WikiTree Sourcer: A browser extension for finding and citing sources

+54 votes
1.3k views

I have developed a new browser extension called WikiTree Sourcer. It can save a lot of time and typing when searching for and citing sources.

It does three main things:

  1. From a WikiTree profile page it provides the ability to search other genealogy websites for relevant records.
  2. From one of these genealogy websites' records page it can extract data and build a citation.
  3. Also from one of these genealogy websites records page it can search other genealogy websites for similar records. For example on an Ancestry page it can help find free versions of the same original source.

It can also build household tables from census records on Family Search and FindMyPast. 

It runs in many browsers (Chrome, Firefox, Vivaldi, Opera, Edge, Kiwi and more) and on many platforms (PC, Mac, Android tablets etc). However, there is currently no way to use it on iPad.

It has been in beta test for over a month with about 30 users and now seems tested enough for wider use. I am still actively developing it and plan to support more sites.

Full details are on the linked Free Space page.

WikiTree profile: Space:WikiTree_Sourcer
in The Tree House by Rob Pavey G2G6 Mach 1 (13.8k points)
I have added the extension but cannot get it to open. Can you help?

Patty

Miller_Rinehimer-1
Have you pinned the extension so that the [1] shows up in the toolbar?
I have it pinned on my toolbar. When I hover over the icon it says "Wikitree+ has access to this site". When I click on the icon it simply takes me to the information page about the extension.

I am working on a MacBook Air, if that makes a difference.

Thanks for your help.

Patty
That sounds odd. It makes me wonder if you have the correct extension. Does the icon on the toolbar look like [1] ?
No, it looks like a world with a red plus sign in a circle. I got if from the Chrome Store.
It sounds like you have installed the WikiTree+ extension. If you go to the WikiTree Sourcer free space page linked in this post and follow the install instructions that should get you the correct extension.
I got it! Thank you so much!

32 Answers

+4 votes
 
Best answer
Excellent tool!  Thank you for creating it and sharing it.  I especially appreciate the create citation in narrative option.  I'm working on adding sources to unsourced profiles and this updates the biography section at the same time.
by Leslie Bell G2G6 (9.6k points)
selected by Stu Bloom
+29 votes
Can't recommend it highly enough, absolutely brilliant!

Regards,

Ann
by Ann Browning G2G6 Mach 1 (17.0k points)
I agree Ann. It is a huge help!
Totally agree Ann
+14 votes
I wasn't one of your testers, but I found your app about a week ago and I have been using it. It is truly miraculous! Thank you so much, Rob, for applying your skills toward creating an amazing app for WikiTree users.
by Nelda Spires G2G6 Pilot (350k points)
+12 votes

Wow Rob,

Would be perfect for Dutch profiles if you could make it work with Dutch sites openarch (offers API) and wiewaswie. I'd certainly be available as tester!

by Jan Terink G2G6 Pilot (255k points)
Hi Jan,

I do plan to cover other counties - I realize that it is focused on English resources at the moment (I am a member of the England Project and most of my research is there).

I will add those sites to the list. I might need a bit of help on the best ways to search them when I get to working on it.

Cheers, Rob

Rob,

I fully understand your primary focus on English resources and am patient!

Probably good to mention there currently already is a source formatter available for those sites that works by feeding it a found openarch or wiewaswie url of the vital event needing citation.

+15 votes
It can't be emphasised enough how useful this app is. As one of the testers, apart from a few niggly things, as there always are, it's incredible! It saves so much time, search results are more relevant, and then when you find the correct record, generate the citation and paste, job done. Fantastic!
by Gill Whitehouse G2G6 Mach 1 (14.7k points)
+11 votes
This app works well for me.Not tried to find anything other than English sources.

Rob will it be able to find a record on FreeREG from a paid site in the future.
by Hilary Gadsby G2G6 Pilot (181k points)
Hi Hilary,

Yes, FreeREG is on my list and the plan is to search between all the sites.

Currently the extension isn't aware of parish collections and they are not one collection for the whole country on Ancestry etc. So the "Search for same record in same collection" feature may not work for them. I will see what I can do.
+12 votes
This is excellent, Rob! Thank you.
by Ian Beacall G2G6 Mach 9 (94.7k points)
+14 votes

Rob, this is awesome!

