Tag Archives: genealogy software

Please Site Your Genealogy Sources; OR How to Keep Your Ancestors & Their Stories Straight

Please Site Your Genealogy Sources; OR How to Keep Your Ancestors & Their Stories Straight

Vicki’s note – article from AncestralFindings.com  .  A reminder that taking the time to cite all of our genealogy sources for each fact is important. The main goal is to document your path so that you, (and others) can find that information in the future.

It is the difference between having a fun hobby, and maybe a sloppy family tree; OR being  (a more) professional genealogist “that ensures you have an accurate family tree where everyone is where they are supposed to be.”

I find that (when I am being good and cite my sources), I can see all of the places to search again.  We may see a person listed as a witness, etc. and then we find later that he/she is our relative.  Where did we see his name?

Ask me how I track sources/facts for a person with a time-line linked to the sources, as I find them.  We don’t discover the facts of a person’s life in a tidy lifespan order.  Time-lines are a great way to organize the events by occurrence.

The Legacy Family Tree.com genealogy software has a good free edition , (which you can download with that link), and a deluxe paid edition.  I suggest trying out the free edition using their sample George Washington family tree.  Both editions have Source Writer templates that are based on Elizabeth Shown Mills’ “Evidence Explained” so help to ensure that all the necessary source information is included.

Would your family history sources pass peer review?  If you ever want to write an article or have a book published on genealogy, they must pass peer review.  Yikes, I better stop having fun searching, and do the mundane task of validating my sources as I go!

The Dangers of Being Careless on Citing Resources in Your Genealogy Research

One of the most important parts of genealogy is citing your sources. Doing good genealogy research means making it something others can trust and follow. Sources allow other researchers to do this and use your research with confidence. Good sources also allow you the confidence of knowing your research is as correct as it can be with your current information. Using source citing shows good genealogical scholarship, and shows you to be a serious researcher and not just a casual hobbyist. Citing sources is also required if you are submitting any of your work to genealogical journals.

As you can see, you must cite your sources to be looked upon as a good genealogist. However, you also have to be careful in citing your sources. Make sure they are accurate and attached to the correct facts. Here are some of the dangers of being careless in your source citing in your genealogical research.

1. You May Get the Wrong Source Attached to the Wrong Fact

Be careful when citing your sources, especially on genealogy family tree software programs. It can be easy to accidentally put a source on the wrong fact. This not only makes your work look sloppy and unprofessional to other researchers, it can be confusing for you when you look at your research later. If you look up a source to confirm a fact as you go further back on that family line, you won’t be able to connect the two, resulting in you being unaware of where you actually got the fact you cited. Anyone using your work as a source for their own research will come across the same problem, and that particular fact, or even all the work you did on that line, will become useless to them. It can also lead to embarrassment if your research gets published in a genealogical journal and someone notices the citation and the fact don’t match each other.

2. You May Not Be Able to Understand Your Citation Later

There is a proper way to cite genealogical sources. You usually cite the entire source, including the name of the publication, the author, the repository, and the date you accessed it, the first time you use it. Subsequent times the source is used, it can be abbreviated. But, if you don’t cite it in full and accurately the first time, you may not understand it, or your abbreviations, later. Don’t think you won’t ever need to check a source again. The more work you do on a family line, the more likely you are to need to use your sources to re-confirm information. If you have recorded your sources in a way you can’t understand them later, they will be useless to you. It is well worth it to invest in a book on how to properly cite genealogical sources for this very purpose. “Evidence Explained: Citing History Sources from Artifacts to Cyberspace,” by Elizabeth Shown Mills, is considered the definitive publication on the subject.

3. You Can Get People and Family Lines Confused With Each Other

Many families reuse names again and again over the generations. There are also surnames that are quite common, and if you have different family lines in the same area with the same surname, it can get confusing keeping people straight. Making sure your source citations are accurate can keep people straight for you. If you don’t cite sources, or cite them incorrectly or illegibly, you can easily get people confused. You might put someone in the wrong generation, or mix up one line of your family with another that uses similar names and is in a similar location. Good, careful source citation minimizes these risks and ensures you have an accurate family tree where everyone is where they are supposed to be.

It may seem like a hassle to write or type your sources for every genealogical fact you include on your family tree, but it is worth it. It is also worth it to take the time to do it correctly. Don’t be careless with your genealogical source citation, and you can be relatively sure you’ve got an accurate family tree that will stand up to the scrutiny of even the most diligent genealogy scholars.



