Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Give a little back to the Genealogy Community.

As I'm sure you are aware, UGA is the host society for NGS this year. We have one month left until one of the greatest weeks in the genealogy year hits Salt Lake City. It is going to be a great conference, with lots of special programs and extended hours at the library.

In part because of the extended hours and extra programs, UGA is still looking for volunteers to help with several aspects of the conference, mostly registration and class monitors. Donating an hour or two (or more) is a great way to give back to this wonderful genealogy community. If you have time, or are already planning to go to some of these classses, volunteer to help us out. It will put a smile on your face (and make you eligible for some pretty cool volunteer perks--including a $5 off coupon for Generation Maps.)

You can register to help at: http://www.infouga.org/index.php?option=volunteer
See you there.

Ancestral Quest releases new version

With the change that has come in the new FamilySearch API, the software developers have had to release updates to continue to function with the database. If you are LDS and using the new FamilySearch database, keeping your software updated is really important right now so that it will continue to work.

Today, Gaylon Findlay sent me a press release on his new version:
Update for New FamilySearch and News on AutoMatch.

Incline Software released a new update of Ancestral Quest on March 29, 2010 (12.1.23).

New.FamilySearch.Org Access. For users who work with New FamilySearch (NFS), this is a critical update, as it allows you to continue to work with NFS after the changes that were implemented by FamilySearch on 3/29/2010. Users who do not access NFS will find a couple of minor enhancements – like the addition of the display of Age at Marriage and Age at Death on the Family View. This is a free upgrade for all users of AQ 12.1 – simply download and install the new build.

This new release of Ancestral Quest (AQ) takes advantage of new methods provided by FamilySearch for AQ to work with NFS, so that users will find that most functions are now faster. One exception to this is working with notes and sources – users of AQ will still be able to view the notes and sources stored in the NFS records as they have in the past, but FamilySearch slowed this part of the process down in order to speed up everything else. AQ also allows users to transfer their notes right out of their PAF or AQ database directly into the records of NFS.

60-Day Free Trial. Ancestral Quest provides full access to all features of the program for 60 days. If you are evaluating AQ, you can download the new version and continue using it for free until your 60 days have expired. If you haven’t yet given AQ a try, you can download your free trial copy from www.ancquest.com.

Updating. To update, users should follow these steps:

1) Run AQ, go to the “Internet” menu, and select “Check for Latest AQ Release”. Your Internet browser should take you to the download page for the new build.

2) Exit AQ.

3) On the download page, select the option to run the “Basic” installer and run the installer.

That’s it! You may want to verify that the install was successful by running AQ, accessing the “About AQ” screen from the Help menu, and check that you are running AQ 12.1.23.

AutoMatch. Ancestral Quest was the first genealogy program to be certified to Syncronize with New FamilySearch, and received the 2009 FamilySearch Software Award for Most Comprehensive Syncing. One of the many impressive features for which AQ received this award was its ability to auto match. When Incline Software released AQ 12.1 in July of 2008, it included a feature called “Link/Sync/Upload Groups.” For a couple of years, AQ has been the only desktop application with the ability to automatically match large groups of your local records with New FamilySearch. You can choose to match your entire database, or select just a branch of your family tree. Over the years, users have enjoyed the ability to quickly match and link tens of thousands of records using this ability. Once AQ has completed the matching process on your defined group, it provides you with a list of all the matched records – you can choose to complete the process and link them all with a couple of clicks of the mouse, or you can spend time reviewing the list and verifying the matches individually before completing the link. AQ’s Group Link/Upload is also useful in a couple of other ways:

1) During the auto matching process, it identifies any records with duplicates on NFS, which allows you to quickly combine duplicate NFS records before syncing those records with your own records.

2) After you have linked the matching records, you can review the list of records that didn’t match. With a couple of mouse clicks, you can select all these records and upload them to NFS. They will be linked together in families on NFS just as they are in your local file. This feature can be used in lieu of importing GEDCOM files to NFS, with one obvious advantage – it performs the auto matching of records before the upload, so you will only upload records to NFS that are not already there – this avoids creating additional duplicates on NFS.

Ancestral Quest’s Group Link feature continues to provide the most comprehensive auto match capability of any desktop application.

Review of Ancestral Quest’s Other New FamilySearch Features.

* Match records individually – in addition to the auto match, you can match any individual, one at a time if you prefer.

* Match families – as you review a linked person, you can see family members in your local file and compare this with family members as recorded on NFS. For any matching family members, simply link them. For family members that are only in either your database or the NFS database, you can quickly add them to the other database so that both databases will match.

* Exchange data between your local file and NFS – you can download names, dates, places, individuals and families from NFS to your local file. You can upload names, dates, places, individuals and families from your local file to NFS.

* View notes and sources stored on NFS. You can copy and paste notes directly from your local file to NFS, and you can copy and paste notes from NFS records directly to your local records. You can also view the NFS sources while comparing your local records with their corresponding NFS records.

* PAF users will find that AQ can directly open their PAF file just as if it were PAF, and move data between the PAF file and NFS. AQ is the perfect bridge between PAF and NFS, and is a FamilySearch Certified PAF Add-In, as well as a complete application that can replace PAF.

* Import family lines. NFS does not have the ability to export data. Ancestral Quest can import as many generations as you like from NFS directly into a PAF or AQ database, including LDS ordinance information.

* Reserve LDS ordinances and create Family Ordinance Requests (FORs). AQ not only reserves the records and places them on your NFS reserved list, it keeps track of the FORs, so you can later review the names on any FOR, thus tracking the progress of ordinances for that batch of names. As ordinances are completed, AQ allows you to automatically transfer ordinance completion dates from NFS to your local records.

* Assign LDS Ordinance Cards to others. AQ allows you to assign your stack of ordinance cards to others, and keeps track of where each card is located.

Incline Software has provided Ancestral Quest as a premier Windows-based family tree program for over 15 years. In 1999, the LDS Church selected Ancestral Quest as the base for its Windows versions of PAF – both PAF 4 and PAF 5. Users of PAF will find that AQ looks and feels like a major upgrade to PAF. It will feel very easy and comfortable to use, and it provides the most comprehensive syncing with New FamilySearch.

Visit www.ancquest.com for more information. See www.ancquest.com/Ver12-1Tutorials.htm for a list of free training video tutorials.

Friday, March 26, 2010

RootsMagic introduces AutoMatch

RootsMagic 4 Releases Update with FamilySearch AutoMatch RootsMagic becomes First Genealogy Software to Automatically Match People with FamilySearch

SPRINGVILLE, Utah. — March 26, 2009 — RootsMagic, Inc. announced the immediate availability of an update to their RootsMagic 4 and RootsMagic Essentials genealogy software which includes a new "AutoMatch" feature. They become the first- and currently the only-
genealogy software to offer this feature.
Time Saving

As FamilySearch certified software, RootsMagic and RootsMagic Essentials both allow you to share information to and from new FamilySearch as well as find and reserve incomplete temple ordinances for ancestors. In order to do any of this for a person, you must first match the person in your own file with the same person in the new FamilySearch system. In the past, a user was required to find a match for each person one-at-a-time, person-by-person.

"Our users told us that this was one of the more time-consuming aspects of working with new FamilySearch," explained Bruce Buzbee, president of RootsMagic, Inc. "If you had an average-sized file with 6000 people, it may take you several days of repetitive work just to
match each one up with new FamilySearch. People want to be able to jump in and actually work with new FamilySearch and matching by hand was always a tedious first step." Buzbee added, "The new AutoMatch feature does most of this grunt work for you so you can just begin sharing data about your ancestors."

RootsMagic developed the AutoMatch feature over weeks of experimentation and guidance from FamilySearch. The AutoMatch examines each person in your RootsMagic file, searches the FamilySearch database for the person, and after carefully comparing them, matches them together if they are the same; all without requiring user intervention. "What used to take days of manual work is now done automatically in only a few hours," said Buzbee. "You can start the AutoMatch, leave it running while you do something else, and return later to find most of the matches found." Although the match is made automatically, no actual data is transferred without the user requesting it.

Important Update

In addition to the new AutoMatch feature, this update is required for RootsMagic to continue working with new FamilySearch. In the near future, changes made to FamilySearch will prevent versions of RootsMagic and RootsMagic Essentials prior to this update from connecting with FamilySearch. "We encourage anybody using our software with FamilySearch to download this update as soon as possible so that they may continue to enjoy our FamilySearch features," said
Michael Booth, vice-president. "Installing the update now will make sure you have a seamless transition as FamilySearch continues to grow and evolve. Plus you'll get the AutoMatch which is worth the effort of the update by itself."

FamilySearch Made Easy

"We're thrilled to be the first software to offer a feature like 'AutoMatch'," said Booth. "We're sure our users will be just as excited to use it." Buzbee added, "Our mission is, 'Family History
Made Easy', and that is exactly what this is. The AutoMatch feature solves a big problem for every person that uses genealogy software with FamilySearch."

RootsMagic also simplifies other tasks when working with New FamilySearch. RootsMagic 4 received awards for "Easiest to Sync" and "Best Dashboard" at the 2009 FamilySearch Developer Awards. Video tutorials, demonstrating how easy it is to work with New FamilySearch
using RootsMagic 4 are available at http://www.rootsmagic.com/fs.

Free and Available Now

AutoMatch is included in RootsMagic Essentials, free genealogy software which includes all of the FamilySearch features. It is available for download at http://www.rootsmagic.com/essentials.
Current users of RootsMagic 4 and RootsMagic Essentials may update their software for free at http://www.rootsmagic.com/updates.

