Category: Software

Cool gadgets and gifts on every Genealogist’s wish list !

Over time, I have developed this list of my favorite and most wished for cool gadgets and gifts on every genealist’s wish list whether the occasion is Christmas, birthday, graduation, or any of life’s other milestones.

Apple – iPad with Retina Display 4th Generation 9.7″ 16 GB Wi-Fi Black Tablet – 2013 Model (iOS 6, LCD Touchscreen, 2048×1536, 10 Hours, Lightning Connector)

genealogist's wish list

Apple iPad with Retina Display 4th Generation 9.7 on the genealogist’s wish list.

Although in the past, I always used a laptop for portability, I find that I’m home all the time now and have replaced my old laptop with an all in one desktop with 23″ touch screen that I absolutely love.

Since I learned the lovely news that RootsMagic, my favorite genealogy software, has now released Mac and iOS compatible versions, I have decided that my next purchase will be the Apple iPad for portability – for those rare occasions when I do travel away from home.

Wizcom – QuickLink Pen Handheld Scanner (Infrared)

genealogist's wish list

Wizcom QuickLink Pen Handheld Scanner (Infrared) on the genealogist’s wish list.

I have an OCR conversion software for converting pdf and image files to be editable. This is an absolute must for my transcription efforts.

Although I don’t own a pen scanner, this is the next item on my list for my ‘portable pack.’

VuPoint Solutions – Magic Wand II Portable Photo + Document Scanner with Wi-Fi (Pewter) with 32GB Card + Reader + Case + Cloth

genealogist's wish list

Magic Wand II Portable Photo + Document Scanner with Wi-Fi and 32GB Card is on every genealogist’s wish list.

I did own this handheld scanner until my daughter knocked over my working table one day and broke it. I do intend to get another as it was great for scanning individual pages, open books, etc.

Couragent, Inc. – Flip-Pal mobile scanner

 on every genealogist's wish list.

Flip-Pal mobile scanner is on every genealogist’s wish list.

This is another scanner I don’t yet own, but I’m toying with purchasing this solely because of its portability and ability to ‘stitch’ images together. This is essential for scanning large documents, certificates, photos, charts, and diagrams.

WD – My Passport Slim BGMT0010BAL-NESN Portable External 1 TB Hard Drive (USB 3.0)

WD - My Passport Slim BGMT0010BAL-NESN Portable External 1 TB Hard Drive (USB 3.0)

My Passport Slim BGMT0010BAL-NESN Portable External 1 TB Hard Drive is on every genealogist’s wish list.

I swear by my portable, external hard drive. Using this in conjunction with SkyDrive, my genealogy data is always duplicated and secure. This is by far the best method I’ve found for safeguarding years of hard work and investment.

NMicro – NMicro 1TB USB 3.0 tiny mini micro Pen DRIVE Blue Series actual 28.8GB Free Space

on every genealogist's wish list

NMicro 32GB tiny mini micro Pen DRIVE Blue Series is on every genealogist’s wish list.

For those occasions when I don’t want to lug around the portable external hard drive, the micro pen drive is the answers. It is great for storing those scanner images, photos, etc. until I can get home and transfer them to my main system.

Magnabrite – 64mm Magnabrite® Light Gathering Magnifier

is on every genealogist's wish list

Magnabrite® 64mm Light Gathering Magnifier is on every genealogist’s wish list.

I haven’t been doing a lot of research in dimly lit, dusty old libraries, archives, etc., this is an amazing gift as it gathers and magnifies the ambient light to direct it at specific documents, books, etc. and making them more readable.

Nuance – Dragon NaturallySpeaking v.9.0 Preferred (Voice Recognition Mini Box – PC – English)

 is on every genealogist's wish list

Nuance – Dragon NaturallySpeaking v.9.0 Preferred is on every genealogist’s wish list.

I love my NaturallySpeaking software and use it all the time. It doesn’t work well when there are people around all the time, but for someone like me who is home alone during the weekdays, this software enables easy verbal transcription of documents, and then it’s just a matter of editing and formatting. Such a time saver!

I also swear by this because I like my blogs to have a more conversational tone, so I dictate my blog posts directly into the software for easy editing and formatting. If you’re a blogger with plenty of quiet time on your own, you really must try this.

NOTE: There is some ‘training’ required to increase accuracy, but except for a few ‘glitchy’ instances, I find it amazingly accurate.

Great Plains – WOW 4-in-1 Combo Stylus for Touchscreen Tablets

 is on every genealogist's wish list.