Will founded Ancestral Findings back in 1995. He has been involved in genealogy research for over 20 years. The thrill of the hunt, the adventure, and the excitement begin when he started investigating the meaning of his Moneymaker surname. Why I Love Genealogy (And You Should, Too!)


Family Tree Maker is Not Dead Yet!

Vicki’s Note – article from CAGGNI Newsletter February 2017:


Family Tree Maker is Not Dead Yet!

by Nancy R. Thomas
Last year, Ancestry.com announced that they
would no longer support their popular Family
Tree Maker software after December 31, 2016.
The Software MacKiev Company bought the
rights to sell FTM, but the lag between
Ancestry’s announcement and MacKiev’s
purchase had many users looking for another
software product for their genealogy.
MacKievpromised to have a free update by the
beginning of 2017 for customers with an FTM
2014 version, and that this new version would
continue to sync to their trees on Ancestry.com.
MacKiev kept its promise. The new version 2014.1 is out
and syncs toAncestry.com trees.
In the meantime, here is a link that may be of
help in answering some of your questions:
Also, a caution: backup several copies of your
current FTM tree before converting to the
MacKiev 2014.1 version. When you go to link
your tree be sure to uncheck the box at the
bottom of the dialog screen or your tree will
NOT sync. The default setting has a check mark in the box.

Trello for Genealogy

Vicki’s Note – article from Oct 8 2016 CAGGNI newsletter





Trello for Genealogy

by Alan Wilson
Alan Wilson has been working on the genealogy of his family for eight years. He has used various software tools and databases, including Family Tree Maker, Ancestry, The Master Genealogist, Webtrees, WikiTree, Gramps and RootsMagic. Alan became interested in DNA for genealogy in 2008. Since then he has tested with Family Tree DNA and Ancestry and he has used DNA comparisons on Family Tree DNA, DNAGedCom, GedMatch, Y-Search, Y-Base and Ancestry.
While I attended the FGS meetings in Springfield, IL, the week of September 2, one of the presentations was about Trello software as an organization tool for genealogy. The presentation was by Lisa Alzo, the Accidental Genealogist (http://www.theaccidentalgenealogist.com) I found the subject interesting enough that I downloaded the software and tried it out. I also watched Steve Dotto’s video on his evaluation of Trello on YouTube (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DOti Qdfywzk ).

Trello is similar in some ways to Evernote and Microsoft OneNote. I have used both of them. Unlike the note taking apps, Trello uses an index card metaphor. So “notes” are written on cards, the cards are inserted into lists and the lists are on boards. This metaphor also works with Evernote and OneNote, but in Trello, it is a fixed structure while the note apps are flexible enough to permit other metaphors. If you are mostly interested in elaborate notes, then Trello might not be the best tool. In my case, I have found brief notes of a few sentences, or a checklist, to be most useful, and in those cases, Trello is probably a better choice. I can then construct more elaborate “notes” by grouping cards together in a list.
Trello also differs from the note apps in that it does not really exist as a program in Windows or a laptop environment. Instead, it is small enough that it is a web page app that works in a browser, such as Safari or Chrome. There is also an app for a tablet or smart phone, either Droid or Apple. The tablet or phone app is well suited for the small index card style of notes. One other benefit of existing as a web app is that it can avoid the frequent software updates forced by changes to Microsoft Windows or Apple OSX.
The figure shows a very small Trello list on a board called “Family Tree Entropy.” The list has 3 cards that I constructed for the illustration. Each card has some information that can be easily retrieved by clicking on the card.
Trello naturally supports collaboration or sharing lists and cards for others that may be working on a family tree. Cards can have checklists, due dates, color coded labels, photos, images, as well as ordinary text. It is also integrated with Google Gmail, IFTTT (If This Then That) and other useful apps, so it fits in very well in the mobile environment that is the work environment for many of us.

Discover your family tree, together with Geni.com

A new paid Genealogy Site with free trial with unlimited access but a limited time, discovered by Kim Caswell.

She found records and family members there that she had not found in years of genealogy searching.  The folks she has contacted there seem to be more serious about using verified information for their family trees, and research before linking others’ family trees to their.

Who’s Using Geni.com; a MyHeritage company?

Families use Geni to work together on their shared family history, to stay in touch with family members, and be reminded of family birthdays and anniversaries.

Genealogists use Geni to collaborate with others on family history research.

Historians use Geni for documenting historical profiles and finding important family connections between historical figures.

Developers use Geni to build applications using data for over 150 million profiles contributed by 10 million users.

Geni’s World Family Tree connects 100,468,752 people worldwide and counting.

