Version 12 of the The Next Generation of Genealogy Sitebuilding (or “TNG”) has been Released

This is big news for one of the most sophisticated genealogy products of today: TNG. It is a genealogy program that installs on a web server and can be used by one person alone or by hundreds of genealogists at once. It is especially useful for family members working together to document their family history and to genealogy societies and other organizations involved in multi-member research efforts. The following announcement was written by Darrin Lythgoe, the man behind Next Generation Software:

SANDY, UT: A major upgrade for The Next Generation of Genealogy Sitebuilding (or “TNG”), is now available from Next Generation Software. TNG 12 includes many enhancements and new features, plus security and user access improvements. Existing users can purchase the upgrade at a discount by returning to their previous download page.

This release also includes three new template designs, plus added functionality for several others, and a new language is supported (Chinese). Several media handling functions have been improved, and two privacy-related tools have been introduced. Significant upgrades have also been made to the DNA testing feature and the Mod Manager, which allows users to easily install or remove add-ons.

Zotero: Your Personal Research Assistant

Zotero is a cloud-based service that automates and documents much of your research on the web. Did you find a web page about an ancestor? Or how about a page that describes the town in which your ancestors lived? How about creating a “To-Do List” for future research tasks? Do you need to create a bibliography for the article you are writing? Zotero can do all that and much more. In fact, Zotero is a FREE, easy-to-use tool to help you collect, organize, cite, and share research.

NOTE: I’ll describe the differences between the free version and the paid storage options later.

Zotero is a project of the Corporation for Digital Scholarship and the Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media. It was initially funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Institute of Museum and Library Services, and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. With credentials like that, you know the product is not some fly-by-night service created by a single individual in his or her garage!

Zotero Storage synchronizes PDFs, images, web snapshots, and files among all your computers, allows you to share your Zotero attachments in group libraries, and makes them available through the website. The program bears a strong resemblance to both Evernote and to OneNote except that it is optimized for research tasks, not for general-purpose note-taking. The program works on Windows, Macintosh, Linux, or from a web browser (although the web browser version has somewhat limited functionality). Unfortunately, there is no version for Android, Apple iOS, or Chromebooks.

Create a Digital Diary and Your Descendants will Thank You

Diaries written by an ancestor are amongst the most valuable family heirlooms of all time. Whether it is a diary written by a soldier in wartime or a day-by-day account of life on the farm, these daily journals provide great a understanding of the lives of our ancestors. However, this begs the question: Are you creating a diary with a plan to leave it for your descendants?

An article by David Nield in Popular Science magazine says:

“Keeping a daily journal lets you practice writing, organize your thoughts, and preserve your habits and events for posterity. But who has the time and energy to sit down for a dedicated recording session every day? Instead, jot down your entries on the go—by keeping the tome on your phone.”

Indeed, writing an electronic journal can provide great benefits to yourself when you need to go back and recall an event or some instructions from your past. However, if preserved properly, the same journal can provide a greater understanding of your life for other family members long after you are gone.

Is It Time to Try a Newsreader?

Your paperboy just got smarter. This article will tell you how to easily read more information on the Internet in a shorter period of time. In short, you can use much of the Internet without all the clutter.

I used to spend 2 or 3 hours per day visiting specific web sites over and over in an attempt to find new information. I regularly visited looking for news, looking for the latest weather forecast for my home town, various stock market web sites, and, of course, genealogy sites looking for information about a variety of topics. The old method meant visiting each and every web site, one at a time, then waiting for the page to appear on my screen, then looking at menus to find the new information, waiting again for the new pages to appear, and so on. It was a tedious way to search for new information.

Today I can accomplish the same thing within a very few minutes instead of spending hours searching for elusive information. Today I “subscribe” to,, and several hundred other web sites. New information automatically appears on my computer’s screen whenever I want; I no longer have to open a web browser to visit dozens of web sites in search of new information. I only see new information. Older information that has already appeared on my screen earlier is not displayed to me a second time. Most of the advertisements are also not displayed although a few do manage to appear. The result is in the a form of a “custom newspaper” designed for me, containing new information about topics of interest to me.

Update: Tropy – A New App that Helps Create Order out of Research Disorder

This is an update to an article I published yesterday that adds a bit more information about the product. Tropy is program that provides a method of organizing the photographs and scanned images you take of various documents encountered during your family history research.

Tropy is a FREE, open-source desktop application for Windows, Macintosh, and Linux that is designed to help researchers organize and describe the photos and scanned images they make in archives and elsewhere. The program will group photos, annotate images, add metadata, export to other applications, and easily search their collections.

On the downside, Tropy only allows researchers to import photos as JPEGs, PNGs, and SVGs. It does not import PDF files.

A Cell Phone App Stops You from Accidentally Dating your Long-Lost Cousin

This app only works in Iceland. I was in the country last year and learned about it from several local residents.

With a population of only 320,000 people, Icelanders all know that everyone on the island is related to everyone else. In some cases, they might be closely related, such as second cousins. This presents a quandary when dating: is your date a candiate for marriage or perhaps could such a marriage lead to an incestuous relationship?

MacFamilyTree 8.3 is On Sale at 50% Off

Synium Software has an offer that will appeal to many Macintosh owners. MacFamilyTree is a highly-rated Macintosh genealogy program with an outstanding user graphic user interface. While it has many available options, perhaps the most notable feature in MacFamilyTree 8.3 is the new “CloudTree – Sync & Share“ added in version 8.

CloudTree is a FREE service that allows the user to (optionally) store genealogy information in the cloud and share it with relatives. All new updates to the CloudTree instantly become available to others, who may view it on their Macs, iPhones, or iPads. The other users who have access to the family tree may be able to add new information or, if you prefer, you can make your family tree available as a read-only version instead. Although all entries are synced via CloudTree, all your information is still available locally on your Mac, iPhone or iPad, allowing you to continue your genealogical research when your device is offline. CloudTree will automatically sync any changes once you reconnect to the internet.

MacFamilyTree also works with MobileFamilyTree 8, a full-featured genealogy app for iPhone and iPads that is also produced by Synium Software.

Announcing The Imbueapp – Turn Every Item Into A Time Capsule

The following announcement was written by the folks at the Imbue Digital Corporation:

Save family memories with the Imbueapp. A free iOS app delivering trusted long-term storage for cherished family memories.
Imbue uses machine learning to identify photos, antiques, heirlooms, etc.
and turns them into time capsules for future generations.

VICTORIA, BC, Canada– February 10, 2018 – Innovator, Keith Wells, also the Founder of digital sports highlight distribution leader, SendtoNews Video Inc., is ready to unveil his latest project, the Imbueapp.


Using a smartphone camera image, Imbueapp captures your precious items and remembers them using machine learning from Google Cloud Vision API; you then add audio or video to the items, explaining where they came from, who they belonged to, and why they are special. Using cloud storage and the Google recognition software, the Imbueapp connects the two permanently so that future generations can identify your family treasures and the stories associated with them.

“Capturing the voices of parents and grandparents makes sense, because voices go silent unexpectedly.” said founder Keith Wells.

Using LibreOffice as a PDF Editor

I have written often about LibreOffice, my favorite word processing software. It also is a full suite of programs, offering spreadsheets (competing with Excel), presentations (competing with PowerPoint), Draw (vector graphics and flowcharts), Base (databases), and Math (formula editing). Best of all is the price tag: FREE. You can find my past articles about LibreOffice by starting at:

Writing in the web site, Martin Brinkmann points out that LibreOffice also is a great program for creating, editing, and saving PDF documents. Amongst its capabilities, LibreOffice will allow you to open PDF files obtained from some other source and then you can add, edit or delete text, and even use advanced features such as inserting images, changing the formatting or adding tables. Once you are done editing the document you need to select “export as PDF” from the File menu.

rootstrust now Supports Ultra-High Resolution Displays

I have written before about rootstrust, a genealogy program for Windows, Macintosh and Linux. (See for my past articles about rootstrust.) Now the producers of rootstrust have announced a major new addition to the program’s capabilities. The following announcement was written by the folks at Atavus, the procers of the rootstrust software:

Atavus, Inc. announces that the current version of its multiplatform genealogy program, rootstrust, automatically resizes its window to accommodate ultra-high resolution video displays like Apple’s Retina Display and the 4K displays currently offered by so many other computer manufacturers.