Great Plains 4-in-1 Stylus for Touchscreen Tablets is on every genealogist’s wish list.

Since I just purchased my very first touch screen computer – my new all in one – my next purchase will be a decent stylus for on screen actions and activities – and just for fun!

Antenna Shop – Antenna Shop Brief Bag with Stylish Carrying Case for Tablets and Gadgets (ASBBNB)

 is on every genealogist's wish list.

Antenna Shop Carrying Case for Tablets and Gadgets on every genealogist’s wish list.

I don’t think I have to say much about this one. Once I’ve purchased all of the items on my list above that I don’t already own, this would be an ideal case for carrying around the iPad and extraneous gadgets required to keep my genealogy research and blogging life simple – believe it or not!

Heredis 2014 genealogy software: Only $10.99 US until Sunday.

Heredis is offering their Heredis 2014 genealogy software for a special deal for three days only, until Sunday.

Heredis Genealogy Software LogoOf all of the genealogy software packages out there, there is one in particular that has always piqued my interest – Heredis 2014.

You may think the circumstances of this post strange (and you’d be right), but even though I don’t use Heredis 2014, I do love it.

Why is that, you ask?

Each and every time Heredis has upgraded their software, I’ve downloaded a trial version to check on one thing they need to change. Have they made Heredis 2014 capable of accepting custom date formats?

In my case, our family genealogy is extensively Quaker and therefore the dates are usually in the original recorded format of the time: i.e. 30d 7m 1732.

While I was using the software trial, I fell in love with it.

It’s a beautiful program and I’d love to be able to use it. The problem is that in genealogy it is always recommended to record birth dates in their original format to avoid errors through conversion. Date conversion can be complicated and confusing, and many mistakes are easily made.

Due to this issue, I have and still do use RootsMagic because it does allow entry of custom dates with a converted sort date entered in the background. However, I would switch in a second if Heredis ever made custom date entry possible.

I have corresponded with Heredis after each and every update about this very issue and even went so far as to send them a sample of my genealogy for them to get a look at the date setup, at their request. Nothing has ever changed.

If you’re one of the millions of genealogists who deal with old time, Quaker or custom date formats, I would not recommend this software.

It is possible to use this software with custom dates if the original date is entered in the notes for the event. This is more than I’m willing to deal with. If you don’t mind the hassle, and would like to use a beautiful genealogy software, then by all means give Heredis 2014 a try.

Heredis 2014 is available on their site in both Mac and Windows versions.

photo credit: Heredis

 

MyHeritage, EBSCO to provide genealogy services for institutions.

This press release brings great news for genealogy researchers. We’ve seen this in the past with Ancestry.com in libraries and Family Search through local LDS Family History Centers, and now MyHeritage will be partnering with EBSCO Information Services (EBSCO) to provide genealogy services for worldwide institutions and libraries.
Ancestry and genealogy services for institutions

Providing genealogy services for institutions.

PRESS RELEASE
October 7, 2014

MyHeritage, the popular family history network, today announced a significant expansion into the institutional education market, with the launch of a dedicated, high-performance family history genealogy service for worldwide institutions and the signing of a strategic partnership with EBSCO Information Services (EBSCO) to distribute it exclusively.

As the leading provider of online research content for libraries and other institutions, EBSCO’s partnership with MyHeritage reaffirms its commitment to providing first-class content to libraries at affordable prices.

EBSCO Senior Vice President of Product Management Michael Laddin, said: “MyHeritage brings to the table an unparalleled offering of a vast, content-rich database and innovative, easy-to-use technologies. With a proven track-record of supporting customers across the globe, we are very excited about this partnership and the value it will bring to libraries and other educational centers worldwide.”

The new, state-of-the-art MyHeritage Library Edition™ MyHeritage Library Edition™ empowers people to discover more about their family history and the lives led by their ancestors. It’s the first product servicing libraries that offers a one-stop-shop of global content, powerful technologies and remote access.

The MyHeritage Library Edition™ provides access to a vast collection of U.S. and international documents online, with images of original documents to enhance research and encourage critical thinking.

Key highlights include:

Vast Global Content

Educational institutions that deploy the MyHeritage Library Edition™ will be able to offer their patrons access to billions of historical documents, millions of historical photos and other resources in thousands of databases that span the past 5 centuries. Available in 40 languages, the MyHeritage Library Edition™ is the industry’s most multilingual family history search engine, breaking down geographical and language barriers in research. The data repository, one of the largest and most internationally diverse of its kind, includes birth, death and marriage records from 48 countries, the complete US and UK censuses, immigration, military and tombstone records and more than 1.5 billion family tree profiles. The database grows at an average pace of more than 5 million records each day.

Powerful Technology

The MyHeritage Library Edition™ builds upon MyHeritage’s deep investment in innovation. Its search engine’s automatic handling of translations, synonyms and spelling variations of millions of names in multiple languages is unparalleled. Its unique Record Detective™ technology takes research one step further by recommending additional records for each record discovered. This enhances research and helps users discover a lot more in less time.

Remote Access

Library members can use the MyHeritage Library Edition™ either at their local library or in the comfort of their own home using remote access.

photo credit: San José Library via photopin cc

Replacing “Genealogy News Bites” with new daily newsletter, “Empty Nest Heritage Daily.”

As of this week, my regular post “Genealogy News Bites” has been discontinued and replaced with “Empty Nest Heritage Daily.”
Mt. Cheam

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Rather than losing, our readers will be gaining considerably with our new daily newsletter, “Empty Nest Heritage Daily.”

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Genealogy news bites to August 5, 2014.

The following are the most recent genealogy news bites and genealogy and ancestry headlines up to and including August 5, 2014.

Genealogy news bites to August 5, 2014.

Genealogy news bites and headlines to August 5, 2014.

The National Archives

Loan to Maritime Museum of the Atlantic in Halifax

Last week, the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic in Halifax opened the exhibition “Prize and Prejudice: Nova Scotia’s War of 1812.”   It is a companion to the War of 1812 exhibit organized by the Canadian War Museum…

FamilySearch Blog

Magnifying Volunteers’ Gifts: A Progress Report

FamilySearch recently reached a significant milestone: one billion images of historical documents are now viewable on FamilySearch.org. That’s one billion pictures of documents. Of those images, how many would you say are indexed and searchable by name? All of them? Half of them? Would you believe less than 22 percent…

GulfLive.com

Hattiesburg woman’s passion for genealogy helps area families

Genealogy — the study of family histories — started out as a hobby for Hattiesburg resident Helen Clunie. It soon grew into a passion and has become a way that Clunie makes a difference by preserving the records of area families for generations to come…

Library and Archives Canada Blog

William Redver Stark, the Soldier and the Artist

Canada’s experience of the First World War was captured by officially commissioned artists such as A.Y. Jackson and David Milne from 1916 onwards through the Canadian War Memorials Fund. However, many other artists—amateur and professional…

KimKomando

Essential free genealogy family tree site

The Internet provides an abundance of sites to help you with genealogical searches. But it would be tedious to search them all individually. Fortunately, you don’t have to do this. Instead, head over to Family Search. This site combs through public records to find the information you need…

Daily Digest News

Skull analysis reveals insights into human ancestry

Scientists recently concluded that humans experienced a relatively sharp drop in testosterone about 50,000 years ago, which aided in the cultivation of modern human civilization, by looking at human skulls.

Times-Herald.com

Facebook leads to genealogy discovery

Recently, playing around on Facebook really paid off in a big way! Lindy Hayes posted a picture of a tombstone her sister Ashley had discovered in the crawlspace of her home. The inscription read, “Joseph E. MOORE, born June 1, 1853, died Oct. 8, 1868.”…

Green Valley News and Sun

Genealogy Today: Great vintage photos at Shorpy site

If you love to look at old photographs, or if historic images of where and how your ancestors lived 100 or so years ago interest you, you will love Shorpy, http://www.shorpy.com/…

Agabond

DNA ancestry tests and Black Americans

Unlike other Americans, Blacks had their ethnic identity and history taken from them. Even Native Americans know which tribes they come from. DNA tests can help to recover some of that missing information. There are two kinds of tests: admixture tests and lineage tests…

Olive Tree Genealogy

Nursing Sister Constance Philips WW1 Photo Album – A Bio

This Photo Archive consists of a small autograph album (6.5″ by 5.25″) kept by Constance (Connie) Philips as a memento of her time serving as a nurse during World War One…

FindAGrave Volunteer Accidentally Damages Tombstones

One of Tennessee’s oldest church cemeteries had several tombstones permanently damaged recently. A FindAGrave volunteer is suspected of damaging several historic graves with a wire brush  at the New Providence Presbyterian Church on Stoney Point Road in Surgoinsville…

Ancestry.com Blog

AncestryDNA Matching Update Impacts Jewish Ancestry

AncestryDNA customers with significant Jewish ancestry have witnessed the challenges that we and other genetic genealogy testing companies have faced when predicting genetic relatives…