I've been using Justin York's old RootsSearch app for years and it's served me well (and thousands of other WikiTreers). But it took about two minutes of using your extension to see that this is even better. I'm switching. I wish I had switched before the Source-a-Thon.

It's perfect that Eowyn interviewed you for the Member of the Week this week. This gives us a convenient excuse to highlight the WikiTree Sourcer in the newsletter and on the home page.

Bravo!

by Chris Whitten G2G Astronaut (1.3m points)
+12 votes

Rob I think you already know from Discord comments how much I and all think how wonderful your WikiTree Sourcer is and you deserve all the praise and plaudits. Keep up the good work adding other sites, especially OPC.yes

by Malcolm Rowlands G2G6 Mach 1 (13.5k points)
+9 votes
What a fabulous resource for those who have multiple genealogy research accounts. I've been using it for one day and am hooked.

Thank you for this contribution to the ongoing work of a connected family tree.

I am delighted to be 28 degrees connected to Ron Pavey!
by Carolyn Bass G2G2 (2.8k points)
+7 votes
Excellent work Rob!

This is fantastic. It certainly should be used a lot.
by Kay Knight G2G6 Pilot (420k points)
+11 votes

This app sets the standard for Wikitree browser extensions. Working on English and Welsh records mainly at the moment, it makes compiling truly detailed, better looking than Ancestry, FamilySearch and FindMyPast profiles - with census tables, inline or source citations and much more - incredibly quick and easy. 

It currently works with Ancestry, FMP, FamilySearch, GRO, FreeBMD and others with more improvements being added all the time. 

Everyone who joins a UK Wikitree group (such as the England project) should immediately be advised to download this absolutely invaluable app.

Everybody else should too!

Thank you for your hard work Rob.

by Paul Burlinson-Ely G2G2 (2.4k points)
+7 votes
Tried it and find it looks fine. Awaiting ability to use if to link to findagrave sources.
by Jim Vondrak G2G6 (6.6k points)
+9 votes
Love, Love, Love it.  Wish I had known of this several months ago when I started working on Wiki.
by Marsha Richardson G2G Crew (650 points)
+9 votes
I agree with everyone else the extension is fabulous, it allows you to get the information onto the page in an attractive manner leaving you more time for doing the business of finding the sources you need.
by Susan Pearson G2G2 (2.6k points)
+8 votes
Is anyone using this on the Mac?

If so, how?
by Tommy Buch G2G6 Pilot (359k points)
Yes you can use it on the Mac in Chrome, Firefox or other browsers - but not in Safari currently (Apple makes it more complicated to make extensions for Safari).
Hoping someone with Apple App experience can assist in making Sourcer an extension for Safari.
Yes. I would much prefer a Safari extension.
I did not find Firefox in the Apple App Store. So, I had to download it from some website.

Also, I set the browser to dark mode and after installing the Sourcer extension the icon for the extension is also showing up in dark green and hard to see. It would be helpful if the icon for the extension showed up white when in dark mode.
So, I am able to create a citation in two seconds using the Sourcer extension in Firefox as opposed to an hour of cobbling one together using Safari.

But now I have to learn to use Firefox.
I have ported the extension to Safari (only took a few hours, though there are probably some bugs that I will have to find and fix). However, Apple wants me to pay $99 in order to publish it in their App Store. I am in discussion with them about getting a waiver since it is free but their official policy is that I would have to be a non-profit to get a waiver.
Thanks so much Rob. Since it is offered freely, hard to imagine why Apple wants a fee

They are all about streams of nickels and dimes (and $100 bills) these days. Perhaps a new logo is needed - an apple with a bandit's mask on the face of it.