Reunion version 12 is Now Available for the Macintosh

Reunion 12 has just been released. According to the program’s web site at, the new features include:

  • New Duplicate Check feature. When adding a person, a new window appears showing possible duplicates to the person you’re adding. You can make it as sensitive as you want. Potential duplicates can be reviewed, to help decide whether to link an existing person or continue adding a new person. No need to look for duplicates after the fact.
  • Sort events for everybody, marked people, or the current couple. An “Event Template” lets you determine the best order for events that have no dates. For example, always keeping burial after death, even when the burial date is unknown.

Cyberduck for Windows and Macintosh

NOTE: This isn’t a genealogy-related article although it is about some software that is used by a lot of genealogists. This article is an expanded version of a suggestion I posted in the comments section of the web site in response to a reader’s mention of frustration with a certain FTP file transfer program.

Once you have created web pages in your favorite genealogy program, how do you transfer those pages to the web site you use to display that information? In fact, there are probably a dozen or more methods of doing that, depending upon the requirements of the web site you use. However, the most common method is to perform an FTP file transfer.

NOTE: FTP stands for “File Transfer Protocol.” For a complete, although somewhat technical, explanation of FTP, see the Wikipedia article at:

To use FTP, you need to install an FTP program in your computer. There are dozens of FTP programs available for Windows, Macintosh, Linux, Chromebooks, UNIX, Android, Apple iPhones and iPads, and other computer systems. Some of them are very easy to use while others seem to be overly cryptic, full of buzzwords left over from UNIX systems of the 1970s when FTP was first invented. If you are using a cryptic FTP program or if you are looking for your first FTP program, I have a suggestion for you: Cyberduck.

LibreOffice 6.0 Released

I have written often about the free office suite of programs called LibreOffice. (See for a list of my past articles about LibreOffice.) I have both LibreOffice and Microsoft Word installed on the computer I am using at the moment but I find LibreOffice’s word processor to be my favorite. It is easier to use than Word and is compatible with more file formats, including: .doc, .docx, .rtf, .html, .xhtml, .epub3, .odt, and a bunch of other formats as well.

LibreOffice includes a word processor (competing with Microsoft Word), a spreadsheet program (somewhat like Excel), a presentation program (similar to PowerPoint), a drawing program, a database program, and a mathematics program. LibreOffice Writer also includes such useful features as a spellchecker, a thesaurus, AutoCorrect, and hyphenation as well as a variety of templates for almost every purpose. You can also create your own templates using the wizards.

Looking for Help in the Heredis Booth at RootsTech

Heredis is a very popular genealogy program for Windows, Macintosh, iPad, iPhone, and Android. At least, it is popular in Europe and in many other places although I don’t hear as much about it in North America. The folks who produce Heredis are working to change that. They plan to have an exhibit booth at RootsTech 2018 in Salt Lake City to demonstrate Heredis to everyone there. However, they are looking for some help in that booth. Are you interested?

Comment from Dick Eastman: I have used Heredis a lot and am very impressed with the propgram. It certainly is competitive with the other leading genealogy programs of today and I can see why it is so popular in many different countries. To see my past articles about Heredis, start at

The following announcement was written by the folks who produce Heredis:

Genealogy Software Users Choice Awards for 2017 announced by GenSoftReviews

The following announcement was written by GenSoftReviews:

The 9th annual Users Choice Awards have been tabulated and awarded at the GenSoftReviews website.

During 2017, 82 of the nearly 1,000 programs listed received 535 reviews. Along with the review, users rated the programs from 1 to 5 star, with 5 being best. Programs that received at least one review in 2017 with 10 or more all-time reviews that achieved a user rating of at least 4.00 out of 5 receive a GenSoftReviews User Choice Award for 2017. The award reflects that the program is well-liked by its users.

The 25 programs awarded a GenSoftReview Users Choice Award as a Top Rated Genealogy Software for 2017 are:

Next Generation OCR Now Available in TextGrabber 2 for only $2.99 US

Has anyone tried this? I just downloaded and installed it last night on my Android cell phone and am learning how to use it. I’d love to hear from a more experienced user.

If the advertisements are correct, TextGrabber may be a new revolution in OCR (Optical Character Recognition). I can see this having lots of uses in genealogy as well as for dozens of other purposes as well. Quoting from the ads:

“Translate recognized text into 100+ languages in a snap.”

