Coming Up: Reviews of Genealogy Software

I am planning to write and publish reviews of all the more popular genealogy programs. That will include current genealogy programs for Windows, Macintosh, Linux, Android, and Apple iOS (used on iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch mobile devices) as well as cloud-based genealogy programs that are available on the World Wide Web. The reviews will be published roughly once a week or so, depending upon my travel schedule and the time available. If you are thinking of upgrading to a new program, you may be interested in these reviews.

The first review has been published today: RootsMagic, a very popular genealogy program for Windows. You can read that review at

Genealogy Software Review: RootsMagic

I have decided to write software reviews of all of the leading genealogy programs available today for Windows, Macintosh, Android, Apple iOS, and cloud-based genealogy programs. I will start with RootsMagic, one of the more popular genealogy programs for Windows. I will later review genealogy programs for other operating systems as well.

RootsMagic also offers optional useful apps for both Android and Apple iOS (iPad and iPhone). I will write about the Windows version now and about the Android and Apple iOS apps separately when I start reviewing genealogy apps for mobile computers.

RootsMagic is best known as a genealogy program for Windows that features a user-friendly interface. If you are looking for an easy-to-use genealogy program for a Windows PC, RootsMagic absolutely should be on your list of programs to consider. Despite the simple user interface, the program also offers most all the features demanded by experienced genealogists: a good system of recording source citations; unlimited people in the database, facts/events, notes, sources, and more; many different types of printed reports; support for international character sets through Unicode integration (allowing for use of umlauts, accents, and other characters found in European alphabets); automatically checks for duplicates as you add people, alternate names to make it easy to find a person by their maiden or nick names; the ability to add links pointing to websites that contain information about the people, sources, places, etc. in your database; multiple relationships, such as adoptions, foster parents, etc.; DNA information; ability to add history, latitude and longitude for each place; user-defined fact types; private events that you can suppress from printing or exporting; save reports to PDF format; save reports to your favorite word processor in RTF format; print color coding in pedigree charts, group sheets, box charts, narrative reports, wall charts, ahnentafel, descendant list, and timelines; a built-in help system; a date calculator, a relationship calculator, a Soundex calculator, and much more.

An Obituary Begins With “Ding Dong The Witch Is Dead”

That is not the line that most people would select for their own obituaries, but 70-year old Joanna Scarpitti did just that. At Scarpitti’s request, the family wrote her obituary with the first line being a quote from the Wizard of Oz.

Prior to her death, Scarpetti made her youngest daughter promise that when she passed away she would have that particular phrase printed with her obituary, as the two shared a a love of The Wizard Of Oz and a great sense of humor.

You can read more in an article by Kristyn Clarke in the PCM World news at

700+ Hours of Moving Film Footage from the Great War Now Online

More than 700 hours of moving film footage from the great war has been newly released online for the first time, in a joint European project involving the UK’s Imperial War Museum. The footage, available on the Imperial War Museum website, has been released online for the first time. You can learn more at and in a video at

The Great Colonial Hurricane of August 1635

As we enter the hurricane season in the Northern Hemisphere, perhaps we should stop and think a bit about hurricanes that affected our ancestors. They had no Weather Channel, no special live reports from the scene and, indeed, no advance warning at all. In fact, for centuries nobody knew that storms moved. The transplanted Europeans of the 1600s knew almost nothing of hurricanes, an entirely foreign phenomenon. They thought storms happened in only one place and were caused by an angry God. Their fears of approaching death were reinforced when a lunar eclipse followed the natural disaster.

The Great Colonial Hurricane of August 1635 most likely was a category 3.5 hurricane that probably stayed off the Atlantic coast, causing little damage, until it got to New England. Colonists often wrote about weather in their journals. The first recorded mention of the Great Colonial Hurricane was on August 24, 1635, at the Virginia Colony at Jamestown. It was mentioned as a big storm in journals of the early residents but no major damage was reported. Today’s historians are guessing that the eye of the hurricane probably passed east of Jamestown, well out to sea. It then most likely passed over uninhabited easternmost Long Island before moving north into New England.

International Ceremony Opens 2014 World Acadian Congress

The sun rose over the opening of the 17-day 2014 World Acadian Congress in Fort Kent, Maine, Friday as dignitaries from the host regions in Maine, New Brunswick and Quebec gathered for a symbolic erasing of the borders where the three boundaries meet. The opening ceremony for the 2014 World Acadian Congress was live streamed on the Internet from the shores of Beau Lake in Quebec.

Accompanied by First Nations’ drummers and an Acadian fiddler, the officials, including Maine Gov. Paul LePage, were brought by canoe to the Quebec shores of Beau Lake. The governor surprised attendees by making his comments at the ceremony entirely in French.

A monument carrying the American, Canadian and Quebec flags was dedicated at the location and, with that, the 2014 World Acadian Congress was declared open.

A Comment About Comments

A newsletter reader posted multiple comments late last night, all of them containing more or less the same message. He then posted a last comment questioning why his previous comments didn’t “go through.” I decided to address “the problem” here in case others have the same question.

No comments posted to this newsletter at ever “go through” until they are approved by myself. All newly-posted comments go to a hidden area that only I can see. Once I read the comment, I can make it visible to everyone with one mouseclick or I can erase it permanently with a different mouseclick.

More than 50% of all the comments posted are spam messages, some days it is 75% or more. The comments range from promotions of male sexual enhancement products to advertisements for fake reproductions of Rolex watches to mail order sales of pharmaceutical drugs and all sorts of other junk. Others promote various religious or political agendas or contain personal attacks on politicians.

Woman Learns She Married Her Brother

Take a note: The next time you get married, first check your pedigree chart and that of your future spouse.

A Brazilian woman got quite the surprise when she went on a radio show this week to reconnect with her long-lost mother. Adriana, 39, who gave no last name, went on Brazilian Radio Globo’s The Time Is Now (which helps people find lost family members) and talked to her mother for the first time. The big news: Adriana had a brother who’d been given up as a child and raised by a relative, just like Adriana was. Bigger news: His name was Leandro, just like Adriana’s husband. The two men, in fact, had the same last name. “I don’t believe that you’re telling me this,” said a sobbing Adriana, the Daily Mail reports. “Leandro is my husband.”

Legislation Would Provide Headstones for Veterans’ Unmarked Graves

The “Honor Those Who Served Act of 2014″ would enable veterans service agencies, military researchers, historians or genealogists to request a free headstone or marker from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) for a veteran’s grave.

Until 2012 the VA provided headstones for unmarked veterans’ graves based on documentation of that vet’s identity and service provided by these groups or individuals. That policy was then changed, limiting headstone requests to a veteran’s next-of-kin or authorized family representative – a difficult requirement when dealing with graves dating back 100 years or more, and unknown family descendants. (The policy does not apply to replacement of worn, illegible or damaged markers.)

Thousands More Yorkshire Parish Records now Available on

The Wakefield and District baptisms contain 28,372 records comprised of transcripts of original parish registers made by the Wakefield and District Family History Society. Spanning the years 1622 to 1913, they add to Findmypast’s existing collection of Wakefield baptisms that now totals 213,000 records.

150,000 more burial records have also been added to Findmypast’s already extensive collection of National Burial Index records, which now total 12 million. Transcribed by the Cleveland Family History Society, thousands of these new records have never before been published by the Federation of Family History Societies and are only available at Findmypast.

You can read more in the Blog at

FamilySearch Adds More Than 10 Million Indexed Records and Images to Canada, Czech Republic, Ukraine, and the United States

The following announcement was written by FamilySearch:

Family Search LogoFamilySearch has added more than 10 million indexed records and images to collections from Canada, Czech Republic, Dominican Republic, New Zealand, South Korea, Ukraine, and the United States. Notable collection updates include the 3,427,354 indexed records from the Canada Census, 1911, collection; the 1,334,575 image records from the Czech Republic, Censuses, 1800–1945, collection; and the 2,545,965 indexed records from U.S., Idaho, SoutheastCounties Obituaries, 1864–2007, 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

“Early Oregonians Database Index” Added to and to Oregon State Archives Web Site

The “Early Oregonians Database Index” was added to in July. It contains more than 100,000 entries and includes both settlers and Native Americans who already lived in the Oregon Territory. The records start prior to 1850.

You can find the “Early Oregonians Database Index” online on and also on the Oregon State Archives website at

Dallas Genealogical Society Announces 2014 Writing Contest Winners

The following announcement was written by the Dallas Genealogical Society:

The Dallas Genealogical Society announces the winners of their 2014 Writing Contest, the husband and wife team of Deborah Harvey and Gary Wood, for their article “As the Angus Roam.”

Deborah Harvey is a professional genealogist with over 25 years of experience researching family history records across Virginia and the South. Ms. Harvey’s educational training includes completion of the National Genealogical Society’s Home Study Course, the Boston University Certificate in Genealogical Research, and the ProGen Study Group. She has attended genealogical conferences and events including Samford University’s Institute for Genealogical and Historical Research and Fairfax County Genealogical Society and National Genealogical Society Conferences. Ms. Harvey is completing her portfolio for submission and review by the Board for Certified Genealogists. She is currently accepting research clients at

The British Newspaper Archive Starts Digitising Eight New Titles

The following announcement was written by the folks at The British Newspaper Archive:

More than 8 million newspaper pages from 1710-1954 are now available to search at The British Newspaper Archive (

In the last month, the website has started digitising the newspaper archives of eight new titles. These cover England, Scotland and Northern Ireland and include the London Evening Standard, Glasgow’s Daily Record and the Northern Whig.