Users of other genealogy software products will find it easy to experiment with RootsMagic using their own data. RootsMagic can directly import data from PAF, Family Tree Maker (through 2006), Family Origins, and Legacy Family Tree. It can also read data using the popular GEDCOM format.

About RootsMagic, Inc.

For over 20 years, RootsMagic, Inc. has been creating computer software with a special purpose- to unite families. One of our earliest products- the popular "Family Origins" software, introduced thousands of people to the joy and excitement of family history.

That tradition continues today with "RootsMagic", our award-winning genealogy software which makes researching, organizing, and sharing your family history fun and easy. "Personal Historian" will help you easily write and preserve your life stories. "Family Reunion Organizer" takes the headaches out of planning those important get-togethers. And "Family Atlas" creates beautiful and educational geographic maps of your family history.

For more information, visit http://www.rootsmagic.com.
Source: RootsMagic, Inc.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Family ChArtist's first week/Monday's winners

It's been quite a week. And we are already on to version 1.1 of Family ChArtist. (Can you see the version notation in the new graphic?)

The bad news is we ran into a couple of glitches. Such is to be expected I guess. You work and work to get everything perfect, but computers can sometimes have a mind of their own. The good news is we were able to fix things quickly and version 1.1 is already out. And we sent out a couple of 20% off codes for people who had alerted us to the glitches. So if you see any more--let us know.

The other good news is that the response has been great. We are so appreciative of all the excitement everyone has had. It is so gratifying to hear the stories about how you are using this new tool to share what you have done with your families and to see the exciting styles you have submitted for printing. Thank you so much for allowing us to participate in your family this way.

We are still having some issues with certain types of GEDCOM import but hope to get those fixed very soon. If your GEDCOM isn't importing this weekend, try exporting your GEDCOM from your genealogy program as an ANSI file. We know that one is working well. And we should have the other types fixed shortly.

And, in all of the excitement, I didn't ever announce the winners of our drawings on Monday. Congratulations to P.S. Eagleson (Facebook winner), B. Feldstein (Twitter Winner) and B. Renick (GenealogyWise winner.) We'll be sending out $25 gift certificates that are good for Family ChArtist, or any of our other options--Working Charts, Custom Charts, Photo Giclees, Blank Charts, and everything else. Gift Cards are also available for purchase. And don't forget our free consult too. We'd love to print the perfect chart for you.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Family ChArtist--And We're Live

I feel like I've been on Iron Chef. If you ever watch that show on the food network, you'll know that two gourmet chefs have one hour to cook as many gourmet dishes as they can to impress a panel of judges. When the buzzer sounds at the end of the hour, they have to "walk away" no matter how much has been accomplished.

I finally understand why it takes so long for companies to get a new piece of software out. There are so many other features that we wanted to incorporate, so many other graphics that are just about ready to go. But we could have held on to it forever. At some point, you just have to release it and then go from there.

Two weeks ago (or three--it all blurs together) when we decided to set a roll out date, we thought we were within days of being ready for release, and the roll out was probably too far out in advance. Now after far too little sleep, the 12 noon release time has come and gone, and it is live. I'm so glad we did set that date. Otherwise it might never have been released. Hopefully you won't miss the things we wanted to add too much, and then we'll have exciting new things to work on in the future. And lots of new graphics to add soon--just as soon as I take a nap.

In the meantime I know how the chefs on Iron Chef feel watching the judges taste their food now too. We hope you like it. We hope it will help you creatively proclaim your heritage, show off your identity, thank those who came before, and inspire those who are growing up now. Let us know what you think.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Family ChArtist--Screenshots, keeping it simple

When we designed Family ChArtist we wanted to make it easy enough that you wouldn't need instructions and everything was intuitive. Hopefully we've gotten really close to that goal. Let me show you the screen shots for each section so that you can see how easy we've kept things. Keep your eye on the tabs below the chart.Choose the layout.Adding and entering information.Adding a title or controlling font. And then the next 4 deal with graphics. We'll still be refining things in our future development. We'd love to hear what you think.

We're down to counting hours. It's getting close.

Family ChArtist--coming with an all new website.

So there is an all new website coming on Monday too with the advent of Family ChArtist. For those of you who have never used our service or seen us at a conference, we're hoping that you'll be better able to see all the fabulous things we do. Here's a sneak peak at the front page.

