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31 October 2007

Museum shows 116-year-old orange

A dried-up orange from the lunchbox of a miner fatally injured on the day he was due to eat it has gone on display in a Staffordshire museum.

The fruit belonged to Joseph Roberts who was injured in an explosion at a Stoke-on-Trent colliery in 1891.

It had been kept by his family but has been donated to the Potteries Museum.


Spokeswoman Deb Klemperer said it may just be a piece of dried fruit but the story behind it made it an amazing piece for the museum.

Underground blasting

She said Mr Roberts, 37, of Hanley, had taken it to work at the Racecourse colliery in Etruria for his lunch on 19 February.

Unfortunately, he was badly injured when underground blasting at the colliery went wrong.

He died in hospital leaving a wife and six children.

The lunchbox was one of his effects handed back to his family, who kept it.

Now his great-granddaughter Pam Bettaney has donated it to the museum.

The orange is completely blackened and dried out - the pips can be heard rattling when it is shaken.

“His death was just one of many of the tragedies of the time. He was just one of many who died while working down the mines,” Ms Klemperer said.

in BBC News

30 October 2007

iFamily for Tiger 2.286

iFamily for Tiger 2.286 has been released.

Changes :

Upgraded to run on OS X 10.50 (Leopard):
• iFamily for Tiger will now run on OS X 10.5 (Leopard). Please note that this is not iFamily for Leopard.
• Corrected a bug based on reports from beta tests on Leopard.

Ancestors and Descendants Reports:
• Minor layout adjustments such as hanging indent for Events.
• Added an option to display Event Notes as appended after the last Event or as embedded with each Event.
• Corrected accented characters in names used as picture placeholders.

Import from GEDCOM:

• iFamily will now ignore FTW custom tags for _FREL and _MREL that are not Natural, Step, Adopted or Foster. For all other _FREL and _MREL values iFamily will assume that the parent-child relationship is Natural.

Drag and Drop Pictures:
• Added an option to suppress the confirmation message after drag/drop of images and other files onto people in the Context Diagram.

People Index:
• Added a new button to display the Relationship to the Focal Person - this is similar to Consanguinity except that it includes relationships by marriage(s).
• Added a new filter called a Kinship Filter which will filter the People Index based on Kinship. A value of +0 does nothing. A value of +1 shows only the Focal Person’s immediate relatives (Father, Mother, Children, Spouses). A value of +2 includes their immediate relatives as well, a value of + 3 includes their relatives, etc.

Project Views:
• There is a new menu option called “Project Views” that allows you to define and modify a Project View. A Project View may include as many people as you like. It also allows you to print a sorted list of all the people who have been included in a Project View.
• You can define any number of Project Views and make one of them the Active Project View. To add or remove people from the Active Project View you simply use Option+Click on anyone in the Context Diagram. Alternatively you can Right Click on anyone in the Context Diagram and use the new menu item for “Add/Remove Person from the Active Project View”.
• Note: The Ancestral View, that has always been in iFamily, is a special case of Project View. An Ancestral View is automatically populated with the root person’s ancestors. You cannot manually add people to an Ancestral View using Option+Click.

Combining Project Views:
• You can combine any two Project Views to create a new Project View using the operators AND, IOR, XOR and NOT. A simple Venn diagram is used to display the logic.
• For instance if you already have two Ancestral Views (one for youself and another for your spouse) then you could combine them together using AND to create a new Project View that just contains people who are in both of the views - the new view would then contain those ancestors that you have in common (if any) with your spouse. If you have married your “5th cousin once removed” then the new view will contain two of your gggGrandparents plus all their ancestors.

Ancestors and Descendants Diagrams:
• Corrected the display of spouses’ names to conform to the rule chosen by the user in the Customise Defaults dialog.

People without Ancestors:
• Added a new report that lists all the people who do not have any parents/ancestors.

Data Inconsistency Report:
• Added a new report of inconsistencies in the data. Most of these inconsistencies will have been imported from a Gedcom file, however others may be the result of the user ignoring a warning during data entry in iFamily. It checks for inconsistencies such as a person who has a birth date that is after his/her parent’s death or whose parents are too old or too young at the time of a child’s birth.

MacFamilyTree 5.0 Public Beta 12

MacFamilyTree 5.0 Public Beta 12 has been released.

Changes :

• Improved Web Site Export: Event Media and Notes are now exported.
• Two Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard related fixes.
• Many other fixes and smaller improvements.

Brother’s Keeper 6.2.65

Brother’s Keeper 6.2.65 has been released.

New features :

• Word Search on “all events” tab, new option to search for picture file names or media file names.
• On the Global search and replace if you pick Picture path, it also fixes pictures attached to a Source.
• Event Notes in Book reports, it used to put a comma before the note and no comma after. Now it puts no comma before and a comma after.
• Word Search person - the “quality of source” box was not showing.
• Fixed a problem with Name Search. If you searched for John Steed* it was only matching last names with at least one additional letter.

250+ Killer Digital Libraries and Archives

Hundreds of libraries and archives exist online, from university-supported sites to individual efforts. Each one has something to offer to researchers, students, and teachers. This list contains over 250 libraries and archives that focus mainly on localized, regional, and U.S. history, but it also includes larger collections, eText and eBook repositories, and a short list of directories to help you continue your research efforts.

The sites listed here are mainly open access, which means that the digital formats are viewable and usable by the general public.

Continue reading...

BBC Who Do You Think You Are? Magazine

New BBC Who Do You Think You Are? Magazine looks behind the stories uncovered by the series and will take you on a step by step journey to uncover your own roots.

29 October 2007

SmartDraw 2008

SmartDraw 2008 has been released.

New features :

• Microsoft Office Interoperability: SmartDraw works seamlessly with Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, and other Windows programs.
• Integrated Photo Capability: Built-in photo-software functionality allows you to import images directly from your digital camera or other source, crop and scale, adjust color and brightness, and drop them into org charts or any other illustration.
• Live Maps: capture live data from the Internet allowing you to incorporate roads, regions, counties, zip codes, countries and even satellite images from across the globe into their illustrations.
• ImageCharts: Use pictures and images to display your information instead of standard bars, lines and circles.
• Express Charting: Create charts and graphs without having to make a spreadsheet first.
• Instant Graphic Design: A professionally-designed graphic theme, specifying colors, line and type style, is automatically applied to each graphic.
• Automatic Business Graphics of all Kinds: SmartDraw includes hundreds of specialized SmartTemplates to automate the creation of every type of diagram.
• Automatic Flowcharting: Build flowcharts by clicking simple commands, rather than manually arranging and connecting shapes on the page.

GedHTree 2.60

GedHTree 2.60 has been released.