Collaborative and Social Resources Help You Build Your Tree Faster

Geni users are very active in discussions, where topics range from collaboration to help for beginners. A wealth of genealogy knowledge is shared in the discussions, and this is a great place for new users to get a feel for what Geni can offer.
View Geni’s Genealogy Discussions

Our Projects feature provides a workspace for genealogists with similar interests to collaborate, share learnings, and discuss challenges and discoveries. Projects can exist for specific lineages, surnames, broad interests, and much more.

Surname pages allow users to quickly discover profiles, document, projects, or discussions where that surname is tagged. Surname pages are crowd-sourced, so every Geni member can contribute to the “About” text for any given surname.

Our frequently updated blog is a portal for learning about new features on Geni, discovering interesting profiles and projects, and getting to know notable members of the Geni community. Follow the blog by subscribing via RSS, liking Geni on Facebook, or following Geni on Twitter.

Ancestry.com Family Tree Maker Software Returns (with a new company)

Article from Family Tree Magazine Tuesday, February 02, 2016

Family Tree Maker Returns PLUS Ancestry Partners With RootsMagic
Posted by Diane Haddad

Those of you wondering what you’ll do with your family tree now that Ancestry.com has discontinued Family Tree Maker genealogy software will probably welcome these two new options for storing your computerized family tree data and records:

  • Ancestry.com announced today it has sold Family Tree Maker software to a company called Software MacKiev (which has been the developer of Family Tree Maker for Mac for six years). Family Tree Maker owners will receive updates and be able to purchase new versions from Software MacKiev, and they’ll continue to be able to save their trees to Ancestry.com, use hints and search Ancestry.com from within the software. (The announcement doesn’t specifically mention syncing, though.)

    Update: Here’s how Ancestry.com responded to my question about syncing: “Family Tree Maker will continue to have syncing capability with Ancestry trees, however this feature may evolve as Software MacKiev updates the software.

    “It will use different underlying technology than our current TreeSync but it effectively provides the same basic functionality of allowing the user to keep data in their online tree and data in their desktop tree consistent.”

  • Ancestry.com also announced a new agreement with RootsMagic to connect the Ancestry.com website to RootsMagic genealogy software by the end of 2016. That means you’ll be able to use RootsMagic as your desktop software while using your Ancestry Member Tree as your online version.

RootsMagic does say its software will sync with Ancestry trees, as well as directly import Family Tree Maker files (no need to export a GEDCOM first). Read more details and a Q&A on the RootsMagic website.

“We have heard your concerns and are working to provide the solutions you requested,” states the announcement from Ancestry.com. “These new agreements will make it possible to preserve your work on Ancestry and Family Tree Maker and enable future features and benefits to help you discover your family history.”

Wondering whether all the fuss could’ve been avoided when Family Tree Maker’s retirement was announced in December? You’re not alone. Ancestry.com spokesperson Matthew Deighton says that the software purchase contract wasn’t yet signed when the announcement was made.

For more details on these agreements, see the Ancestry.com blog.
Ancestry.com | Genealogy Software

Move to MyHeritage with its Family Tree Builder software?

(Note from Vicki – Here is one genealogy software option offer from Thomas MacEntee.)

I’m following up on a special offer sent to my readers last week.

You likely have heard about Ancestry.com shutting down their Family Tree Maker software. Maybe it is time to make the move to MyHeritage with its popular Family Tree Builder software?

Don’t forget – there are only two more days before this fantastic deal is GONE. Sign up before 11:59 pm CST on Friday, December 11th! 

Thank you,

Thomas MacEntee

50% Off MyHeritage – Kick Start Your Genealogy New Year

If you are ready to be one of the genealogy winners in 2016, click here to get your 50% off deal from MyHeritage. The normal price is $238.80 USD and you’ll pay just $119.40 for a full year’s access to MyHeritage PremiumPlus AND the Data Membership. PLUS 5% of the revenue goes back to the genealogy community via The Genealogy Fairy grant program!

In 2015 I realized that I was using MyHeritage more and more instead of my $300 Ancestry World Subscription, especially with some of the “New Ancestry” issues. With MyHeritage, I get access to tons of research materials and records, I get alerted to new finds through Record Matches and Smart Matches. And now with the new Search Connect™ technology, I’m getting even more leads to make for a winning year!

ACT NOW! THIS OFFER EXPIRES DECEMBER 11th! If you haven’t tried MyHeritage click here to sign up for free and check it out. I’m happy to try and answer any questions you have, especially about how to take full advantage of everything MyHeritage has to offer. If you haven’t looked at MyHeritage lately, you owe it to yourself to check out all the new features and ways to connect with other genealogy and family researchers!

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