Genes Reunited Adds Keepsafe and Other New Features

Genes Reunited is one of the few subscription genealogy sites that I do subscribe to and they are now adding Keepsafe and other features to the list of what’s available to subscribers.

Keepsafe allows digital storage of family memories, photos and records and Relation Profiles, enabling users to edit and view data for each individual in their family tree. Users will have the option to make their images public, private, or available for member only access. It will also be possible to share on Facebook. This adds to the improvements already in place with the site’s updated appearance and navigation.

The Relation Profiles are created when building family trees and include timelines, immediate family trees, and notes sections and guidance and hints sections.

Among the capabilities is the creation of ‘Hot Matches’, enabling matching of members who have the same relations in their family trees.

Members can access Keepsafe and Relation Profiles, by going to

My Top 29: Best Christmas Gifts for the Avid Genealogist


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:

  • (Canada)
  • (US and Global)
  • Genes Reunited
  • Fold3
  • 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)


Online Backup

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.


Genealogy Software

  • Rootsmagic
    • 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).
  • Heredis
    • 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.


Genealogy Books

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
  • Executive Family History Binder
  • Wall Chart-Genealogy Of Jesus Christ (Laminated)
  • Genealogy Binders
  • Genealogy Text Mousepad

New Additions at Genes Reunited


Genes Reunited has made additions to both their databases and services.

Genes Reunited released an additional 2.5 million records this week, adding to their Parish Record collection of over 22 million.

Some of the new records are:

  • Plymouth Deaths & Burials
  • Plymouth Baptism Register
  • Plymouth Marriage Register
  • Docklands Ancestors
  • British Overseas Marriages

They will also be adding to their military records soon.

As for additional services, it is now possible to have and maintain Relation and Keepsafe Profiles in which users can now keep certificates, photos, lists of life events of their ancestors, links to  immediate family members and their content.

Buyer Beware of Subscription Auto-Renewal on Genealogy Sites

Online Customer ServiceGenealogy search sites such as, and can be a huge help when looking for information about long lost ancestors, but there are several things the buyer should look out for.

I decided to address these issues because of a post on that caught my attention. This poor elderly woman had signed on for a free trial at last year and didn’t realize that she needed to contact them and cancel before the end of the trial period. They did bill her for a subscription, but she never noticed. Then, recently, they billed her again for a renewal and when she called to question it she was surprised to find she’d been subscribed this past year. They did agree to reverse the recent charge and cancel her subscription, but said there was nothing they could do about last year’s charge.

I do not and have never agreed with negative billing. The onus should always be on the vender to either confirm with the customer prior to finalizing a negative billing purchase, or they should not be able to charge at all unless the customer gets back to them to confirm prior to the end of the trial period. Trial periods should automatically expire.

I have another issue with Recently I was looking for birth records for an individual and I did a search on The search showed several results they had listed as ‘birth records’ yet when I signed on for the free trial period to check them out, I discovered that they were not birth records at all. They were census records  – which I already had. Luckily, I was already aware of the negative billing practice and immediately contacted them to cancel and told them how I felt about the misleading labeling of information in their search results.

Another issue I’ve encountered that appears to occur on all such sites is the deliberate ‘hiding’ of the information about and contact information for cancelling prior to a trial period ending. I had this issue previously on, in which I spent two days struggling to find the information I needed. I was just lucky I had allowed plenty of time prior to the trial period expiration.

Document all contact with the site and keep copies of any emails in case of disputes over date of cancellation. A good way I’ve found to document an action or request is to send a follow-up email to the site confirming your wishes in writing.

Another bit of advice I’ve found valuable is to log all trial periods and subscriptions in your computer’s calendar and set an alarm for a week or two prior to the end of a full subscription and a day or two prior to a short trial subscription.

I have taken the liberty of finding the information needed to cancel for most sites, as follows:

  • When you first go into the main information page for a trial subscription, you will find the contact information noted to the right in fairly small print. I would suggest copying and pasting this information into a ‘stickie’ or text file along with key information about the subscription, including the terms and the end day of the trial subscription.
  • On the ‘contact us‘ or ‘help’ page, there is no actual cancellation instructions. do a search for “how to cancel subscription” and select “How do I cancel my subscription?” for complete instructions.
  • If all else fails, there is a customer service telephone number noted that can be called to cancel.

  • If you’d like to not be renewed at any time in the future, contact their customer service and inform then that you wish to not be renewed at all in the future. Be sure to document the call or keep a copy of the email in case of problems.
  • To immediately cancel a subscription, go to the ‘subscription options‘ page.

  • To change anything about your subscription, you must go to your account page.
  • To turn off auto-renew for your account, click on ‘Personal Details’, scroll to the bottom, and deselect ‘Auto-renew my subscription’. Be sure to send a follow-up email to document the request.


  • I was unable to find specific instructions to cancel a subscription. There was also no apparent selection to not auto-renew. Be sure to contact them in advance with any such request. The only method I could find was to go to the ‘Contact Us‘ page and contact them using the telephone number listed to the right. I would also advise using their message form to send a message confirming the details of the request.

  • I’m impressed. The cancellation information here was the easiest to find of all of the sites. Just click on the ‘Help‘ link and select “How do I cancel my subscription?” to find the telephone number. Again, I advise sending an email as well to confirm and document your request.

  • does send renewal notices to your account inbox prior to processing payment for auto-renewal. However, this is not infallible and I do suggest following the advice I’ve outlined above. To cancel your subscription, click here and go to the Subscription Details link. Select ‘Auto Renew Off’.


  • To cancel, there are several steps. First, click ‘Contact Us’ at the bottom of the main page. Then, click on ‘Frequently Asked Questions Page’. Click on ‘Account Management’, then you have two choices depending on what you’d like to do.
  • To cancel during the 7 day trial period, click on “How do I cancel during my 7 day trial period?
  • To cancel an active subscription, click on “How do I cancel?

  • As for “” above.