Changes :

• Added Australia GEDCOM Time/Density Map.
• If individuals with no ancestors and no descendants are present in GEDCOM file, a text file list of these individuals is generated. A message is displayed at end of processing your GEDCOM file if such individuals are found. GedHTree cannot generate family group pages for such individuals. The list can be used to correct problems in your GEDCOM file.
• Children that appear in two different family groups are now displayed in both family groups.
• Clarified difference between “direct ancestor trees” and “All-Inclusive trees on GedHTree run-time window and in GedHTree User Guide.

Relatively Yours 3.3.4002

Relatively Yours 3.3.4002 has been released.

Changes :

• Added new font element for Biographical Name (to allow specific highlighting of the main person’s name on the Person > Biography page).
• Added manifest to RY application files to request administrator privileges when running on Windows Vista (no longer require “Run as Administrator” flag to be set on shortcut as this privilege will now be requested on start-up).
• Added capability to avoid use of liaison/casual relationship phrases in narratives (refer Tools > Preferences > Advanced > Alternates).
• Enhanced ordering of merged/participant events on Person > Biography page (relative to biographical events of main person).
• Numerous changes to improve operation and effectiveness of sensitivity settings on biographical displays.

• Corrected various spelling errors in message text.
• Updated default preferences to not start On-this-Day at computer start-up (affects new installations only).
• Implemented /a command line parameter to clear all settings (used by install process).
• Fixed HTML help being used for all operating systems, rather than only for Windows Vista.
• Corrected several verify messages which indicated [fixed] instead of [alert].
• Fixed field definitions in default circulars.
• Added additional verify routine to detect and repair child not linked to parents via maiden/birth alias.
• Added support for GEDCOM import/export of Event Place Format.
• Modified “Restore last open person on database open” preference to be “‘on” by default.
• Automatic pre-fill of Source AGCI Area Code field from place information when creating new source.
• Improved loading efficiency of user fields when building charts.
• Fixed merge events description not always showing relationship to main person (son, daughter, etc).
• Modified default display fonts to use Verdana rather than Arial (applies to new databases only, or when resetting to default).
• Updated Includes on Person > Biographical Details page to show “events”, “active research tasks” and “siblings” by default.
• Added support for GEDCOM import/export of event source AGCI area code.
• Added support for GEDCOM import/export of event source Format.
• Enhanced ordering of merged/participant events in biographical narratives (relative to biographical events of main person).
• Enhanced ordering of merged/participant events on Person > Chronology page (relative to biographical events of main person).
• Improved handling of source format change on Edit > Event Source dialog.
• Added support for GEDCOM import/export of default source code in Source structure.
• Added support for GEDCOM import/export of default surety value in Source structure.
• Fixed repository comments not being imported in GEDCOM.
• Corrected operation of marking research tasks complete/incomplete from Person > Research page.
• Resolved active research tasks not showing on Person > Biography page.
• Fixed sizing of Tools > Preferences dialog when other than default font used.
• Corrected missing period in biographical narrative when no children exist for relationship.
• Added capability to avoid use of past tense in narratives when referring to relationships (refer Tools > Preferences > Advanced > Alternates).
• Enhanced Edit > Relationship dialog to search for matching marriage/dissolution events to allow for deletion of duplicates.
• Added additional verify routine to detect duplicate marriage/dissolution events.
• Added additional verify routine to detect missing linked graphic file in narrative text.
• Resolved invalid prompt to reindex files from earlier RY versions.
• Added warning prompt when starting RY on Windows Vista without administrator privileges.
• Altered Family Group Sheet wizard to use Preview as default output option.
• Resolved fault (Access violation) when display narrative text with missing linked graphic files.
• Fixed user defined fields not displaying correctly in charts.
• Corrected caption on Group > User Defined options dialog.
• Corrected caption on Group > Maintain options dialog.
• Fixed size of “Save as Default” checkbox on options dialogs.
• Fixed registration wizard not offering option to not send details.
• Included operation system version in registration details (to assist with support handling).

27 October 2007

Agelong Tree 3.1

Agelong Tree 3.1 has been released.

Changes :

• Saving part of data to a separate data file.
• Adding data from another data file.
• Activating the program via the Internet.
• The “Absent in the tree” filter is now available in the table of persons.
• Restoring the table search mode when the program is started.
• GEDCOM: the code of a person is saved in the Agelong Tree format during export to a GEDCOM file.
• Italian, Dutch, German and Galician interface languages have been added.

Fixes :

• Scrolling with the mouse wheel did not work on the brief information pane.
• An error while saving data to an archive if the file already existed and had the read-only attribute.
• The wrong person was selected if you quickly typed the string in the person selection dialog box and pressed Enter at once.
• Sometimes, when you created a new filter, the name of the filter was unreadable.
• Some minor bugs have been fixed.

iScrapbook 1.5.1

iScrapbook 1.5.1 has been released.

Changes :

• Now runs under Tiger and Leopard.
• Holding down the shift key while resizing a photo now always keeps the photo correctly proportioned.
• Made displaying of page thumbnails much faster.
• When a large page is selected, we immediately load a page “preview” while the actual page is being loaded (so the user doesn’t have to look at the previously selected page or a blank screen).
• Added the ability to create letter and A4 albums in landscape orientation (previously landscape pages had to be set up as a custom size).

• Renamed the “Color Wash” effect as “Tint”. Also added Tint controls to the Color tools in the inspector window when an image is selected.
• When a background image is set for a page and proportional scaling is selected, it now completely covers the background.
• When an album is deleted, it is moved to the trash. If the user changes their mind, it can be dragged out of the trash and double-clicked to add it back to the scrapbook library.
• EPS images aren’t a native image format on Mac OS X although they can be displayed with the help of a converter. The converter is very slow so as soon as an EPS image is added to a design, we convert it to a PDF.
• New built-in updater system allows the application to be automatically updated without downloading and running an installer application.

Fixes :

• When “Define as Image Placeholder” was called for a non-rectangular shape (eg. a circle), the shape was replaced with a rectangle.
• The up/down buttons in the template selector window weren’t working.
• Photo objects (photos with a built-in mask for a transparent background) sometimes appeared with white backgrounds.
• High resolution images occasionally were drawn at low resolution.
• Standalone inspector windows were sometimes being incorrectly repositioned under the selected graphics (standalone inspectors shouldn’t move).

Brother’s Keeper 6.2.64

Brother’s Keeper 6.2.64 has been released.

New features :

• Direct Lineage option from Register Book Report and Indented Book.
• Option on the File, Options, RTF/Other to use symbols instead of B. M. D. Some counties use the symbols: star, daggar, and linked circles.

Fixes :

• If you are editing a Note textbox and jump to another program and jump back to BK the cursor should stay in the Note textbox now.

GeneoTree 3.12

GeneoTree 3.12 has been released.

New feature :

• Sources : Added multi-criteria search.

