Category Archives: Go-anywhere, paper-free solutions

Syncing your genealogy software with online trees

Syncing genealogy software with online trees_ Summary imageFor optimal effectiveness in ancestry research, our desktop genealogy software needs to share data (“sync”) with our online family trees. So, how well do the “Big Three” software packages sync? In this next installment of the Desktop Dilemma Series, we continue our side-by-side analysis of the Big Three — Family Tree Maker®, Legacy Family Tree®, and RootsMagic™.

 

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Zotero for genealogy: getting your ducks in a row

Genealogy requires us to capture and organize mounds of information. We can do it the hard way, or we can use Zotero. This robust, free tool simplifies the capture, organization, and use of citations and research notes. You can cite sources with a single click. Attach images, documents, spreadsheets, and PDFs. Sync to free cloud storage and get your notes anywhere there’s Internet access! It got me through graduate school, and now it’s revolutionizing my genealogy. It’s a GEG’s best friend. In Part 1 of my Zotero series, I tell you why you should bother. Don’t miss out! Continue reading Zotero for genealogy: getting your ducks in a row

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Getting help from genealogy software: rating the “Big Three”

Documentation -- Desktop Dilemma

Genealogy’s “Big Three” — Family Tree Maker®, Legacy Family Tree®, and RootsMagic™ — offer many  tools for our research. How well, though, does each guide you in figuring out how to use the product? Do they help you get started? Describe the screens and fields you see? Guide you to deeper uses of the software? Do they help  you? In this next installment of the Desktop Dilemma Series, we continue our analysis of the Big Three side by side, looking at genealogical software online help.

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Enter at the side door: the Ancestry Card Catalog

Ancestry.com card catalog at the side doorLike many, my early days using Ancestry.com were all about chasing fluttering green leaves. I found sources because my ancestor’s name matched the index of a record collection. I wish I’d known much earlier the wealth of information available in the Ancestry Card Catalog, entered through the side door. It holds sources that are indexed — but not indexed. Bear with me, and I’ll explain. (Newest entry in the Wish I’d Known Series.)

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What’s OCR? Turning a picture of text into text

What is OCR?You’re embarrassed to question it. People throw out the term “OCR” as though it’s common knowledge. You don’t want anyone to know you missed the memo. Well, a lot of people missed the memo. Genealogy draws heavily on this technology, so let’s take up the question: “What’s OCR?”

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Narrowing birth dates — a free tool does the math for you

Narrowing dates summary imageA census record offers you a moment in time when your ancestor was, say, five years old. That gives you a potential birth date range of 365 days, plus a possible Leap Day. If you use multiple records, however, you can use the overlaps to whittle down that range, getting closer to the real date. Doing this math in your head, unfortunately, presents a headaches. But I have a solution for you: the Date Narrowing Calculator [revised as of 1/6/2017]. A gift for my fellow GEGs.

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Let’s make history in this FamilySearch Indexing campaign

FamilySearch Indexing Worldwide Event 2016FamilySearch Indexing has thrown down the gauntlet, and the challenge is on. We need 72,000 bright people to  join an indexing brigade processing worldwide records between July 15 and 17. Let’s see what 72 hours can produce!

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Transcribing historical manuscripts in PDF software

PDF as Transcription ToolMake transcribing historical manuscripts easier and more valuable using a desktop tool you already have. PDF software can let you zoom in on the manuscript, while transcribing the text as comments. You have not only transcribed; you have made the document searchable without separating it from the scanned image.

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Citing sources: the Desktop Dilemma series

Desktop dilemma -- citing sourcesThis newest installment of the Desktop Dilemma series takes up the question of how the Big Three genealogy desktop software packages handle citing sources. How easy do they make it to leave an effective bread-crumb trail back to where you found your facts?


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The Windows Snipping Tool: smart screen captures for free

Windows Snipping Tool--Summary ImageYou need to capture a single face out of that family reunion scan. Or perhaps you want to clip one newspaper article out of an entire page online. Maybe your clip needs to be an odd shape, or you want to draw a circle around one element. We find treasures online constantly and need to save what matters. The Windows Snipping Tool offers a simple, efficient way to do this. And it’s free.

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