Tag Archives: software

It is the First Day of the Month: Back Up Your Genealogy Files

This should be done every month!

Staying Organized with OneNote and Evernote

I am always trying to find ways to reduce the paper clutter and have finally found an easy way to achieve this. Over the past few years I have scanned all my photos, genealogy documents ie. death certificates, obituaries etc.  into my computer. I have finally achieved that task. I back up my computer every time I use it.

I have found two note organizing programs that are working great. I use two, OneNote and Evernote. OneNote is super for all my genealogy notes. The cost is reasonable, about $69.00 and can be downloaded from Microsoft. I’ve  set up my notebooks by surname and category. As I run across things that I want to keep for future use, I just copy and paste into OneNote. It’s a good way to keep things organized.

I love collecting recipes but after a while it becomes difficult to find the ones I want to use. Here comes Evernote, which is free but does have storage limits. This is part of the reason for using the two programs. Both programs can be synced to use on several different devices which is great! When I’m cooking dinner I use my tablet to look up recipes! Oh so easy.

Here is a great article written by Tanya Bomsta on how to set up OneNote for genealogy purposes. I found it very helpful and hope you do to.

How to Use Microsoft Onenote to Organize Genealogy Research Notes – Yahoo! Voices – voices.yahoo.com.


God Bless!


File Extension Formats

I have always had some problem with remembering which file extensions go with which software programs so here’s a list of some common file formats: 

AVI:  Audio Video Interleave most often used with Apple Quick Time and Windows Media Player.

DOC:  Microsoft Word Document.

FDB: Legacy Family Tree.

FTW: Family Tree Maker.

GED: Gedcom which is short for Genealogical Data Communications. Gedcom files are the standard file format that any family tree program can open.

GIF: Graphics Interchange Format developed by Compuserve for storing bitmap impages and used with most image editing software for most Web graphics.

HTML: Hypertext Markup Languarge: main programming language for publishing information on the Internet.

JPEG: (aka JPG) Joint Photographic Experts Group-widely used format for bitmap photographic images because of its ability to display millons of colors.

MP3: Audio format that compresses sound clips into small files without affecting quality and used on portable devices such as the iPod.

PAF: Personal Ancestral File

PDF: Portable Document Format, makes viewing documents exactly as designed on any output device. PDF files can be viewed from free with the Adobe Reader from www.adobe.com.

PJC: The Master Genealogist

PNG: Portable Network Graphics used as a replacement for GIF files and used for the same files but PNG files are compressed better tosmaller file sizes of equal quality and most image editing software can open them.

RMG: RootsMagic

RMCG: RootsMagic Version 4

TIFF: Tagged Image File Format is for bitmap (pixal-based) images like photographs and is better for print and not Web use.

TXT: Plain-text files with very little formating commonly used in simple text editors like Windows Notepad.

WAV: Wave form is standard format for storing audio on a PC and can be played on either Windows or Mac.

WMA: Windows Media Audio is smaller files than WAV

ZIP: compresses documents into one file for sharing or archiving.

Backing up Your Work

Many years ago, I had a computer crash and at the time I had just started doing family research and did not have a lot of data recorded. However, it still took almost a full day to install all of my software onto the new computer. Then I had to enter all of my genealogy data, letters, favorites, email addresses, etc. It was a job I did not want to repeat. I worked as an Office Manager, bookkeeper for many years and always backed up my documents and accounting files on a daily bases. Why I had not practiced the same at home, I do not know. Needless to say, I now backup my files anytime I make changes!

Backup options are available in all kinds of formats now, online, DVDs, zip drives, and removable hard drives just to name a few. I have tried most of them. The last removable hard drive I used was an 80gig Seagate. I didn’t like having to remember which files to backup and the drive was bulky and heavy. I wanted everything saved and I didn’t want to mess with things!

So, I started looking for an easier way to save my documents and files. I found a product called ClickFree that is an automatic backup system. It is fantastic! My ClickFree will hold 320gig’s of data. You can backup word, Excell, PowerPoint, photos, genealogy files or the entire hard drive. The first backup might take some time but after that it is pretty quick as it only updates the changes. It connects to your computer via a usb plug and it starts automatically. How simple is that! The ClickFree is about the size of a 4 x6 index card and about an inch and a half thick and comes with the usb cord and storage case. This system also lets you use it on several different computers. So, if you have a desktop, your husband has a laptop and your son has a desktop, you can backup all three under individual settings.I bought my husband a laptop last fall and did a restore from my computer to his laptop of specific files such as the word documents.

I live in tornado alley and when we have warnings, mine goes in my purse to go to the basement. When we went on vacation, my was put in the bank vault. I know there is nothing that can give you 100% certainty but this does come close. The approximate cost is about $140.00 and it can be found on Amazon, and QVC. Of course, you can go directly to their website: ClickFree . A really great, reasonably priced product that I would buy again!

Genealogy Software Packages

There are many different, affordable software packages available and are user friendly. One key to family research is being able to locate information quickly and it helps to be organized. At least as much as one can!

All packages offer a convenient way of keeping tabs on the family names being researched. You might start out with about 15 names but that can grow to several hundred, in a very short amount of time and when that happens, it can become mind boggling!

Some of the more popular software packages are:

Ancestral Quest-$29.95 (free trial)

Family Tree Maker-$39.95 (free trial)

Legacy Family Tree-$29.95 (free standard edition)

RootsMagic-$29.95 (free trial)

The Master Genealogist-$59.00 (free trial)

Over the years, I have used Family Tree Maker, Legacy Family Tree and RootsMagic. All the packages offer a large selection of great reports and the types of reports do vary some between the packages.

I prefer RootsMagic because of the ease of use and the options available. You can have multiple trees so if you wanted to keep track of your side and your husband’s side seperately, you can. There is a large selection of reports including blank pedigree and family group sheets which I use all the time.

RootsMagic allows me to combine several reports, charts, notes, photos, sources and other text and automatically will create a table of contents and a full index for my book project. I can save my project in PDF format or burn it on a Sharable CD that I can send to others.

The Shareable CD features a custom home page with your own title, photos, description and your contact information in addition to including a read-only version of RootsMagic. This allows you to share your data and multimedia items with family and friends!

Most of the software packages allow a person to generate professional looking web sites automcatically from your data generally including pedigree chart, narrative reports and other combinations of reports and photos.

In the long run, having the software is not only a time saver but adds to the enjoyment of doing family research. You can see where information is missing, if there are duplicate names, what sources you have already and what ones you still need. The software leaves you more time to actually do research instead of organizing and finding things. I know in the beginning it may take a little longer especially if you have years of documents and notes already accumulated. But soon you will be up and running!

Since most packages offer a free trial period, try a couple of different ones before buying. Don’t forget to check out the free ones too. Some are really great. However, they generally do not offer as many options as the packages and be sure to see how much space you are allowed.

Legacy News: FamilySearch Expands Online Learning Opportunities

This is wonderful news for those researchers and family historians that would like to take classes in genealogy but can’t because of traveling distance or other issues. FamilySearch now is offering 81 lessons free at FamilySearch which will allow anyone, anywhere to take a class. Here is a link to the article that was published in the Legacy Newletter: