Software

MacFamilyTree Update Version 8.2 is Now Available

I received a short note from the producers of MacFamilyTree, one of the leading genealogy programs for Macintosh. I have written before many times about this powerful and visually impressive product. You can find my earlier articles by starting at: http://bit.ly/2txH4MT.

This morning’s note says (in part):

We have just released the next huge MacFamilyTree update. Version 8.2 comes free for all users of 8 and 8.1. MobileFamilyTree has been updated to version 8.2, too. Both apps are currently sold at 50% discount.

Our charts always have been the most beautiful ones… but we improved them even more.

How to Make a PDF File Searchable

A newsletter reader asked the question: “How can i make a PDF file searchable?” I thought others might have the same question, so I will reply here in the newsletter so that everyone can benefit. Also, anyone with additional methods is invited to post comments at the end of this article.

A searchable PDF is a PDF file that lets you both search for keywords in the text and use copy/paste to extract text from the PDF. Unfortunately, many PDF files are not searchable. Instead, they are simple images of an original document.

In short, a PDF file usually can be made searchable ONLY when it is created. There are some exceptions, however. I will describe some exceptions at the end of this article.

Transform Any Document into a Searchable PDF with Adobe’s new FREE Scan App

Want a searchable digital copy of the document you just photocopied at the archives? If so, Adobe’s new app, aptly named Adobe Scan, is one you’re definitely going to want to try.

There are many scanning apps available these days. On typeset copies, most of the apps simply create a PDF “picture” of the file. Most of these PDF files are not searchable. That is, you cannot use your computer to search for specific words or phrases in the text of the scanned document. Now Adobe Scan changes all that. The FREE Adobe Scan app turns your device into a powerful portable scanner that recognizes text automatically (OCR). Turn anything — receipts, notes, documents, pictures, business cards, whiteboards — into an Adobe PDF with content you can reuse.

Follow-Up: How Private is Your Genealogy Information?

Yesterday, I published an article entitled How Private is Your Genealogy Information? That article is still available at: http://bit.ly/2r4m26g. In that article, I strongly suggested encrypting any sensitive information stored in your computer’s hard drive, on flash drives, or in any cloud-based file storage service. Encryption keeps your private information private.

A newsletter reader then asked a very simple question: “How do I encrypt my info?”

The question is simple although the answer is a bit more complex. I decided to post my answer here in a separate article so that everyone could read my reply:

Update of MacKiev’s Family Tree Maker 2017 Release Plans

MacKiev has been working feverishly on the new release of Family Tree Maker 2017. There have also been hints in the MacKiev status reports that the folks at Ancestry.com also have been burning the midnight oil on their end as well.

The details have not been released but apparently one big show stopper has been getting the Family Tree Maker 2017 software in both the Windows and Macintosh computers to synchronize properly with Ancestry.com’s servers. Apparently, the problems are believed to be close to resolved. Beta test users reportedly have been performing updates for several days now.

If you are curious when the release will be finalized, keep an eye on the MacKiev.com status reports at https://support.mackiev.com/498640-RELEASE-OF-FTM-2017. Those status reports seem to updated about every week or so.

Announcing c3 Heirlooms – a Web Server App for Recording the History of Family Heirlooms

Did you inherit any family heirlooms that have been passed down from generation to generation? If so, you need to record and preserve the history of each piece as you know it to make sure the history does not get lost for future generations. In fact, some history may have already been lost before the items came into your possession. You owe it to future generations to preserve whatever historical information you may have.

Scott Hampton, the creator of c3 Heirlooms, states on his web site:

“c3 Heirlooms was created to stop that trend and allow you and your family to easily record your heirlooms and their history. I created this because our family needed it. Maybe yours could use it as well.”

Some features are:

Announcing the Release of GedSite version 1.5.1

This is a major upgrade to one of the best products for making web sites based on your genealogy data. The following announcement was written by Family History Hosting, LLC:

Catching Up with GedSite

Here are the new features in version 1.5.1, released today, and other recent changes

North Andover, MA – May 1, 2017Family History Hosting, LLC is pleased to announce GedSite version 1.5.1, the most recent release of the must-have tool for any genealogist creating web sites from GEDCOM files. Here are some of the features in today’s release and other releases from the past 60 days:

  • Box Charts allow you to add graphical descendant and pedigree charts to your site. The charts include an Accent facility where you can highlight members of the chart who pass criteria that you specify. So, for example, you can highlight your direct ancestors in a chart of all the descendants of one of your ancestors.
  • Relationship Charts show the relationship between two people in a box chart format that includes all the people in the lines of descent from a common ancestor. Relationship charts are an interesting way to show how you are related to a notable ancestor or cousin. Like GedSite’s other charts, you may use the Accent facility to highlight selected members of the chart.

Announcing the Release of Legacy Family Tree Version 9

Legacy Family Tree has long been one of the most popular genealogy programs for Windows Now the company has announced a major new upgrade.

Version 9 adds Hinting, FindAGrave.com tools, Stories, Hashtags, DNA Charts and more. Best of all, the company is offering a discounted price for anyone upgrading from an earlier version.

You can read all the details and even watch an online video describing Legacy 9 at: http://bit.ly/2pf4rv0.

Genealogy Applications for Chromebooks

The subject came up today in another web site but I think it bears repeating here. I must admit that I love my low-cost Chromebook computer. (Chromebooks typically cost about $150 to $300 although there are a few high-end Chromebooks that cost more.) I am using my Chromebook more and more every day, including right now as I write this article.

The question was asked, “What genealogy programs are available for Chromebooks?”