25 October 2007

FotoTagger 2.6

FotoTagger 2.6 has been released.

Changes :

• Improved search, available now in Organize mode.
• File properties viewing, including full path, image size, file size, date of creation, date of indexing.
• IPTC data viewing.

MacFamilyTree 5.0 Public Beta 10

MacFamilyTree 5.0 Public Beta 10 has been released.

Changes :

• Kinship Report included.
• New optional Wood Interface Theme.
• Fixes related to Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard.
• Many minor improvements (GEDCOM Import and Export, HTML Export).
• Many interface tweaks.

MemoryMiner 1.65

MemoryMiner 1.65 has been released.

New feature :

• Fully compatible with OS X “Leopard”, including support for the new “Quick Look” feature in the Finder.

23 October 2007

Family Tree Maker 2008 Service Pack 2 has been removed!

Family Tree Maker 2008 Service Pack 2 has been removed.

We have removed patch number (Service Pack 2) to improve performance and eliminate reported issues. Although it was briefly available last week, it is now undergoing additional development until we can ensure that it resolves issues that are still affecting the product. We have increased our QA resources to allow more testing and development before releasing a completed version of the update. We will re-post the patch as soon as we can ensure the issues have been solved.

We appreciate your feedback through this process. I encourage you to use your real email address as you post to this blog. I have been contacting some users on a one-on-one basis in an effort to recreate what some of you are experiencing. Obviously I can’t talk with every person in this manner, but I am taking on specific cases where the development team may not be able to recreate what is reported.

PhpGedView 4.1.2

PhpGedView 4.1.2 has been released.

Changes :

• Added concurrent edit check… warn user if the record changed out from under them.
• Added Watermarks.
• Added Media Firewall.
• Consolidated Media Firewall and Watermark options in the Gedcom config screen.
• Added Repository Privacy.
• Added index directory cleanup tool.

Fixes :

• Media source citation bug.
• Source Citation Duplicates Part of Note as Citation.
• Text mangled when editing linked Note.
• Unselected source added to new family.
• Adress Reports print wrong data.
• Incomplete implementation of “surname first” option.
• Undifined index: multi_site_search.
• Duplication of children.
• Escaping in translation.
• Language File Compare works on commented out lang. variables.
• Text mangled when editing linked Note.
• E-Mail not displaying characters correctly.
• SVN:1630 Timeline Chart, bold footer.
• Removed adodb-time-inc.php as it is no longer being used.
• New individual source added without relevant fields.
• Individual Page - Submenu Lists - Individual is empty.

21 October 2007

Family Tree Maker Webinar

In an effort to increase communication between the Family Tree Maker team and its customers, is excited to announce an upcoming webinar! This free online seminar is scheduled to run for no more than one hour starting at 8:30 PM EDT, on October 25th. Time will be allowed for questions and answers.

Click here to reserve your spot for this Webinar.

The Webinar will focus on Family Tree Maker 2008, including the following topics:

• Background of Family Tree Maker 2008.
• Getting started.
• The new user interface.
• Working with people in your file.
• Places.
• Media.
• Sources.
• Searching the Web.

Osk 4.9.2 for Windows

Osk 4.9.2 for Windows has been released.

New :

• Osk 4.9.2 for Windows is now finally here. Go and download the software.

Osk 4.9.2

Osk 4.9.2 has been released.

Fix :

• There was a really hard to find bug. This bug happened when you added a 1st child to a married person, and was related to the guessing algorithm.

20 October 2007

Genetic ancestral testing cannot deliver on its promise, study warns

For many Americans, the potential to track one’s DNA to a specific country, region or tribe with a take-home kit is highly alluring. But while the popularity of genetic ancestry testing is rising - particularly among African Americans - the technology is flawed and could spawn unwelcome societal consequences, according to researchers from several institutions nationwide, including the University of California, Berkeley.

“Because race has such profound social, political and economic consequences, we should be wary of allowing the concept to be redefined in a way that obscures its historical roots and disconnects from its cultural and socioeconomic context,” says the article published on Thursday, Oct. 18 in the journal Science.

The article recommends that the American Society of Human Genetics and other genetic and anthropological associations develop policy statements that make clear the limitations and potential dangers of genetic ancestry testing.

Among the potentially problematic byproducts of widespread genetic ancestry testing: questionable claims of membership to Native American tribes for financial or other benefits; patients asking doctors to take ancestry tests into consideration when making medical decisions; and skewed census data due to people changing ethnicity on government forms.

Moreover, many Americans are emotionally invested in finding an ancestral homeland, and thus vulnerable to a test that can produce mixed results at best and false leads at worse. “This search for a homeland is particularly poignant for African Americans, who hope to recapture a history stolen by slavery,” the study points out.

“It can give them false hope,” said UC Berkeley sociology professor Troy Duster, who coauthored the study with researchers from the University of Texas, Harvard University, New York University, Yale University, Wellesley College, Arizona State University, University of North Carolina, University of Wisconsin, Loyola University, Hamline University Law School and UC Santa Cruz.

Last year, Harvard historian Henry Louis Gates Jr. hosted a four-part Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) documentary series, “African American Lives,” that traced the ancestral roots of eight prominent African Americans, including talk show host Oprah Winfrey, music producer Quincy Jones and actress and comedienne Whoopi Goldberg.

After taking the test, Gates Jr. jokingly asked if he still qualified as chairman of African American Studies because at least half of his DNA is traced to Europe. But the search for roots can be a serious matter, as Duster pointed out in a February 2006 article in the Chronicle of Higher Education.

According to the researchers, the Seminole Nation of Oklahoma, for example, which won a land settlement now worth $56 million, requires one-eighth Seminole blood for members to receive benefits. In 2000, it changed its constitution to exclude black members of the tribe who do not meet blood-quantum requirements.

The descendants of these “Seminole Freedmen,” or freed slaves, sought DNA testing in hopes to regain tribal benefits, despite the tribe’s rejection of genetic ancestry testing as evidence of enrollment. Their expulsion was found to be a violation of the federal treaty, and they were re-enrolled in 2003.

“I hope to never see a day when genetic ancestry tracing with its inconclusive, continent-based affiliations supersedes treaties between specific nations and citizenship criteria that require documentation of named ancestors,” said Kimberly TallBear, co-author of the article and a UC President’s Postdoctoral Fellow with joint appointments in UC Berkeley’s Departments of Gender and Women’s Studies; Rhetoric; and Environmental Science, Policy, and Management.

More than two dozen companies sell genetic ancestry tests, which range in cost from $100 to $900. Nearly a half-million consumers have purchased these tests, and the tests’ popularity shows no sign of abating.

“While some companies carefully explain what genetic ancestry tests can and cannot tell a test-taker, other companies provide less information about the limitations and assumptions underlying the tests,” said Deborah Bolnick, assistant professor of anthropology at the University of Texas and lead author of the article.

