Software

Randy Majors Announces Auto-Checking of All Location Facts in Ancestry Family Trees Now Available

Randy Majors is a prolific author of numerous utility programs that add extra functionality to various programs of interest to genealogists. To see my past articles of Randy’s past accomplishes, look at my earlier articles by starting at https://blog.eogn.com/?s=%22Randy+Majors%22.

Now Randy has added still another program to his collection of useful tools for genealogists Here is his latest announcement:

Posted: 15 Sep 2020 10:14 AM PDT

While searching on Ancestry.com and FamilySearch, the FREE Historical U.S. Counties Auto-Checker extension for Chrome automatically checks that the county existed in the year you are searching, checks for valid places, warns of boundary changes, and links to historical county lines on Google Maps for the place and years you are searching.

Now, in addition, if you are a randymajors.com Research Hub contributor, the Auto-Checker will ALSO automatically check all U.S. location facts on person profile pages on all Ancestry.com family trees! And your MAP links will open into ad-free fullscreen map windows any time you click a MAP link!

Auto-Check location facts on all Ancestry.com family trees

Gramps 5.1.3 Released

GRAMPS (an abbreviation for “Genealogy Research and Analysis Management Programming System”) is a free software project and community. It is a community project, created, developed and governed by genealogists, not by a commercial company. The project contributors strive to produce a genealogy program that is both intuitive for hobbyists and feature-complete for professional genealogists.

Gramps is a genealogy program for Linux, Windows, Macintosh, and FreeBSD that allows you to easily build and keep track of your family tree. It is obviously the most popular genealogy program of today for Linux and FreeBSD. It also has many users on Windows and Macintosh. It is FOSS (free and open-source software).

Gramps also has been ported to a cloud-based program for some time. 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 in your computing device is required. Best of all, Gramps is available FREE of charge.

How to Convert a Windows Laptop into a Chromebook

This article is “off topic.” That is, it has nothing to do with the normal topics of this newsletter: genealogy, family history, DNA, and related articles. However, I believe it will interest many people, genealogists included, who use more than one computer.

I have written numerous times about the advantages and drawbacks of using a Chromebook. See https://duckduckgo.com/?q=site%3Aeogn.com+chromebook&atb=v132-2_j&ia=web for my earlier articles about Chromebooks.

If you have an older, possibly obsolete, Windows computer that is in working condition but is no longer being used, an article by Chris Wedel in the Android Central website tells how to easily convert an older (or modern) Windows system into a modern Chromebook.

rootstrust, Version 2.0 is now Available

The following announcement was written by Atavus, Inc:

As promised, Atavus, Inc. released rootstrust, Version 2.0 on August 1, 2020 following a very productive beta test period. The feedback from beta testers enabled the developer to finalize and release a very stable product. Among the numerous new features of Version 2.0, the following are particularly worthy of mention:

    • Professional quality, template-based source citations using the style proposed by Elizabeth Shown Mills.
    • Improved support for ultra-high-resolution video displays like those featured on some Microsoft Surface Pro models and Mac computers with a Retina Display.
    • File Cabinet synchronization – a facility for keeping your collections of rootstrust document and multimedia files in sync with their backup copies.
    • Performance enhancements for extremely large databases.
    • Data entry directly from the Ancestor View (pedigree chart view). See figure below.

Cite This For Me

Genealogists often don’t understand the need when they begin but soon find it is important to cite their sources. After all, someday you will ask, “Where did I find that?” If you were smart enough to record the source citation at the time you recorded the other information, your question is easily answered. You will find many other genealogy uses for source citations as well.

Cite This For Me is a FREE extension for the Chrome web browser that will automatically create website citations in the APA, MLA, Chicago, or Harvard referencing styles at the click of a button. Simply browse to the page you wish to cite and click the button to generate a correctly formatted citation. You may then copy-and-paste the citation into your document, or add it to your online bibliography for safekeeping until later. Cite This For Me also comes with a Google Chrome extension.

Here’s Why You Should Use Google Duo for Your Video Calls Instead of Zoom

Reasons:

Easier to use

More features

Much more secure (all communications use end-to-end encryption)

Higher quality connections

Free even for commercial use

Syncthing

This article is “off topic.” That is, it has nothing to do with the normal topics of this newsletter: genealogy, family history, DNA, and related articles. However, I believe it will interest many people, genealogists included, who use more than one computer.

Do you use two or more computers? Perhaps you have a desktop system and a laptop computer. Perhaps you use one computer at the office and a different one at home. Then again, perhaps you have two homes; a summer cottage or perhaps one home in the sunbelt and another “up north.” Do you keep separate computers in each location?

Perhaps you and a relative who is also working on the family tree want to keep genealogy information and old family photographs updated all the time in both of your computers in your homes. Whatever your situation, the question this article hopes to answer is, “How do you automatically keep some of the information up-to-date on both (or all) of the computers?”

The question can be answered with one word: Syncthing.

