Category Archives: Software

Find A Grave goes mobile

One of my earliest posts on this blog was about Find A Grave and how it could be used to help you with your genealogy research.

It’s long bothered me that they had no mobile app that could be used on my cell phone. Certain since BillionGraves launched back in 2011, the lack of a mobile app has been glaring.

Last year Ancestry.com purchased FindAGrave, and people have been wondering what was going to happen to the service. The first big change luckily is a good one, the launch of a mobile app!

Find A Grave app

The app is focused on searching for cemeteries and graves. It doesn’t yet have any way to manage the memorials you’ve created on FindAGrave.com, or Virtual Cemeteries. One very important feature it has integrated, however, is finding nearby graves that people have requested photos of, allowing you to submit photos through the app.

One thing you might notice in the screenshot above is that it allows you to ‘Add GPS’ to a grave. While Find A Grave has never death with GPS before, it seems they are now moving in BillionGraves’ direction by supporting, at least in a small way, GPS coding of graves.

Do you use Find A Grave? Do you use BillionGraves? Are you planning on downloading this app? Have you already? Share your thoughts on grave-focused sites and apps in the comments below.

Family Tree Maker 3 for Mac available (and at a discount)

FTM for Mac 3Ancestry.com has released the third version of their Family Tree Maker (FTM) application for the Mac (yes there was an older version a decade or so ago, but I’m ignoring that). The first version was released in 2010, and in fact was the subject of the very first post on this blog. It was actually the subject of several posts, as I tested it out to see if it made sense to switch from using Reunion to FTM Mac. In the end I decided against switching, due to several reasons. The most important reason was simply that he software seemed a little too buggy at the time.

Another issue which bothered me, which seems minor, was that you could not take a single photo and use it to create multiple head shots to represent many different people in your tree. For example, if you have a single family portrait representing a branch of your tree that has ten individuals in it, in Reunion you could add the same photo to all ten people’s records, and then crop it to show just the individual you want. In fact, you could add the same photo twice to a record, and crop it differently each time. This is useful if you want to put in a full photograph with background as part of that person’s multimedia record, but want a simple cropped headshot for the person when showing them in a tree, for example.

One thing that bothered many Mac users with the initial version, was that it wasn’t based on the then current Windows version (FTM 2011) but on an older version (FTM 2010). Even then, the features of FTM for Mac were not on par with FTM 2010 for Windows. There was a time when this kind of thing was common for Mac users, but it’s fairly rare nowadays. To add insult to injury, Ancestry charged more for the Mac version with less features than the Windows version.

The second version of FTM for Mac was released in 2011. It brought one major feature with it, TreeSync, which allows you to sync your tree in FTM with a tree on Ancestry.com. A pretty big feature. It always makes me wonder when they release minor updates or even major updates like the new version 3, however, that they always add ‘Improved TreeSync’ as a feature of the update. Clearly there were some problems with the implementation of TreeSync in FTM for Mac 2. FTM for Mac 2 kind of felt like FTM for Mac 1 was a beta version, and this was the real version 1. It was better, but still not up to par with the Windows version, and still more expensive.

Now FTM for Mac 3 has been released. The big differences are not in the features it seems. The big difference is in the beginning of treating Mac users on a more equal footing with Windows users. For the first time, the price of FTM for Mac is the same as the Windows version – $39.99 (currently on sale for $29.99). Also for the first time, FTM for Mac shares the same file format as the current Windows version. That is the most significant change to me. Now people on Mac and Windows can exchange their full data files without having to do any kind of conversion (earlier version came with a Windows application for converting the Windows files – but if you had the Windows file already and you were on a Mac – no luck) or by using GEDCOM. This version is still not at feature parity to the current Windows version (FTM 2014) but at least it seems like they’re setting the groundwork for that in the future.

One test I tried with this new version was to try to import a FTM 2012 Windows file. Oddly it started the import process, but then quit in the middle and said the file wasn’t supported. This brought back memories of past experiences with the older version where the error messages seemed bizarre. Why should it even try to import the file if it’s not compatible? Why it wouldn’t do a version check before doing the import is beyond me.

