Tag Archives: computer

Upgrading my family tree computer software

Image ©2014 ClipartPanda.com

Firstly, I apologise for my lack of posting onto aFamilyHistoryBlog in recent months! Apart from my travels in Scotland, in May (from which I have a lot of information, that I have yet to fully process!), I have continued looking into various parts of my family tree, where in a number of places I have found new information online.

A number of times I have found new things that I thought I should write posts about for aFamilyHistoryBlog, with links to the sites where I’ve found that information. And my Family Tree pages need some updating with new details. But I tend to go on exploring, and don’t get round to writing up about what I’ve found!!!

In recent months I have also been looking into upgrading the genealogy software that I have on my computer. I have a very old version of Family Tree Maker (2005 version), which in some aspects isn’t working properly on my newer computer! Namely; it won’t save reports to PDF, which is annoying!

Download IconIn looking for a solution (in the form of a new program), I’ve been browsing reviews and have downloaded several free trial versions of software to try out, including RootsMagic, and Heredis. I have also been trying out the use of free apps like OneNote and GoogleSheets (as I’ve previously posted about; here and here).

Its said that first impressions are everything, and while these family tree programmes can look good in the promotional shots and YouTube clips, the impressions that I’ve had of the trial softwares, when first opening them on my own computer, have not been very good! I’ve not been drawn into using them!

http://www.family-historian.co.uk/This changed last week when I decided to try Family Historian 6, the full version of which can be downloaded and used for free, for a 30 day trial period, before you have to buy a licence key for £35.99 to continue using it. When I first opened the Family Historian program on my computer, I liked the interface and was drawn into using it in a way which I haven’t been with the other programs that I’ve looked at.

Although I have been able to transfer my main family tree database over from ‘Family Tree Maker 2005’, into ‘Family Historian 6’ (via GEDCOM), I’ve decided that I should start a fresh family tree project, entering the details I know from scratch! This is so that I can get to learn the new program better, and to resolve a muddle that I have in the sources/citations in my existing database. By beginning from scratch, I can ensure that everything is properly sourced and cited, making it more presentable and shareable with others. It may also highlight for me, new areas of my tree that particularly need further attention and research.

To give this some scale for you, my old database contains nearly 4,500 individuals, and 1,300 families, which I’ve collected over 10-15 years. And I have a lot more on paper (or that I’ve found on-line) that haven’t even been added to that old database. But I may not be adding ALL of these names! Some come from imported GEDCOMs, created by other people, which include very, very distant relations.

My plan in the new tree project is to include my direct ancestors, working back one generation at a time (as far as I know), equally in all ancestral lines lines, adding my [X]x-Great-grandparents, and their additional descendants (who aren’t already included), up to 3 or 4 generations if possible (i.e. to 2nd or 3rd cousins in subsequent generations). This might stretch to 5 or 6 generations of descent in some cases, but I probably won’t go further that that!

I began by entering myself, my parents, siblings, and nephews/niece; then grandparents, uncles/aunts, cousins, and their children. When I got on to my Great-grandparents and their descendants, I began to see where I have some gaps; basic details about some of my parents’ cousins, my 2nd cousins, and their families, which I don’t have up-to-date! So I’ll be contacting some relatives, asking for help to fill in those gaps.

It took me about 6 hours (not all at once) to enter all the basic details that I know about my Great-Grandparents and their descendants. That’s 156 individuals, in 50 families, that I have details for. At that rate it’ll take me about 200 hours to copy over everything I’ve got in the old database!!! After those 6 hours, over the last week I’ve been adding in some additional details about people; biographies, photos, documents, and other media sources; none of which were attached to my old database. This will result in being able to output much richer reports about my family history to share with relatives.

I’m pleased with Family Historian 6, so far. So I’m planning to continue using it, and to buy a licence key before my 30 day trial period expires. Then I’ll try to come back onto aFamilyHistoryBlog with a further review of the software in the coming months.

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Tagging images

Here is a useful tip which occurred to me, and I thought I would share it. I don’t know why I hadn’t thought of this before!

Last night we had two ladies talking to my local Family History Society about their Local History projects in nearby villages, and how such projects could be helpful to people researching their family history in a location.

During the questions session at the end of the meeting, one of the ladies was demonstrating how she could find images/photos of particular people or subjects on her computer, because she had tagged her photos with the relevant names and key words. The penny dropped that I should be doing this; tagging my family history images, scans of old documents, etc.

06For a couple of years I’ve been tagging all my digital photos with useful details, subjects, names, places, etc, and I now have most of my digital photos tagged. Why haven’t I done the same thing with the old family documents, etc, that I’ve been scanning to post on to this blog? It’s something that I should be doing, which will make it much easier in future to search my computer to find images about a particular person, place, or subject.

Here’s a reasonable YouTube video that I’ve found, explaining the basics of what I’m talking about. This shows exactly the software and process that I use to tag photos. (Other methods and software are available).

The tags that I’ve used in posts onto this blog will a be useful guide as to what tags I’ll give to images that I’ve included in those posts.