Organize Your Genealogy

How To Organize Bookmarks in Chrome For Genealogy Research

Streamline your genealogy research by learning how to organize bookmarks in chrome! Tips to make you a more efficient genealogy researcher.

Organizing our genealogy research seems to have been a popular topic on researchers minds lately.  It’s been on mine, too, but I’m an organizing junkie. [I know, that’s weird!]

Anyhoo….. have you considered your bookmarks on your computer?

I used to have a bad habit of bookmarking a website and just saving all my bookmarks in the general bookmark folder on my Google toolbar.

Could I ever find  – or remember – what I had bookmarked? Of course not!

So, I fixed that little problem and streamlined my genealogy research in the process. 

At this point, I should back up and tell you I use Google’s chrome browser. I will be showing you how I organize my bookmarks in chrome, but if you use a different browser such as Microsoft Edge, remember the concept is the same. The individual steps will be different, but the overall concept is the same, so keep reading!

Let’s get organizing.

Picture of laptop with Google home screen. White text on tan background reading Google Chrome Organize Your Genealogy Bookmarks

Organizing Google Chrome Bookmarks For Genealogy Research

You are researching away and come across a website  you want to save and return to at a later date.  Time for a bookmark!

How To Bookmark a Website

Saving or bookmarking a site to return in the future is simple and quick in Google Chrome. In the example below, I will bookmark 

Screenshot of with red arrow pointing to Google Chrome bookmark

See that little star to the right of the website address?  Just click it!  The website – in this case, – will be bookmarked. 

You can imagine if you do this too many times, you will end up with a long list of bookmarks on every topic you are interested in.  Sorting through a long list of bookmarks is more cumbersome and time consuming than typing in the address or performing a Google search.

How To Create and Organize Your Bookmarks Into Folders

Let’s organize those bookmarks into folders. We’ll take things one step further by putting the folders and bookmarks you use most often in the bookmark bar. Here is what my bookmark bar looks like:

Example of Google Chrome bookmark bar.

You will notice the the bookmark folders  I use most often include:

  • NC Genealogy Resources – As a North Carolina researcher, I bookmarked many of the sites I regularly use.
  • Updated Genealogy Collections – Links to the “new” records on FamilySearch, Ancestry, FindMyPast and MyHeritage. I check these sites monthly for potential new sources to research.
  • AYMC [Are You My Cousin?] – Everything related to running the “Are You My Cousin?” website and YouTube Channel.
  • Personal Research – Quick access to research notes and sites for my own family lines. I have sub-folders  here for my different family lines which we will take a look at later.
  • Blogs & YouTube Channels I Follow – Quick links to the blogs and Youtube channels I follow.
  • Genealogy Databases – Links to the genealogy databases (large and small) I use regularly.

There is nothing magical about these folders, so do not feel you need to create the same ones I do. Types of bookmark folders you might want to use include:

  • Research Location Based Sites 
  • Family Lines You Research
  • Blogs You Follow – Don’t forget to bookmark Are You My Cousin? [shameless plug! 😊]
  • Research Databases – Include those smaller ones specific to your own genealogy research.
  • Your Other Non-Genealogy Interests – Recipes, travel, crafts, etc.

To save a website to a new folder in your bookmark bar, hover the cursor over the bookmark bar and right-click. From the drop-down, click “Add folder”.

Screenshot of adding FindMyPast to Google Chrome Bookmarks

Keep the default name of the website or you can edit the name of the bookmark. In this case, I am using the default name “FindMyPast” of the website I wish to bookmark.  Next, Click “New folder” in the bottom left hand corner of the drop-down.

Adding a new folder in google chrome bookmarks

Name the new folder.  In this example, I named my new folder “Immigrant Research”.  Click “Save”.

New genealogy bookmark folders in Google chrome

You are all done.  Now when you look at my bookmark bar you see that my new folder “Immigrant Research” has been added.

New bookmark folder

Clicking on the new folder, we see my bookmark to FindMyPast has been added. 

New website saved to google bookmark bar

As I come across other websites pertinent to my immigrant research, I can quickly add them to my folder.

Another Way to Utilize Your Google Chrome Bookmarks

I am a fan of Google Drive and use it to organize and file my genealogy research notes and records in a nesting file folder system.  I bookmark the web address of the main family line folder. This gives me quick access to my research without having to click through the entire folder hierarchy.

Family Lines folders linking to Google Drive

In the example above, you can see I have sub-folders for family lines under my “Personal Research” bookmark folder. Clicking on the Solomon folder leads to the link to my Solomon family research. This will work the same regardless of which cloud storage you choose to use. 

Note: If you research the Samuel Solomon family of Salem, MA, let me know! We need to compare notes.

Now It’s Your Turn

Experiment setting up your own bookmark folders and sub-folders. You may find setting up your bookmarks the way I set mine up works well for you.  If so, that’s great! If not, change the folders and names to fit your own needs.  You will find your own personal bookmark system of folders and how you label them will evolve over time. That’s perfectly fine. 

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  • Carmel

    I like to read your articles but find the number of advertisements very frustrating. This article was interrupted by 10 advertisements.

  • RonNasty64

    I have struggled with bookmarks for years. I’ve tried saving them with Google, Chrome, Firexfox, Internet Exploder, and Safari. I needed a better way than locking these links within a specific browser and find a way to share them across browsers and computers. I started using about 2 months ago and I love it. You can add/remove/update bookmarks quickly and easily. I can go from home to work to to on the go and my bookmarks are readily available. I can’t believe I’ve struggled with bookmarks for so long, but no more.

    I don’t have a lot of Genealogy links (yet), but I have them grouped into one dashboard separated into different categories: Family Tree sites, Public Archives, Blogs (including Are You My Cousin), Newspapers, Local sources, UK sources, Online Learning and my Google files.

    All hail!

  • William Seward

    Guilty as charged! I do use the bookmarks in my browser, mostly Firefox. And yes I usually fail to categorize them. My failsafe has been to bookmark in Evernote. I already set up lots of folders in Evernote and an add-on in Firefox makes it easy to clip articles and such. Totally easy to make a bookmark and file it where I want it.

    • LisaL

      Evernote is a good option, too! For some reason, I’ve never really gotten into using Evernote – it’s a great system and I know many who use it. It just never seemed to fit me.

  • Ron Courtney

    Lisa, thanks so much for the great tips. I have bookmarked many items over the years and had never thought about or realized the ability to create folders and subfolders. I just went through all of my bookmarks and put them in categories. Most pertain to genealogy and there I created several subfolders as you suggested. I have others such as Health Issues, Travel, Outdoor Equipment, Fun & Leisure, Food & Recipes, etc.

    Not only did I organize all of my bookmarks but I also deleted several so your tips were a big help. I don’t think I needed the 2018 federal income tax instructions anymore!

    I didn’t really understand your use of Google Drive to organize your research notes. Like a previous commenter, I use Evernote for a lot of genealogy notes but am probably not using that tool as effectively as I could.

    Thanks again for helping me to improve my organizational system. My ADHD mind can use all the help it can get!

  • nancy

    I use bookmarks as described, but the bookmark ghost seems to change, mainly replicate, my bookmarks. Complete sets of bookmarks seem to just show up. There are two and three of each bookmark. I’ve done all the google troubleshooting techniques, to no avail. I need to get the bookmarks set up as I want them and then make a backup. Before adding a new bookmark, I restore the backup, add the new bookmark and make a new backup. Does anyone else have this problem or know how to correct it?

    • LisaL

      Hmmm…what an unusual problem. I’m not aware of that issue, but I’ll ask the group and see if anyone else has.

  • Mike Mac Kenna

    Interesting and helpful article, Lisa. I have never explored the bookmark feature and was not aware that you can create folders with them.

    I have been using an app in Firefox and Chrome called “LiveStartPage” which is easy to use and will sync between computers.

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