Category Archives: Genealogy Technology

Some Family Tree Software And On-line Options To Consider

Some Family Tree Software Options To Consider

May 16, 2018

Vicki’s note – Once you find several families in your family history, it is time to look into organizing them onto a computerized family tree.  Here is an update on some options that you may want to consider:

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From Ancestry.com Family Tree Maker FAQ

In 2016, Ancestry.com got out of the software business to concentrate on their database.  They sold their Family Tree Maker software to Software MacKiev.  There has been a transition to the new owner with Ancestry.com continuing support of Family Tree Maker support.  

It seemed that I did not hear a lot about a finished stable product,until I searched the Ancestry.com website for this information.  The beta testing is over and they worked closely with MacKiev to make sure there would still be the ability to upload, download, and sync Family Tree Maker to Ancestry.

Software MacKiev is using a new syncing technology incorporated into Family Tree Maker 2017, called FamilySync™. Family Tree Maker 2017 is now available for purchase on MacKiev.com. The new technology, FamilySync™by Software MacKiev, replaced Ancestry’s TreeSync®.

“What you should know:

  • On March 29, 2017, Ancestry and MacKiev permanently retired TreeSync.
  • FamilySync is available only in Software MacKiev’s Family Tree Maker 2017.
  • Family Tree Maker editions prior to 2017 are no longer able to sync with Ancestry trees, but older software is still usable as a standalone program.
  • Ancestry search, merge, and tree hints will continue to work in Family Tree Maker 2017.

How can I continue to connect Family Tree Maker to Ancestry?

You’ll need to upgrade to Family Tree Maker 2017. Family Tree Maker 2017 allows you to sync Ancestry trees, search Ancestry records, and receive Ancestry hints.

The features below are available in Family Tree Maker 2017:

  • Syncing your trees in Family Tree Maker to your Ancestry trees
  • Searching Ancestry’s databases and merging data into your tree
  • Viewing Ancestry hints
  • Uploading and downloading a trees
  • Web dashboard Information
  • The interactive map
  • Viewing sources on Ancestry

How can I purchase Family Tree Maker 2017?

Family Tree Maker 2017 for Mac and Windows is available for purchase by visiting MacKiev.com.

Do I need a new Ancestry subscription to use FTM 2017?

Any Ancestry subscription may be used with Family Tree Maker 2017.”

If you have an Ancestry.com subscription, you can build on-line family tree(s).  Once your subscription ends, you can no longer access your family tree to make additions or to edit it, until you pay for a new subscription.

“From https://support.ancestry.com/s/article/Differences-between-Ancestry-and-Family-Tree-Maker :

Ancestry is a website, and Family Tree Maker is software you install on your computer. Ancestry can be accessed only from web browsers (such as Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox) and (on mobile devices) the Ancestry app, while Family Tree Maker can be accessed even when a computer is not connected to the internet.

Though Family Tree Maker software works with Ancestry, Family Tree Maker is sold and supported by Software MacKiev.”

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From http://www.rootsmagic.com/ancestry/

RootsMagic and Ancestry: Working Together at Last

“Last year, we announced we were working with Ancestry® to integrate Ancestry Hints® and Ancestry’s records and online trees with our software. After months of development and the feedback of thousands of testers, we’re pleased to announce the release of RootsMagic 7.5, a free update to RootsMagic 7 that adds two amazing new features: TreeShare™ for Ancestry and the addition of Ancestry Hints to RootsMagic’s WebHints™ feature.

TreeShare for Ancestry

RootsMagic’s TreeShare for Ancestry will let you move data between your RootsMagic files on your computers and your personal Ancestry online trees. You can transfer people, events, notes, source citations, and even pictures between the two systems.

RootsMagic users also gain the ability to easily share and collaborate with others by giving family members access to their Ancestry online tree. Using the new TreeShare feature, family members can then synchronize the latest changes and additions to both the online tree and their desktop computers.

Ancestry Hints Integration

RootsMagic leverages the Ancestry Hints capability, and as possible matches are found, users may conveniently review them from within the software. RootsMagic then lets you add new information and media from matching records into your file.

