Video Maintenance Complete

You know  how those time consuming housekeeping tasks can pile up on you? Well, over the past few days I’ve cleaned up a big pile. Eliminating this pile cleared up two problems:

  1. Over time I’ve tried providing the videos on GenealogyTools a few different ways. This inconsistency has bothered me and I fear may have caused confusion for you.
  2. The software I use to record videos has undergone several major updates since I began. The older files needed to be upgraded to the newest formats to avoid losing the ability to work with them in the future.

I’ve re-rendered all of the nearly 200 videos on GenealogyTools.com and edited all the associated articles to make the videos available the same way. A side-effect of this is that I made the videos from the MacGenealogist.com Archives viewable on the site for everyone.

I settled on using the latest web technology, HTML5. This makes the videos viewable on all the major browsers and devices without requiring additional software. The one exception is Firefox on Mac OS X; you’ll need to use Safari or Chrome on Mac OS X.

I hope that my investment of countless hours in cleaning up this pile pays off for you. If nothing else, it enables me to give clear tips like this: to make it easier to see all the details in a video, make it full screen by clicking the control in the bottom right corner of the video.

Site Downtime on March 30th

GenealogyTools.com will be unavailable for 6 to 24 hours beginning Monday, March 30th at 8:00 pm EDT.

This is so I can make a change required to offer memberships using a credit card instead of PayPal.

Practical Citation Now Available on Kindle

practical citation 3D bookThis morning I published on Kindle, “Practical Citation, A Guide to Simply and Safely Recording Sources and Citations.” Three editions are currently available: Reunion 10, Family Tree Maker 2014, and Family Tree Maker 3 (Mac).

Find them easily through my author page on Amazon US. The ebooks are also available through Amazon in other countries.

Even if you don’t have a Kindle, iPad, or other compatible device you can read the ebook. You simply download free Kindle reader software for your computer.

If you’d rather have a copy you can print you could join the Practical Citation community at PracticalCitation.com. Membership comes with PDF copies of all editions of the guide.

The RootsMagic 7 and Family Historian 6 editions will be available soon.

Family Tree Maker for Mac 3 Update

I opened Family Tree Maker (FTM) for Mac 3 today and found an update waiting for me. The version number was 22.2.3 (I had 22.2.1, so I guess I missed one). Here are the update notes:

This update includes the following new features and enhancements:
Mac OS X 10.10 Yosemite specific bug fixes
Duplicate person alert
Manage (add, edit, delete) historical facts
Application Name change to “Family Tree Maker 3”
Task List Report – New Custom options
Print Plan workspace tasks as filtered/sorted in display
Fan Chart – New options (full circle, semi-circle, quarter, etc.)
Pedigree chart – New option to include spouses of primary individual
Relationship chart – Option to use short place names
Outline descendant report – Option to list only direct-line descendants
Option to omit home country in charts/reports
Allow bookmarking of spouse
LDS ordinance display in the family view
LDS ordinance – Include initiatory and confirmation
Numerous other bug fixes

I’m happy to see that Ancestry.com is still developing and improving FTM3. I have found it much more stable than the previous version, but it’s still missing a few features that the Windows version has, and there are a few minor irritations yet. I wonder if the name change signifies anything? After all, version 3 files are cross-platform compatible.

When I clicked the button to update, I noticed that FTM3 closed and backed up automatically, as usual. If you do the update (which you probably should if you plan to upgrade to Yosemite), you should also make sure you have a current backup. I was then asked if I wanted to retain the current file and convert a copy (Figure 1).

Figure 1. FTM3 Update Convert File
Figure 1. FTM3 Update Convert File

I picked this option, even though I had a backup, because auto-backups are overwritten every time you close FTM. A few seconds later my file was converted and my tree opened. Immediately the media started processing again (Figure 2).

Figure 2. Media Processing
Figure 2. Media Processing

This seems to happen almost every time I open my tree whether new media completed processing the last time or not. Processing seemed to take longer than usual this time, and when it was finished, I received a message that 134 media had not completed due to a process error (Figure 3).

Figure 3. Media Process Error
Figure 3. Media Process Error

I clicked the link  and they tried to process again, but I was still left with the error. So I closed and reopened FTM3, the media processed again, and this time I got the “Media Complete” message (Figure 4). Hopefully this will work for you, too, if you receive the process error.

Figure 4. Media Complete
Figure 4. Media Complete

OK, I’m off to try out some of the new features and will write more about them at a later date. Please leave a comment if you have any issues with the update (in addition to contacting Ancestry Support, of course).

Family Tree Maker for Mac 3 Released, Brings Feature & Price Parity

It’s been over two years (24 Oct 2011 on Amazon) since Ancestry.com released version 2 of Family Tree Maker (FTM) for Mac. Ancestry.com, and the developer of FTM for both Mac and Windows, Nova Development, spent most of 2013 improving the then-current versions rather than releasing a paid upgrade. I applaud them for their decision, given the many problems with version 2012, especially its TreeSync™ feature, which enabled changes made in FTM trees to be synced with their Ancestry.com counterparts and vice versa. Ancestry.com released the 2014 version of FTM on 10 Sep 2013, but Mac users had to wait a little longer. Like the new Windows version, version 3 for Mac includes enhancements and new features, including an improved TreeSync™, a new Family View, user interface updates, task simplification, and new and enhanced reports. In fact, with a few notable exceptions, the Mac and Windows versions have moved more closely together in terms of feature parity and even price. These improvements address most of the complaints I had in my review of version 2. This review updates my previous review, and I now can recommend FTM for Mac.

[Read more…]

2012 Holiday Sale on Family Tree Maker Including Upgrades

Family Tree Maker 2012 and Family Tree Maker for Mac 2 are once again available at a holiday discount. The sale is scheduled to go through December 12th, 2012. New copies are 25% off and upgrades are discounted 30%.

If you’re interested, but unsure if Family Tree Maker (FTM) is for you check out the buyers guides:

FTM 2012 Buyer’s Guide

FTMM2 Buyer’s Guide

As previously announced, Ancestry is focused on enhancing and fixing the current versions so there will be no new major version this year.

Click here to learn more and buy Family Tree Maker 2012.

Click here to learn more and buy Family Tree Maker for Mac 2.

Ancestry iOS App Version 4.0

Dynamic Family TreeVersion 4.0 of the Ancestry.com companion genealogy app for iOS is available as a free update in the App Store.

The change log states the following:

  • Dynamic family tree that shows more family members.
  • See grandchildren, siblings, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews & cousins in your family tree.
  • Ability to change your tree to display direct ancestors only.
  • Purchase monthly memberships via In App Purchase.
  • An updated look and feel that’s both beautiful and functional.

That seems like a good list for a 4.0 version! The dynamic family tree is pictured to the left. Handy buttons at the top enable you to switch on or off the direct ancestors only feature.

Family Tree Maker 2013 Availability

News came from Ancestry.com today that there won’t be a Family Tree Maker 2013. The firm is focused on enhancing the existing version. They’ve already released updates with the following enhancements (listed in their blog announcing the direction):

  • Numerous enhancements to TreeSync so syncing your tree to Ancestry.com is faster and more reliable
  • A new Family View Report that displays a person’s ancestors, spouse, and children together (similar to the Family View in the People workspace)
  • A new Undocumented Facts Report that lists people’s facts that have no source documentation
  • The ability to merge info from multiple versions of the same fact
  • New source templates for the 1940 U.S. census and improved support for city directories
  • Dozens of report enhancements including performance improvements and new options in the relationship chart, family group sheet, Individual Report, Notes Report, Data Errors Report, Outline Descendant Report, Media Item Report, photo albums, Media Usage Report, Documented Facts Report, and calendar

And more enhancements are promised.

[Read more…]

Reunion for Mac 10.0.3 Update Available

A new maintenance release is available for Reunion 10. Besides a slew of fixes, this version includes an overhaul of the web search feature.

The choices on the context menu that appears when you select Search the Web on a person button has been rearranged for efficiency. Search Favorites now appears at the top. You can also search custom groups of sites–a feature introduced in this release.

The preference pane for web search received an overhaul to support creation of custom groups as well as editing the same and the favorites group.

Finally, there’s a button on the Web Preferences pane that you can use to update search sites similarly to the way you can check for updates to the whole application.

I updated the original article on this topic, Using Reunion to Search the Web, and re-recorded the video.