Software

Mylestone lets you Access Your Personal Memories through Alexa

amazon_echoDo you own an Amazon Echo, the electronic personal assistant often referred to as “Alexa?” I do and I love it. I am finding new uses for it almost daily. However, I never knew of a genealogy use for Alexa until now. Our photographs and social media updates can now turned into memories that we – or our children – could later access just by asking a virtual assistant, such as Amazon’s Alexa. Mylestone transforms your memories into stories to be heard on virtual assistants.

Mylestone is a new startup that is experimenting with turning our digital footprints into narratives that help us recall highlights from our lives, as well as those of our family members and other loved ones. Mylestone’s mission is to ensure life’s most precious memories are accessible upon command. Utilizing memory artifacts, and a combination of artificial intelligence and external data, the company generates narratives that are available via virtual assistants, such as Alexa.

New Free App to Help Visitors in Dublin Trace Their Irish Ancestors

I wish this had been available when I was in Dublin a few months ago! The following announcement was written by Ancestor Network and announced this morning at RootsTech:

Dublin, Ireland, and Salt Lake City, Utah; Wednesday, 8 February 2017

ancestor_networkAncestor Network, Ireland’s leading provider of professional genealogy and probate research, has just released at RootsTech 2017 a free, new and interactive Irish Genealogy Research App; Your Dublin Map Guide to Irish Genealogy and History Sources. This ‘Ancestor Network’ App displays a list of the leading Dublin-based libraries, archives, research centres, historic sites and museums. These are linked to a detailed interactive map of Dublin containing supplemental information such as physical and web address location, contact details, and opening hours.

This App functions as your historical and genealogical guide in navigating through the streets of Dublin and to make the most of your time visiting or researching in Ireland.

A No-Cost or Low-Cost Replacement for Microsoft PowerPoint

If you make presentations to genealogy audiences or to anyone else, you are probably familiar with Microsoft PowerPoint, available for both Windows and Macintosh. It has been the leading slide show presentation program for many years. However, PowerPoint hasn’t had a significant update in years, and the price is not what we expect of modern software: it is far too expensive!

Actually, Microsoft usually sells PowerPoint in a bundle that includes Word, Excel, and perhaps some other programs as well. The prices of the various bundles range from about $120 for a single-user version of Microsoft Office Home and Student 2016 to $360 or more for “Professional” versions that include OneNote, Outlook, Access, and Publisher. Those prices seem excessive when compared to the competition. For instance, LibreOffice does almost all the same functions and is FREE. However, LibreOffice’s presentation program is not as powerful as PowerPoint.

Microsoft has recently added a new, free offering called Office.com, also known as Office Online. It is a cloud-based offering that works well although the feature set is limited. Office Online does not have all the features of Office 365 and does not include OneNote, Outlook, Access, or Publisher. Its online version of PowerPoint is also stripped down. However, the basics of document editing, spreadsheet formulas, and presentation options are all covered. You can check out Office Online at no cost at https://www.office.com.

A New Option Called Slides

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I have been experimenting with Slides, a new cloud-based program that lets you create, present, and share slide show presentations in a web browser. Unlike traditional presentation software like PowerPoint, there’s no need to download anything. All of your work is stored securely on slide.com’s servers, accessible wherever you are. You can create your presentation and display it to an audience with most any device that has a web browser: Windows, Macintosh, Linux, Android, iPad, iPhone, and most “smart” cell phones.

Heredis 2017 for Windows and for Macintosh is Now Available

Heredis is a powerful genealogy program for both Windows and Macintosh that is very popular in Europe and in a number of other countries as well. You can see my earlier articles about Heredis by starting at: https://goo.gl/Xe7jPJ.

heredis-2017

Now the team that produces Heredis has announced a new update to the program is available today. The new version includes a number of improvements. Perhaps the most notable is the new “Dashboard.” Today’s announcement says (in part):

With the Dashboard, at a glance, genealogists know where they are: what they have already found and what they still have to do.

Like a real on board computer, genealogists conduct their genealogical activities very easily. They note their progression: the genealogical and demographic statistics give them valuable indications. Detailed information enables them to analyze their file in depth and to measure the progress of their work, to check the completeness of their sources, to identify what remains to be done and to identify goals. Also, genealogists can customize this workspace by following only the indicators or widgets they have chosen.

HOW WAS THIS IDEA BORN?

Dropbox Paper Challenges Evernote, Google Keep, Zoho Notebook, OneNote and Other Cloud-Connected Note-Taking Products

This is an article I published last August. At the time, the program was still in beta. I have been using it occasionally and find it is a simple word processor but also one that works well. Today, Dropbox took the program out of beta test status and is now supporting it fully. Therefore, I decided to republish the article. If you are looking for a FREE word processor, you might want to use the one you already have: Dropbox Paper.