Free RootsMagic Essentials Software

For those that are just starting their journey into the world of genealogy, RootsMagic offers “RootsMagic Essentials”- a free version of their software with a limited set of features tailored towards beginners.

If you have an account with Ancestry, RootsMagic Essentials includes the ability to upload your file to Ancestry or download your existing online trees from Ancestry. If you are a subscriber to Ancestry, RootsMagic Essentials also allows you to search and view all of the content in your subscription. Those wishing to compare and transfer individual records between RootsMagic and Ancestry will want to use the full-featured RootsMagic software.”

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Here are some other Software products to record your family tree on:

LegacyFamilyTree.com – has a robust, free “Standard” computer software version, and the option for a paid “Deluxe” version.  I have used the basic free software, and decided to purchase the deluxe for the enhanced features.  Your Family Tree is not on-line.  MyHeritage.com and Legacy Family Tree have created a partnership (separate yet linked).  On LegacyFamilyTree, you can receive hints for MyHeritage.com, but can only see brief information without an additional subscription.

MyHeritage.com itself has a free basic (on-line) family tree (250 people) that you can create, with a full (on-line)family tree available as part of a subscription.

TribalPages.com is another free (on-line) family tree  – Family Tree Maker.  Others can only see it if you invite family and relatives to view or update your family tree website.

“Each ancestry project becomes its own private and secure website that can be loaded with photos, charts, reports, maps, relationships, events and stories. Just add names of your relatives & ancestors or import a GEDCOM file and instantly create your free family tree. Your site can create custom newsletters for each member with birthday and anniversary reminders, recent site activity and send them out every two weeks.”

You can share/copy your family tree to any of these by importing a GEDCOM file from any other site, and instantly create/duplicate your family tree.

FamilySearch.org is another on-line site where you can create a family tree.  It is my understanding that, not only is it on-line, but that anyone in the world can add/change “your” tree.  It is a shared tree.  The Church of Jesus Christ of Latterday Saints manages FamilySearch.org.  You can send in corrections for them to consider changing.

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Handwritten Text Recognition (HTR) – New Technology

Vicki’s note – here’s to the future of Handwritten Text Recognition (HTR).  What exciting possibilities are awaiting us in the future technologies to assist genealogy research.  This works better than Optical Character Recognition (OCR) and will enable keyword searches of handwritten material.

March 15, 2018

 

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Article from Adam Matthew Digital, a Sage Company:

Handwritten Text Recognition (HTR)

 

Artificial intelligence transforms discoverability of handwritten manuscripts.

“Handwritten Text Recognition is going to transform scholarship and the types of questions researchers can ask. The technology has tremendous potential.”
Dr Patrick Spero, Director, American Philosophical Society Library

Adam Matthew Digital is currently the only publisher to utilize artificial intelligence to offer Handwritten Text Recognition (HTR) for its handwritten manuscript collections.

The HTR application takes advantage of the latest advances in neural networks and uses complex algorithms to determine probable combinations of characters to find the search term.

This enables relevant handwritten text to be identified at document level with automated searches deployed through the metadata, allowing users to easily navigate between highlighted search results.

Now available in Colonial America, East India Company and Medical Services and Warfare, HTR will be extended to Mass Observation Online during 2018.

Hear from scholars and librarians on the impact of HTR:

 

Vicki’s note – here’s the newest from Legacy Family Tree and RootsTech 2018 on MyHeritage.com and Genealogy DNA testing and syncing:

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Perspectives on Combining Genealogy and Genetics

Join MyHeritage’s founder and CEO, Gilad Japhet, as he reveals many first-time-ever technologies that take the lead in and shapes the future of both traditional and genetic genealogy.

Presented live at RootsTech 2018 (and concluded with a rousing standing ovation), Gilad announced the immediate availability of:

He also announced what’s coming soon at MyHeritage including the interactive Pedigree View, the “Big Tree” and the Theory of Family Relativity.

