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    Category: Software

    What’s New in August

    It’s been a busy month! I wish I had a kewl prize to offer if you make it through the whole thing. 🙂

    Google Newspaper Archive: As you might know, Monica makes extensive use of the Google Newspaper Archive to index the death notices in the old newspapers for us. A few weeks ago, she started having problems with it and it’s become pretty much unusable at this point. There’s a discussion thread about it in the Google forums — and it’s not just her having issues. While it doesn’t appear anyone with any clout from Google is weighing-in, we hope you will. Interesting that the comments indicate it’s genealogy researchers who are using that archive, eh?

    Facebook Changes: Facebook recently made a change that no longer allows for automatic posting of blog posts to the Facebook page. It’s still possible to add the posts to . . . [Yes! There’s more!]


    In my effort to explore software alternatives, I gave RootsMagic a try. They offer RootsMagic Essentials for free, so why not? I also found review of v.6 and digging around more on that site, I learned that Tamura Jones actually recommends RootsMagic over Legacy. There are a lot of geek reasons for this — I won’t pretend to have understood a lot of the techy talk on that site — but the recommendation is a good place to start.

    “RootsMagic Essentials is a free genealogy program that contains many core features from the award-winning RootsMagic family tree software. Downloading RootsMagic Essentials is absolutely free and is the easiest way to start tracing your family tree!”

    The key word there is “start.” Don’t try this at home if you have already invested years in your genealogy database.

    My first mistake was forgetting the distinction between RootsMagic . . . [Yes! There’s more!]

    Legacy Family Tree 9

    Long post, so bottom line: No, I’m not upgrading. I’m not even going to spend the time to find out what new features Legacy is rolling out.

    In my efforts to get more organized, I thought I might start from scratch, software-wise — definitely not from scratch entry-wise. Made that mistake a couple of years ago and I still haven’t restored even a fraction of my photos, documents and sources. This is painfully evident from the lack of documentation appearing on the website. But this was necessary since all my “let’s put this over there” silliness finally caught up with me and it really was easier to start over than to try to correct all those paths or find all those files. I retained the names, facts., etc., in the original family file, though. Whew.

    Anyway —

    I’ve been using Legacy Family Tree pretty much from . . . [Yes! There’s more!]

    Onetastic for OneNote

    If you’re going to use OneNote, you’re going to want to add Onetastic for OneNote to your tool chest. There are a lot of macros and little goodies there, but I found it because my PDFs were rendering sideways in my notes and I couldn’t figure out how to rotate them. That’s because OneNote doesn’t have this functionality — but Onetastic does.

    Onetastic is from a OneNote developer who knew there were problems like this when OneNote was released, and set about to fix them. His candid discussion of the issues, and the reasons for them, is really refreshing!


    Microsoft’s OneNote is a program often mentioned as an alternative to Evernote, and much has been made about the fact that it is now available for free. So, I’m thinking, why not give it a try? I haven’t had a lot of time to work with it, but so far I’m finding it much easier and more intuitive to use than Evernote — and it actually syncs.

    But . . .

    I’m not a big fan of Microsoft. I’m on Windows, but that’s because my attempts at using Linux were fun from a “messing around with the computer” standpoint, but an epic fail when it came to productivity. This was many years ago, and I hope things have changed, but at the time most of the programs I wanted to use were Windows only and the Linux community wasn’t exactly helpful. I gave up permanently when I couldn’t get . . . [Yes! There’s more!]

    Evernote Bites the Dust

    I’ve been a premium subscriber to Evernote since September of 2011, but I never really got the hang of it. I used import folders, so everything I did was in there, but organizing it and quickly finding what I was looking for — I never managed that. This year, about the time I was supposed to renew, it stopped syncing properly. The installation on my work computer, and on my Android phone, worked fine, as far as I could tell. But the one at home — the one I do all my work on — nope. The sync kept failing. After a week or two of messing with it, I finally contacted Customer Service and after a few exchanges back and forth they told me it was, apparently, a bug of some kind and hopefully it would be fixed in a subsequent release.

    A few weeks ago I checked and, . . . [Yes! There’s more!]


    This can be an expensive hobby, so I take advantage of free stuff whenever possible. OpenOffice and FastStone come immediately to mind. And while that doesn’t mean I never pay for anything, it does mean I take full advantage of free trials and make *sure* it’s going to do what I want it to do before I shell out any cash. This is one reason I’ve never used RootsMagic or The (now defunct) Master Genealogist. Most of the functionality I want to use is disabled in the free version of RootsMagic, so there’s no way to test it (and I just tried it again recently). As for TMG, with its hefty price tag, I wasn’t going to pay for it if I couldn’t figure out how to use it. And I couldn’t.

    I continue to struggle with organization. For one thing, I can’t seem to find a system that “does . . . [Yes! There’s more!]

    TNG — The Next Generation of Genealogy Sitebuilding

    When I redesigned the NWMGS website, one of the things I wanted to improve was the cemetery listings. I had all kinds of great ideas, including linking people to their military records, if available, other family members, obituaries, as well as the tombstone photos. The design and implementation of the database was the easy part. After I had done about ten small cemeteries, I found that the category listing on the site (which is set up in Joomla!) took an extremely long time to come up. Since this was just supposed to be a listing of the articles in the Cemetery category, why was it taking so long?

    Some investigation revealed that Joomla! was processing the content in each article before it rendered the category list. This was causing all kinds of problems, not the least of which was the slow page loading. Shared hosting providers limit resources . . . [Yes! There’s more!]

    Legacy Family Tree 8.0

    After trying a few different programs, I started using Legacy Family Tree after test driving version 5 back in 2005. At that time, it was a 17MB download and for my purposes, after using PAF for a couple of months, the deluxe version was everything I could hope for. The 8.0 download is now over 65MB — that’s a lot of code and a lot of work that’s gone into this program.

    After my first experience with version 5, I upgraded to the deluxe version of each subsequent release and was always happy with the results — until now.

    I bought the deluxe edition of version 8 a year ago not long after it was released, but didn’t have a chance to actually use it until recently. When I started having problems with it right away, I was really surprised. I was sure I was doing something wrong, and . . . [Yes! There’s more!]