If in the end, you need to pay $99, I will cover it. Send me your PayPal email.
I'm working on the Safari version and have worked around some differences but I am currently stuck with being able to copy the citation to the clipboard. Apple is making this very difficult for security reasons. So at this point I don't know if a port to Safari will be possible. If anyone is interested in the technicalities more details are here: https://webkit.org/blog/10247/new-webkit-features-in-safari-13-1/

I may be able to make it work by not using the system clipboard but instead store it in local storage and have a menu item when in edit mode on a WikiTree profile: "Insert citation" that will paste it into the edit box. I had it working like this at one time but it was tricky making it work with the Enhanced Editor and with undo. Or perhaps when you do "build Citation" it would bring up a dialog like the current "Edit Citation" and a copy button on there may be able to copy it to the clipboard.
Rob, thanks for giving it your best, but there are likely better uses of your time in extending various sourcing capabilities, rather than adding yet another browser. I read about MacOS async clipboard and got an idea of the complexity and limitations to use. Until someone writes a how to guide and gotchas list, perhaps best to leave it alone. I will revert to my prior browser Firefox for Wikitree adventures.
I may keep noodling on it off and on. I like a challenge! It can be frustrating but then I sleep on it and come up with more ideas :)

I know there are people on iPad who would really appreciate a version that worked there.

F.Y.I.

This is a repost from Twitter (don’t know if it’s true or not):

  • Warning: Firefox starts sending keystrokes to Mozilla, adding adverts into address bar

Has anyone else confirmed if this is true or not?

I do now have a beta version working for Safari on Mac. If anyone is willing to jump through a few hoops to install it to try it out please PM me and I will send instructions.
+7 votes
I really, really want to use this app, but cannot see any "download" button on the Chrome site. Am I missing something? Thanks for any help

Several helpful answers - thank you! However, I STILL cannot access a way to download. I'm using the Edge browser, and it doesn't show me any of the things that might enable me to download. I'm new to Windows 10 and am unable to snip a screen shot to show you what I can see.

HOLD! I've downloaded something - not sure if it's just the description or the actual app. I'll let you know ASAP

Nope - all I have is a new version of Chrome. Need to give my brain a break and then see if I can see any of the things I should be seeing
by Patty Keffer G2G6 Mach 1 (15.2k points)
edited by Patty Keffer
From your Chrome browser, select the three vertical dots in the upper right hand corner, then More Tools, then Extensions.  In the search box at the top of the screen, enter Wikitree Sourcerer.  It should then appear below where you can install it.

According to Rob's instructions, you should be able to add it via the Chrome Web Store at https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/wikitree-sourcer/jaokbnmpdigpgfjckhgpdacpcokipoha

If you are using the Chrome browser then, as Kerry said, follow the link on the WikiTree Sourcer FSP to https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/wikitree-sourcer/jaokbnmpdigpgfjckhgpdacpcokipoha and click the blue button in the top right that says "Add to Chrome"

Finally GOT IT! Had to click on the blue stripe across the top of the page, which I had taken to mean other extensions. Again, thanks for all the help. I'm looking forward to using this app :-)
+9 votes
Just started using this yesterday.   It saves so much time !    I don't know how I did without it  before.

Thank you Rob.

Regards,

                 Elizabeth
by Elizabeth Knox G2G Crew (720 points)
+8 votes

This is great, especially as a fast way to cite Ancestry sources! 

But, I have found two Ancestry record collections where the Ancestry sharing link does not seem to be generating properly. Frankenberg, Germany, Family Registers, 1717-1938, generates {{Ancestry Sharing|26048233|f5b568}} which creates a link with a missing image. When I click the share link from the record myself it gives the relevant numbers as 26048290 and 362e56, which do create a link to the image.

Having the same problem for this collection: Frankenberg, Germany, Birth and Death Index Cards, 1785-1875.

I have used the app for other Ancestry collections where it works perfectly, so not sure why this collection is giving me problems.

by Valerie Penner G2G3 (3.6k points)
Thanks for the bug report and thanks for the links to the relevant pages - it helps so much to have a link to the page you were on when you got the error.

I get the same issue when I generate a citation on that page. I will investigate further.

Just FYI there is a still a slight shortcut you can use to build the template - do the normal share to Twitter thing and then, while the dialog with the sharing link is up, use the WT Sourcer menu to generate the template - it will take that link and make the template.
I have a fix for the next release. I was not handling % characters in the image URL.
Sounds good thank you!
The fix is in version 1.0.2 which was released today (there might be a slight delay for it to appear in Chrome store).
I downloaded the new version and it works with these Ancestry collections now. Thanks!
+7 votes
This is awsome!!! Thank you so much for this invaluable tool!
by Lisa Murphy G2G6 Pilot (136k points)

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