Heredis is offering their Heredis 2014 genealogy software for a special deal for three days only, until Sunday.
Of 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.
Finally, in the newest free update to RootsMagic 6, they have fine tuned the date calculations so it can understand, reformat, convert and sort an entry in the old Quaker date format.
If you’ve been reading this blog for any length of time, you’ll have noticed that I’ve had my trials when looking for a software program that will handle, understand and convert Quaker dates (both old and new style) within the program.
For the longest time now, up until recently, RootsMagic was the only software that would accept the custom date format, but it didn’t have the capability of converting it to the modern format for the sort date. This meant that every time I entered a Quaker date, which could be written one of a number of ways, I had to manually calculate and convert the date and enter it in the background sort date cell so events would sort correctly.
The yellow circle shows the date entered as it appeared in the original source. The green circle shows the sort date entered manually.
For example, while transcribing data from a source in which the date is noted as “22 11th mo 1724″, I would type it exactly as seen in the source. Then I’d have to calculate the actual date in modern terms using a confusing and complicated formula that I won’t go into here because with RootsMagic 6 there’s no need to know it. RootsMagic 6 now magically reformats the date I’ve typed, “22 11th mo 1724″, to show as 22da 11mo 1724 in the main date field. Meanwhile a few cells lower, the sort date has automatically converted the Quaker date to the modern equivalent for accurate sorting and timelines, “22 Jan 1725.”
The yellow circle shows the automatically reformatted date from that entered in the previous image. The green circle shows the automatically calculated, equivalent, modern format date.
I love this! Several times now, I’ve corresponded with the staff at both Family Tree Maker and Heredis, hoping they would update their software to at the very least, accept and show custom date formats as entered and allow the user to manually enter a sort date. My correspondence with Heredis was just a few months ago and I must say they were interested and emailed me right away, asking for a copy of my gedcom and RootsMagic file so they could take a look at how it handles custom date entries. I’ve heard nothing since. Then, a week or so ago, I received an announcement that they were releasing a new version and I was so excited, hoping it had been changed to use custom date formats.
I immediately downloaded the trial and entered a gedcom that has custom dates entered, but alas, no such date management feature had been set up.
I’m hoping this was because they heard RootsMagic 6 was improving its date handling and wanted to see it first, not that they shelved it. Since the Heredis software maker is in France, it’s been difficult to convince them just how prevalent Quaker ancestors are in American ancestries.
Over fifteen years of genealogy research, I have added to, adjusted and tweaked my setup until I have achieved what I believe to be the ideal setup for genealogy research.
In the Beginning
When I started, I had only an early personal computer operating Windows 94 and Microsoft Office, a basic scanner, small black and white printer, and for media I used floppies and a zip drive.
There were a lot of negatives about operating in those early years. Although the internet was beginning to open doors for researchers, there was not much data transcribed for online access, even if it was free. This meant a good portion of my research had to be done the old fashioned way using ‘snail mail’, the telephone and the fax machine. The internet helped me locate the resources and organizations to whom I should correspond and what specifically was available to be accessed.
I used the original free Ancestry Family Tree software that was available prior to Ancestry.com taking over Family Tree Maker. Although I had tried Family Tree Maker, I hadn’t like it at all because it was primitive and the interface was rather unattractive and ‘clunky’. Had Ancestry.com decided to work with and improve the original Ancestry Family Tree software, I’d probably still be using it.
Learning and Adapting
During the years following until about seven years ago, I operated with the same equipment, becoming much more proficient and knowledgeable. The software, however, was another matter. I was never happy with Family Tree Maker and after doing some research, I switched to RootsMagic. I loved the smooth interface, reports, charts, source cataloging, and data entry features including the flexibility handling unorthodox formats for dates, etc.
By this time, I had become very dissatisfied with the image editing quality in Windows software. I had long been considering switching to a Mac, and soon after moving to British Columbia, my Windows computer crashed and I took the opportunity to switch. I immediately realized how much better the Mac was for working with documents and images, but there was one huge drawback – there was no Mac version of RootsMagic.
