Category Archives: Other

Update – Mac 3 v.

Mac 3 users waited all year for the annual update that usually comes at the end of summer in August. I was disappointed when I read the update tick list. It appears that once again, some minor tweaking was done without any major improvements. Come on Can’t we find a happy medium between the online and program users? We pay for service too!

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Resist The Cloud

Resist The Cloud? Really? Why? Well, I know that many will probably disagee with me but I resist for several reasons: price, trust, and privacy.

Are you a frugal genealogist? I sure am. I have become increasingly concerned at the push to go paperless and put everything in The Cloud to make all our pics/docs easy to store and easily accessible. Yes, a lot of it is free, but I believe that is a hook. If you bite then I believe that ‘they’ hope that you will become hooked for good so that ‘they’ can eventually charge more and more for these services.

Frankly, I just don’t trust someone else to protect my valuable pics/docs like I do. We increasingly hear about problems with even the largest and well-known services. Will they really back it up properly and protect it from the-all-too-common cyber hacks?

I also have concerns about privacy. I really don’t want all the faces in my pics scanned for whatever future purposes the ambiguous ‘they’ might have.

I also don’t think that paperless should be synonomous with The Cloud. Paperless means storing electronically not necessarily in The Cloud. Try creating a folder on your computer to store an email instead of printing it out. Scan documents that-aren’t-vital and store them electronically as well. I believe paperless is a good thing – as long as I can maintain local and paper backups of the most important stuff – especially original old pics/docs. Just as you should have backups of your paper documents you need backups of your electronic documents – at least the most important ones.

Do I use the Cloud? Yes, but cautiously. I refuse to become hooked on Cloud services. I am a techie. I love and use technology. I just encourage everyone to spend a few minutes thinking about how dependent they are on The Cloud now and how dependent they want to be in the future. Maintain your independence and be cautious – resist The Cloud!

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How To Report Problems

Why doesn’t FTM Mac have an item in the toolbar to report problems? Many programs do. Feedback is valuable. Finding help on can be a frustrating experience. I admit that I am not a big fan of the help boards. I seem to spend way too much time reading and looking for specific solutions without success. On the other hand, I understand that Ancestry probably has a hard time with this area because many people can’t separate help-with-the-program from help-with-their-genealogy. Still, it is frustrating for people that really need help-with-the-program.

Here is a link to their Suggestion Box.

Make sure that you include a consise problem blurb and the version of FTM that you are using. Note that they really want input on the current version instead of older ones. Be nice even if you are frustrated – you get more bees with honey than with vinegar.

Here is a problem that I just reported:

Problem Report: Unable to delete Periods from Name Field

FTM Mac v.

I am deleting periods from all names as suggested to increase search hits.

I have two records that won’t allow me to delete periods.

I have compacted file and done shut down and restart.

Thank you.

Now, you probably won’t receive a response but at least you reported and we can only hope that they will listen.

If I were I would have one portal for all feedback and I would use a form to determine which program version was being used and which category to route the problems so that they could be addressed by the correct department. They could look at how other companies with multiple programs deal with feedback to improve theirs.

Ancestry also takes a survey after each suggestion is submitted. I think that surveys are nice but they don’t give detailed info on problems so that they can be fixed.

Dear Ancestry, Please make it easy to provide feedback.

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Fun Fact

Saw this on my Bob Rankin Geekly Update today:

“Recalculating…” According to the computers at Social Security, there over 6 million living people in the USA who have reached the age of 112. The problem? There are only 42 people that old in the entire world.

More fun for genealogist to figure out!

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How To Clean Up Repositories

According to the FTM Mac 3 Companion Guide “A repository is the location where an original source exists. This could be a library, archive, county courthouse, or cousin’s home.” From other gleanings a Repository should be a location where Documents are housed.

Initially I thought that my Person Sources (people that have shared info with me) should go in Repositories. I added their names and contact info and then figured out that this really wasn’t a good idea because the contact info is published and to my knowledge there isn’t a way to privatize repositories.

So… Here’s what I did for each one:

  1. Copied all the contact info over to a text file to hold it temporarily. I definitely don’t want to lose that info!
  2. Clicked on the Usage button to which Sources they were attached too. I did a Screen Print using SHFT CTRL 4 to save that info.
  3. Closed the Repository window and opened the Sources tab. Locate each of the Sources on the Screen Print and detach the Repository from the Source.
  4. After you have unattached the Repository from all of the Sources, reopen Manage Repository and check the usage again.
  5. Delete the Repository.
  6. Continue through all Repositories.

This should leave a nice clean list. Spring cleaning early!


