Your Source and Citation Information Is In Danger

Today I finished methodically testing which source and citation information reliably survives GEDCOM import and export. It’s not a pretty picture! A mere five of fourteen key GEDCOM tags are safe across the nine leading genealogy software packages I tested.[1] Fortunately, the ones I previously identified as essential to source citations are among them.

Why You Should Care

The ability to move your family history data from one application to another is important. Even if you have no intention of changing software or sharing your research you ought to be concerned. It’s entirely possible that the person or people that inherit your research will choose a different package. They may load your data and probably won’t even know they lost anything in the transfer. Well, that fate needn’t be yours if you know where you can safely store information.

What You Can Do

This research is part of the work I’ve been doing to create the very first GenealogyTools ebook and video course: Practical Citation. After completing the course, you will be able to safely and confidently record sources, citations, and quality in your genealogy software without having to consult a book or quick sheet. Say “goodbye” to uncertainty about citation templates and formats.

Notes

[1] I tested Family Historian 5, Family Tree Maker 2012, Family Tree Maker for Mac 2, GEDitCOM II, Legacy 7.5, MacFamilyTree 6, Reunion 10, RootsMagic 5, and The Master Genealogist 7.

Video Guide to Using PC Genealogy Software on Mac

You can run PC genealogy applications (like Family Tree Maker 2012 and RootsMagic) on your Mac, even if it’s just as a supplement to your primary Mac genealogy software.

There are features in the best Windows genealogy software that aren’t in Mac offerings. Family Tree Maker 2012’s ability to synchronize with Ancestry.com and RootsMagic’s full-featured narrative reports spring to mind.

There are essentially three approaches to running PC software:

  • Run Windows on your Mac in a “virtual PC”
  • Make your Mac boot into either OS X or Windows using BootCamp
  • Use a piece of software to do for your genealogy software what Windows would (Windows emulation)

[Read more...]

What Genealogy Software Do We Recommend?

When I tell people I don’t recommend Family Tree Maker for Mac 2, they often ask what I do recommend, which is understandable. But I really can’t recommend a genealogy program for other people without knowing what their requirements are. You must first decide what your priorities are. Then you can check on the web to see which programs meet your requirements. You can use Ben’s Feature Comparison Table or FindtheBest.com to find the features you need (but take the Smart Ratings on the latter with a grain of salt). GenSoftReviews.com lists lots of genealogy programs, although not all of them have reviews. But see Tamura Jones’ article, The Most Important Genealogy Software Feature. [Read more...]

New Index Page

I changed the family tree maker tutorial index page. Will you look at it for me and give me your feedback? Even if you’re not using that software, I want to know what you think so that I know whether to invest the time it will take to change the index pages for Reunion, RootsMagic, and Family Tree Maker for Mac.

I modeled the index pages after the index in a book. Does this make it easier to find what you’re looking for? Can you think of anything I could do to make it even easier? What else might you want to know on that page?

Please leave me your feedback in a comment on this post or in a quick email.

Comparison of PC Genealogy Software Features

When you’re choosing a new genealogy application it helps to compare the features. It’s also helpful to quickly see which ones support the features essential to your genealogy workflow and practice.

I just compiled a set of tables I hope you’ll find helpful in comparing features of PC genealogy software. I published it on the Family Tree Maker 2012 buyer’s guide page.

My plan is to update the version I have already created for Mac genealogy software and post it in the same way.

Duplicate Place Cleanup in RootsMagic 4

You may be surprised by the number of different ways you’ve entered the same place-name in your RootsMagic 4 software. This is especially true if you don’t routinely check for and correct duplicate place-names. I recommend putting this on your calendar to do periodically just like checking for “duplicate people.”

In this video you’ll learn how to quickly detect and clean up duplicate place-names.
[Read more...]

RootsMagic 4 on Your Mac

RootsMagic 4 in the Mac OS X DockLast week there was a post on the RootsMagic blog about running RootsMagic 4 on a Mac. I’ve had this topic on my list of future videos for a while and this post pushed it to the top.

As the post says, there are a few options for running RootsMagic on your Mac. You can use a virtual PC program like Parallels Desktop or VMware Fusion, but those require you to buy and install a copy of Windows. Another option is to use the Windows emulator called Wine. I prefer a re-packaged version of Wine produced by CodeWeavers, called CrossOver Mac. It’s much easier to install! For only $39.95 you can run some Windows applications like RootsMagic on your Mac without the expense of Windows.

If you’ve wanted to run RootsMagic or are interested in checking out this fantastic genealogy software on your Mac, download the RootsMagic trial version and CrossOver Mac trial version, then follow along with this video which walks you through the fifteen minute installation of CrossOver Mac and RootsMagic 4.
[Read more...]

Store Your RootsMagic Backups Off Site with DropBox

DropBox.com LogoYou can get peace of mind by configuring RootsMagic to automatically store backups of your data both on your computer and off site (on the secure servers at DropBox). All it takes is a free (up to 2 GB) account and this video to show you how to configure RootsMagic. Click here to get your free DropBox account (and earn me a small increase in space for the referral—thanks!). There’s a nice video on the DropBox page that will walk you through the installation and usage.

By the way, don’t try to store and use your database from your DropBox folder. It won’t work properly and may cause you to lose data. Just stick with backing up there.
[Read more...]

Cleaning Up Living Flags in RootsMagic 4

You may be shocked to discover that you have the living dead in your RootsMagic database. [I'm just now realizing this should be a halloween post] By this I mean, records for people who have passed, but are marked “living” (the living flag is checked). Cleaning this condition up is made easier by RootsMagic making it simple to select people who are marked “living” and have birth dates prior to 120 years before today.

Cleaning this up is one of those annual maintenance tasks you can do to keep your data clean. I’ll show you, click-by-click, how to do it in this video.
[Read more...]