MyHeritage Photo Enhancer Goes Viral

I wrote about MyHeritage’s new Photo Enhancer one week ago at https://bit.ly/3eC7XGZ. The new product obviously has become very popular as the MyHeritage Photo Enhancer has now gone viral, with over ONE MILLION ENHANCED PHOTOS!

One of the MyHeritage employees told me today that the company has received amazing feedback from users who are excited, impressed, and even moved to tears as they see their family members in crystal-clear focus. One user commented that this feature “has enabled me to ‘know’ my grandparents in a way that I could not have otherwise.”

Announcing: ORA, the Online Repository Assistant

This is very interesting. Here is a new offering created by John Cardinal, a well-known software developer who focuses on creating software tools for genealogists. His past accomplishments include Family History Hosting as well as companion programs for use with The Master Genealogist (TMG) (from Wholly Genes Software), Second Site, and the TMG Utility. Now John has created a new product that looks like it will be a very useful tool. Here is the announcement from John:

Narragansett, Rhode Island, June 17, 2020 – Family History Hosting is pleased to announce ORA, a web browser extension combined with a Windows program to help you extract data from the web pages of your favorite online repositories and capture the information in your preferred genealogy program. ORA has several features that will save time, reduce errors, and increase the consistency of your data entry.

ORA works with the Chrome, Edge, Firefox and Opera browsers when used under Windows and supports these online repositories: Ancestry.com, FamilySearch, Find a Grave, Findmypast, General Register Office (UK), Newspapers.com, and Nova Scotia Genealogy. More repositories will be added with each update.

Introducing the MyHeritage Photo Enhancer

MyHeritage has just announced the release of something I have not seen before in any genealogy web site: a feature that brings blurry faces in any photo into sharp focus. Photos are enhanced using specialized technology that produces outstanding, high-definition results.

Perhaps you have old photos that look grainy or blurred, or photos of large family gatherings with many faces that are too small to recognize clearly. The MyHeritage Photo Enhancer aims to solve these age-old problems and produces phenomenal results that let you see your ancestors more clearly than ever before.

rootstrust, Version 2 Beta now Available

The following announcement was written by Atavus, Inc.:

Atavus, Inc. has announced the release of rootstrust, Version 2 Beta. The respective installers for Windows, Mac OS X and Linux can be downloaded free of charge at rootstrust.com.

Among the numerous new features of Version 2, the following are particularly worthy of mention:

  • Professional quality, template-based source citations using the style proposed by Elizabeth Shown Mills.
  • Improved support for ultra-high-resolution video displays like those featured on some Microsoft Surface Pro models and Mac computers with a Retina Display.
  • File Cabinet synchronization – a facility for keeping your collections of rootstrust document and multimedia files in sync with their backup copies.

The Library of Congress has Announced the Release of the LOC Collections App for iOS

From an announcement published on the Library of Congress (LOC) web site at https://www.loc.gov/item/prn-20-032:

To celebrate the 220th anniversary of its founding, the Library of Congress today announced the release of the LOC Collections app, the premiere mobile app that puts the national library’s digital collections in the hands of users everywhere.

In addition to providing an easy, accessible way to search and explore the Library’s growing digital collections, LOC Collections allows users to curate personal galleries of items in the Library’s collections for their own reference and for sharing with others. Items currently featured on the app include audio recordings, books, videos, manuscripts, maps, newspapers, notated music, periodicals, photos, prints, and drawings.

“The Library of Congress collection can now fit in your pocket,” said Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden. “The Library started 220 years ago with 740 books and 3 maps. Today, that collection has grown to make us the largest library in the world and a storehouse of our national history. It’s been our goal to throw open our treasure chest and help every American connect to the Library of Congress. The LOC Collections app is a uniquely personal, easy new way to explore the nation’s library.”

Update: How to Get Microsoft Office for Free in 2020

On January 1, 2020, I published Off Topic: How to Get Microsoft Office for Free in 2020. The instructions for obtaining free copies of Microsoft’s Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneDrive, Outlook, Calendar and Skype apps have changed a bit since January 1 so I have deleted the original article. In its place, I would suggest you read Microsoft Office is now Microsoft 365. Here’s how you could get it for free by Alison DeNisco Rayome and available on the CNET web site at https://www.cnet.com/how-to/microsoft-office-is-now-microsoft-365-heres-how-you-could-get-it-for-free/.

Please keep in mind that the free versions are mostly the same as the older versions that require payment but there are a few differences. Quoting the article by Alison DeNisco Rayome in the CNET web site:

Randy Majors Releases Another FREE Tool Do the Location Work for You as You Search on Ancestry.com or FamilySearch.org

The prolific Randy Majors has released still another software tool that will aid genealogists as they research online. Here is his announcement:

U.S. county boundaries have changed over 17,600 times since America was settled in colonial times. Don’t sabotage your search for ancestors by not knowing the correct county for the historical years you are researching.