Evernote has long been one of the best note-taking apps for use by genealogists and by millions of others. I have been a big Evernote fan for years and still am. However, Evernote recently increased the prices of its Plus and Premium versions. Evernote Basic remains available free of charge but is now limited to two devices per account, like a computer and a phone, two computers, or a phone and a tablet. Bummer! (See my earlier article at https://goo.gl/n0v4qa for the details.)

Many Evernote users were disappointed by the news and have since looked for replacement programs. See my article about one possible replacement at https://goo.gl/EwKVFN while others are switching to Microsoft’s OneNote (see https://goo.gl/deGfCZ). Now a new candidate from a well-known vendor is entering the marketplace.

Dropbox has long been a very popular cloud-based file storage service. Most Dropbox users find it is an excellent service for making backup copies of files as well as copying (or “replicating”) those files amongst multiple computers, such as keeping the same files at all times on both your your desktop and laptop computers. The same files also can be retrieved on an iPad, iPhone, Android device, Windows Phone, or even on a Kindle Fire. Now Dropbox is adding a new trick that appears to be aimed at enticing Evernote users to switch to Dropbox’s new service.

Sherwood Electronics Releases Upgrades to Branches for iPad, Branches FREE for iPad, Branches Pro for Mac and introduces Branches GAME for iPad

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

Sherwood Electronics Laboratories, Inc. announces the release of upgrades to the Branches product line. Branches for iPad now includes FamilySearch™ Memories. Branches FREE for iPad has been upgraded with new features. Branches Pro for Mac now includes access to FamilySearch™ for downloading family tree information. Also released is Branches GAME for iPad, a FREE family tree matching game.

Branches for iPad now includes access to FamilySearch™ Memories. Photos, documents, and stories can be downloaded for offline viewing for any non-living person in FamilySearch.™ In addition, albums of memories can be downloaded for the currently signed on user. Memories can be enlarged for detailed viewing. Memories for unrelated non-living persons can also be downloaded. Many memories include documents which are helpful in researching pedigree lines.

Branches FREE for iPad now has the same look and feel as Branches for iPad, with new features now accessible for no charge. Upgrading to the Pro version of Branches for iPad can be done inside of the Branches FREE app.

Family History Hosting Announces GedSite Version 1.3 is Released

A few weeks ago I wrote, “I predict GedSite will be a winner; very popular within the genealogy community.” Indeed, this is one prediction that seems to be coming true. The program has only been available a few weeks but already has generated a lot of interest.

If you are not yet familiar with GedSite, I will point out the program is a Windows program that reads GEDCOM files and then creates HTML pages that create gorgeous web sites to upload to the Internet or to share with relatives privately via flash drives, CD disks, or other removable media or via cloud-based file storage. (All modern genealogy programs can create GEDCOM files.) If you do not have your own web site available, John’s company, Family History Hosting, LLC, will even add your HTML pages in two mouseclicks to the company’s web severs for a modest fee.

John Cardinal also seems to be busy adding new features, most of them suggested by his new customers. The following announcement was written by John:

Short development cycles and frequent releases deliver innovation to customers

North Andover, MA – January 25, 2017 – Family History Hosting, LLC is pleased to announce GedSite version 1.3, the most recent release of this must-have tool for any genealogist creating web sites from GEDCOM files. This release features a powerful record-filtering capability so users can restrict the people included in their sites to a subset of the GEDCOM file contents. In the coming weeks, the filter capability will be applied to other areas of the program, including a new “list of people” feature for creating custom lists and indexes.

HSTRY Changes its Name to Sutori and Adds New Capabilities

logo-sutoriIn the December 29, 2014 newsletter (at https://goo.gl/WXiqDa), I wrote about HSTRY, a FREE multimedia timeline creation tool that will work on your laptop, Chromebook, iPad, or tablet. I stated that “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 company has not stood still since my article was published. The company has expanded its services and also changed its name to Sutori. The multimedia timeline creation tool is now available at: http://www.sutori.com.

You might also want to look at the following pages:

Family Tree Survey for Heredis

heredis_graphicHeredis is a powerful genealogy program for both Windows and Macintosh that is very popular in Europe and in a number of other countries as well. You can see my earlier articles about Heredis by starting at: https://goo.gl/Xe7jPJ.

Now the team that produces Heredis is asking customers and non-customers alike to answer some survey questions. The introduction to the survey says, “That’s why today we would like to get more insights on American genealogists so we can offer them the best family tree program.”

Here is your chance to help a company improve its product. The survey may be found at: https://goo.gl/DgbCnU.

A Free Update to Family Tree Maker is Now Available

The following announcement was received from Jack Minsky, President of Software MacKiev:

ftm_image_1xDrum roll, please. For those of you who have been waiting patiently (or impatiently) for an update we thought every user of FTM 2014 and Mac 3 should install, well it’s here, and here’s why you should install it. (Even if you’ve already updated to a previous edition of FTM 2014.1 or Mac 3.1).

• SECURITY. New in this build is the ability to add password-protection to the tree files you export. And if you’re sending them outside your computer, that’s a very good idea — so your family history doesn’t ever fall into the wrong hands. You’ll find it as a new option in the export window.

GenSoftReviews Announces its Users Choice Awards for 2016

The following announcement was written by Louis Kessler who compiles the Users Choice Awards:

gensoftreviewsThe 8th annual Users Choice Awards have been announced at the GenSoftReviews website based on 750 reviews submitted by users during 2016.

44 programs were eligible having a minimum of 10 reviews and at least one review in 2016. Of those, 27 programs achieved a user-assigned average score of at least 4.00 out of 5, and each win a 2016 GenSoftReviews Top Rated Genealogy Software award.

The Winners include:

Gramps 4.2.5 Released

Gramps is a FREE genealogy program available for Linux and UNIX-like operating systems as well as for Windows and Macintosh. It is an impressive program, both intuitive for hobbyists and feature-complete for professional genealogists. Not bad for a free program! Gramps is a community project, created, developed and governed by genealogists.

gramps

Gramps version 4.2.5 has just been released. It is a maintenance release, meaning it has numerous bug fixes but no major new functionality added. It is available now for Linux and the versions for other operating systems probably will be added soon. You can learn more about Gramps at https://gramps-project.org/ while the list of changes in version 4.2.5 may be found at https://gramps-project.org/2016/12/gramps-4-2-5-released/. The users manual may be found in an online wiki at https://gramps-project.org/wiki/index.php?title=Main_page.

Incline Software Releases Ancestral Quest 15

The following announcement was written by the folks at Incline Software. Notice the major new features: the ability for AQ to receive hints from MyHeritage, FamilySearch and Findmypast; and to sync scrapbook items with FS Memories:

Salt Lake City, Utah (December 15, 2016) – Incline Software, LC, producer of Ancestral Quest™, premier family tree software for Windows and Mac, announced today the release of version 15. This new release provides exciting, easy to use new features, including the new TreeTips™ research assistant and Memories Manager, along with improvements to core screens that take better advantage of newer, higher resolution monitors.

Major New Features

TreeTips is a new technology built into Ancestral Quest that will search the world’s major databases of genealogical records and let users know if there are any records for them to examine. TreeTips combines the hinting capabilities of MyHeritage (based in Israel, with over 6 billion searchable records), FamilySearch (based in Utah, with over 5 billion searchable records) and Findmypast (based in England, with nearly 3 billion searchable records). With TreeTips, many users will feel like Ancestral Quest practically does their family history research for them. Users simply enter what they know about their family into Ancestral Quest and let TreeTips examine over 14 billion records, suggesting where to look next, as they expand their tree and discover and document more depth into their family’s heritage.

Updates to the AncestorSearch & Historical U.S. County Maps Research Tools

Randy Majors has created a research tool for genealogists called AncestorSearch, which creates a Google search optimized for genealogy searches. You can now filter on Marriages, Births and Deaths (or all three!) by checking the corresponding boxes at www.randymajors.com/p/ancestorsearch.html.

You can now filter on Marriages, Births and Deaths (or all three!) by checking the corresponding boxes.

ancestorsearchscreenshotsample

Announcing the Release of TreeView version 2

The following announcement was written by S&N Genealogy Supplies:

Leading family history publisher S&N Genealogy Supplies have just released TreeView 2, the next version of their popular family history software package specially designed for family historians.

TreeView stores your family tree on your PC or Mac with the option to easily sync your tree with TreeView.co.uk and its free iOS and Android app, allowing you to keep your family history at your fingertips. Privacy options for your online tree allow you to retain complete control over your research.

Click on the image above to view a larger version

TreeView has many powerful features including:

Update to Google Duo Video Chat App

I wrote about the Google video chat app called Duo in the August 17, 2016 newsletter at https://goo.gl/PJm3ET. Duo is a two-way video chat application for both Android and iPhone/iPad devices. I consider it to be a great competitor to FaceTime which is limited to only iPhone/iPad devices. I have been using Duo on my Android smartphone to chat with iPhone users. I have been generally pleased with it but have noticed that the video is not as good as that of FaceTime, which I used when I had an iPhone.

Now Google has announced a new version, called Google Duo 5.0. The new version reportedly includes some “major video quality improvements” among its additions. Also, the new version fixes a bug that was causing sound to not play for some users.

Simple Note Taking Apps

gift_ideasSimple is often best. At least, I think so when it comes to making notes. Note taking programs are amongst my most frequently-used apps on my desktop, laptop, and tablet computers as well as on my cell phone. I typically use them several times a day. Best of all, when I create a note on any of my devices, it automatically gets copied to all the other devices. As a result, I always have my notes with me all the time. (I never leave home without the cell phone.)

I use two such apps frequently:

  • When I am sitting in the audience at a genealogy conference, taking notes while listening to an expert talk about a topic I am interested in.
  • When I discover something new about an ancestor in an old record of some sort, in a book, or even in someone else’s claims in a web site. I want to record the information now so that I can verify it later before entering the information into my favorite genealogy program. The note taking apps serve as “temporary storage.”
  • Measuring the windows at home for new curtains.
  • Creating a shopping list during the week before visiting the grocery store.
  • Remembering which inkjet cartridge my printer requires for my next visit to an office supply store.
  • Airline reservations.
  • And a lot more…

A New Product: GedSite creates Professional-Quality Web Sites from GEDCOM Files

I suspect this announcement will cause a lot of interest. John Cardinal, well-known for developing Second Site software for use with The Master Genealogist (TMG), has now released a brand-new Windows product called GedSite and is selling it at a modest price. I predict GedSite will be a winner; very popular within the genealogy community.

GedSite builds on the technology developed for Second Site but adds a lot of new features. First, it accepts GEDCOM files for data input. (All modern genealogy programs can create GEDCOM files.) Next, GedSite can create gorgeous web sites to upload to the Internet or to share with relatives privately via flash drives, CD disks, or other removable media or via cloud-based file storage.

The following announcement was written by John Cardinal, CEO of Family History Hosting, LLC:

New tool for genealogists is fast and flexible, and sites can be published on the web or shared privately

gedsite_logoNorth Andover, MA – December 4, 2016 – Family History Hosting, LLC is pleased to announce GedSite, a must-have tool for any genealogist creating web sites from GEDCOM files. GedSite provides many of the features of Second Site, a web site builder also published by Family History Hosting for genealogy projects managed by The Master Genealogist (TMG).

“For more than a decade, genealogists have been asking me to publish a program to produce high-quality web sites from GEDCOM data,” said John Cardinal, CEO and Founder of Family History Hosting. “I’ve learned directly from our customers that they want the features and ease-of-use of Second Site, my popular web site builder for TMG, but for GEDCOM files. I am glad to offer GedSite in response to those requests.”

GedSite’s fast and flexible importer handles standard GEDCOM records as well as application-specific GEDCOM extensions for popular genealogy applications. GedSite includes the unique ability to interpret sentence templates from Family Historian, Legacy, and RootsMagic GEDCOM files, and provides its own sentence templates for GEDCOM files from source applications that do not support them.

MacFamilyTree 8.1 – New CloudTree offers Collaboration and Sync

The following announcement was written by Synium Software, producers of the very popular MacFamilyTree genealogy program for Macintosh, iPhone, and iPad:

December 2, 2016 – Mainz, Germany – Synium is proud to announce a huge update for MacFamilyTree, their popular genealogy app to discover your family history. Version 8.1 answers the frequently asked question “How can I work on my family tree and do genealogical research with other family members?” – and does it in a unique way . MacFamilyTree 8.1 introduces CloudTree Sync&Share – powerful, one of its kind, and free for all users of MacFamilyTree 8.1.

macfamilytree_screenshot

CloudTree Sync&Share creates a revolution in digital genealogy. No other service provides such speedy synchronization across any number of devices – directly from within the app, at no additional cost, and in line with the highest data protection standards. The iPhone and iPad version of MacFamilyTree, called MobileFamilyTree, has been updated to, offering the same set of features.

MyHeritage Releases a Major Mobile App Update

The iPhone, iPad, and Android mobile apps from MyHeritage have just been updated. The new version now offers “Real-time Discoveries,” an impressive feature that automatically looks for matches with the 34 million existing family trees on MyHeritage while you are entering or update the profile of an individual in your family tree. The “Real-time Discoveries” have been available for some time in the web version at MyHeritage.com and should be equally popular in the mobile versions.

The new release also features a List View with improved search functionality and sorting options.