How to Read Kindle eBooks on non-Kindle Devices

In the recent newsletter comments, a couple of readers have expressed displeasure that certain ebooks were available only in Kindle format. Actually, that shouldn’t be a problem for anyone. Anybody can read Kindle books—even without a Kindle device—with the FREE Kindle app for smartphones, tablets and computers.

The free Kindle apps are available for most major smartphones, tablets and computers. With the Kindle reading apps, you can buy a Kindle book once, and read it on any device with the Kindle app installed. In fact, with most computing devices, you can read the first part of a Kindle ebook on one device, turn the device off, then later pick up on the page where you left off, even if you are using a different computing device.

Transcript: A Windows Program for Transcribing Documents

Click on the above image to view a larger version.

Many times I have transcribed information from books and older documents such as wills, deeds, and other documents that genealogists often use. In this day and age, most of the documents are in electronic format. I may have downloaded an image of a document from the World Wide Web, or I may have scanned it or snapped a picture of a document or a few pages from a book with my cell phone while visiting an archive or library. Obtaining the image is easy, but transcribing later into a text file or into a genealogy program is a bit more tedious.

In the past, I would open two windows simultaneously on the screen of my computer. I would display the image in one window and the word processor or genealogy program in another window. That works although with a few minor frustrations. Keeping the two windows in sync with each other can lead to an excessive amount of mouse movement and clicking.

Transcript 2.4 is a Windows program that simplifies and improves the process. It doesn’t eliminate all the mouse movements and clicking, but it does reduce the tedious actions a bit. The program is available in two versions: free and a Pro version for 15 Euros, roughly $17.50 US. Luckily, you can pay with PayPal, so there is no need to obtain a check or money order in Euros.

Family Tree Builder for Macintosh, a FREE Program, is Now Available

MyHeritage has just announced the release of Family Tree Builder, a powerful genealogy program for Macintosh owners. I have been a beta tester of this program for the past few weeks and must say that I am impressed with it. Best of all, it is available free of charge. It is obviously the most powerful free genealogy program available today for Macintosh owners.

Disclaimer: MyHeritage is the sponsor of this newsletter. However, I believe I would write the same or similar words even if the company was not the sponsor of this newsletter.

GenSoftReviews Announces its Users Choice Awards for 2014

The following announcement was written by Louis Kessler of GenSoftReviews:

January 2, 2015

The 6th annual Users Choice Awards have been announced at the GenSoftReviews website.

26 programs were eligible having a minimum of 10 reviews and at least one review in 2014. Of those, 16 programs achieved a user-assigned average score of at least 4.00 out of 5, and were awarded a 2014 GenSoftReviews Top Rated Genealogy Software award.

  • The Winners include:
    9 Windows programs: Ahnenblatt, Clooz, Family Historian, Ancestral Quest, Brother’s Keeper, Family Tree Builder, Behold, RootsMagic and Genbox Family History,
  • 1 Mac program: Reunion
  • 5 Online programs: The Next Generation, Famberry, My Great Big Family, MyHeritage and Family Echo
  • 1 Handheld program: Heredis for iOS

Organize Your To-Do List with ToDoist

This probably doesn’t qualify as a genealogy article although I certainly do use ToDoist to organize my future genealogy research tasks. Of course, I also use it to organize many other things in my life as well. New Years Day is the perfect time to make resolutions. One resolution I suggest for many people is to organize your life with ToDoist starting today.

I realized years ago that I often forget things. I may think, “I really need to (insert task here) soon. It would be convenient to do that next Saturday.” By the time Saturday rolls around, I have forgotten the task I had thought of doing.

I started by keeping a to-do list: a list of tasks that need to be completed, typically organized in order of priority or in chronological order. In fact, the to-do list soon became my lifesaver. With a few exceptions, it reminded me of household tasks to be accomplished, bills to be paid, and even genealogy research tasks to be performed online or on my next visit to a library or archive. Life got better when I had a constant reminder available.

Start the New Year with a Clean Windows PC

Here is a great suggestion for Windows users:

“Undo a year’s worth of wear and tear

“Consider what your PC has been through in the past 12 months: Windows Update added dozens of patches to your operating system; you’ve likely installed some new third-party software, uninstalled other programs, and upgraded or patched apps and utilities; and you’ve probably altered, tuned, and tweaked various aspects of your system’s user interface and software settings. And you’ve undoubtedly created and deleted myriad new emails, documents, photos, MP3s, videos, spreadsheets, and such.

“All during that time, your hard drive spun hundreds of millions of revolutions and the system fans rotated for hundreds of hours. Heat, dust, and chemical degradation did their inevitable damage, reducing the remaining physical life of your system’s components. In short, just as we’re a year older, our PCs are not the same machines they were a year ago.

HSTRY – Create Multimedia Timelines on Your Laptop, Chromebook, iPad, or Tablet

HSTRY is a FREE multimedia timeline creation tool that will work on your laptop, Chromebook, iPad, or tablet. It is designed for classroom use by teachers and students. However, I think it is also a great tool for use in history and genealogy. The first application that springs to mind is showing historical events that happened during an ancestor’s lifetime. Another use is to record the births, marriages, deaths, and other important events within a family over a period of years, possibly over centuries.

HSTRY is free to use to create and share timelines. The company does offer some pre-made timelines for sale.

Photo Editing Just Like Photoshop on a Chromebook

I have written often about the advantages of Chromebooks, the low-cost laptops that boot up quickly, never get viruses, and have price tags of $180 to $300 or so. Their security, ease of use, and portability is rapidly making them a popular choice for schools, businesses, and university students – all of whom are taking note of their advantages.

When Chromebooks first appeared, they were limited to using simple programs that ran in a web browser. However, time marches on and so do the programmers. Chromebooks today can do most, although not all, of the tasks that a Macintosh or Windows laptop can accomplish.

MacFamilyTree and MobileFamilyTree are 50% off for the Holidays

Both MacFamilyTree for Macintosh and MobileFamilyTree for iPad, iPhone, and iPod Touch are being offered at 50% off until December 27th. MacFamilyTree is now available for US $24.99 instead of the normal price of US $49.99. MobileFamilyTree is being offered for US $7.99 instead of the normal price of US $14.99.

Sherwood Labs Drops Price of Branches for iPad to FREE

The following announcement was written by the folks at Sherwood Labs:

As a Thank You to the genealogy community, and in anticipation of the release of new products, Sherwood Electronics Labs is giving away their iPad app “Branches for iPad” for FREE. The app formally cost $4.99 but for a limited time the app can be download from the Apple App Store at no charge.

The description of the product is:

GenScriber – a FREE Transcription Tool for Genealogy Research

One of the best tools for transcribing old handwritten documents is called GenScriber, a FREE program for Windows and Linux created by Les Hardy. A Macintosh version is also available although it operates as a Windows version packaged inside a wineskin wrapper. While not ideal, the “pseudo-Windows” version is still a reasonable solution for Macintosh users.

GenScriber is a transcription editor for census records, church records, birth, marriage, baptisms, burials, index records, and more. GenScriber is useful for transcribing both free-form text as well as columns of data, such as U.S. census records. It is designed to be used for easily transcribing digital images of old, handwritten documents.

Famberry now Offers One Terabyte of Space for your Family, for Free, Forever

The following announcement was written by the folks at Famberry:

One terabyte of space for your family, for free, forever.

London, England (December 16th, 2014) To celebrate the move to new server facilities, Famberry, the popular collaborative family tree builder, is giving all users who sign up, a massive one terabyte of space to store their photos and memories. That’s enough space to store over 300,000 photos, so all your family’s memories can be shared for generations to come. All for free.

As part of the project to move onto new, physically secure, high- grade servers, Famberry has been completely re-written to work even more seamlessly on mobile phones, tablet devices and desktop computers, with no additional software or plug-ins; your family can always stay connected, wherever they are.

Ancestral Systems LLC Releases a Major New Clooz 3 Update

The following announcement was written by the folks at Ancestral Systems LLC:

Clooz users have invested a substantial amount of time building their Clooz database and linking it to the people and sources in their linked family tree program. Therefore, Clooz users previously were faced with a difficult situation when a family tree program change is needed, as may happen to our users who have relied on The Master Genealogist, which is being discontinued.

To support this challenge for our users, a new Synchronization Transfer Tool has been added to assist users migrating from one family tree program to another. Users can now transfer the links from one external file to another different file (e.g., a TMG user who linked to their data from Clooz can shift the links to apply to a Legacy or RootsMagic file containing the same identification numbers as the TMG file).

Heredis for Windows and Macintosh available for 50% Off

The folks that produce Heredis genealogy software are having a sale to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Heredis and also to celebrate Christmas. The Windows and Macintosh products are both available at 50% off.

Heredis for Windows 2014 is now available for US$19.99 instead of US$39.99

Heredis for Windows 2014 – UPGRADE for anyone using an earlier version of Heredis for Windows sells for US$9.99 instead of US$19.99

New RootsMagic 7 Software Released

The following announcement was written by the folks at RootsMagic, Inc.:

SPRINGVILLE, Utah. — November 25, 2014 — RootsMagic, Inc. today announced the official release of RootsMagic 7, the latest version of the award-winning genealogy software which makes researching, organizing, and sharing your family history easy and enjoyable. With this release comes an update to the popular “RootsMagic Essentials” free genealogy software.

Family History Made Easy
Family Tree Magazine said RootsMagic is “probably the best all-around genealogy program” and “offers a winning combination of features for both casual and serious genealogists.”

Throughout its 13-year history, RootsMagic has helped people research and share their family trees with innovative features such as moving people from one file to another with your mouse, a SourceWizard to help you document your work, creating a Shareable CD to give to family and friends, and running RootsMagic off of a USB flash drive when you are away from home. RootsMagic has also received numerous awards, including the award for “Easiest to Sync” from FamilySearch for their work in interfacing with that system.

A Major Marriage: RootsMagic and Family Historian to become Tightly Integrated with MyHeritage’s Huge Databases

Genealogists have seen this major trend developing in the past few years and a new announcement today qualifies as a major step forward in that trend. Two very popular genealogy programs will soon have direct “hooks” into the databases on MyHeritage. Best of all, these programs will directly use MyHeritage’s Smart Matching™ and Record Matching technologies as they automatically search through millions of family trees and billions of global historical records available on MyHeritage to find your relatives. The beneficiaries of this marriage will be the genealogists who use either of these programs.

NOTE: I will also point out that MyHeritage is the sponsor of this newsletter. However, I think I would write the same words in this article whether they are the sponsor or not.

RootsMagic and Family Historian are both very powerful genealogy programs and have many loyal users around the world. MyHeritage is known primarily as a genealogy web site that not only has billions of records available but also has matching services called Smart Matching™ and Record Matching. I have been a big fan of these two technologies for some time and was happy to learn that the databases and the Smart Matching™ and Record Matching technologies are being integrated into two leading genealogy programs.

Announcing RootsTrust, a Genealogy Program for Windows, Macintosh and Linux

This sounds interesting. A new genealogy program works on all the popular desktop and laptop operating systems. It even will operate directly from a flash drive, not requiring installation on a hard drive. I suspect hard drive installation will result in faster operation, however.

The following announcement was written by the folks at Atavus, Inc.:

On October 31, 2014 Atavus, Inc. officially released rootstrust, an advanced genealogy program that runs on Windows, Mac OS X and Linux. It is one of the few genealogy programs that is portable across all three operating systems.

Atavus calls its product a genealogical data management system (GDMS), which is a computer program designed to manage relationships between people, and relationships between people and places as well as historical and administrative relationships between places and other places. A GDMS also allows users to import and export data, generate family tree charts and other textual reports, link document and multimedia image files as well as websites to the objects it manages: Persons, Families, Events, Places, Sources and Repositories (libraries, archives museums and private collections).

Smart PDF Scanner Pro for iPhone

Click on the image above to view a full-size PDF image of the same page

You can find a dozen or more apps for the iPhone as well as for Android cell phones and tablets that can be used as replacements for desktop scanners. Some of them can save the images as PDF files. I have several such apps installed on my iPhone and have been pleased with them. However, a new product called Smart PDF Scanner Pro claims to be the best of the bunch.

Obviously, almost every new product claims to be better than any of its competitors. However, I installed Smart PDF Scanner Pro on my iPhone and, after an hour or so of testing, I must say it is a good one. Click on the image to the right to view a full size PDF image created with the new app. This would be a good app to take with you on your next visit to a genealogy library or archive.

The Smart PDF Scanner Pro app features “Advanced Image Processing” that automatically detects the page edges and corrects for perspective. Pick full-color scans, grayscale, or black-and-white for maximum legibility. FlashAssist can take perfect scans even in poor lighting conditions. You can even change the correction and enhancement settings later.

Official Launch of StoryPress 3.0

The following announcement was written by Mike Davis, Founder and CEO of StoryPress:

We are proud to announce the official launch of StoryPress after almost a year of design, development, beta testing and a commitment to excellence.

StoryPress has rapidly evolved over the past 12 months, from a simple storytelling application to a true social network of stories. We believe this extra social context is the perfect finishing touch to StoryPress and will make creating and watching stories even more fun and personal, because the stories you will see are based on who you choose to follow.

It is available for both iPad and iPhone and you can download it today by clicking here.

Genealone 1.4.1 Has Been Released

Genealone is a product that allows you to build your own genealogy website. David Nebesky, the producer of Genealone, has announced the release of Version 1.4.1:

Several bugs have been fixed.

Two new color schemes (earth colors and turquoise) have been added.

A new layout with proportional width and user bar on the top has been

New features:


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