 

Click here to view the presentation.

https://familytreewebinars.com/download.php?webinar_id=826

Ancestry.com – big data leak

12-29-2017

Vicki’s Note: 12-28-2017 Article By Francis Navarro, Komando.com – Kim Komando, “America’s digital Goddess”.  Sounds like most problems are with people who used Rootsweb surname searches.  Maybe worth changing your Ancestry.com password if you subscribe.  To read the full article click HERE. :

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“Ancestry.com suffers big data leak – 300,000 user credentials exposed

Ancestry.com has confirmed that a server on its RootsWeb service exposed a file that has usernames, email addresses and passwords of 300,000 registered users. RootsWeb is Ancestry.com’s free collection of community-driven tools for sharing genealogical information such as user forums and mailing lists.

According to data breach tracking website HaveIbeenPwned’s Troy Hunt, the stolen information was leaked and posted online in plain text. Hunt also believes that the breach occurred in 2015.

In an official statement released by Ancestry.com’s Chief Information Security Officer Tony Blackham, they were informed by Hunt about the file on December 20 and they have confirmed that the file does contain the login credentials of the users of RootWeb’s surname list information. Yikes….

To read Ancestry.com’s official statement, click here.

Read this article to help you create the perfect passwords….”

There is a New Version of FindAGrave.com

There is a New Version of FindAGrave.com

Vicki’s note – this is a good time of year to feature a resource that I use regularly.  You can either access FindAGrave.com directly or click on a link to it from a search in Ancestry.com when you see it as a suggestion in your search for a particular ancestor.

Don’t rely on the Ancestry.com record.  I always go to the FindAGrave site to look at any/all information listed.  There are good clues on the person’s relatives.  It is worth looking at each of the grave listing for each of those people as well. 

Also look by last name(s) only for any other relatives buried in that cemetery.  I know a couple of volunteer who do photography for FindAGrave.  I always appreciate their technique of photographing any other headstones near the requested one that has the same last name. Not all do that, but as they say, “I figure they would want to know.”  Yes we do!

A final step would be to do a general (non-specific location) for anyone with that name.  Your ancestor may be buried in another cemetery in a different location/state.  At the end of life, many ancestors go to live with their child away from the area that they were connected to previously.

To use Findagrave.com to look for out of United States graves do a redefine search and put the country in. It doesn’t always find graves in other countries. Most cemeteries in Findagrave are in the United States.

You can look on the Findagrave.com link below to get an idea of the number of graves that they list in different countries.

https://www.findagrave.com/tocs/geographic.html

I am not sure if theChanges are coming to Find A Grave. See a preview now.”  have happened yet.  The FindAGrave link to their new version is dead. Following are excerpts from two  article on the changes.

This July 10, 2017  article says that both the old and new (Beta) versions are available, but their link to the old is also dead.  As is their link to the new connection https://new.findagrave.com/

“The easiest way to get to the new site is to go to the old one and then click where it says “Changes are coming to Find A Grave. See a preview now.” Or, you can click here. When you get to the new page, a window will pop up telling you a bit about why the website is changing…

The search feature is quite different looking though seems to provide the same options…

Do know that both the original and the Beta version are fully workable.  You can use either platform to make changes to existing memorials or add new memorials…

REMEMBER – your feedback on the Beta site is both encouraged and welcome!”

 

Thursday, March 23, 2017

The New and Improved Find A Grave Shown at #RootsTech
(click here to read the whole article:)

At RootsTech 2017 Peter Drinkwater showed off a late-alpha prototype for a new Find A Grave website. …

Peter Drinkwater is the general manager for Find A Grave, a website owned by Ancestry. While the session was titled “Getting to Know the New Find A Grave,” Peter first helped us get to know the old Find A Grave. Find A Grave was created in 1995 by Jim Tipton. “Jim Tipton lived here in Salt Lake and he had a hobby of collecting dirt from famous people’s graves,” Peter said. “He created Find A Grave as a place to document that and let other people share the locations of [famous] graves.” In 2000 he added the ability to document the graves of ordinary people. In January 2017 there were 157 million graves. For all those years, the website looked almost the same.

“…Why would we make a change, he asked? The code is quite old and there aren’t many developers who are comfortable in it. Modernizing the code will make it more secure, easier to work on, and make it possible to use new tools to improve the site.

The second reason to change it is to make it usable via a mobile device. More than 30% of visits to the site are on a tablet or phone. …

The third reason to change the site is to internationalize it, making it available in a variety of languages.

The goal of the initial project is to convert Find A Grave to new code, not to add new features.”

(Vicki’s note – Read how each database works to get a better idea on how to more effectively use it.  Here are excerpts from FindAGrave FAQs:)

Why is my information appearing on Ancestry sites?
Find A Grave is owned and supported by Ancestry.

Why do I have to register and become a member? I’m worried about my privacy.
You don’t have to register! You can search our database and visit millions of memorials and photos without registering. If you choose to ADD anything to our database, we require that you register so we can keep track of who is adding what. When you register, we require that you use a valid email in case we need to contact you regarding your submissions.

What is a photo volunteer?
A photo volunteer is someone who is willing to take photos of headstones within a given zip code.
To become a photo volunteer, log in and go to your Contributor Profile page.

What is a photo request?
A photo request is tied to the photo volunteer program. If you would like to request a headstone photo of a memorial, just go to the memorial on Find A Grave. Click on the ‘Request A Photo’ button. This will bring up a new screen allowing you to add any notes that may help the photo volunteer locate the grave location within the cemetery.

…Depending on the cemetery location and the number of volunteers in the area, it may take a few weeks or even longer for the photo request to be fulfilled. NOTE: If the memorial record does not have specific information regarding the grave’s plot/location in the cemetery, please contact the cemetery office (if one is listed) to obtain the plot location and add it to your email. Many cemetery offices will only provide that information to relatives of the deceased and will not assist photo volunteers with finding the grave’s location.

How can I get a copy of my relative’s death certificate?
In the United States, death certificates are usually public record and can be obtained for a nominal fee from state/county departments of public record (often called the Office of Vital Records). Try performing a Google search on the state where your loved one passed away and the term “death certificate.”
You can try the CDC website for more specifics by state.

Why can’t I find the person I’m looking for?
It is possible your search is too narrow. Broaden your search by removing things like a middle name or burial location. If you still can not find them, it is possible the person is not yet memorialized on Find A Grave. Find A Grave is a work in progress and documenting all burials worldwide is a massive undertaking for the membership.

If you are adding a memorial for someone who has recently passed or who does not have a physical grave or memorial marker in a cemetery (perhaps their ashes were scattered), please do a general search on Find A Grave (do not enter a location) to see if a memorial has already been created for that person. If you find a memorial has been added but has incomplete or incorrect information, instead of creating a duplicate memorial use the tools provided to submit corrections, additions or a transfer request via the “Suggest A Correction” link under the ‘Edit’ tab on the upper right of the memorial.

What if the cemetery isn’t listed for the names I want to add? How do I add a cemetery to the list?
We have a fairly comprehensive database of cemeteries in the United States. Please perform a search from our cemetery search page to make sure the cemetery is not already in our database. Include adjacent counties and other names which the cemetery may be known by as names do change over time.

What is a cenotaph? How do I have a memorial designated as a cenotaph?

A cenotaph is a marker within a cemetery placed in honor of a person whose remains are buried elsewhere. It may also be the original marker for someone who has since been re-interred elsewhere. To add a cenotaph, create a memorial.

What about the privacy of living family members?
An individual’s right to privacy disappears when they are deceased. The opinions of the relatives of the deceased fall on all sides of the question. Some people are angry to find a loved one when they come to Find A Grave, even if the memorial was added by another relative, as is usually the case, and some people are elated and send us notes of thanks for building an online memorial to their family member. If an immediate family member contacts us and wants information removed, we generally do so as a matter of respect for their wishes but we treat each request on a case by case basis. The names of living survivors will be removed from the biography section of a memorial upon request.

How does Find A Grave define ‘famous’?
Do not confuse importance with fame. Every ancestor is important and every veteran deserves to be remembered and honored. However, that does not mean that they are ‘famous’. An individual is more likely to be designated as ‘famous’ if they were well known outside of their local community.

…the “famous” section and each memorial placed into it are the sole domain of Find a Grave Administration. All famous memorials are maintained and controlled in every aspect by our staff, and cannot be transferred to anyone, even relatives.

Can I add a memorial for my pet?
Yes, when we say we want to list the burial locations of everyone, we’re not kidding. Pets are an important part of many of our lives and their deaths can be a great loss.
You may want to use your family’s last name as the pet’s last name, to make it easier to find the memorial at a later date.
If the pet is buried in a pet cemetery, the memorial is listed as such. …or if the pet was buried in the backyard or other non-cemetery location…

…married names for a woman’s memorial when she was married more than once?
The ‘last name’ is the name that is on the headstone. Include other married names as part of the biography section. The ‘maiden name’ is only for her maiden name.

First: Infant
Middle: Twin Son or Daughter
Last: Doe

How do I update or correct an error in memorial data?
You can submit updates or corrections of factual information for any memorial by clicking on the ‘Edit’ tab on the memorial in question. Be sure you are logged in.
From here you can select one of the following options:

Birth/death date, birth/death place
Relationship (parent and spouse links)
Name
Plot and/or GPS
Marker Transcription
Suggest any other correction or addition

The first five options allow you to make the factual update to the memorial. Once this is submitted, the manager of the memorial will receive this information as an editing request and will either approve it or decline it.

How do I clean a headstone?
Unless you are related to the interred on the headstone in question, DO NOT do anything to the headstone.

Never clean gravestones with anything but water and a soft brush. Slate gravestones from the Revolutionary era and Pre-revolutionary era are best left alone due to their delicate nature and tendency to erode.

Never apply bleach, ammonia, shaving cream, chalk, flour, baking soda, cornstarch, firm pressure or use anything abrasive. Do not post photos of recently chalked or shaving-creamed headstones.

Consult a professional before any attempt to clean a headstone is made.

Reporting chalking: Photos of chalked, floured, shaving creamed, wire brushed, or otherwise altered headstones are strictly not allowed and are subject to removal when reported and/or when spotted by an administrator….

The Find A Grave web site is free, however Find A Grave uses advertising to support the cost of operations….

Who is behind Find A Grave?
Who is behind Find A Grave? Well, first and foremost, you are. Thousands of contributors submit new listings, updates, corrections, photographs and virtual flowers every hour. The site simply wouldn’t exist without the million+ contributors.

Legacybox turns your outdated formats into digital

Vicki’s note – Maybe try this?

9-27-2017

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Legacybox turns your outdated formats into digital

Legacybox

“Getting the box back was such a delight! It felt like finding treasure.” -Blog: Design Mom

Legacybox

Legacybox turns your outdated formats into digital GOLD

Convert your home movies, videotapes, film reels, and pictures – including slides, negatives and prints – all to DVDs or thumb drive easily with Legacybox.

Legacybox was founded on the conviction to restore — to revalue what has been devalued. On the surface, we are about preserving outdated memories — tapes, film, photos, and audio — into digital keepsakes that are usable and safe for future generations. We are led by the desire to find simple, technology and design-driven ways to reconnect people with things that matter most, but are being lost or overlooked. Simply put, we help make memories matter.

Learn More

legacybox.com

 

Why Family Search ended Their Microfilm Lending Program

Vicki’s Note – More in-depth information from Lisa Louise Cooke’s “Genealogy Gems” BLOG

on why the Family Search Family Centers stopped sending rented microfilm.  August 31, 2017, this service came to an end. Find out what they have planned next.

Lisa Louise Cooke has included a recording of the interview and a transcript.

Click here to read the entire posting:

Special Episode: The End of FamilySearch Microfilm Lending Program

Change is something we can always count on, but that doesn’t make it any easier, does it? Understanding why the change is happening, how it affects you personally, and what you can do to adapt, does. So, when FamilySearch announced the end of their long-standing microfilm lending program, I immediately sought out the key expert who can answer these questions for you. 

The End of microfilm lending at FamilySearch

 

FamilySearch’s Goal for Microfilm and the Family History Library

It seems like only yesterday I was interviewing Don R. Anderson, Director of the Family History Library about the future of the library and FamilySearch. Back then, in 2009, he made the startling statement that their goal was to digitize all of the microfilms in FamilySearch’s granite vault. (Click here to listen to that interview in my Family History: Genealogy Made Easy podcast episode 16.) Fast forward to today, and we see that in less than ten years that end goal is within sight. We are also seeing the ending of a service nearly every genealogist has tapped into at some point: the microfilm lending program. Family historians have been able to place orders for microfilm to be shipped to their local Family History Center where they could then scroll through the images in search of ancestors.

