Genealogical Software and Identifying Family Relationships
Last Friday I had the pleasure of attending an all day conference hosted by The Villages, Florida Genealogy Society for the New England Historic and Genealogical Society (NEHGS). I’m a member of NEHGS and I was interested in the topics, especially migration patterns . Although I found all the workshops fairly basic I always take something away from any workshop I attend so I did get some new info to use when I revisit my tree AFTER I submit my portfolio.
I want to mention two points that I think were most interesting. The first was during the workshop titled “Choosing a Genealogical Software Program” by Rhonda McClure. I enjoyed Rhonda’s talk even though I’m not shopping for a new software program. What was interesting to me was the number of attendees that couldn’t understand why someone would want to have their tree information on their own program. Maybe I’m just old and remember the first genealogical software program I used which was on a cassette that was inserted into a TI-84 computer. When we upgraded to Windows 3.0, I downloaded PAF from Familysearch.org and had to re-enter all of my tree info. I didn’t have a lot, about 100 individuals, but it was time consuming and a duplication of efforts.
I moved to Family Tree Maker (FTM) because it was supposed to synch with Ancestry.com but as I’ve written in previous blogs, mine stopped synching and between the two organizations I could never get it working. I then downloaded the Standard (Free) edition of Legacy in which to save my Ancestry.com Gedcom and about once a month, I update Legacy by re-downloading the Gedcom. I know Ancestry.com is in the works with synching with Roots Magic and maybe a resurrection of FTM. I really would like a feature that synchs and I would go with that. I do love the reports Legacy generates as I ended up purchasing the Deluxe version so I’d keep that, too. The problem with not synching is one gets updated and the other doesn’t. I have a lot of pdf’s and photos saved on Ancestry.com that’s not on Legacy so we’re back to time consuming and storage saving issues unless something is available to synch.
But back to why anyone would want to have their own software. I live in Florida where we have many storms, often severe, which means that our power is off and therefore, no internet. Even when there isn't a storm we sometimes have no internet. Like yesterday, with our wonderful new internet provider, Frontier, who can't figure out how to provide the service we're paying for (but that's another story!) With a backup generator I could still access my desktop, though it would be unlikely in severe weather that I would use a generator to do that. I’d rather save the food in the fridge but I like options and if I would be so inclined, I could get to my information. Although it’s also unlikely that Ancestry.com will cease to exist, one never knows. Companies come and go. I’m not trying to start a rumor – I think that is remote but in case, I want to have a backup. I also like to have my tree available when I research away from home on my Kindle or laptop as in some facilities that I’ve visited, the wireless goes down when you’re in the stacks and it’s a problem.
The next interesting observation from the conference was how the Ancestry.com relationship feature doesn’t work. I was surprised how many people rely on it. Mine comes and goes and sometimes is so convoluted it’s hysterical. I’m not blaming Ancestry for that; it’s my twisted family tree where I relate to my husband back in the day. It can’t figure out the connection and seems to take the long route. I think I figured out why it does that. Simply because of who I set at the home person. If you’re having that problem just go to settings and change the home person to someone else and it may correct the problem. If it doesn’t, then you’re going to have to figure out the relationship the old fashioned way. I’d recommend bringing up the family tree view from the person you are trying to determine the relationship from and look and see where you recognize a common ancestor.
In a pinch you may find these links helpful: