Recommendations on software.
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I have finally, albeit slowly, begun some Genealogy work on my family.
Two caveats: Most of my family is from Latvia and though I can still speak Latvia, my reading efforts are laborious. But with several attempts at pronunciation and a Latvian -> English dictionary, I can limp along :-( that is per word.
Secondly, though my late Mother side still has living relatives in Latvia (an old Aunt has sketched out what she can remember), I know nothing about my Fathers side. Not even a photo of his mother nor even her maiden name.
Thus, eventually to my request.
Will you recommend some software I should start with?
I would prefer "freeware" initially and have already downloaded "Legacy 7.5" and am prepared to look at several others until I find the features I am looking for. After that I will buy one.
I would though like the ability to use the Latvian Alphabet as well as English. I am 'puter literate and have looked at some very clumsy
programs but (like everyone else) I prefer a relatively simple to use program. If I ever enter enough data and want to change programs I also expect Gedcom ability (I imagine every program has that now)
Thanks, and looking forward to start Genealogingggg...
PS. All suggestions/initial ideas on "holding my data on the web" also welcome. I know this is a large topic but "please be gentle with me,
I am a
The link to the software is on the old version of the page, The link might redirect you to the newer version, it looks like they are updating the website.
Before I went to TMG I used Family Origins, I think that was the platform that RootsMagic was developed from. Family Origins was the most fun of all the programs I have used. Family Tree Maker (v?)and Brothers Keeper just did not feel right to me.
The Master Genealogist has a step learning curve and I have not been able to put in the time to master it. Yet. I have not yet found something I wanted to do that it was not capable of but even simple entries seem overly complicated. That might change when I am able to spend more time with it.
I just got the freeware version of "Rootsmagic" and am putting up a few records on it and "legacy". Rootsmagic is simpler to use initially but I will have to wait until I add marriages, Photos etc. and had a better look at the reports.
Several years ago (2005/6?) I found a genealogy program written by a Russian programmer who used a Graphic ER (Entity Relationship - used in computer DataBase design) approach.
A Node (an individual) was shown on the screen and other Boxes(Nodes) were connected. Data could be added to the connections themselves (say The marriage between my Mother and Father, with details to that specific marriage - date,place Pictures etc) I am sure most Genealogy Programs do store that Data.
But. I was impressed how easy it was to look at a local Graph, click on the area of interest and then Add/Mod/Delete info.
I guess I just liked seeing the chart as the data entry point.
Well at the time I thought "interesting" and promptly forgot about it.
I have tried to find it again, No luck.
I wonder if any member out there had seen it or perhaps knows what happened to the program. Perhaps it is the "Grand Daddy" of some existent program?
I will look at the other recommendations made here and Thanks again.
PS. I did find a Website which is attempting to index (and show) Latvia specific
G data. If anyone is interested I will find the URL and post it in my next missive.
ETA: Found it!
Although I still haven't worked out how to look at the "original documents" the
copies of the Parish Register etc.
I find search by "Place" gives me the best results. If you find any microfilm of interest, you can go to a local Family History Center and have them order up the films for you. I think it is $5 per film. They are also digitizing lots of their data, probably the best free site out there.
My 2 cents.
I also found Kith&Kin. Similar to that "Russian" program in terms of a more graphic approach but "feels" clumsy.
So far I have been using legacy 7.5 (free) and then generating/exporting GedCom from it to the programs I am testing.
I do like the Legacy Charting program but they do want me to buy it, given the restriction. :-)
I still want a more graphic approach to data entry. I can't see my, say, grandparent siblings and their issue unless I go to a report/chart.
I am slowly realizing I have to keep a page/written record for each individual I am trying to add. Yes documentation...and I once was programmer :-(
Guess I just tried to add data from my rough "notes/diagrams".
Initially I just want to produce a chart so that my aunt (80+) can check/change/modify it. Via my First degree cousin once removed. (21)
Hey, I'm learning :-)
NOT quite what I wanted, but it's a start.
I can now see how this Genealogy "stuff" becomes addictive.
Who needs "detective" stories when you have Family?
Any other "Susts" are welcome to talk to me. Though I really don't expect that
many other correspondences :-)
Damb it, SUSTS isn't even that common a Surname in Latvia.