Thanks to Amy Slade for all the great photographs.
We're off to the South Davis Family History Fair today. Wish us luck on this final beta/preview. We're down into the hours on the countdown now. It's almost here.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Family ChArtist--Adding Pictures

So today I'm going to give you some ideas on how to add pictures. Thanks to Erin, for helping me out with some samples today. You get to see another person's family for a while. And Erin always comes up with great ideas that I never would have thought of.
On this first one she has the baby pictures of the couple who started it all, and then a modern picture of their family
On this one she offset the focus person, and then put the family on the bottom again. Sweet and simple with that beautiful font.
On these she's added pictures of the main person in the center of a left to right chart.
With the hints I gave you the other day about sizing and shaping the layout of the genealogy chart, there are lots of things you can do Besides adding pictures of embellishments, you can add pictures as backgrounds. Like we talked about earlier, you can set the transparency to focus more on the picture, or more on the genealogy information. And then of course you can do a genealogy chart with no genealogy at all. This one has a timeline of the husband and wife on the top, the wedding picture and then pictures of the family and children below.
And combining pictures with the backgrounds you can come up with beautiful things too.
I've so enjoyed seeing what the testers have come up with. They've come up with beautiful designs I never would have thought of. I can't wait to see what you come up with too.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Family ChArtist--Shields and Monograms

One of my favorite sets of graphics is the 22 shields we have for your genealogy charts. Now I know these aren't really family crests. If you have a family crest you would like to add to your chart you are welcome to upload it like you would a picture. But if you don't have copies of a family crest you need, these add a pretty decorative element. Take a look:

Some of them have decoration in the middle and some of them are blank in the middle.If you use the title feature to place an initial over the shield, it becomes a monogram, like this:Or this:

You can even use a picture in the blank shields like this:And then you could even use the title feature just to put in a monogram without the shield. Anyway you slice it, there's lots of options in Family ChArtist

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Family ChArtist--Genealogy chart display options

Get ready for a long blog post--I've got lots of pictures for you today to illustrate some options we've put in Family ChArtist.

To start with you come across the first two tabs: "Choose Layout" and "Add Genealogy Info." We debated for a while which needed to come first, so you may do some flipping back and forth between these two tabs when you are first starting your chart. "Choose Layout" won out on being first, because when you go to manually create your chart, we needed to know which way to lay out the blank chart.
So the first thing you will want to choose is which style you want to create. We're releasing Family ChArtist version 1 with our two most popular styles. A regular right to left pedigree and a bowtie. You just click on the one you want.Then when you add your genealogy information on the next tab, you'll come up with something like this to start with:
At this point you may want to go back to the "Choose Layout" tab to check out some more of the options and tweak your chart a little. First you'll want to choose a paper and size (discussed in a previous blog post) And then you'll want to choose a box style (also discussed in a previous blog post.) All of these choices are available in the editing panel on the "Choose Layout" tab.
Now, you sharp readers out there will notice something in the editing panel that we haven't talked about previously. The "Arrange chart information using:" section. This section of the editing panel gives you control over how the chart is laid out. The first two slide rules are about the space between the boxes. And the last slide rule is about the size of the box.
Let me show you some examples. First, with horizontal spacing, you can control the space between the generations like this:
or tight:
Then with the vertical spacing, you control the spaces within a generation like the wide ones above, or this tight one here: (remember, keep your eyes on the spaces between the boxes. Between those two controls, you can shrink the chart size down to be able to use more of the space around it for decoration (below) or spread it out to take up all of the space on the chart.
Then there is box width. On this same chart, when I widen the boxes, it actually also shrinks the height of the chart because there aren't as many lines of text wrapping down to the next line. Like this:
Or I can shorten the width of the box and create a chart that is taller, but has more room on the sides for pictures or decorations, like this:
So you can see there is lots to play around with, even just on one style of chart. As you begin to decorate your chart, you can flip back and forth to be able to adjust the chart the way you want it. All sorts of options for your creativity.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Family ChArtist--Additional Information

Note: Apparently when I posted this last night, it posted to the wrong date and thus got lost further down the blog. I'll repost it here in case you missed it. This is a cool feature with lots of possibilities. I want to make sure you see it.

Ok, so you can import your genealogy information into Family ChArtist from a GEDCOM or from FamilySearch so far. (We made more progress this last weekend and have begun the process to bring several more companies into direct import with Family ChArtist.)

In that import, right now, we automatically import birth, marriage, and death dates and places. In the last 6 years, 99% of the charts we have done have been done with those vital statistics.
We've made this data totally editable in the program just in case you realize there is something on a database or even in your GEDCOM that you know is wrong. Such is often the case when you get it all out where you can see it. And sometimes you just want to fill things in such as spelling out Massachusettes in this sample:
In fact, because we have put unlimited spacing on each of these fields, you can actually add other information to each piece of data--such as adding the christening or the burial information with the birth or death, or the divorce information in with the marriage info.

But every once in a while, someone asks for different information in that data on a chart. We've been asked about adding personalities or qualities to the data on a chart. We've done charts with careers, or divorces or Age at death, hobbies, nicknames, military service or other recognitions such a being pioneers, or immigrants. So we left you a field on the bottom that gives you room for "additional information."
What else might you use it for?