For example, there are mitochondrial DNA tests, which trace the mother’s lineage, and Y-chromosome tests which track paternal ancestry. The test-taker swipes the saliva inside his or her cheek, and sends the swab to the lab. The DNA is extracted and compared to samples from a reference database of haplotypes - a set of inherited, linked genetic markers - to see if there’s a match.

Because these tests trace only one bloodline, however, they exclude most ancestors. Moreover, they cannot pinpoint where these ancestors lived. “Each test examines less that one percent of the test-taker’s DNA and sheds light on only one ancestor each generation,” the study says.

A third option, known as AncestryByDNA, or admixture testing, is more promising in that it examines non-sex chromosomes inherited from both parents, chromosomes that contain DNA segments from all ancestors. To a limited extent, this test can track the geographical movements of ancestors by examining single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), some of which influence such traits as skin color and resistance to regional diseases. That said, the same SNPs may be found among several populations around the world, and thus can produce false leads.

“Worldwide patterns of human genetic diversity are weakly correlated with racial and ethnic categories because both are partially correlated with geography,” the study says.

Moreover, the success of genetic matching depends largely on the number of samples in a company’s database. “Even databases with 10,000 to 20,000 samples may fail to capture the full array of human genetic diversity in a particular population or region,” the study says.

Furthermore, the study says, AncestryByDNA tests rely on “ancestry informative markers” (AIMs), which show genetic differences between what are assumed to be four biologically distinct populations: Africans, Europeans, East Asians and Native Americans.

But “the AIMs that characterize ‘Africans,’ for example, were chosen on the basis of a sample of West Africans. Dark-skinned East Africans might be omitted from the AIMS reference panel of ‘Africans’ because they exhibit different gene variants,” the study points out.

The AncestryByDNA test also reads certain markers found in people from the Middle East, India and the Mediterranean region to be diagnostic of Native American ancestry, for which there is no historical, archeological or genetic evidence, according to the study.

Indeed, the article gives very little credence to these tests, which it concludes “cannot pinpoint the place of origin or social affiliation of even one ancestor with exact certainty.”

in EurekAlert

19 October 2007

MacFamilyTree 5.0 Public Beta 9

MacFamilyTree 5.0 Public Beta 9 has been released.

Changes :

• Fixed several layout issues in English, French and Italian.
• Charts can now be exported as PNG pictures.
• Fixed issues in the Web Export.
• Other minor fixes.

Brother’s Keeper 6.2.63

Brother’s Keeper 6.2.63 has been released.

Changes :

• On the screen for details for a Location, in the Notes box you can right click the mouse to get a menu for Cut, Copy, Paste.

Fixes :

• The Ancestor HTML routine would sometimes have an infinate loop.
• The Group sheet HTML would sometimes put the name of a person in the Title instead of Living.

JGen (Joomla Genealogy Database) 0.9.40 & 0.9.41

JGen (Joomla Genealogy Database) 0.9.40 & 0.9.41 have been released.

Changes :

• Changed the config-form to use tabs in order to get a better overview of the options.
• Minor changes.
• French language file.

18 October 2007

GRAMPS 2.2.9

GRAMPS 2.2.9 has been released.

Changes :

• Many bug fixes & translation updates (especially reports).
• Brazilian Portuguese translation.
• Slovenian translation.
• Polish Date module.
• Correction of incomplete export to .gramps: export of media subsection, datespan support, bookmark save, keep grampsid number on import.
• Some new filters and resolved filter issues.
• Rewrite of the Remove Unused tool.
• Critical bookmark bug.
• Critical gallery bug, with additional Check & Repair functions.

Paul Allen’s post on the Spectrum Equity buyout of The Generations Network

Paul Allen, one of the original two founders of (not the Microsoft co-founder), blogged on the Spectrum Equity buyout of The Generations Network.

The Generations Network, formerly, announced today a $300 million acquisition by Spectrum Equity, a $4 billion private equity fund with offices in Menlo Park and Boston. It is expected that the current management team will continue to lead the company, which is headquartered in Provo, Utah.

The company has an interesting history. Wikipedia’s article on The Generations Network gets most of the facts right. Ancestry, a print publishing company, was founded in 1983 by John Sittner. John sold Ancestry to my CD ROM publishing company (Infobases, Inc.) in 1997 and in July 1997 Dan Taggart and I spun Ancestry out, and left Infobases to run full time. By July 1998 we were cash-flow positive with more than 20,000 subscribers to our $49.95 per year content subscription service. (more…)

Family Tree Maker 2008 Service Pack 2

Family Tree Maker 2008 Service Pack 2 has been released.

New features :

• Genealogy Register Report.
• Genealogy Ahnentafel Report.
• Hourglass Chart.
• Vertical Ancestor Chart.
• Critical stability and performance enhancements.

You can install the update by following these steps:

• Connect to the Internet.
• Start Family Tree Maker 2008.
• You will receive a notification that an update is available. Click the “Update” button.
• The service pack will be applied and your program updated.

If you do not receive a notification that an update is available when you start Family Tree Maker you can:

• Open Family Tree Maker.
• Click the “Help” menu item at the top of the program.
• Click “Check for Updates…”
• The program will check for an update and notify you if one is available.

To verify that the update worked you can do the following:

• Open Family Tree Maker 2008.
• Click the “Help” menu item at the top of the program.
• Click “About Family Tree Maker…”
• On the Product Information tab there is a version number. If the update was successful the version number will be

If Family Tree Maker 2008 is blocked from the Internet or you are having other issues, you can manually download the update on the Family Tree Maker website.

17 October 2007

JGen (Joomla Genealogy Database) 0.9.39

JGen (Joomla Genealogy Database) 0.9.39 has been released.

Changes :

• Many bugs have been fixed.
• The first parts of a GedCom interface are there.
• Introduced some possibilities to configure the front-end.

Private BuyOut Of For $300+ Million

Techcrunch has reported that Spectrum Equity Investors has led a $300 million investment to acquire a majority interest in Provo Utah-based The Generations Network (the parent company of, and other sites) according to a source with knowledge of the deal.

16 October 2007

‘Super-scope’ to see hidden texts

The hidden content in ancient works could be illuminated by a light source 10 billion times brighter than the Sun.

The technique employs Britain’s new facility, the Diamond synchrotron, and could be used on works such as the Dead Sea Scrolls or musical scores by Bach.

Intense light beams will enable scientists to uncover the text in scrolls and books without having to open - and potentially damage - them.

The research was presented at the British Association Science Festival.

Iron gall ink, which is made from oak apples, has been in use from the 12th Century, but causes parchment to deteriorate rendering precious documents unreadable.

Parchment - thinly stretched skins from cows, sheep or goats - contains collagen. Collagen naturally degrades to gelatine, but iron ink speeds up this process.