I looked on FaceBook and only found about 7. One with my exact name was all of 15 yo. Err. I am 64.
I would say the only complaint I have is that the reporting options could be better. Otherwise, great program.
I have found that the key to getting information depends a great deal on getting your tree online by whatever method or program you use.
I have met dozens of obscure cousins who have googled names which appear on my tree and who have contacted me and shared their own research.
I am still reticent re. the idea of putting up my tree to the
"cloud". Perhaps as I age...
Though that does seem the way to go re. finding
Please just give me a few...
I second the recommendation for PAF, but if it's not going to be supported, it's probably not your best choice.
I do not remember whether you are on a PC or Mac, but if it's Mac, the best in the business is Reunion. Not free, but also not particularly expensive, and a heck of a good program! Unfortunately, not available any more for the PC.
I like it because I can work from anywhere (even another computer), online, researching and recording as I go. I do dislike that the online tree is not a searchable database--for example, if I'm wanting a list of names of (U.S.) Civil War soldiers in my tree, I can't get one.
I used Family Tree Maker (FTM) for awhile, and one thing I liked about it was that it had a JFile4 version you could run on your Palm which was handy for field work. Unfortunately, Palm OS no longer supports it. Also unfortunately, FTM was not completely compatible with Ancestry.com's online trees, which it should have been, so that when I downloaded my tree to FTM, worked on it within FTM, then tried to upload the changes, I got two of everybody. It took many, many hours to sort through who was correct and delete the outdated ones without inadvertently disconnecting family lines (which happened several times). So I removed FTM from my hard drive and have been working online ever since.
Guido, you can make your tree private (and living persons are always automatically kept private, btw) on Ancestry.com. They constantly run what must be huge and incredibly complex algorithms and e-mail notifications of record matches. It's like researching your tree while you sleep! And whenever you go to a person's page, the right-hand bar includes a list of other Ancestry.com members who are researching that person and you can click on each and see what they've got in the way of information and documentation of said information.
As more and more archives are being digitized all the time, I agree with the earlier poster who said that online is the only way to go.
Amateur that I am, I cannot tell you whether Ancestry.com's template conforms to professional genealogists' guidelines for documentation, but as a psychologist I can say that I do value thorough sourcing, and Ancestry.com's system provides plenty of room for that above and beyond the links that are automatically inserted when you save a document to a person's page.
So now all y'all tell me why none of you uses it. What big thing am I missing that is going to come back and bite me on the rear end one day?
Then there is the fact that the money we send to them and use it for something else. The library, LDS Family History Centers are all around us. The libraries we are already paying for. The Family History Centers are free. Get out of your home, meet some people, get some new ideas, and have some fun. Just don't ask me when the last time I went to one of them.
Family Tree Maker is now a part of this organisation and I have hesitated to upgrade it for just this reason. FTM 16 is not compatible with Win 7 so I have had to have a virtual version of XP put onto my computer simply so that I can still use it.
Genealogy is becoming a huge money-making industry and although it is reasonable to pay for certificates, the rest of it really gets up my nose
Luckily I have now got extensive records of all but one branch of my family tree ... but my latest research cannot go online unless I upgrade FTM. However, there is enough there for people to be able to connect and contact me for more information.
It started as free until they collected a batch of "Trees" then they sold the data on CD and now the have changed to a fee.
I can use Ancestry for free, so why should I go there? My thanks to those that do.
The LDS site has added a lot more info on line in the last few months.
They have community boards for almost all countries in the world and people who frequent it have a huge knowledge base.
I posted on all the African boards looking for a great uncle who was reputed to have gone there and two years later I received an email from one of his granddaughters with information on his war record, marriage, family etc.
It is a bit hard to navigate until you work out how to get where you want to but well worth it for the pool of knowledge which you can access there.
I took a list of names to look up at the local LDS library. The woman who was helping that night glanced at my list, pointed to last one and said his name is Edmund not Edward. Turned out she was a second cousin once removed.
Your stories are fun of meeting distant relatives.
I'm re-organizing right now. I'm getting ready to move again and I want to make sure everything is organized before it gets packed up.
No. The government records which "we taxpayers have already paid for" are still free. They are still in the public domain and fully accessible, as they were before Ancestry got involved, and they will continue to be so. All you have to do is go to the National Archives in Washington D.C., take your own digital camera, make your own digital copy, and you have a free record. But guess what? The National Archives and most other governmentally-run entities do not have, and have not had for many years, the funds to digitize these documents for us taxpayers.
Ancestry.com has been SPENDING millions of dollars since before 2008, on site, in Washington D.C., with their own cameras and employees, programmers, web-site builders, to digitize those free documents. They have not removed them from our access, they have in fact done us a favor by making them accessible in our own living room, on our own computer and printer, for an annual cost to me far less than the likely cost of a trip to Washington D.C. or many other repositories around the country, and certainly for less investment of my time to get there. Imagine my surprise, upon returning home from a research trip to a courthouse 1,000 miles from my home several years ago, to find the records I had just copied were available on my Ancestry.com subscription. Yes, they were still free in Missouri. And they were available in my living room.
Yes, Ancestry.com is not the Genealogy Fairy, providing free access to all these records. They are a for-profit company which entered in to an agreement with the National Archives and many other repositories by which these records will become more accessible to millions of people around the world. Additionally, Ancestry's digitized documents are then made available to the National Archives locations you might visit. After 5 years, NARA can make use of their digitized copies in any way they see fit. Perhaps they can even put them on whatever equivalent of a CD exists then and sell it to us. Check it out, you can go to Washington D.C. and use Ancestry.com, all the digitized images for free, right now. In the event of a disaster, those documents are going to still be available at Ancestry.com, even if the originals no longer exist.
I believe this is business arrangement is a win-win for Ancestry, their subscribers, the National Archives, and we taxpayers. Perhaps we should send them a mental "thank you" before we use their resources without a subscription because we can. Ancestry.com is a profit-making company, and that is good for we genealogists, because that means they will still keep digitizing and posting these records so that we may have access to them, and so they will be available in perpetuity. Does this make sense?
As far as your own work, we have to remember that anything we post on the internet, including this rant, is available for anyone to read, copy, use, and will be "out there" likely forever, whether we like it or not, unless we encode, privatize and probably not post anything. Ever.
Your argument has a big hole in it. You say that Amazon has the right to restrict access to the public records they copy because they spend time and money to digitize them. You also say that if I post the products of my labor, time and money on the web it is free to everyone. Which is it?
I can go to my local library and use Ancestry right now but it is not free. The library pays Ancestry for the right to access the records and my tax money supports the library. Does the Archives pay Ancestry to access the Archives own records?
Converting public property into private profit is not a good idea. It damages the taxpayers who have to pay twice for the same good or service and erodes capitalism's need to be creative and its willingness to take risks.
I don't use Ancestry's on-line tree for a lot of reasons, but two are primary. First, I often work in places where I don't have web access. There is no easy "update" feature on their on-line trees, so it is a hassle ensuring that what is on my computer matches what is online (I keep my trees on rootsweb where you can do a simple update). Secondly, I don't like their policy on "living". It doesn't let me set the dates and it doesn't let me completely sanitize what is viewable. On rootsweb (which I recognize is owned by Ancestry), I determine the cut-off date and I have the option of completely hiding living people, where all info related to them is not posted. As an analyst of many years, I know that if I have the surnames, I can almost always identify the people involved, even if the other information is not included. I realize I could get around some of this by making my tree private, but the reason I have it on line is to let others see it, with the result that I get many corrections, additions, and updates from folks. And I must admit, in this day and age of hackers, I don't really believe that the private family trees will necessarily remain private.
As for software, I use Master Genealogist for my own work, because I love their time-line format, letting me see people's ages as events occur. I tend to recommend Rootsmagic for new users because it is simple to use but has some good features. It now has a timeline view as well, still with a few bugs, but I don't think it lets you edit people in that view. Both TMG and RM can be downloaded and tried for free.
The basic records are there for free online but they are sparse and incomplete and to get full access I have to pay several hundreds of dollars per year just to be able to see the details of the public records.
I have used FamilyTreeMaker for years and suddenly it has become a part of Ancestry.com. It is more complicated to use and I hate the way it tries to connect me to every tree which shows a similar family name to any of the names in my family.
I am going along with it simply because I have about 1,500 names on my tree and it would be an enormous job to re-do it all.
Incidentally, the records are digitalised by volunteers; I have a cousin who is deciphering and recording census records from UK.
As for using family tree maker, you can use a gedcom to export it to different software. You'll lose citations that apply to more than one person but unless you're using the very latest family tree maker, that isn't an issue anyway. You'll also lose any media links that you may have and you'd have to redo those. Otherwise, they're pretty good. I believe some of the newer programs will actually import from the FTM format directly without having to go through gedcoms.
I will stick with volunteering my time for FamilySearch and my local state archives, which allow free access to everyone of all my free work.
But it is not a simple to use as FTM, which I have been using since FTM9 and upgrading on a fairly regular basis; otherwise I was not able to upload any new information.
If I was starting from scratch I would use one of the free online programs.
I have used Google translate and the Latvian -> English is OK (in fact I am using that, together with my half-remembered Latvian to translate my Uncles Autobiography,
purely for myself!)
I am told (by my Latvian cousin) that the English -> Latvia
translations produces "curious/unsound" results.
I got her interested in our family history and she can visit (and read) the various archives in Riga and make many many local calls to towns in Latvia.
Unfortunately she will be off to study in Spain for the next few months, so I will put my genealogy on hold until she returns.
Thanks again for your advice,
I only use Google translate as a first approximation.
Then my 'ear' takes over. Even then it is difficult, and since my Uncle was a Translator (English,Chinese,Japanese,Russian,Latvian) and even though he is getting old (85+) I am not sure if I will ever send him my efforts of his autobiography.
The first page took me more than 1 week to translate. He has a dry sense of humour and trying to get the feel of his words, in English, 'aint easy :-)
I've subscribed and unsubscribed twice now (no point in remaining subscribed if I know more than a month will pass when I'll be inactive) and they've never been troublesome about it. Everything's the way I left it whenever I go back. I'm unsubscribed at the moment and still have access to everything I already put up there, I'm only blocked from viewing the actual digitized records.
I'm all about sharing anything I discover - I think it's fun to see the updates when people borrow something from my tree, I feel like I've helped them. Likewise there's plenty of people who have shared valuable content with me.
My only gripe: ancestry.ca and ancestry.com seem to be held apart from one another. Unless I'm mistaken and haven't figured out the way around it, I can't view other subscribers' public trees posted only to ancestry.com But I believe both sites share the same record collections.
I used to join on a monthly basis but when I needed in-depth searching of the Welsh records I decided to go for the annual subscription. It has just automatically subscribed me for another year and I guess that will keep happening until I tell them to stop.
Maybe, next time you join up you should investigate joining the main one. When you do a search, at the bottom of the search window there is a field with a drop-down menu where you can opt for (for me) just Australian records. You may find that there is an option for Canada if you have filled in Canada for the "events", i.e. BMD or 'lived in'.
My problem isn't with record searches, it's with viewing the public trees of other members who are not in Canada. Let's say, I discover you have a common ancestor with me, you've made your tree public information, and I'd like to see what you've recorded about him. I can't look at your tree, because you're on ancestry.com and I'm on ancestry.ca. In fact this scenario would probably never happen because I don't think ancestry.com trees are even scanned by the "hints" feature or included in my search when I allow for public tree information - only Canadian-entered data. I can look at anyone else's data that is public and who is based in Canada, but none of the American public trees.
This might be because of the monthly membership I selected (and yes, similar to your annual experience it renews itself each month unless you drop out), although I'm pretty sure I went with the worldwide plan, since I've searched many European records.
Many of my ancestors were United Empire Loyalists who came to Canada from the United States between 1770 and 1820, so I often run out of gas once they cross the border in terms of what I can learn from others' research. I can only imagine what I might be missing out on.
I think that you have to be inviged to look at trees - not sure there so it might be worthwhile emailing the tree owners. Their emails should be there somewhere. I can add to a couple of trees and make comments on a couple of other people's sites but they had to give me permission.
I'm not really quite sure how it all works because I came in via the back door with FTM connecting up with Ancestry and uploading my tree automatically - and losing some of my sources, much to my annoyance.