I diligently researched all Mac software available and wasted a lot of money trying several. The first one I tried was the Mac version of Family Tree Maker. I didn’t like it any better than the Windows version. In order to continue with my genealogy research and input, I tried two virtual environments, Parallels, VMWare and VirtualBox, so I could operate RootsMagic on the Mac. Parallels caused a lot of performance issues on the computer, ranging in severity from system slowdowns to outright crashes. VMWare was only slightly better. I finally tried and liked VirtualBox and although it wasn’t as smooth and seamless as I like, I continued using it.
During the next couple of years, I tried Mac Family Tree, Reunion, MyBlood and Legacy. While using all of these, I missed RootsMagic horribly and ended up purchasing a NetBook so I could operate RootsMagic on the required Windows operating system.
Then I heard about Heredis, a new software that operated on a Mac. I purchased it because the free trial would only allow working with a small, limited quantity of individuals, leaving lots of areas in my database of 115,000+ individuals where I was unable to assess its suitability. I loved this software, but there was one huge drawback I couldn’t live with. It did not provide the flexibility and variety of date formats I needed. I’m a stickler for observing the ‘record dates exactly as they appear in the original source and only use the calculated date for the sort’ camp. My husband’s ancestry is deeply rooted in the Welsh Quaker culture and therefore I frequently find, use and interpret the Quaker date formats like ‘3d mo. 17 1682′. In Heredis, this had to be translated to a more standard date format and left a great deal of room for error.
I installed RootsMagic once again, and I still use it today. I use the Mac for the more intricate and detailed image editing and everything outside my genealogy pursuits. I would still love for RootsMagic to release a Mac version, but after years of requesting they do so, I’ve given up.
Another issue I’ve experienced through the years is ensuring the security, storage and portability of data. I tried everything up to and including CDs, DVDs, and flash/thumb drives. All of these options have notoriously short shelf lives and are vulnerable to malfunction, corruption and damage. Instead, I invested in an external hard drive a couple of years ago and it has worked out very well. I still keep my files on my computers and back up frequently to the external hard drive. This drive is easily ejected and inserted for portability and is not nearly as vulnerable as the other storage media choices.
The result is, unless RootsMagic is ever offered in a Mac version, I feel I have the best system possible for my genealogy research, data input, graphic and image editing, file storage and backup, and portability of data.
My Ideal Setup
Its resident image editing software is much more intuitive and gives higher quality results, especially when trying to improve poor images.
Windows notebook computer
RootsMagic software requires Windows.
For portability when traveling or away from home.
Photoscape free software for backup image editing. Although not as good quality, it’s a great backup when away from the Mac or travelling.
Sticky Notes is great for quick saving of notes and ‘cut and paste’ of data.
Wordpad for working with and quick editing of longer strings of text before inputting into software.
1T external hard drive for backup and secure storage of genealogy data and files.
CDs for portable storage and mailing of data and files.
Flash/thumb drives for immediate, short term, portable storage of files and data.
High Resolution Digital Camera
To take high resolution digital images of publications pages and documents in libraries and archives, especially where there are restrictions on photocopying and scanning.
iPhoto and Preview
Sticky Notes (free with Windows)
Wordpad (free with Windows)
Mac/Windows Option: For me, this setup is ideal because I love to use the higher quality Mac graphics capability and much prefer RootsMagic genealogy software, that is only offered for Windows.
Windows Only Option: For those who are happy with using Windows only, the list above less the Mac computer would be ideal.
Mac Only Option: For those who only want to use the Mac, the list above without the Windows computer items would be great, except a Mac genealogy software would have to be used in place of Rootsmagic.
Are you struggling to find the perfect Christmas gift for the beloved Genealogist in your family? Unsure where to start looking?
Here is a list of the best genealogy products from a wide range of categories and price ranges. At the very least, it should provide some inspiration.
Flip-Pal Mobile Scanner
The one gift that would be perfect for every genealist is the amazing, compact, Flip-Pal mobile scanner.
How does the Flip-Pal differ from the standalone scanners we are used to using? It provides invaluable mobility and flexibility. It is mobile in the sense that it can be used outside the home for on-site research and document reproduction, such as in libraries, archives, government offices, etc. It’s amazingly flexible in that it’s battery operated and is capable of scanning oversize documents (that would never fit on a stand-alone scanner) in multiple parts and then stitching them together to create one complete high resolution document. Flip-Pal is currently offering holiday specials for savings of $20 to $55, depending on the bundle purchased.
Genealogy Site Subscriptions
Several valuable websites offer subscriptions of varying terms and prices, some universal and some specializing in special areas of research such as military, by location, etc.
