Software Archive

MyHeritage.com – WoW!

Posted January 19, 2015 By dailiness

myheritage

I’ve used a trial version of the online MyHeritage site before.  Actually several times. Sometimes software changes for the better  and sometimes the worse. Well, today’s test of MyHeritage is a winner. I uploaded a GEDCOM file of 470+ people in my family tree. And then I waited. Waited for the automatic matching processing to occur. WOW! It’s giving me matches using a two column view. On the left I can see a record as I or the client software I used entered it. And on the right column it has perhaps just a text entry. But it also is showing me photos, mini views of records such as census or marriage. And it’s showing me photos or other image files such as an actual marriage record or other original source. These matched records include newspaper articles.

I also note that the record matches show me ‘famous’ people in my tree first. If MyHeritage does some prudent matching, it would know that ALL of the well known people currently in my family tree are only relations by marriage. (And I’ve never even met any of them)…on second thought, I see that the record matches are presorted by the number of matches per individual record. Thus someone who is considered to be famous quite likely has more record matches than other people.

A possible enhancement to this type of record matching could be to let the site owner exclude certain people from matches. Or to have the exclusion time out and need to be renewed at some point. I would definitely do this with several famous people in my tree. I put them in the tree because they are ancestors or blood relatives of cousins of mine. And these cousins don’t have the time to put together their own tree, it’s also kindda fun to see these people in my tree. But once I have the records far enough back for certain people, at the moment anyway, I’m not interested in seeing other matches for these famous people. Oh well…

I can sort record matches by collection or person. And it gives me the option to select the confidence of the match as well as the type of item such as what it calls structured (census, etc), or text (newspaper, yearbooks, etc.) And I am learning some things about the people in my tree just from the snippet of text included in these matches.

In one case I knew about a specific individual in my tree, a relation by marriage. But I had no idea that he had any specific accomplishments until I noticed that there are a lot of matches on his records. When I finally looked up a few I took note of him as a person of interest, and not just another person in my tree.

Wow. Now I can’t get to the actual files that are linked unless I subscribe to MyHeritage. And it’s worth doing so 🙂

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Computer Troubles

Posted January 7, 2015 By dailiness

cpanelYesterday I added Jetpack, a WordPress plugin to my new blog, and at some point nothing worked and I could not uninstall it. This blog is run on what is called a self-hosted WordPress installation. I still like to get under the hood so to speak and tweak even an automatic installation. That’s where something went wrong yesterday as I tried to edit a new contact form for you to easily email me and keep spammers at bay.

I had zippo control over the site and could not even take it down via the menus. I could not even back up the work I had done, just in case I needed to start from scratch. I use Backblaze to back up my laptop (and subsequently any mobile device linked to my laptop), but this site is not on my laptop 🙁

But then I went in through the backend, the cPanel, and renamed the offending plugin folder and voila, I could see the blog again. The image in this post is a snapshot of what cPanel looks like. It’s pretty similar to file directories on your computer, desktop or laptop. You can browse around, upload and download files, and a whole lot more….including getting into trouble if you move, delete or rename some critical file. Today the developer of the plugin that caused me difficulties removed a connection with a server they could access, and I removed the rest today. And I realized that I could have backed up the files from that backend as well. But rebuilding the site would not be easy from such a backup.

Jetpack is a plugin that usually once installed gives many valuable enhancements to blogs. Something about my site setup created a conflict and I won’t be using that plugin for now.

Phew!

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tngheader-smallBeing a techie of sorts, I naturally know there are many software choices for keeping ancestors and relatives in a ‘family tree’. This post will just be about software choices I’ve made and only snippets of the machinations I have thought about and gone through.

Several years ago I bought a copy of The Next Generation (TNG) for putting a tree online. Yes, there is other software that can do that. And Ancestry.com itself can be set for public viewing. But I already knew that I wanted something more robust than Ancestry. I had some health issues taking my attention for years and years. The software I bought languished on my hard drive. Occasionally during vacations I would look at adding to my family tree. My tree was full of errors and duplicate entries. Like a bad haircut, I did not even want to show it to even my closest relatives.

Now with some new found energies I am plugging away at the options available to me and making some choices. So far I still want to use Ancestry.com for it’s vast resources and sync ability with it’s own proprietary client (desktop) software. The desktop is necessary for ease of cleanup of my online entries as well as a backup…just incase the online files are corrupted or the business goes under or changes it’s policies, etc. I’ve spent so much time on this family tree now that it’s important to always think about backups, backups and etc.

BUT, then I still want to use the TNG software for my online tree. Why? Because it is open source, is currently still being developed, has a user base that also develops MODs (modification plugins), and has a lot more flexibility over all than other online trees offer. So the question for me is if I can use the Ancestry’s client software, Family Tree Maker (FTM), and port my data and media files to TNG. And if so, how to do this with as few steps as possible.

This is where I am now currently trying to figure out a workflow that is not too cumbersome and works!! So far to test functionality, I have added test data my family tree in both Roots Magic 7 and Legacy 8. I exported a GEDCOM file, an outdated but the best we have available for a universal genealogy file format. Then I uploaded these altered files to Ancestry.com. If I want to, I can sync that new online tree back to my Ancestry client software. I don’t actually what to do that. The Ancestry software will only sync one online tree to client software. I just wanted to know if if can be done as some of that relates to my posting a tree online using the TNG software.

Why do I want to use software other than the client software FTM? Well, I’ve experienced unintended software related errors. And I noticed them after I propagated them to the online Ancestry as well. Also, the software FTM does not have as much flexibility as other software in terms of edits and sourcing citations or other data. I thought I would use my ultimate online family tree as my ‘master’ file. But I think that is not wise. Likely the upload of the GEDCOM from Roots Magic and Legacy is missing something or non standard. But so far I have not noticed. All of the links to media such as census were there. And notes transferred as well. Is it perfect? Probably not. Is it good enough? I expect so. Did it upload media files other than those linked via Ancestry.com like census or marriage files. Nope. Those media files are not contained in the exported files. Which brings me back to my desire to use TNG as my end user online family tree.

I have shared my online Ancestry tree with a few relatives and I may need to point them elsewhere for an ‘authoritative’ file. There may be documents or photos I won’t necessarily upload to Ancestry, but they will be on my own online tree, in a file area of this blog, and only visible to selected users. That means I will still use Ancestry.com and it’s associated client software, FTM for Windows. (I have an install of Windows on my mac using Virtual Box to run the Windows OS).

Now to choose between Roots Magic 7 and Legacy 8 for my daily workhorse client….ah, decisions, decisions!

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