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Log files: location and description

I'm looking for a comprehensive catalog of log files giving location, name, and one line description. I've Googled and found bits and pieces that are too narrowly focused. To paraphrase my situation, I'm not only not seeing the forest for the trees -- I'm also not seeing the forest for the leaves.

My current problem is finding the appropriate logs to document the details behind my addendum to Bug 852323.

The BIOS of the test machine can select whether to boot from the primary HDD or from a particular flash drive. There are multiple instances of Debian installed. Grub was installed to the MBR of that drive when Debian was installed to the drive's first partition.

I have a hypothesis, but I need to have facts to back it up.
1. During the installation process I need to inventory when and
   "as what" various USB devices are recognized. The installation
   target is a USB drive and Grub is being installed to its MBR.
2. Under particular circumstances it will fail to boot. I need
   to compare that log to that written when it successfully boots.
3. I need to know what happens during update-grub run from the HDD.
4. I need to repeat [2] but for the case that the the Grub menu is
   on the HDD.