When dry, gelatine is very brittle; but as soon as it gets wet, it turns into jelly, destroying some documents - especially if they are disturbed.

The ink also damages paper, sometimes completely destroying documents.


Super-powerful X-rays could peer beneath the skin of manuscripts

Unrolling the scroll

Now, scientists from the University of Cardiff have developed a technique that uses a powerful X-ray source to create a three-dimensional image of an iron-inked document.

The team then applies a computer algorithm to separate the image into the different layers of parchment, in effect using the program to unroll the scroll.

Professor Tim Wess, who led the research, said: “We’ve folded up a real piece of parchment and then done a process of X-ray tomography on it. We’ve been able to recover the structure where we can see the words that are written inside the document.”

The team now plans to use the Diamond synchrotron’s powerful X-ray source to penetrate many layers of parchment.

The synchrotron, which covers the area of five football pitches, generates light beams that can probe matter down to the molecular and atomic scale.

Professor Wess explained: “The letters have got iron in them, so you shine a band of X-rays through, and you end up with an absorption image, rather like your bones would absorb on an X-ray.

“This is something we can take forward with Diamond, to try to unravel the secrets inside documents that we’re too scared to try to open, or that are beyond the point of conservation.”

Wish list

The National Archives has donated some 18th Century fire-damaged scrolls that have never been unrolled, due to their condition. But the team also has a wish-list of works that they plan to probe.

Professor Wess said: “There are some parts of the Dead Sea Scrolls which have not been unrolled.”

Reading books without opening them was a goal of the project, added Professor Wess. The technique works best with rolled parchment. The flat nature, as well as the thickness of books, presents a challenge.

He said: “I know of books which have been damaged by iron gall ink corrosion where the conservators are actually afraid to open the book because of all the letters. You really end up with a stencil rather than the lettering.”

Conserving works

Another target of the project is to image documents before they become too damaged, to monitor levels of gelatine.

The team can then advise on the most appropriate conservation methods, depending on the state of the parchment.

Using modern technology to reveal secrets of the past is a rewarding task.

Professor Wess said: “If you can bring together a £260m ($527m) synchrotron, and the cutting edge science from that, the provenance and the depth of history that you can access when you see these things is actually a revelatory moment.”

in BBC News

You may also read ‘Super-scope’ opens for business

UncleGED 8.07

UncleGED 8.07 has been released.

Fixes :

• Fixed problem where some GEDCOMs contain references to “dummy” individuals and the RIN = “@I0@” – found this problem in files produced by Ancestor Quest, FamTreesQE.
• Fixed problem where some GECDOMs can contain invalid dates such as “?” – found in file produced by Kith And Kin.
• Worked around problem with reading GEDCOM files produced by ROOTSIII – has unusual way of its use of SOURCE entries – not sure what this is all about.
• Found and fixed problem when reading GEDCOM files produced by The Family Edge Plus – embedded CR in GEDCOM line.
• ind_idx.html showed “copyright © yyyy” instead of the actual year (fixed in 8.06).

2008 Federation of Genealogical Societies Conference

The next FGS Conference will take place from 03-06 September 2008 in historic Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

This four day Footprints of Family History educational conference honors the host city as the place where the ancestors of millions of Americans first set foot on the continent. Family historians like to keep up with additional news and details about the annual FGS Conferences. The 2008 conference committee has a blog to provide that.

It is easy to join in on the knowledge – just go to, click on Conferences, then on 2008 Conference, and on that page click on Blog. Direct access to the blog can be reached via

Continue reading...

15 October 2007

Brother’s Keeper 6.2.61

Brother’s Keeper 6.2.61 has been released.

Changes :

• Group Sheets HTML output has new option to make a Surname index.
• When making HTML files from Ancestor Chart it links to format.css in lower case now to help problem with certain web sites.

14 October 2007

Paducah, Kentucky, making cemetery Wi-Fi hot spot

It seems like Internet Wi-Fi spots are popping up all over the place, but one new hot spot in Paducah, Kentucky, is raising eyebrows.

Paducah’s oldest cemetery is going wireless.

Don Watkins, a local minister and regular visitor of Oak Grove Cemetery, says “it’s a beautiful place. A lot of history here. I find myself stopping and reading names.”

Watkins walks in Oak Grove Cemetery several times a week. The newest addition to the cemetery will let him do a whole lot more.

Paducah spokesperson Pam Spencer says “it does sound strange to have a hotspot at a cemetery, but the purpose behind it makes sense.”

Paducah’s public information officer Pam Spencer says the purpose is simple: to allow people to use the web to help with genealogy research.

Cemetery volunteer Gerald Harwood says “there are a lot of famous people out here — the Scopes from the Scopes trial and Dr. Saunders, who discovered a vaccine for cholera.”

Volunteer Gerald Harwood helps people trace family trees. He says a trip through the 100-acre cemetery is more like a city history lesson.

“Mr. Portieus, who they brought over from Scotland, designed and more less started the cemetery,” Harwood said. “They moved a lot of people out here in 1847 from downtown where the city hall now sits.”

Watkins moved back to Paducah after being gone for several years. He says the cemetery helps him re-connect with his hometown roots and put life into perspective.

Watkins says “being around here helps me remember my mortality — this life is not where it’s at. I think having research capabilities for people to research ancestry is a wonderful idea.”

in WorldNow and WAVE
via Eastman’s Online Genealogy Newsletter

13 October 2007

That’s My Family: Quebec and Canada online searches

That’s My Family is a new federated search engine launched and maintained by Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec (BAnQ), and supported by Library and Archives Canada (LAC) and the Council of Provincial and Territorial Archivists (CPTA) of Canada.

The search tool, free of charge and available in French and in English, leads to Quebec and Canada genealogy and family history databases hosted by federal, provincial or territorial archives centres and libraries, or by other partners.

12 October 2007

Surname Suggestion List 1.1

Surname Suggestion List is intended to assist you in searching the web for information on your surnames.

After you enter in your surname, you click on the Search button, and it will create 3 lists of similar sounding surnames. The lists are based on how good a sound match the other surnames are to the one you entered. The lists are titled Excellent, Close, and Longshot.

FamiliaBuilder 5.0

FamiliaBuilder 5.0 has been released.

New features :

• A FamiliaBuilder personal page can now display multiple entries of the same type, like education, occupation, residence, etc.
• New SmartUpload (much smarter than before), which lets you upload only new and changed files.
• Picture Tools let you edit (crop, resize, rotate, flip, balance), save and print pictures.
• No more limits on the picture sizes.
• You can prevent right click on the pictures (to prevent their download).
• CollapsiTree opens automatically to display the selected individual.

