting, my friend Cathy Vance pointed out a new RootsSearch Chrome extension. Extensions (also called add-ons) are tiny applications that you can add to a browser to do a specific task. For example, you can add an extension that is a stock market ticker that opens and runs each time you open your browser.

How does RootsSearch work?

After setting up RootsSearch, when I open one of the programs covered by the extension and display a record, I see a new icon in the address bar of the webpage. For example, when I open Find A Grave and display any memorial, I see the RootsSearch icon in the address bar of the webpage.

I can click the icon to open the RootsSearch pop-up.
The Extension copies the information from Find A Grave 
to fields in the pop-up.

Using the pop-up, I can add more detail and click a button to search an additional website based on the search criteria in the RootsSearch pop-up.

So, with the Find A Grave memorial displaying, I can click the RootsSearch icon, select the FamilySearch button in the pop-up, and have the search results appear in a new tab in my Chrome browser. In addition, the Find A Grave memorial is still displaying on another tab.

To continue, I select a record in the FamilySearch results and the icon appears again in the address bar again. Note that the RootsSearch icon appears only when I have an individual record displaying. I can click the icon and continue using the pop-up to search across additional websites with each set of search results opening in a new tab.

What do you need to make this magic happen?

You need to add the Google Chrome browser to your system, and then you need to add the extension.
  • Click here to display the Chrome download page and download the browser.
    Note: I suggest that everybody have multiple browsers on their system. At the very least, I suggest Internet Explorer with a Hotmail account so that you can use all things Microsoft and Chrome with a Gmail account so that you can use all things Google. I also happen to have Firefox on my laptop because it on occasion offers better functionality. 
  • Add the extension.
To add the extension:
  1. Click the Chrome Customize button to display a menu, and then select Tools, Extension. The Extensions page opens.

  2. Scroll to the bottom of the page and click the link Get more extensions. The Chrome Web Store page opens.
  3. In the Search the Store field, type RootsSearch and press your Enter key. The extension displays.

  4. Click the Add to Chrome button. A confirmation message opens. 
  5. Click Add. Another confirmation message opens. The extension is available for use.
Getting into the swing of using the RootsSearch pop-up takes a bit of practice. However, I’m finding it to be a convenience that I frequently use. So, if you’re a genealogist who is looking to make your online life a bit more efficient, you might want to look at Chrome and this extension to see how it might work for you.

Thank you Cathy for pointing out this useful tidbit.

P.S. Something to make you laugh...I copied lots of this text from a formatted Word document, which makes Blogger just nuts. So, if you think you noticed changing fonts, it's not your eyes...it's me...fighting formatting in Blogger!

P.P.S. I used crgalvin's suggestion in the comments below to fix the formatting. Works like a charm! Thanks again cr!


  1. In Blogger highlight the incorrectly formatted text then use the Tx symbol in formatting bar to remove all formatting. Alternatively use the HTML editor to get rid of Word formatting

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. Thanks crgalvin for the hint! As good as I can be with MS Word, I still struggle a bit with Blogger. So I appreciate any help someone is willing to send my way.