Be The Star of Your Own Who Do You Think You Are? Show

Have you watched Who Do You Think You Are? and wished you could travel the world to discover more about your own ancestors’ past? Then we have a giveaway for you! We are picking one lucky winner for the ultimate Who Do You Think You Are? experience…

Long-Lost Sisters United After 60 Years Apart

Long-lost sisters Carol and Amy went most of their lives never knowing of one another until their passion for genealogy brought them together in 2013.Veteran genealogist Carol Moss was adopted 60 years ago and only last year decided to research her birth mother’s history…

Irish Independent

Princess Charlene of Monaco’s Irish ancestry revealed

New research has traced Princess Charlene of Monaco’s ancestors back to the 1520s and a prominent Dublin family called the Fagans.
The research, carried out by genealogy researchers Eneclann for Tourism Ireland, shows that Princess Charlene descends from one of the most successful gentlemen-merchant families in Dublin in the 16th and 17th centuries…

Express

Julie Walters discovers murderous ancestor on genealogy show

Veteran actress JULIE WALTERS was left stunned while tracing her family history on genealogy show WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE? when she discovered her great-grandfather was once accused of murder…

Eastman’s Online Genealogy Newsletter

The Master Genealogist to be Discontinued

Sad news! The following announcement was made today by Bob Velke, the owner of Wholly Genes, Inc.: I am sad to report that the decision has been made to discontinue The Master Genealogist (“TMG”). While thousands of TMG users appreciate the program’s many powerful features that are unmatched in other software…

The Future of Second Site, a Program for Publishing Genealogy Data

Yesterday’s announcement that Wholly Genes Software would discontinue development and support of The Master Genealogist (TMG) has created all sorts of questions. Some of the questions concern the future of Second Site, a popular …

photo credit: thachabre via photopin cc

Using images to save transcription time and errors.

A good habit to get into for any genealogy researcher is using images to save transcription time and errors.

Transcription takes a lot of time. Rather than wasting the time manually transcribing documents while conducting research, or printing direct from a third party database site, I work with images instead. Once the source is created and the image saved and attached within the database, the image can be set aside for transcription later. Not only is this quicker, but it greatly reduced the chance of error, either on your part or the part of those working on the website.

using images to save transcription time and errors

Photoscape’s main editing screen – using images to save transcription time and errors.

As you’ll see if you check out this site to a greater degree, I routinely post transcriptions of old documents so those searching will be able to find them. They are always linked to the page with original image for reference and confirmation of the information in the transcription.

This is especially useful if working with documents or sites in a foreign language. Just snip, crop, edit and save an image of the desired item and you’re free to work with it at a later time when you may have the necessary translation tools. Also, having an image of the original document is invaluable for future reference.

I have received some criticism for the size of my database (over 100,000 individuals), stating there is no way I could be properly researching and have a database that large. The truth is, I do research thoroughly. I have thousands of images and documents that have not been input into my database as yet. Delaying this part allows me to concentrate on conducting my research with my paid Ancestry.com subscription and when the subscription lapses, I can then take time to work with the images and documents without wasting valuable research time on this site.

Windows Snipping Tool

Windows’ Snipping Tool

In the time it takes to transcribe one page of text, I can crop, download, adjust and attach several images. If you’re not used to the functions involved, expect to take a bit of time at first. Once you’re used to the software and this becomes a habit, you’ll be amazed at how quick you are.

Now, I know a lot of researchers use Evernote – and that’s great. I do too, but I find these little tips for handling images very helpful for all areas. It is not possible to select a specific area of a web page with Evernote. The snip and edit is a lot more flexible.

For a simple crop and save function, any ‘snip’ tool works.

On a Windows computer, it’s called simply ‘Snipping Tool’. That’s easy, isn’t it?

Grab Tool

The Mac’s ‘Grab’ tool.

On my Mac, I use ‘Grab’, their own snip tool.

Snip tools are particularly useful for capturing and saving all or portions of what one sees on the computer screen. Just be careful to not be violating copyright.

Once the selection is ‘snipped’ or ‘grabbed’, open your photo software and ‘paste as new’ or paste into another image and save.

There’s no need for special image editing software on a Mac as the ‘preview’ has some great built in editing tools.

My software of choice for complete image editing in Windows is Photoscape, which is available for free. This program allows more in depth editing than simple snipping tools. I use this to work with snipped images to adjust for maximum clarity and readability. Let’s face it, some of the images available do need help.

Be sure to try this and happy snipping!