Improved user interface :

• You can change relative sizes of the FamiliaBuilder screen parts (Picture List, Picture Record and the picture proper) by dragging the “splitter” line separating them.
• More toolbar buttons. In particular, you can view Index of Individuals by hitting a button on the toolbar.
• The menus are rearranged.
• The small window showing the progress of the web site creation or of the upload has now a Cancel button, which lets you interrupt the process.

Brother’s Keeper 6.2.60

Brother’s Keeper 6.2.60 has been released.

Changes :

• Can make HTML files from Ancestor Chart.
• Ancestor Chart has option to exclude data for living people.
• On Group Sheet setup screen, moved option to “omit blank events” higher to make visible for “More Events” also.
• When making HTML files for Group sheets, it will link to Ancestor Chart HTML files (if they exist.)

11 October 2007

Family Tree Builder

Family Tree Builder has been released.

Changes :

• Important bug fixes.
• Improvements in stability.
• Better support for non-English languages.

MacFamilyTree 5.0 Public Beta 7

MacFamilyTree 5.0 Public Beta 7 has been released.

Changes :

• New Birthdays Report.
• Many improvements in the Family Assistant.
• Fixes in the GEDCOM Import and Export.
• Improvements and fixes in the Charts Editor.

10 October 2007

BBC Show Who Do You Think You Are? was faked

THE BBC are under fire again after faking scenes in a documentary about Carol Vorderman.

Film makers allegedly persuaded people to lie as they concocted scenes for the ancestry show Who Do You Think You Are?

In the programme, cameras followed Vorderman through north Wales and traced the scene of a photograph.

But it has now emerged that one important “surprise” scene and some other details in the show, broadcast on September 27 were staged.

Vorderman wanted to know where a photo of her great-grandfather was taken and was shown asking passers-by in Prestatyn for help.

Finally, shop assistant Dawn Farrell identified it as Bodnant Gardens in the Conwy Valley.

But Dawn revealed: “A man told me Carol was going to come into the shop with a photo and ask me about it. He said, “She is going to show you a photo - could you tell her it is Bodnant?”

“I felt sorry for Carol. I realise she would never have gone along with it.”

A spokesman for Vorderman said: “She was not aware of any of this.”

The programme was filmed after concerns over faking were raised and orders were issued by BBC chiefs to end to such practices.

But a BBC spokeswoman insisted: “This is absolutely not a case of misrepresentation.

“We think viewers are aware that a formatted show is very different to an observational show and expect different approaches.”

in The DailyRecord

Osk 4.9

Osk 4.9 has been released.

Changes :

• Much improved GEDCOM import.
• GEDCOM export.
• Media handling is faster.
• Statistics.
• Printing of reports.
• Timeline.

9 October 2007

Family Tree Maker October update

Although Ancestry cannot give an exact date, they announce that we should expect a Family Tree Maker release soon: “An October launch is still a reasonable estimate.”

Major bug fixes include:

• Program crashes: A number of actions have been causing program crashes. Some of those include issues with the merge / export, Vista issues, installation, and more.
• Data corruption: Again, caused by a number of issues some including the action of adding an unrelated person, importing V16 files, and more.
• Corrections and additions to charts and reports.
• Import bugs and Merge fixes.
• Internet connection issues.

There were also a number of “one off” bugs that did not fit into any of these groups.


• The October update is a top priority for the Family Tree Maker team. Development is also working very hard on the releases for International customers. This includes releases for French Canada, UK, Australia, and Germany. They are pushing for October and November International releases.
• Also, a desktop book building tool is a top priority. We are very interested in hearing your thoughts on what you are looking for in this project. This will not be released until next year due to the development requirements and resources.
• Members of the Family Tree Maker team have taken some time to list the status of many of the items that have been asked about on this forum—specifically some items that seemed to be removed from Family Tree Maker.

Message from the Family Tree Maker team

Here is the status of many of the items that have been asked about on this forum:

The following items asked about are in the shipping product

• Index of individuals search by given name—People/Index—change the sort to Given Family Name.
• Bibliography report (Publish/Source Reports).
• Documented events report (Publish/Source Reports).
• Ability to change the capitalization of a name from CAPS to lower case (Tools/Convert Names).
• Ability to not print labels for empty facts on reports (uncheck “Include blank facts” option in the “Items To Include” dialog).
• Remembering preferred spouses after import (we could not duplicate the error of not remembering preferred spouses).

Items purposely not done or changed significantly in the new release

• Double click on GEDCOM file to open—We don’t own the GEDCOM file format and some customers did not like us “hijacking” it for our purposes.
• Capability to save a file back to an older version of FTM—Not implemented because the new format is so vastly different than previous formats. Going back to previous versions can usually be accomplished via GEDCOM export.
• Automatic selection of female when entering a NEW person in the database—Many users complained about entering people as female automatically and did not like the assumption of female that created inadvertent errors.
• Automatic backup of file on exit—A large percentage of customers did not like the automatic backup.
• Scrapbook—Replaced with a more robust media model.
• Research Journal—Replaced with more robust task feature.

Items fixed in a currently available patch

• Nicknames or AKA lost on import of file into 2008.
• Other import errors.
• Registration fails for some people.
• Nag screen popup window to register program.
• Nag screen popup window auto-search on starting program asking if it is ok to search the web.
• Changes to the pedigree report design do not hold when saved

Items addressed in the October patch

• Basic register and ahnentafel reports.
• Ancestor tree charts—Vertical ancestor chart is in the October patch.
• Genealogy report. This was the major report used by most people—Register and Ahnentafel genealogy reports are in the October patch.
• Hourglass tree charts.
• Vastly improved merge performance.

Items actively being developed

• Books.
• Improved performance.

Items among those being considered for the future

• Option to select items to include on a FTM and GEDCOM file merge/append.
• Index of individuals options.
• Index of names showing comma in front of name suffix.
• Clicking on a person in a (chart) tree and go to that person. It is this way on all report I tried.
• Reference numbers.
• Address labels.
• Medical labels.
• Spell check for facts or anything else except notes.
• Spell that moves through all the notes.
• All-in-one tree chart.
• Address report.
• Alternate facts report.
• Data error report.
• Medical report.
• More report formatting options.
• View data CD.
• Option to sort reports with data fields on the different fields.
• More than one relation to a person in the Kinship report.
• Better fast fill fields.
• Find and replace.
• Capability to copy selected items on any of the reports.
• Capability to copy selected individuals from one database to another.
• Capability to generate a tree of a family and then select to delete them from the database.
• Better Undo/Redo.
• Remove items such as dates and the word “in” in custom reports.
• Keeping selected individuals from one report to another.
• Set and save defaults in all reports.
• Ability to turn off FTM place names or change these place names or to only use your place names.
• Fan charts.

Response to items identified as “New Problems”

• Higher hardware requirements—While this is a concern, newer technology often requires better hardware. Much of the software that is sold today wouldn’t run very well on hardware of ten years ago.
• Performance concerns—This is an ongoing focus for the Family Tree Maker team. The larger your file is, the more challenging to make it perform well. We have made significant improvements and plan to make more.
• Performance is also affected because the 2008 version provides a much broader and richer view of a person’s data. For extremely large files, a richer view that performs poorly is not a good trade-off. Certainly for trees containing more than 50,000 people (a small percentage of our customers), performance is too slow. The team is working hard to address this.
• Authentication—The new authentication process allows Family Tree Maker to communicate with in a more secure way than it could before. The ability to let Family Tree Maker “remember” your user name and password makes it a no-bother process.

Some benefits and improvements in Family Tree Maker 2008

• The concept of a home person that clearly shows the relationship of everyone in the file to the home person (typically the user).
• The flexibility of the interface that allows the user to customize their view as they would like (adjust index, pedigree, family, and edit panels)More information in a single view. Many customers who try 2008 for the first time discover data they were not aware they had. They say things like: “I didn’t know I had notes for that person” or “I didn’t know those pictures were there or that I had a source for that fact.”
• The ability to see a family and their family tree simultaneously. Many users had told us and showed us how frustrating it was to switch between the pedigree and family views. Family Tree Maker 2008 can give you whatever you want (a pedigree view only, a family view only, or a combined view).
• A huge global place name authority that provides consistent spelling for places as well as complete place name elements (city, county/parish, state/province, country).
• Place mapping that displays a map for any place in the world.
• The ability to see all of a person’s facts (including marriage facts) in a single view.
• The ability to view a timeline of a person’s life events (including extended family and historical facts).
• The ability to link a single media item to many people or facts. This is a huge time and computer resource saver.
• The ability to link a single source to many facts.
• The ability to rate sources using a person’s own criteria or standardized criteria.
• The ability to link tasks to a person and see a roll-up of all tasks in the tree.
• The ability to link to any file on your computer without having it imbedded in the database. This keeps it accessible to other programs even when you’re not in Family Tree Maker.
• Ancestry integration that takes advantage of the latest improvements of

8 October 2007

GenXML 1.9

GenXML 1.9 has been released.

Changes :

• Objects in sources are now converted.
• New options -e0, -e1 and -e2: Specifies how to treat additional event information like AGE, AGNC and CAUS.
• New options -p0, -p1 and -p2: Specifies how to treat additional person information like RESN, AFN and RIN.

Fixes :

• Sourcecites for notes for individuals or families (i.e. notes converted to infos) are now converted.
• @ in the beginning of a text was incorrectly interpreted as a faulty XREF and aborted the conversion.
• @@ is now always converted to @.
• The gedcomtag tag in the eventtype structure was incorrectly written.

MacFamilyTree 5.0 Public Beta 6

MacFamilyTree 5.0 Public Beta 6 has been released.

Changes :

• Improved Family Wizard.
• Better GEDCOM Support.
• Many minor Interface tweaks.
• QuickStart Manual included.

DNA sample work booming

The Sorenson Molecular Genealogy Foundation has reported unprecedented growth in its DNA sample collection and analysis activities.

The nonprofit scientific organization is creating a gigantic database of correlated genetic and family history information.

The foundation is on course this year to collect more than 30,000 DNA samples, expected to push it over the top of 100,000 samples and corresponding genealogical records by the end of the year.

Growth has been particularly pronounced in mitochondrial DNA, passed from mothers to their children. But it’s also experiencing strong growth in the number of Y-chromosome DNA samples passed from father to son and samples containing information inherited by both genders from all their ancestors.

The foundation’s growth is being driven by increased international activity, including comprehensive new DNA collection efforts in Panama, Mongolia, Thailand and a variety of African nations and ongoing collections in nations from across the globe. The database contains information about more than 6 million ancestors through linked DNA samples and pedigree charts from 172 countries. The expansion comes with increased funding from foundation founder, billionaire inventor and philanthropist James L. Sorenson.

in Deseret Morning News

6 October 2007

LifeLines 3.0.62

LifeLines 3.0.62 has been released.

Fix :

• Fix encoding conversion for GEDCOM, pedigree, and GEDCOM text modes.

5 October 2007

Personal Ancestry Writer II v74

Personal Ancestry Writer II v74 has been released.

Changes :

• “Tagging People with a Date” (as well as finding Birth/Baptism, Marriage/Intention and Death/Burial dates in “Tag by Matching”) has been corrected for tagging people within ranges of years with a month (and any day) specified. Also, “Tagging People with a Date” now asks for which events are to be searched for the date, so the tagging can be limited to one or more (or all) of the events Birth, Baptism, Marriage, Death and Burial.
• For example, tagging people whose birth dates are specified to fall in “APR BETWEEN 1861 AND 1865″ will now just tag people whose birth years fall inclusively between 1861 and 1865 and whose birth month was April. Using “15 APR BETWEEN 1861 AND 1865″ will narrow the tagging further to people whose birthday falls on just 15 April between those years.

• To enable this feature, it was necessary to disallow entry of the date modifiers About, Before and After with any range of years. (The modifier SAY/EST is allowed and treated as no modifier.) Unfortunately, the semantics of an entry such as “AFT 15 APR BETWEEN 1861 AND 1865″ cannot be reasonably programmed at this time even though its meaing is clear.
• To check for and correct any previous entries that have About, Before or After ranges of years, a new entry has been made in the list of possible problems (generated with command-L) titled “PEOPLE (or COUPLES) WITH A MODIFIED RANGE OF YEARS (NOT ALLOWED).”
• “Tagging People with a Place Containing” also now asks for which events are to be searched for the place name. So here too the tagging can be limited to one or more (or all) of the events Birth, Baptism, Marriage, Death and Burial.
• A new menu item has been added, “File menu > Write Text > Events for Tagged People.” Choosing this menu item generates a tab-delimited text file containing selected events for tagged people. As with “Tagging People with a Date,” the user is asked for which events are to be included.
• This tab-delimited text file should be imported into a spreadsheet program such as AppleWorks, Numbers or Excel. Each record in the text file will become a row in the spreadsheet. The columns contain from left to right: the person’s name, gender, the event type, any date modifier (e.g., about, say), any date (in the year-month-day format 1861-04-15, enclosed in quotes), ending year for any range (enclosed in quotes), any place qualifier (e.g., probably, of), any place (in the format state/country, county/province, town/parish, minor locale), whether adopted, any father’s name, any mother’s name and any partner’s name (for a marriage event).
• Using spreadsheet capabilites, the rows can be sorted on any column(s). The dates are enclosed in quotes to force proper textual sorting (each component of a date is zero-filled if necessary). The ordering within places from largest locale to smallest locale ensures related locales fall together.
• Innumerable analyses can be performed on events thus extracted from a PAWriter file and imported into a spreadsheet. One simple example suggested by user Charles: “Tag People with a Date” after 1916, including only birth events. “Write Text > Events for Tagged People” including only birth events.
• Import the file into a spreadsheet. Sort the spreadsheet ascending on the date column. Now the spreadsheet contains birth dates of people up to 100 years old (as of 2007), ordered from earliest to latest birth date.
• The Reference Guide topic “Tag People with a Date,” “Tag People with a Place Containing” and the Possible Problems Appendix were updated to reflect these changes. The topic “Write Text > Events for Tagged People” was added to the Reference Guide.

MacFamilyTree 5.0 Public Beta 4

MacFamilyTree 5.0 Public Beta 4 has been released.

Changes :

• Option to mark dead persons in charts.
• Many fixes in the GEDCOM importer.
• Fixes in the Web Site Export.
• Many other small improvements and fixes.

Brother’s Keeper 6.2.59

Brother’s Keeper 6.2.59 has been released.

New features :

• New option on Register book report at the bottom of the page setup tab. Option to NOT show superscript generation number after given name of main person or first child.
• The Ancestor Fan chart will print the infinity sign for “married” for the German version (or any version that uses & for Married in language translation.)
• The Descendant report has new option to show Adopted, Step, etc. (Bottom of “fields to include” - must be screen size larger than 640 by 480).

Fix :

• On Register book report - it would not print “Next generation” when that option was set (problem was only when using English language version).

Simple Family Tree 1.30

Simple Family Tree 1.30 has been released.

Changes :

• Increases max. spouses to 6.
• Fixes an annoying but harmless bug.

4 October 2007

Scans reveal lost gravestone text

Illegible words on church headstones could be read once more thanks to a scan technology developed in the US.

Scientists at Carnegie Mellon University are making high resolution 3D scans of tombstones to reveal the carved patterns in the stone.

A computer matches the patterns to a database of signature carvings which reveals the words.

Scientists often find it difficult to distinguish between natural phenomena and man-made art works carved into stone, due to the build-up of algae and surface dirt.

At the moment, archaeologists are forced to do hand-tracing work with plastic sheets and to examine objects first hand in order to decipher obscured writings.

Continue reading...

3 October 2007

GenealogyAgent: Monitor the Internet for Your Hard-to-Find Ancestors

A new Web site makes it easier to monitor the Internet for your hard-to-find ancestors. The GenealogyAgent Web site has GenealogyAgents that use the details that you provide about your ancestor (birth, death, parents, siblings, etc.). The GenealogyAgents then act on your behalf to regularly check for changes related to those details on the Internet.

“If you are tired of repeatedly checking the same Web sites or conducting the same searches only to find the information for an ancestor has not changed, we can help,” according to Doug Barry, the site’s Webmaster. “It is not much fun when you keep hitting a brick wall while trying to find new information. Our GenealogyAgents are designed to help you monitor Web sites and conduct multiple genealogy site searches for any changes related to your ‘brick-wall’ ancestors.”

As an introductory offer, you can have the GenealogyAgents at monitor the Internet for two ancestors for one year at no cost to you.

“The site is the latest in a series of sites that I have created as I progressed in my own genealogical research,” noted Doug Barry. “I am now at the point of having ‘brick-wall’ ancestors. It becomes tedious to keep searching the Internet when you might find something new a few times in a year. So, I wrote this site to help me catch those new details and I am sure it can help others.”

About Doug Barry

Doug Barry is the principal at Barry & Associates, Inc. His professional work involves advanced software systems. His professional hobby, however, is genealogy. Since 2000, Barry & Associates has created a series of Web sites that make it easier to search your genealogy on the Internet. These sites are designed primarily for people just beginning their research:

Family Tree Searcher. This site allows you to enter your ancestor information just once to search family trees at eight online family tree databases.

Free Genealogy Search Advice. This site will ask you questions about what you already know about your ancestors. A simple artificial intelligence program uses your answers to create a free, customized plan for going forward with your research.

Free Genealogy Search Help for Google. This site creates a series of different searches using tips or “tricks” that will likely improve your results when using Google(TM) to find ancestry information.

Genealogy Fast Track. This site has a series of easy-to-use decision charts to help you get started with your research.

in PR Newswire

2 October 2007

MacFamilyTree 5.0 Public Beta 2

MacFamilyTree 5.0 Public Beta 2 has been released.

Synium Software previously announced that the fifth release offers an entirely new GUI — a highly modern, graphical user interface that is individually configurable to your needs — and has been completely rewritten with the use of the most recent development technique.

Note that MacFamilyTree 5 is a preview version, not a final product. The final version will be released later this year. You may experience crashes or data loss with this preview version, so use it on your own risk.

If you have problems with the Public Beta you can use your MacFamilyTree 5 Registration Key with MacFamilyTree 4.5. You can download the latest stable MacFamilyTree 4.5 at this link.

Family History Month

October is designated in many U.S. States as "Family History Month".

U.S. Senate Resolution (pdf):

• Whereas it is the family, striving for a future of opportunity, and hope, that reflects our Nation's belief in community, stability, and love.
• Whereas the family remains an institution of promise, reliance, and encouragement.
• Whereas we look to the family as an unwavering symbol of constancy that will help us discover a future of prosperity, promise and potential.

Continue reading...

GRAMPS: Thanks for all Don!

Don Allingham, GRAMPS project admin: “After 6 and a half years, it is time for me to step aside from running the GRAMPS project. Brian Matherly has agreed to take over my role on the project. Brian will be able to bring in some fresh ideas in addition to providing strong leadership for the project. Please welcome Brian.”

1 October 2007

Seam Carving for Content-Aware Image Resizing

“Seam carving” is an image resizing algorithm developed by Shai Avidan and Ariel Shamir. This algorithm alters the dimensions of an image not by scaling or cropping, but rather by intelligently removing (or adding) pixels from the image that carry little importance. The importance of a pixel is generally measured by its contrast when compared with its neighbor pixels.

Rsizr is a new Flash based photo editing site wich uses “seam carving” algorithm and there’s also a plugin available for GIMP.

“Seam carving” YouTube demo after the jump:

Ezitree 10.05

Ezitree 10.05 has been released.

Fixes :

• Fixed Event Chronology Chart not showing events after death.
• Fixed Family Tree Book not showing image captions due to introduction of Caption fonts - see also FAQ #24.

Lost Romanov bones 'identified'

Russian scientists have said they may have identified the missing remains of two of Tsar Nicholas II's children, who were executed after the revolution.

Experts said it was "highly probable" the remains found near Yekaterinburg in July were Alexei, the heir to the throne, and Maria, his elder sister.

They were missing when most of the family's remains were found in 1991. The tsar, his wife and five children were shot dead by a Bolshevik firing squad in Yekaterinburg on 17 July 1918.

Continue reading...