A few of these are:
Ancestry.com (US and Global)
One Great Family
The first large purchase I made for my genealogy research was a laptop. The portability was invaluable to me as a hockey mom and will be important as an empty nester and retiree. During weekend hockey tournaments, while Stuart and Mark were watching TV or playing games in the hotel room, I could be happily conducting research. Here are some amazing laptop buys.
Samsung Chromebook (Wi-Fi, 11.6-Inch)
I have both a Mac desktop and a Windows laptop. I much prefer using a Mac, but my preferred genealogy software (Rootsmagic) does not offer a Mac version, despite my constantly bugging them, asking for them to create a Mac version. If they ever offered a Mac version, I would never switch to anything else. At $249, this laptop is a recognized and respected brand at an unbeatable price.
Apple iBook Laptop 12.1″ M9164LL/A (800-MHz PowerPC G4, 256 MB RAM, 30 GB Hard Drive, DVD/CD-RW Drive)
Had I not been forced to purchase a Windows laptop to accommodate my software, I would have gladly paid the higher price for a Mac. It’s so worth it for the quality. The features for working with images are unparalleled.
Dell Inspiron i15R-1316BLU 15-Inch Laptop
External Hard Drive
I use a Seagate external hard drive and I love it. It’s very compact and easily fits in a laptop case with the mobile scanner, mouse (I don’t like trackpads), and cords required to work away from home. I can’t stress enough that in this case, size matters. Mine is a 1T hard drive and I would never consider purchasing anything smaller, especially since I prefer to work with high quality, high resolution images as much as possible.
Seagate Expansion 500 GB USB 3.0 Portable External Hard Drive STBX500100
Seagate Backup Plus 1 TB USB 3.0 Portable External Hard Drive STBU1000100 (Black)
If your loved one has a laptop and finds it easier to not carry around a hard drive, then Mozy Online Backup may be the solution. It’s easy to get up to 2GB free, and even more online storage is available for a fee.
This is the genealogy software I use – and have used for ten years. I have remained loyal to this software because of their frequent and consistent updates, and the flexibility to handle custom dates such as those in Quaker research (i.e. 3d 11th mo 1708) or date ranges (i.e. between about November 3, 1708 and 1710).
This is the one software I seriously considered to replace Rootsmagic – and I actually did purchase it after trying the demo and being impressed. As soon as I started working in our Quaker lines again, it was immediately apparent that this software was unable to handle custom date formats, translating them in very weird indecipherable ways. I will say, however that I was impressed enough that I would try again if they ever change it to handle custom dates. They were very understanding about my reasons for requesting a refund and provided it readily.
Family Tree Maker
I did own Family Tree Maker and switched to Rootsmagic because it suited my particular research and goals better. It is a favorite of numerous others though, so I am including it here.
Here are a few books I would recommend.
For the novice genealogist.
The Everything Guide to Online Genealogy – Use the Web to trace your roots, share your history, and create a family tree (Everything Series).
101 of the Best Free Websites for Climbing Your Family Tree
Genealogy Online For Dummies (For Dummies (Computer/Tech))
For the advanced genealogist.
The Everything Guide to Online Genealogy – Use the Web to trace your roots, share your history, and create a family tree (Everything Series).
Beyond the Basics: A Guide for Advanced Users of Family Tree Maker 2011
Professional Genealogy: A Manual for Researchers, Writers, Editors, Lecturers, and Librarians
The Troubleshooter’s Guide to Do-It-Yourself Genealogy: Advanced Techniques for Overcoming Obstacles, Removing Roadblocks, and Unlocking Your Family History!
Fun and Helpful Genealogy Products
Sony ICD-SX25 Digital Voice Recorder
Genealogy Confusion blue Family Fitted T-Shirt by CafePress
This morning I awoke to an email from Heredis, the new genealogy software I tried a couple of months ago. I had liked what I saw in the limited trial so much, I purchased the software.
Unfortunately, however, I soon discovered the Achilles heel of this software. It interprets unusual date formats in very weird and confusing ways. I immediately returned to my old standby and still current favorite RootsMagic.
If custom dates such as Quaker date formats and date ranges as described in my response email (copied below) are not important to you, you’ll really like this software.
They were very understanding about my predicament and immediately refunded the purchase price.
