Software

Use the FREE On My Disk Software to Create Your Own Private and Secure Personal Cloud

You probably have read a lot in this newsletter and elsewhere about the various file storage services in the cloud. Some of the better known ones include Dropbox, Google Drive, iCloud, SugarSync, SpiderOak, Tresorit, Mega.nz, and perhaps a few dozen others. These are valuable services that allow you to gain access to your files wherever you are, to (optionally) share files with others, and to copy files from one of your computers to another. However, there are two major drawbacks to these services:

1. They tend to charge a lot of money if you have a lot of files you wish to keep available.

2. You have to give your files and, more importantly, CONTROL of your files, to someone else.

To be sure, all the better file storage services provide industrial-strength encryption that prevents anyone else from being able to read the contents of your files—not even the employees of the file storage service. Nonetheless, many people are uncomfortable with giving control to strangers on the Internet.

I often hear or read comments from non-technical computer owners who say, “I don’t trust the cloud.” That statement always comes from someone who doesn’t understand how encryption works. Even so, convincing someone to forego their fears of giving up control is nearly impossible.

One new product called “On My Disk” would seem to solve both problems.

Crowd Sourced Indexing is Now Available for Your Society’s Project

CSI, the newest technology available for genealogy indexing, is now available to genealogy societies, special interest groups, and to any group of genealogists with records they want to transcribe.

One of the more valuable trends of recent years has been crowd sourcing. The term is a contraction of “crowd” and “outsourcing.”

Crowdsourcing is the process of getting work or funding, usually online, from a crowd of people. The idea is to take work and outsource it to a large crowd of volunteers. Each person contributes a little bit and, if enough people contribute, everyone benefits. Wikipedia is one famous example. Instead of Wikipedia creating an encyclopedia on their own, hiring writers and editors, a small group of people developed the required software and then gave a crowd of millions the ability to create the information on their own. The result? The most comprehensive encyclopedia this world has ever seen.

GedTree.com Creates Beautiful Family Tree Prints in Minutes

I haven’t used this service yet but it certainly looks promising. GedTree.com creates beautiful genealogy charts, suitable for framing. The information is obtained from YOUR GEDCOM file.

Click on the above image to view a larger version.

Turn a Chromebook into a Powerhouse With the Best Chromebook Apps

I have written often about the low-cost Chromebook laptop computers. I have a Chromebook and love it. The cheap laptop has become my preferred laptop for traveling. I also use it frequently at home when watching TV. See http://bit.ly/2uewqi9 for a list of my past articles about Chromebook computers.

If you own a Chromebook, you probably will want to read Turn a Chromebook into a Powerhouse With the Best Chromebook Apps by Tyler Lacoma. It describes a number of free Chromebook apps that offer the power of many of the commonly-used Windows applications. You probably will want to install several of them on your Chromebook. All of the applications described by Lacoma are available free of charge.

MyHeritage Acquires the Legacy Family Tree Software and Webinar Platform

Major news in the genealogy software marketplace! MyHeritage has acquired Millennia Corporation, makers of the popular Legacy Family Tree genealogy desktop software and well-attended genealogy webinar platform, Legacy Family Tree Webinars.

The following is a quote from the MyHeritage Blog:

We’re delighted to announce today that we’ve acquired Millennia Corporation, makers of the popular Legacy Family Tree genealogy desktop software and well-attended genealogy webinar platform, Legacy Family Tree Webinars. This is our 9th acquisition to date. We consider Legacy’s products to be highly complementary to our wide range of features and services. The acquisition will introduce MyHeritage users to Legacy’s valuable genealogical webinars, and will also provide Legacy’s hundreds of thousands of users with improved resources and access to new services.

Legacy’s webinars, which have been around since 2010, have become the most popular source of education in the genealogy industry. Viewers enjoy talks accompanied by presentations and tutorials on a wide variety of genealogy content from the comfort of their own homes while learning from speakers who are leaders in their field, such as Judy G. Russell, Blaine Bettinger, Lisa Louise Cooke, and Thomas MacEntee. Topics include genealogical research methodology, DNA, historical records, and more. The webinars will continue to feature diverse and high-quality educational content. The webinar platform will also enjoy infrastructure upgrades to support larger audiences.

A Fresh, New Look for the Twile Timeline

Twile, a Website that lets family historians share what they find, has a major update to the service. The following was written by the folks at Twile:

Today we’ve launched a new version of the Twile timeline, designed to make your family history look even better!

We’ve introduced a number of changes to make everything clearer, brighter and easier to use. Your milestones have more colour, your photos are larger and you can see more about each event without having to click and open it.

RootsMagic brings Ancestry Features to their Desktop Software

The producers of RootsMagic genealogy software previously have announced a plan to allow Ancestry.com subscribers to connect their Ancestry accounts to the RootsMagic software. Since that time, Ancestry has developed a new technology to integrate Ancestry Hints® and Ancestry’s records and online trees with RootsMagic products.

Today, RootsMagic announced the product is now available. The free update to RootsMagic 7 is called TreeShare™ for Ancestry.

From within RootsMagic 7, as an existing Ancestry subscriber, you have access to your Ancestry Hints and the ability to share and synchronize data with your Ancestry online trees.

“Integrating with Ancestry’s trees and records has been one of our most requested features,” said Bruce Buzbee, president of RootsMagic. “It’s exciting to work together with Ancestry to make this happen. The feedback that we’ve received from those who have tested TreeShare has been phenomenal.”

You can read the full announcement on the RootsMagic web site at: http://ancstry.me/2sicnyE.

Comment by Dick Eastman:

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.”