“Who Do You Think You Are?” with Rachel McAdams & Kayleen McAdams

Click on the above image to view a much larger version.

I had a chance this evening to watch the U.S. version of Who Do You Think You Are? on TLC. This week’s episode featured Canadian actress Rachel McAdams and her sister Kayleen McAdams. The two were shown researching their mother’s family tree. Unlike many of the past episodes of Who Do You Think You Are? the sisters were able to research (with a lot of assistance from professional genealogists) two different branches of their mother’s ancestry.

They first traced their ancestry back to a couple in England who apparently met when both were employed as servants in a mansion near Plymouth, England. I was pleased to see an old friend, Paul Drake, featured as the history and genealogy expert in Plymouth. Paul produced a number of documents showing the family and their employment. Paul also mentioned that the mansion is still standing so the sisters soon visited the place and learned more at the place where their ancestors worked and first met.

Book Review: Where’s Merrill?

The following book review was written by Bobbi King:

Where’s Merrill? By Gearóid O’Neary. Self-published as an e-book. 2013. 117 pages.

It’s relaxing to sit down and read a book just for pleasure’s sake. Set aside the hefty genealogy reference guides and just escape into an easy and comfortable read.

Where’s Merrill would be a good story to slip into. I have it on my e-reader, and it’s an agreeable way to pass the time on a crowded airplane, relax while on vacation, or read just propped up on the living room couch.

Merrill is a fictional genealogical thriller based on factual events and people, but written with artistic license permitting character embellishment and dramatic plot building.

National World War I Museum Announces Collaboration With Fold3 to Preserve and Share Legacies of World War I Veterans

The following announcement was written by the National World War I Museum at Liberty Memorial and by Fold3:

PROVO, UT and KANSAS CITY, MO–(Marketwired – August 06, 2014) – The National World War I Museum at Liberty Memorial today announced a collaboration with Fold3, the U.S. military record website in the family of brands, that will give the public the ability to create and share memorial pages for American ancestors who served during World War I.

Lind Street Research Publishes a New Guide for finding German Military Records for the former Kingdom of Hanover

The following announcement was written by Lind Street Research:

INVERNESS, ILLINOIS, August 1, 2014 – Teresa Steinkamp McMillin, Certified GenealogistSM and German research expert, is proud to announce the publication of Guide to Hanover Military Records, 1514–1866, on Microfilm at the Family History Library. Military records for the former Kingdom of Hanover in Germany can include a soldier’s date and place of birth, his father’s name, and widows’ pensions. This publication is the only English-language guide to this gold mine of information for genealogists. With this guide, a researcher can quickly determine all available records for a regiment and time period and know where to find them in the Family History Library’s (FHL) microfilm holdings in Salt Lake City, Utah.

The records in this collection span 130 rolls of FHL microfilm and go beyond simply listing names of soldiers. In addition to the typical details in the muster rolls, transfers to and from other companies provide clues to additional muster rolls to review. The many other types of records in this collection include regimental journals, pension data, marriage consents, field church books, and even horse muster rolls, including physical descriptions of the horses and the names of the soldiers who rode them, and much, much more.

Genealogy Cruise December 7 through 14, 2014

I wrote earlier (at about a 7-day genealogy cruise on board the Celebrity Silhouette in the Eastern Caribbean that starts on December 7, 2014. The cruise starts at Fort Lauderdale, makes stops in San Juan, Puerto Rico; Basseterre, St. Kitts; St. Maarten; and returns to Fort Lauderdale on December 14. I will be one of the speakers on the cruise.

Celebrity has now extended the Early Booking Special for the drink package or onboard credit for anyone who signs up between now and August 31.

Genealone 1.3 Has Been Released

The following announcement was written by David Nebesky, the producer of Genealone, a product that allows you to build your own genealogy website:

I am pleased to announce that Genealone ( has been updated to version 1.3.

New features:

  • Sources and citations including list of sources for repetitive use
  • New page with event details including citations from sources
  • Editing and merging sources in Administration interface
  • New built-it event types: residence, occupation, confirmation, immigration, emigration, naturalization
  • Unmarried partners have been added, same sex partners are allowed
  • New religion field in person edit form

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