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How To Merge Two Databases (Update)

After matching/merging my people I found that many people had NUMEROUS Residence facts and these facts were linked with census records that weren’t even closely related to the location or people that they were attached to. Oh my! After further investigation I figured out that there was one record for each census year that held all of these links. This was not what I expected but I figured out how to fix it.

  1. Open the source citation and copy the place and ‘record for…’ info over to a text file so that you can easily find the source citation.
  2. Go to Sources, find the source citation (using the info you copied to the text file) and delete the source citation.
  3. Recreate the source citation for the family you just deleted.
  4. Merge all of the remaining facts – this is going to take even more time. ARGH!

I am also going through each of my Ancestry Sources to make sure that they aren’t old. When I open the source citation it should have a link in the bottom left-hand corner that says ‘View Source Online’. If it doesn’t have this then I rerun the search/merge so that the source citation is current and saved in the correct place.

Note: This process took a lot longer than I thought it would. I’m not sure if I will do it again.

Recommendation: I recommend that you don’t merge the sources when merging people. Run your own sources – it’s cleaner.

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How To Merge Two Databases

Merging databases is a pain but it can be beneficial though to merge sources, pictures, and data that you might not have. Today, as part of my spring cleaning I checked out a database that I had downloaded quite awhile back when I was first using Ancestry online. I was surprised to find so much new info – a merge was definitely in order.

  1. Decide if you really want to do this. It takes a LOT of time and determination.
  2. Backup and backup again.
  3. I put all my surnames in all caps in my database. I recommend that you make sure the other database does NOT use surnames in all caps.
  4. Open the database you want to merge into. Select File>Merge from the toolbar. I do not recommend letting FTM match records for you. It’s best to do them yourself. Refer to FTM Help if needed.
  5. After the merge I don’t like to use the ‘Find Duplicate People’ because there are so many to match. I figured out that I can go down my list of people in the Person Workspace>Tree View and look for the lowercase surnames. When I find one I locate the matching name with the surname in caps and select it. Then I click the down arrow next to the People button and ‘Merge Two Specific People’. It should now be easy to find the lower-case-surname match and then carefully merge the two records. When you select the people from your database first they will be on the left side when the merge window opens and their facts should be listed as primary which should make matching easier.
  6. Continue down the list…
  7. When you are done you can then delete the old database. You will want to go through the sources and clean those up as well. I noticed that a lot of the images were not named correctly. More spring cleaning to do…

Hope this is helpful!

Note: See update.

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How To Submit Father/Mother/Spouse to FindaGrave

While working with FindaGrave and FTM I try to link as many people as possible and submit corrections for any missing info. This is helpful to everyone, especially since FindaGrave is free and accessible to everyone.

When you find a record in FindaGrave that needs a link to Father/Mother/Spouse:

  1. First gather all of the Find A Grave Memorial numbers you can for Father/Mother/Spouse. These numbers are located at the bottom of each memorial. You need to get these numbers BEFORE submitting an edit because FindaGrave will only process one relationship edit at a time. I copy the numbers into my Text Edit program to hold them until the next step.
  2. In FindaGrave click the Edit tab and then ‘Relationship (parent and spouse links)’.
  3. Add the numbers. Be sure to add a marriage year if you know it. It doesn’t add the year to the memorial but will put the marriages in order if there is more than one. Perhaps they will add this info down the road (hint to FindaGrave). Click Submit Edit.

That is all there is to it. Easy peasey!

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How to Deal with Duplicate FindAGrave Entries

FindaGrave is a great resouce but sometimes you find two memorials for the same person. The FindaGrave policy is that the oldest one should be kept and the other should merge info and pics into the oldest. I usually use the FindaGrave Edit tab to send a suggestion to the manager of the recent memorial nicely asking them to merge and delete the memorial so that there is only one memorial for that individual. Noone likes to have to delete something they created but it sure is confusing/misleading if there are multiple memorials for the same person.

When I find duplicate memorials I copy both of the memorial IDs into my FindaGrave ID field in FTM. I highly recommend that you create a FindaGrave ID field if you don’t have one already. I enter both memorial numbers info the field in chronological order like this:

1234567 (1 Jan 2011); 8912345 (7 Jul 2013)

Since the FindaGrave suggestions automatically send an email copy to me, I have set up a folder in my email program to keep them. Every so often I go through them (after about a month) and just click the link to see if the memorials have been merged. If they haven’t, I forward a copy to FindaGrave and they usually take care of it, and I follow up again later. If they have been merged into one memorial, I go into FTM and remove the extra memorial ID and date info so that I only have one memorial ID in the field. This process has worked really well.

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FTM3 Update 22.2.4!

Just a little while ago an update (FTM 3 22.2.4) with numerous bug fixes was released. Yay! Here is the description. Make sure you have a backup before installing! I’ll get back later with my comments.

FTM Improvements Jan 2015

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