Although the file formats are now the same, it seem FTM Mac 3 still cannot import older files from Windows. I think it actually might be able to import really old FTM for Windows files (up to version 16 from 2008), but none from the more recent generation of the software.

My next test will be to see if I can sync a tree from a cousin who uses FTM on Windows through Ancestry.com. It’s unlikely I will switch from Reunion to FTM for Mac 3, especially with my pet-feature of cropping multiple faces out of a single photo still missing, but I am looking forward to trying to collaborate with my cousin through TreeSync. We’ll see how that goes…

Mac genealogy software updates

Two Mac genealogy programs were recently updated. (Update: MacFamilyTree also offering a discount, at $29.99, 40% off, through October 27.)

Heredis 2014The first is Heredis, now called Heredis 2014, and available through the Mac App Store at 50% off through November 3, at the price of $29.99 (instead of the normal price of $59.99). The updates for this version are listed as:

    SEARCH WIZARD.
    • This highly innovative feature allows you to take a look at where you are in your research and highlights known or missing items from your genealogy. It suggests different ways forward and proposed various online research tools targeted to websites such as Heredis Online, Ancestry, My Heritage…

    EXTENDED FAMILY VIEW.

    • This new and more comprehensive view of your family shows its composition as a whole: siblings, remarriage, stepchildren, step- brothers and step-sisters, children from other unions of the different partners… noting or not when they belong to the direct lineage.

    FIND RELATIONSHIPS.

    • It presents all the ties that may link two people. Within seconds, this exciting tool analyzes all the connections in your genealogy file to find how two people can be linked, whether they are relatives, or they have common ancestors or they simply have other links (godmother, heir…).

    MIGRATIONS MAP.

    • Trace the movements of a whole family just a few miles away or at the other end of the world on the Migrations map. Pins are numbered to show the sequence of movements and display the list of events recorded in this place.

    HEREDIS ONLINE.

    • Share your discoveries on Heredis Online, the new service for publishing your genealogy data and research on the Internet. You will have a website dedicated to your genealogy, searchable by your family and your friends. Start your research also on Heredis Online directly from your Heredis software over hundred million of people in the online family trees. Get in touch with your cousins!

    MANAGEMENT OF BRANCHES.

    • Memorize the status of your family branches, with ancestors as well as descendants. You may filter only the branch ends, or only complete persons, or only those persons for whom further research is required. You can hide already complete persons or sort by modification date. New charts show the progress of your research.

    DESCENDANTS VIEW.

    • Work on the Descendants View that displays the descendants of the primary person for the number of generations you will determine.

macfamilytree1The second application updated is MacFamilyTree, now at version 7.1. Also available via the Mac App Store, for $49.99 ($29.99 through October 27). The updates for this version are listed as:

    Completely new Web Site Export

    • Configureable Themes
    • Live preview
    • Direct FTP upload (secure connections supported)
    • Includes Videos, PDFs and Audio Media
    • Improved user interface
    • Free upload to our web service MacFamilyTree.com

    Statistics Map (using Apples new Maps, requires OS X 10.9 Mavericks)

    • See where your ancestors lived the longest or married earliest
    • Play slideshows of your ancestors living places across the globe
    • Detailed physical or satellite maps

    Chart Backdrops

    • Add background images for all charts
    • Includes 50+ backdrop images
    • Import your own images as backdrops

    Improved FamilySearch integration

    • Revamped FamilySearch user interface
    • FamilySearch Discussions added
    • FamilySearch change history is now available directly from MacFamilyTree
    • >Improved FamilySearch integration in the Interactive Tree

    Private Information

    • Mark Persons, Events, Families or Sources as private
    • Exclude private information from charts, reports and GEDCOM export

    User Interface

    • Refined user interface
    • Improved navigation
    • Entries count is displayed above each list in the edit mode
    • Sections added to family list
    • Sections added to places list
    • Associated To Do items are now displayed directly for each person, family, event or source.

    Other

    • Optimized for Mavericks AppNap
    • Faster database opening
    • Better To Do management including larger To Do browser
    • PDFs are included in Person Report
    • Improved Interactive Tree including changed coloring for better readability
    • Better Date Parsing and Date Reformatting
    • Improved GEDCOM Import and Export