20 February 2015

Genealogy Do Over Week 7: Software and digitizing

This week’s prompt is reviewing genealogy database software, and digitizing photos and documents. These would seem to be two non related items but they are more closely related than one would expect at first glance. 

Genealogy database software

I personally use Family Tree Maker. It was my first many moons ago and while no one program is perfect for everyone, this one is pretty good. That said, I am also stubborn and do not take well to change! 

FTM 2014 actually lets me sync with Ancestry.com! Love this feature! This feature saves so much time and energy. With FTM, you can easily add photos and other images to specific persons. You can merge any duplicate entries, which unfortunately happens more than any of us want to admit. FTM 2014 allows you to create family stories and simplifies citations. Ancestry.com also now lets you share access to your tree.

One genealogist wrote that she had numerous problems loading the software. After reading her post though I felt she was not technically minded and that hers was what techies refer to as “operator error.” I personally had absolutely no problem uploading the program. It merged with my old version with no problem. No one got lost. Information transferred without issue. That said, I did – as you should with any upgrade – backup the program first, ran the appropriate scans on my system and logged out of everything else running before uploading the new version on FTM. 

I did read one negative review in that the person’s tree on Ancestry.com got corrupted because their PC crashed. Yes this could well happen. This is also a good time to point out the importance of regular computer scans. Personally I also use Spybot S&D and some Malware program. If you have a virus or spyware on your system it is entirely possible to upload it when you sync.  

One common cause of technical issues is lack of preparation. FTM 2014 requires the user to utilize Windows Vista, Windows 7 or Windows 8. Installation requires 675 MB of hard drive space and 1 GB of memory. Your display should be set at 1024 x 768 resolution. There is also a version for Mac users. 

Digitizing photos and documents

I am probably as old school as you could get with some things I do and this is definitely one of those areas. I will freely admit that. There are times I can actually get my scanner (an HP Officejet J4680 All in One) to scan things. This is definitely a higher quality than my second option. I have been known (this morning even!) to simply take a photo with the camera on my phone and text/email it to my PC.  

Looking back:

Week 6 – Evaluating Evidence
Week 5 - Research and Citations
Week 4 – Managing projects
Week 3 -  tracking research and conducting research
Week 2 - set research goals, self interviews, and family interviews
Week 1  

Genealogy Do-Over is a 13 week challenge from Thomas MacEntee, of GeneaBloggers.  

© Jeanne Ruczhak-Eckman, 2015
Locations listed are located in Pennsylvania (USA), unless otherwise noted in post.