Genealogy Software Review: Legacy Family Tree

I have decided to write software reviews of all of the leading genealogy programs available today for Windows, Macintosh, Linux, Android, and Apple iOS, as well as cloud-based genealogy programs. This is the second article in the series: Legacy Family Tree, one of the more popular genealogy programs for Windows. I will later review genealogy programs for other operating systems as well.

I have also created a Windows Genealogy Software Comparison Chart showing the major features of each program reviewed so far. The Chart may be found at http://wp.me/p5Z3-FG.

Legacy Family Tree is one of the more popular genealogy programs available for the Windows operating system. Its popularity is caused by three major factors: it is powerful, it is easy to use, and it contains most all the features that serious genealogists demand. However, it also works well for genealogy newcomers. If you are looking for an easy-to-use genealogy program for a Windows PC, Legacy Family Tree absolutely should be on your list of programs to consider.

(+) A Comparison Chart of Genealogy Software for Windows

The following is a Plus Edition article written by and copyright by Dick Eastman.

Genealogy Software for Windows Comparison

A side-by-side comparison of all programs reviewed to date: RootsMagic and Legacy Family Tree

An Unusual Family Reunion: the Descendants of William Douse of Prince Edward Island

It was not the sort of event you’d expect to find on the agenda of a family reunion, even a reunion of the Douse family.

William Douse was from Wiltshire, England. He emigrated to Prince Edward Island, Canada, in 1822 and became a successful businessman until his death in 1864. He was buried in a large crypt in the Old Protestant Burying Ground on University Avenue in Charlottetown. One hundred fifty years later, his descendants decided to open the crypt and to make repairs, making sure that William Douse and other family members entombed with him would rest in peace in restored surroundings. The opening and repairs were made during a multi-day family reunion.

Tintamarre Parade Draws Thousands of Acadian Descendants to Madawaska, Maine

Tintamarre, the traditional Acadian parade that for the 2014 World Acadian Congress was planned to be one of the biggest ever, and which wound its way down Main Street in Madawaska making the biggest racket possible. It made an amazing amount of noise — and it certainly was one of the biggest ever, with preliminary estimates from World Acadian Congress organizers putting the total number of people in the parade between 10,000 and 12,000.

Book Review: My Ancestor Settled in the British West Indies

The following book review was written by Bobbi King:

My Ancestor Settled in the British West Indies.
By John Titford. Published by the Society of Genealogists Enterprises Limited, London. 2011. 253 pages.

Mr. Titford has written a book about the British families who immigrated to the West Indies and their associated records. Loss has been the key point of the records generated in the colonies. Neglect, destruction, and civil strife have taken their toll on these records of Anguilla, Antigua, Bahamas, Barbados, Bermuda, British Guiana, British Honduras, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Dominica, Grenada, Jamaica, Montserrat, Nevis, St Kitts, St Lucia, and St Vincent, Tobago, Trinidad, and Turks and Caicos Islands.

Reminder: 2014 FGS Conference Online Registration Ends August 19

The following was written by the organizers of the 2014 FGS Conference:

Online registration for the 2014 Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS) Conference, scheduled 27-30 August 2014 in San Antonio, Texas, ends Tuesday, August 19. Register at http://www.fgsconference.org/registration. This year’s conference theme is “Gone to Texas,” and the local hosts are the San Antonio Genealogical and Historical Society (SAGHS) and the Texas State Genealogical Society (TSGS).

Pre-registering for the conference gives you access to some great benefits. Those who have already registered for the conference still have time to purchase tickets to the conference “extras.”

(+) QR Codes Create Internet-Connected Tombstones – A Good or Bad Idea?

The following is a Plus Edition article written by and copyright by Dick Eastman. 

QR Codes have many uses. They are often used on business cards and also in printed advertisements. Mercedes-Benz attaches them to automobiles so that rescue crews can use their smartphones or tablets to instantly retrieve information on how to make a speedy and safe recovery when using the “jaws of life” to extricate victims from an auto accident. (See http://www.gizmag.com/mercedes-benz-qr-codes/27675/.) Now genealogists have recently been finding QR Codes on tombstones and on columbariums

NOTE: A columbarium is is a place for storage of cinerary urns (i.e. urns holding a deceased’s cremated remains).

A QR Code (abbreviated from Quick Response Code) is the trademark for a type of matrix barcode (or two-dimensional code) first designed for the automotive industry. You can see a typical QR Code to the right. You probably have seen similar QR Codes on all sorts of products and advertisements. To use a QR Code, use a smartphone (typically an Apple iPhone or an Android phone) with appropriate software installed to take a close-up picture of the QR Code. The software reads the QR Code and then opens a web browser that displays the web page address that is embedded within the dots of the QR Code.

Volunteers to Scan 40,000 Historic Titles at Onondaga County Public Library for Free Online Access

First it was a trickle, then a stream, then a river, and then the flow became a tsunami. Organizations everywhere are rushing to digitize books wherever they may be found. Through an agreement with FamilySearch.org, the Onondaga County (New York) Public Library’s collection of more than 40,000 historic titles soon will be carefully scanned, one page at a time, and uploaded for free genealogy research online.

