Software

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.

The Argument for Building an Offline Version of Your Family Tree

I am a big fan of storing all sorts of personal data, including my family tree, both online and also offline (in my computer’s hard drive). I like online access because of the increased security (assuming it is encrypted), the automatic backups, and the ease of access to the information when traveling, even when traveling to a local genealogy society meeting.

familyhistorian_screenshot

Simon Orde, the owner of the colorfully named company Calico Pie, has a different viewpoint. After all, he and his company produce Family Historian, one of the very popular genealogy programs for Windows. Simon has written an article that provides his opinions of online versus offline storage. I will say that his article makes a lot of sense.

Heredis for Windows and for Macintosh is on sale at 50% off until Sunday, October 23, 2016

Heredis is a very popular genealogy program that is available for Windows, Macintosh, iPad, iPhone, and Android devices. See https://duckduckgo.com/?q=site%3Aeogn.com+heredis&t=h_&ia=web for a list of my past articles about Heredis.) Now the producers of Heredis are offering a 50% off sale until October 23. The following is the announcement:

For 10 days, a mega deal is available for genealogists until Sunday, October 23, 2016 only inclusive: 50% OFF for Heredis software (PC and Mac) on http://shop.heredis.com/.

10 reasons to choose Heredis:

Unlimited program: you can enter as many persons, photos, copies of documents that you want!

Tens of features easy to adopt: from data entry, one of the Heredis strong points to tasteful family tree charts, Heredis advances your genealogy.

Unique functions as enter all members of one family on a single entry screen with the Family Group Data tab: the primary person, the parents, marriages, children, and even the partners of their children are represented!

Little Family Tree, A Genealogy App for Children

This looks like a great app! It is available for Apple iPhone, iPad, and for Android devices. The following announcement was written by Yellow Fork Technologies LLC:

Herriman, Utah, October 1, 2016

Yellow Fork Technologies LLC has just released a major update to their app, Little Family Tree, making it FREE to download through the mobile app stores. Little Family Tree is an app that teaches children about their family history through interactive games and activities with information obtained from an online family tree.

little-family-tree

Dropbox Has Problems with the new macOS Sierra for Macintosh But there is a Fix Available

Dropbox is a great tool for genealogists and most everyone else. It has been mentioned in this newsletter dozens of times. (See https://goo.gl/nx4GnP for a list of my past articles about Dropbox.) However, if you are a Macintosh user and you just upgraded to the new macOS Sierra version of the operating system, “strange things” may happen. Luckily, there is a fix.

GRAMPS Can Now be used as a Cloud-Based Genealogy Program

GRAMPS (an abbreviation for “Genealogy Research and Analysis Management Programming System”) was originally developed as a Linux genealogy program and later was ported to Macintosh, Windows, BSD UNIX and Solaris. (You can find my previous articles about GRAMPS by starting at https://goo.gl/gVUE9d.)

GRAMPS is now available as a cloud-based program. In theory, you should be able to use the cloud-based version of GRAMPS with any Android, Apple iOS (specifically iPad), Chromebook, Windows, Macintosh, or Linux computer. Since it runs from the cloud, no software installation is required. Best of all, GRAMPS is available FREE of charge.

I find GRAMPS to be a very powerful genealogy program. Perhaps the most attractive feature is its price tag: FREE.

GRAMPS is a community project, created, developed and governed by genealogists. Dozens of programmers have contributed to its success. Now the folks at rollApp have ported GRAMPS to an online version, accessible to everyone in the cloud. One unique feature is that the online version of GRAMPS will save your data files in your choice of Dropbox, Google Drive, Box.com, OneDrive, or Yandex.Disk.

Why You Might Want a Personal Genealogy Blog on WordPress

blogYou probably can find dozens of reasons for creating a blog. In addition, you can probably find dozens of companies that will host a blog for you. Given the choices and the reasons available, trying to decide on the best blog hosting service for you can be an overwhelming decision. How do you find the best one for your use? I will suggest there is no easy answer, but I will suggest that WordPress should be one of the services you evaluate.

NOTE: I will quickly admit that I am biased. The words you are reading right now are hosted on a WordPress blog. I have used several different blogging services over the years to host this newsletter. I switched to WordPress several years ago and am very happy with the company’s services. I have no plans to switch to anything else.

Why would you want a blog?

There are a number of reasons why a genealogist might want to crate a blog. Here are a few ideas I can think of:

Twile Allows Users to Merge Multiple GEDCOM Files

I have written before about Twile. See http://goo.gl/jVVbaw for a list of my past articles about the company. Now Twile is introducing a new upgraded version. The following announcement was written by the folks at Twile:

twileDoncaster, UK: 7th September, 2016

Twile have today released a new feature allowing users to merge multiple GEDCOM files into one family tree and keep it updated with future changes.

The new feature means that family members storing their research independently in different family history sites – such as Ancestry or Findmypast – can now bring all of their findings together in one private family tree on Twile and import newer versions as they further their research. As well as building their tree, Twile will use the data in the GEDCOM files to automatically add events to the family timeline, such as births, marriages and deaths.

The Future of Genealogy Software

Warning: this article contains personal opinions.

genealogy-softwareI recently exchanged email messages with a newsletter reader who is looking for a replacement for his favorite genealogy program, the now-defunct program called The Master Genealogist. He raised some good points about today’s available genealogy products, and I responded with some of my views and predictions. I decided to write an article based upon our “conversation” and to also expand our comments as I imagine many newsletter readers also are interested in finding new and (hopefully) better programs.

First, let me write specifically about The Master Genealogist.

OpenOffice, the Free, Open-Source Microsoft Office Alternative, could be Shut Down

I have written several times about the advantages of OpenOffice and LibreOffice, two free alternatives to Microsoft Office. (See http://goo.gl/qtpYC3 for my most recent article about free replacement programs for Microsoft Office.) Now a volunteer vice president of OpenOffice says OpenOffice could be shut down if more developers can’t be recruited to support the project and keep the software secure. The immediate problem is that, according to Dennis E. Hamilton’s email, the team now consists of only about six core members and they are overwhelmed.

You can read the details in an article by David Z. Morris in the Fortune Magazine web site at http://fortune.com/2016/09/04/openoffice-possible-shutdown/.