While searching on Ancestry or FamilySearch, the free Historical U.S. Counties Auto-Checker extension for Google Chrome automatically checks that the county existed in the year you are searching, warns of boundary changes, and links to historical county lines on Google Maps for the place and years you are searching!

10 Free Video Chat Apps to Use if You’re Social Distancing

This article is off topic. That is, it is not about genealogy, family history, DNA, or the other topics usually found in this newsletter. However, are you stuck at home due to the coronavirus pandemic? Use these videoconferencing options to keep in touch with family, friends and your workplace.

You may be interested in an article by Alison DeNisco Rayome in the CNet web site at: https://www.cnet.com/news/10-free-video-chat-apps-to-use-if-youre-social-distancing/.

The free video chat apps described include:

Amazon Chime, Facebook Messenger, FaceTime, Google Hangouts Meet, Houseparty, Marco Polo, Microsoft Teams, Skype, WhatsApp, and Zoom.

While not mentioned in the article by Alison DeNisco Rayome, I would also suggest Signal and Duo, two video chat apps that I use frequently. Both are available free of charge.

Randy Majors Releases a Coronavirus Stay-at-Home and Shelter-in-Place Map

Randy Majors is a well-known programmer who creates applications from Google Maps that perform function the programmer at Google never dreamed of. To see some of his past accomplishments, read some of my past articles about his creations by starting at: https://duckduckgo.com/?q=site%3Aeogn.com+%22Randy+Majors%22.

Unlike most of his early projects, Randy’s latest product is not genealogy-related. He writes:

“To try to help get the information out there, I’ve compiled and have been maintaining a live up-to-date map of all of the U.S. states, counties and cities that have implemented Stay-at-Home/Shelter-in-Place Orders (as well as states with order to close all non-essential businesses. It’s a very actively changing map as you can imagine.

How to Filter Search Results from People Search Sites and Social Media Sites

The following was written by Randy Majors, a prolific author of numerous online improvements to various web sites:

Now AncestorSearch can cut through the muck of all of those annoying People SearchSite

Does doing a Google search for your ancestors turn up a ton of results from those annoying People Search websites?  Now you can easily INCLUDE or EXCLUDE those websites from your search based on a new enhancement to AncestorSearch on Google Search!

Now you can filter your AncestorSearch search results to EXCLUDE or to INCLUDE ONLY search results from major people search sites and social media sites.  The options look like this:

AncestorSearch and PeopleSearch Filter Search Results options

You can view the full description of the new functionality below the AncestorSearch tool under the heading “NEW!  How to Filter Search Results from People Search sites and Social Media sites“.

What People Search sites are searched?

These are the people search sites searched by AncestorSearch, listed roughly in order or traffic ranking according to Alexa:

AncestorSearch Alert: Your Ancestor is Long Gone, but Google May Find Something New Tomorrow!

The following is an announcement from Randy Majors, the prolific creator of numerous utility programs that add extra functionality for web sites in order to aid genealogists:

According to an internet study, Google is adding an average of 68 MILLION new web pages to its search index EVERY DAY!

What if one of those new pages contains a mention of your ancestor?

Think of all of the possibilities:  new archives coming online all the time, old books and newspapers being scanned, people writing genealogy blog posts, newly indexed records becoming searchable…and so much more.  So how do you make sure you don’t miss something important?

To make it easier to remain informed about new pages that contain a mention of your ancestor, you can now SET A GOOGLE ALERT in the AncestorSearch on Google Search tool.  After you fill out your search on AncestorSearch, just type your email address and click the “Set Google Alert” button near the bottom of the tool:

AncestorSearch on Google Search Set Google Alert

Here’s a quick example

Declutter Your Inbox. Subscribe to Email Newsletters Straight Into Inoreader

This article is off-topic. That is, it is not about genealogy, family history,DNA, or any related topic. However, I suspect many readers of this newsletter will find it interesting. It describes a better way of subscribing to all sorts of email newsletters by posting them to an RSS newsreader instead of cluttering up your email in-box.

Comment: I have been using RSS newsreaders for years to cut down on my workload and I would hate to read dozens of web sites without a newsreader. For details, read my earlier article, Is It Time to Try a Newsreader? at https://blog.eogn.com/2018/03/29/is-it-time-to-try-a-newsreader/.

Here is a quote from the Inoreader web site:

“Inoreader now allows you to subscribe to Email Newsletters just as regular RSS feeds. By creating a new Newsletter feed, you have the opportunity to create a unique email address where you can direct emails and read them just as regular articles.

The Best Photo Editors for Chromebooks

I have described the advantages of low-cost Chromebook laptop and Chromebox desktop computers in past newsletters many times. For a list of those articles, see http://bit.ly/37L4KQN.

If you own a Chromebook, you probably will be interested in this article. If you do not own a Chromebook, you might want to skip this article.

In the June 18, 2019 newsletter at http://bit.ly/2SWleQN, I recommended Polarr Photo Editor as the best FREE photo editing program for Chromebooks. (A “Pro version” is also available for a modest price.) I was pleased to see other writers agree with me.