FamilySearch supplied the scanning equipment. Volunteers supply the time. The project is expected to take more than a year to complete. Work got underway last week.

FamilySearch Adds More Than 5.1 Million Indexed Records and Images to Brazil, New Zealand, and the United States

The following announcement was written by FamilySearch:

Family Search LogoFamilySearch has added more than 5.1 million indexed records and images to collections from Brazil, New Zealand, and the United States. Notable collection updates include the 375,900 indexedrecords from the Brazil, São Paulo, Immigration Cards, 1902–1980, collection; the 1,152,816 indexed records and images from the U.S., BillionGraves Index, collection; and the 3,560,424 indexed records from U.S., New York, Passenger Lists, 1820–1891, collection. See the table below for the full list of updates. Search these diverse collections and more than 3.5 billion other records for free at FamilySearch.org.

Searchable historic records are made available on FamilySearch.org through the help of thousands of volunteers from around the world. These volunteers transcribe (index) information from digital copies of handwritten records to make them easily searchable online. More volunteers are needed (particularly those who can read foreign languages) to keep pace with the large number of digital images being published online at FamilySearch.org. Learn more about volunteering to help provide free access to the worldís historic genealogical records online at FamilySearch.org.

Valerie Bertinelli’s Episode on the U.S. Version of Who Do You Think You Are?

This week’s episode of Who Do You Think You Are? featured Valerie Bertinelli, the Hot in Cleveland star. Unlike some of the past episodes with other celebrities, Valerie traced two different branches of her family tree: one on her father’s Italian ancestry and another on her mother’s Colonial American ancestry that was then traced back into England and ended with an ancestor most people have heard of: Edward the First, King of England from 1239 to 1307.

I do have to think the show’s producers ran out of time to provide further generations. Edward the First’s ancestry is well documented: his parents were King Henry III and Eleanor of Provence and their ancestry has been documented further back for several more generations. However, nothing prior to Edward the First was mentioned in the program.

Valerie Bertinelli’s Italian ancestry was perhaps more interesting, where she learned more about her beloved grandmother’s whose early years were not known to the rest of the family. Perhaps even more interesting was the story of her grandmother’s mother, Maria, an incredibly strong woman who overcame great odds. A young widow, she left Italy with her two small children at beginning of Word War I and settled in Pennsylvania. She then married for a second time. The woman escaped being murdered by her second husband, Gregorio, by pretending to be dead after being shot. Her husband then stepped into a second bedroom and committed suicide.

Add Gigabytes of Storage Space to your iPhone, iPad, or Android Device with Amazon Cloud Drive

I love the mobile computing gadgets available today, but most of them are normally restricted to whatever storage space is available within the device. In most cell phone and tablet computers, that can be anything from 8 gigabytes to 64 gigabytes of storage space. A very few mobile devices, such as the iPad, may offer more. I often find that I need more storage space than that to store all the pictures, videos, songs, and documents I create. A second issue is the ability to share pictures and videos amongst mobile devices as well as with desktop and laptop computers. After all, if you take a picture with your cell phone’s camera, you probably want to also save it on your other devices, including the desktop system at home.

You can find dozens of services that offer the capability to copy and to share anything from your cell phone or tablet computer. However, one of the easiest products to use is Amazon Cloud Drive. I have been using it for several months and am pleased with it. Amazon Cloud Drive offers up to five gigabytes of free storage space with more space available at reasonable charges. I also like the fact that my photos and videos are saved in multiple places, including a cloud-based storage service that is managed by data professionals. I doubt if any disaster will ever cause me to lose all copies of my precious pictures.

15 Million Pages of Centuries-Old Medical Books Move to the Web

I am not sure how useful these books will be to genealogists. Then again, these are the treatments that your ancestors enjoyed or suffered with for many years.

Millions of old books are being digitized and made available on the web. The latest group of books to join the online library includes 15 million yellowed pages of text and images from arcane 19th-century medical books. Nine British universities and research institutions are sending their collections of important texts from the history of medicine and science to the London-based Wellcome Library so that their rare books and pamphlets can be made freely available online.

Over the next two years, a team from the Internet Archive will scan texts on medicine, consumer health, sport and fitness, and even outdated medical practices like phrenology, a pseudoscience based on the idea that a person’s character was reflected in the shape of his or her skull. Texts on food and nutrition will include about 1,400 cookbooks from the University of Leeds, according to the Wellcome Trust, which announced plans for the project in partnership with the digital tech charity Jisc last month.

You can learn more in an announcement from the Wellcome Library at http://goo.gl/8z2PYv.

Changes for Family Tree Maker Support When Used with Windows XP

Anyone using Family Tree Maker as their genealogy program probably has already seen this warning that now pops up when you launch the program:

We’re making updates that may impact your Family Tree Maker experience. Starting in October 2014, Ancestry Web Search within Family Tree Maker software will have reduced functionality or may not be supported by Microsoft Windows XP, Microsoft Windows Vista or Internet Explorer 8 or 9. Moving forward, Microsoft Windows 7 or 8 will be required for Ancestry Web Search functionality to work properly.

That can be jarring to anyone who uses Windows XP, Vista, or Internet Explorer version 8 or 9. However, I cannot blame Ancestry.com, the producers of Family Tree Maker. I think it is a wise move. I suspect many users of Family Tree Maker will disagree with me, however.

Windows XP was released in August, 2001. That’s 13 years ago. Windows XP has now been replaced three times (Vista, Windows 7, and Windows 8), not counting the minor updates along the way. Windows XP is now three major releases out of date. In other words, it is ancient.

In fact, Windows XP was supported longer than any other operating system ever produced by Microsoft. Now the end is here.

A Tombstone That Says It All

Photo by Alan Jones, used here with permission

Sometimes a tombstone can be brutally honest. Here is one example, as shown in the photograph taken by Alan Jones in the Arrowtown’s Cemetery in Otago Province, New Zealand. You may have to click on the image to the right to view a larger version. Then you should be able to read the bottom line.

Use Crowdsourcing to Identify the People in Photographs

Jeff Phillips discovered a big pile of funky-smelling Eastman Kodak boxes containing dozens of projection trays filled with Kodachrome slides at a consignment antique shop near St. Louis. The 30 boxes contained about 1,100 slides. Only two of the slides were labeled. One said “Edna” and another was labeled as “Harry, 1958.” Those are clues but do not provide much to go on. Jeff decided to identify the people in the slides. Jeff then embarked on a crowdsourced search to identify the people in the photos by using social media. He received hundreds of suggestions from Facebook users.

Great-Grandchildren of ‘Aunt Jemima’ File $2 Billion Suit Against Quaker Oats

This isn’t quite as good as being named in a rich relative’s will but it might work out anyway. Anna Short Harrington was hired to portray Aunt Jemima after the brand’s acquisition by Quaker Oats in 1926. Her heirs never received any royalties from the earnings generated by her likeness and original recipes following her death in 1955. Harrington’s great-grandson, D.W. Hunter, filed a $2 billion class action suit — on behalf of all of Harrington’s heirs — against PepsiCo and its Quaker Oats subsidiary in an Illinois district court last week.

You can read more in an article by Geoff Weiss in the Entrepreneur web site at http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/236462.

(+) Why Are We Limited to Soundex?

The following is a Plus Edition article written by and copyright by Dick Eastman. 

Genealogists love Soundex, a method of matching names that have similar sounds but may be spelled differently. In fact, Soundex became popular amongst genealogists almost as soon as it was invented in 1918. Soundex was patented by Robert C. Russell of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and is sometimes called the “Russell Code.” The U.S. Census Bureau immediately adopted Soundex for indexing census records. Since then, others have used the Soundex code to sort similar-sounding names for telephone books, work records, drivers’ licenses, and many other purposes. I noticed that the first four characters of my driver’s license number are “E235,” the Soundex code for my last name.

Genealogists use Soundex to find variant spellings of ancestors’ names. Almost all modern genealogy databases have a “search by Soundex” capability.

Soundex is a form of “phonetic encoding” or “sound-alike” codes. A Soundex code consists of one letter followed by three digits. For instance, Smith and Smythe both are coded as S530, Eastman is E235, and Williams is W452.

Wednesday’s “Who Do You Think You Are?” with Valerie Bertinelli

Valerie Bertinelli examining family photos with her parents. Click on the above image to view a much larger version.

This week’s U.S. version of “Who Do You Think You Are?” promises to be interesting. 1980s sitcom star Valerie Bertinelli will embark on a mission to learn more about her Italian grandmother and discovers her grandmother’s mother, an incredibly strong woman who overcame great odds. But the biggest surprises are on Valerie’s maternal side, since her mother knows nothing about her own roots. Traveling to England, Valerie uncovers previously unknown connections to the Quakers, early Pennsylvania history, and even the British aristocracy.

Who Do You Think You Are? Live! in Glasgow, Scotland has been Shortened

Logo as shown on August 12

The annual Who Do You Think You Are? Live! expos in London, England, are perhaps the largest genealogy events in the world. The organizers also are planning a second event later this month, to be held in Glasgow, Scotland. You can read about that in my earlier article at http://wp.me/p5Z3-By. If you were planning to attend only on one day and that day was to be Sunday, you might want to re-schedule. The organizers now have apparently shortened the expo. What was to be a three day, Friday through Sunday event, now is listed as a two-day event: Friday and Saturday only.

Registration for 2015 Forensic Genealogy Institute Opens September 9, 2014

The following announcement was written by the folks at the Forensic Genealogy Institute:

Dallas, Texas – August 12, 2014 – Registration for the fourth annual Forensic Genealogy Institute (FGI) will open on September 9, 2014, at 1 pm EST. The educational arm of the Council for the Advancement of Forensic Genealogists (CAFG), FGI will be held March 26-28, 2015, at the Wyndham Love Field Hotel in Dallas, Texas.

The 2015 FGI features two brand-new, concurrent courses:

Forensic Genealogy Master Practicum
Advanced Genetic Genealogy and Unknown-Parentage Cases

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