“Today we proudly present our completely new TextGrabber Android. You’ll be amazed. Like its iOS sibling released in June, the Android version can now recognize texts on the fly thanks to our cool new technology, Real-Time Recognition!

Microsoft Office is Now Available on Chromebooks

This article has nothing to do with genealogy. However, I have written often about Chromebooks, the inexpensive laptop computers. (See for my past articles about Chromebooks.) This is a follow-up to the earlier articles.

Perhaps the most common question about Chromebooks is, “Can it run my favorite Windows (or Macintosh) programs, such as Microsoft Word?” The answer was “No.” However, that is changing.

Chromebooks are designed to be used with the cloud and run programs that are stored on servers in the cloud. There are thousands of such programs available. See for a list of the available apps that run on Chromebooks. The genealogy apps may be found at:

HOWEVER, Microsoft has now released versions of Microsoft Office (including Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneDrive) written especially for Chromebooks. The Chromebook versions have most of the functionality of the Windows and Macintosh versions, although a few features may be missing.

QromaScan v3 Introduces Natural Language Tagging

I wrote about the QromaScan device earlier. Start at to see my earlier articles. Now a major new software upgrade is available for QromaScan. Here is the announcement from Qroma LLC:

Create Industry Standard Photo Metadata from Natural Voice Descriptions.

SAN JOSE, California— November 17, 2017— Consumers frustrated by the complexity of scanning and organizing their film based images will have a new option as Silicon Valley-based Qroma LLC announces the availability of QromaScan v3.0 for iOS®. QromaScan captures and organizes photos, slides and negatives in one step using specially designed iPhone® accessories and an innovative voice recognition technology. Version 3 brings a new Natural Language Tagging engine that enables users to describe their photos in their own words and use QromaScan’s cutting edge voice recognition technology to detect and embed photo metadata tags for key details such like the date, location and people. A new Relationship Manager detects the use of common nouns used for describing family members such as ‘mom’ and ‘dad’ and automatically tags the image with their full names.

QromaScan 3 greatly simplifies what was once the tedious process of creating industry standard photo metadata. Powered by machine learning and linguistic parsing, QromaScan 3’s Natural Language Tagging engine can store up to 2,000 characters of the user’s transcribed description of a photo and then automatically generate photo metadata tags for things like dates, places, GPS coordinates, and people names. The transcribed description and detected metadata are embedded into the image where they are recognized and made searchable by any operating system or photo organization software that reads standard EXIF and IPTC metadata, such as Adobe Lightroom CC®, Google Photos or Apple Photos®.

Family History Hosting Announces GedSite Version 1.10

GedSite is a great tool for creating personal genealogy web sites. The propgram has its own “roots” in a program that was used to create gorgeous web sites from the database of The Master Genealogist, a Windows program that is no longer available. The program’s creator, John Cardinal, then moved his focus to creating web sites from GEDCOM files. He named the newly-launched program GedSite.

Now John has greatly expanded the capabilities of GedSite, as explained in the announcement below:

Family History Hosting Announces GedSite Version 1.10

Featuring enhancements for customers using Legacy®

North Andover, MA – October 27, 2017 – Family History Hosting, LLC is pleased to announce GedSite version 1.10, the most recent release of this must-have tool for any genealogist creating web sites from GEDCOM files. This release features enhanced support for GEDCOM files exported from Legacy® and several optimizations related to exhibit handling.

“GedSite builds narratives using a flexible processing engine that interprets sentence templates exported from several genealogy programs, now including Legacy” said John Cardinal, CEO and Founder of Family History Hosting.

Soliciting and acting on customer feedback is an integral part of the GedSite development process, and as usual, this release delivers several features requested by users, including optimizations related to media exhibits.

New Update to the MyHeritage Mobile App

There is a new update available for the MyHeritage mobile app. The mobile app is available for Apple iOS (for iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch) and for Android smartphones and tablets.

It is now easier than ever to explore and share your family history on the go. Capture and share family photos and memories right from your mobile device, invite family members to contribute to your family tree and update your tree at family get-togethers.


While there are numerous new features in the update, the one that impressed me the most is the capability to find your ancestors in MyHeritage’s collection of more than 8 billion historical records. These capabilities bring the mobile app to par with the full version of the website.