I have looked at the list before but that was some time ago. Today I went back and looked at the same list again and was surprised that it has grown so much. There are a LOT of genealogy programs available for Chromebooks. Some of them are really Android programs that now run on many of the newer Chromebooks. See https://play.google.com/store/search?q=genealogy&c=apps for the list. Most of them are available free of charge although there are a couple of exceptions.

Status Updates for Family Tree Maker

One of the common misconceptions is that “no news is bad news.” That is not always true. In some cases, perhaps you simply haven’t heard the latest news.

In this case, the news concerns Software MacKiev, the company that acquired the rights to the popular Family Tree Maker software program from Ancestry.com some months ago. I have read complaints in this newsletter’s comments section and elsewhere that Software McKiev has not met some of their promised delivery dates. In fact, there is some truth to that in a couple of cases but, more commonly, the “problem” is that the customer(s) simply didn’t know the latest status updates.

I spent time talking with representatives of Software McKiev this past week at the Who Do You Think You Are? Live! show held in Birmingham, England. One fact I learned is that Software McKiev updates their own customer support page frequently, especially when there is news to share with customers.

Twile Now Offers a Printed Infographic

The following announcement was written by Twile. Notice the discount that is only available through April.

Doncaster: 6th April 2017
In response to customer feedback and requests, Twile have this week started offering a printed version of their popular family history infographic, which was launched at RootsTech in February.

The personalised infographic presents statistics pulled from a user’s family tree, such as the average number of children per family, the most common surnames and the average age of marriage. Previously it’s been available only as a shareable digital image, but customers can now order a high resolution printed copy.

What is the Most Popular Computer Operating System? No, It Isn’t Windows.

For the first time in many years, Microsoft Windows in now the second-most popular operating system and is falling further behind. So what is the most popular operating system? Android.

Admittedly, the two operating systems are essentially tied. Web-analytics company StatCounter reports that Android now runs on 37.93 percent of all computers while Windows is used on 37.91 percent of the computers. Admittedly, that’s only a 0.02% difference and that is within the margin of statistical error.

However, Android held just 2.4 percent of global Internet usage share only five years ago. It is obvious that Android is growing rapidly while Windows is declining in use. Anyone who has been watching the statistics concerning the growth of “smartphones” and tablets along with the decline of PCs shouldn’t be too surprised.

Family History Hosting Announces Free Software Offer

I always like FREE offers but this one is especially attractive. Family History Hosting’s CEO, John Cardinal, is offering a free license for either of the company’s two major products: GedSite or Second Site. The offer can be used when you purchase a any hosting plan from Family History Hosting between now and March 31, 2017. This is an excellent way of placing your genealogy (or your family surname society’s genealogy) on the World Wide Web. Note that this is a limited time offer, as described in this announcement from Family History Hosting:

Limited-time offer: Free web site creation software with purchase of any FHH hosting plan

North Andover, MA – March 21, 2017 – Family History Hosting, LLC  [at] http://www.familyhistoryhosting.com/ is pleased to announce a free software offer: purchase any hosting plan from Family History Hosting between now and March 31, 2017, and receive a free license for either GedSite or Second Site!

“Family History Hosting is a great choice for genealogists who want to publish on the web,” said John Cardinal, CEO and Founder of Family History Hosting. “We provide comprehensive support to eliminate any technical barriers, and combined with GedSite or Second Site, publishing a genealogy project online has never been easier.”

Software MacKiev introduces FamilySync™ for Family Tree Maker Software

If you use Family Tree Maker software, you need to be aware of the following announcement written by Ancestry.com and Software MacKiev:

Last year, we announced the purchase of Family Tree Maker desktop software by Software MacKiev and because we wanted to make the transition to a new owner as smooth as possible, we committed at least a year of customer and product support. The goal has always been to maintain the capability to share your family tree data between files on your computer with your personal Ancestry online trees. We’ve been hard at work co-developing a new Ancestry gateway with Software MacKiev to use in their Family Tree Maker 2017, which will be available soon. We believe Software MacKiev continues to deliver the best value to users of Family Tree Maker with their focus and expertise in software solutions.

What you should know:

Twile Adds New Features for St. Patrick’s Day

The following announcement was written by the folks at Twile:

Doncaster: 14th March 2017

Family history timeline Twile have today released two brand new features to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day.

Twile’s infographic, designed to help family historians share their research and engage younger generations, can now be created in the national colours of Ireland. The personalised family infographic is free and available to everyone – whether currently using Twile or not – at https://twile.com/numbers/irish. Visitors can simply import their FamilySearch tree or upload a GEDCOM file to automatically generate their infographic.

Designed for sharing online and with family, Twile’s infographic includes statistics such as the average number of children per family, the most common surnames, the ratio of men to women and the average age of marriage.

PaperPort Professional 14

If you are drowning in paper, having a difficult time managing all the documents you have amassed in your genealogy research, you might want to look at PaperPort Professional 14. It is useful for genealogy work as well as for dozens of other uses as well. I have written in the past about document management with Evernote and with OneNote. However, Nuance PaperPort Professional 14 could be described as the “industrial strength replacement” for either Evernote or OneNote. Even better, the price of PaperPort Professional 14 recently dropped from $200 to $59.99. Amazon has an even lower price: $44.99.

PaperPort provides a single way to scan paper, create PDF files, and access, view, edit, and convert your files on your PC. (It is only available for Microsoft Windows; there is no Macintosh version.)

PaperPort has long had the distinction of being a leading product for document management. It allows the user to sort, file, and organize even tens of thousands of documents and to retrieve any of them within seconds. The latest version 14 has now added some capabilities to smoothly work with the cloud, allowing the user to quickly retrieve or even to share document with users of Windows personal computers, netbooks, tablets, and smart phones.

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

slides-screenshot1

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?