Here is the email I received and my response:
My name is [name removed for privacy] and I have been working with Heredis for 4 years. Heredis is a genealogy software program that has been widely appreciated in Europe for almost 20 years and has now been launched world-wide.
I notice that you keep a genealogical blog and as an expert in genealogy, we would very much like to have your opinion on our software. We want to know if Heredis will be able to meet your expectations as a genealogist.
We would therefore be very pleased to offer you a copy of the Heredis program. To do this, simply reply to my email and tell me if you want the version for Windows or the Mac version. I can also send you both if necessary.
We also have a version for iOS (iPhone / iPad / iPod touch) which is available free on the App store.
Here is a video presentation of the Heredis Blue Suite: PC, Mac and iOS versions: http://youtu.be/5a8CcqpIhSc
I hope this information will be of interest to you.
Do not hesitate to contact me for any further information.
Hoping to hear from you soon,
[Name removed for privacy.]
I’d gladly give some feedback. I had purchased Heredis a few months ago and loved what I could see of it in the trial, so went ahead and purchased. However, after purchasing, I discovered while inputting data from the medieval period that I was not able to input custom date formats (like I can in Rootsmagic). If you search in my blog for ‘Heredis’ you will see the previous post(s) where I wrote about it.
An example of my dilemma is a date from the medieval period where it`s almost impossible to be specific about dates, so I use ranges of possibility instead. I do not like to guess at dates as this makes future research confusing and difficult. Such a date could be “between (about June 1128) and 1135″. This tells me later, at a glance that the date will fall in the time period between approximately June of 1128 and the year 1135. Then I can input a sort date in a hidden field to enable the data to behave in the sort (i.e. if this date is known to fall before a death in 1135, I would place the sort date at 1134, so it falls in the correct order in the data).
With Heredis, these custom dates were not left as I input them. They were translated in very weird and inaccurate ways.
If you ever accommodate unusual and custom dates, I would seriously look at your software again.
This is one source document showing the Quaker method of recording dates that makes accurate genealogy research so difficult and so important.
This morning I purchased “Heredis”, the newest genealogy software because I was so eager for the multi-platform synchronization capability. I have just had to log onto their forum and ask for a refund and I am sad about that. Also unfortunately, I was not able to locate a way to contact them directly by email or phone and had no choice but to post to a very public forum.
Here is the excerpt of my forum post regarding the issues:
“Unfortunately, I found a problem after testing the software using your limitation of 50 individuals. It was sheer bad luck that the individuals were of my own family and the previous couple of generations, therefore I didn’t run into this issue before purchasing. As I stated in a previous forum entry, I would STRONGLY suggest allowing full use of the program for a limited time period rather than a limited number of individuals. This is unfair to those of us with large databases as we cannot evaluate fairly prior to purchase.
This is the problem causing me to request this refund:
Our family history is substantially quaker (at least half of 115,000 individuals) and the Quakers were in the habit of recording dates in the format “3rd mo. 17 1697″. This is not handled at all in your software. Instead of reproducing it exactly as entered in the originating software (RootsMagic in my case), it eliminated the date entry completely for all of these entries. The amount of work it would take to redo all of them is just horrendous.
At least with RootsMagic, I was able to enter the date exactly as transcribed from the original document and enter a translated sort date that was hidden and only used for sorting and calculations. This helped to answer any questions regarding this data in the future…
…Here are some other things I noticed after purchasing the software. I could have worked with these, but the date issue is definitely a deal breaker.
- not able to enter a source for an individual unless there are events attached (at least that I could find). - not able to colour code ancestors of specific individuals (not root person) - not able to see the relationship of an open individual to the root person - quite slow in handling large databases and large files - only able to open one page sources or images in the view window for transcription, necessitating opening a viewer for files with more pages. - no ‘to do’ or research task list attached to individuals. - no provision for alternate names that I can find, your software completely eliminating alternate names entered in RootsMagic. - unable to find how to add a source to someone who has no events attached.”
What I will miss: universal drag and drop functionality; to view all file types (if one page only) within the software; and able to view the source as well as zoom in and out and transcribe from the source or image using a text editor within the same window.
I’m very frustrated and sad about this as I had such high hopes for this software. I’ll just have to be patient and wait for RootsMagic to create their own Mac version allowing for synchronization.