On August 31, 2017, this service comes to an end.

Comparing Genealogy Software and Online Trees

Vicki’s note – Family Tree Magazine – suggestions for purchase of software and online family history search databases.  Which one will work for you?

Read the whole article here.

Comparing Genealogy Software and Online Trees

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3 Helpful Charts About Genealogy Software and Online Trees

These three charts show you at-a-glance the features of genealogy software and family tree websites, and what programs and sites sync your data.

It doesn’t take too long for those of us who love genealogy to realize we need tools to keep track of our family trees—the names, dates, places, how people are related, sources of all that information, etc. etc.

In addition to organizing information, such tools can help you find records and family trees on genealogy websites, create family tree charts and share your research.

At-a-Glance Genealogy Software and Online Tree Info

In that case, here’s a chart from the October/November 2017 Family Tree Magazine (which is starting to mail to subscribers) that shows you at a glance which software and family tree sites sync.

This chart, also corrected, shows features of major desktop software options:
And this one—you guessed it, corrected—shows features of the major sites where you can keep your online tree (our Best Websites listing links to additional online tree sites):

How to Save Photographs that have been Water-Damaged

How to Save Photographs that have been Water-Damaged

Vicki’s note – a timely group of instructions from Flip Pal Scanner company.  If I bought one scanner, I would like to buy the Flip Pal for it’s many features and portability.

 There are many links to free classes and instructions on how to protect your photographs before a storm, and how to save your water-damaged photographs after the storm.  Read the entire article here.

Photos matter in the aftermath of disaster.

9-15-2017
With September being Save Your Photos Month and recent epic storms along the south of the US, the topic of preparedness is front and center yet again. The Flip-Pal team is committed helping people prepare for natural disasters and everyday accidents that could wipe out their photos.
Reserve your spot in one of five live webinars and take the steps to protect your photo collection and preserve your family history for generations to come.

This new mini-course called Working With Water Damaged Photos is presented by the Association for Personal Photo Organizers and Certified Personal Photo Organizer Kathy Stone of Calgary Photo Solutions who has first hand experience in dealing with flooded photos.

This mini-course is free and available to everyone. You can enroll at anytime and watch the course immediately. Also available is a Disaster Help Resource Guide with general photo recovery tips as well as local resources.

Happy Scanning!
The Flip-Pal team

Where is the Book on My Family?

Where is the Book on My Family?

Find Your Family Online in Digital Books

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Find Your Family Online in Digital Books

 

… Here are the best places to look for digital books about genealogy.

Google Books

Launched in 2004 as “Google Print,” Google Books now contains over 25 million scanned book titles.

Internet Archive

The appropriately-named Internet Archive began in 1996 with the goal of archiving the Internet, but the project soon expanded into providing digital versions of other published works. … Most books are offered in several different formats, including DAISY files for the print-disabled.

HathiTrust Digital Library

HathiTrust (pronounced “haw tea”) is a partnership of several academic and research institutions offering a collection of over 15 million titles from libraries around the world. Books that are uncopyrightable (i.e., some government works) or in the public domain …

FamilySearch

The Family History Books collection at FamilySearch contains more than 325,000 digitized genealogy and family history publications from the archives of family history libraries such as the Allen County Public Library and the Family History Library in Salt Lake City. …

MyHeritage: Compilation of Published Sources

One of MyHeritage’s best-kept secrets is their repository of digitized books. All are free to access, and you don’t even need to log in with a free account! …  To learn more about the digital books at MyHeritage watch the free Legacy webinar – Book Matching Technology at MyHeritage.

…Genealogy Gophers

Despite the funny name, Genealogy Gophers offers access to more than 80,000 digitized “family histories, regional and local histories, genealogy magazines, how-to books, gazetteers, newsletters, and medieval histories.” … developed specifically for “identifying real people named in genealogy books.”…

 

Elizabeth O’Neal is a freelance writer, educator, and web developer. An avid genealogist for three decades, Elizabeth writes the blog My Descendant’s Ancestors, where she shares family stories, technology and methodology tips, and hosts the monthly “Genealogy Blog Party.”