I wonder how the New Year Resolutions are coming along? I always vow I will read what I have typed before I hit the search or enter button! It’s so frustrating to see what you typed flash up on the screen and realise that you are going to have to create that search again, without the typos.
Another hard-to-keep resolution is to record your searches: what you searched for, how you searched, when you searched and what you found. Every genealogical search!
Visit www.treepad.com – read about this program. TreePadLite is free, and you can try TreePadPlus for three weeks, then $US30. Buy Plus so you can save images – photos, maps, documents, etc. that you have found in your searches. TreePad folders are searchable, so you can save any information and find it quickly.
In TreePad you can create an Internet Diary folder. Start a new node (folder) each search day, with that day’s date. Note your searches as suggested above, or start a folder for a brickwall ancestor and record each and every search attempt, and the results. Then, any time you can check your ‘what, how and whens’ (as above) and plan further research. A hint: scroll down the nav bar (LH side) to the Freebyte.com link. Here you will find an amazing array of free programs. I use Catfish, which catalogues the files on any media – CD, flash drive, hard drive – so you know just what you have lost if this disaster strikes.
If you are using Skype, have you noticed the Call link, roughly in the upper LH corner? With your Web camera on, click on Call, then Share Screen (I usually choose full screen). Now, the person I am speaking with can view my screen. This is great for showing what is in your genealogy program, photos, etc, or especially good for helping someone. You can view their screen – much easier than trying to describe what to do over the phone. You can watch their cursor and help them find the right spot.
There has been a leap forward in genealogy programs – that of access to your program via your flash drive. This means that, as long as you can access a computer, you will be able to see your files, add, edit, create reports, etc. Hitherto, we have been able to use a flash drive, but only to store .pdf reports, etc. So we had our information to hand, but could not edit or make notes. Most genealogy programs save as you enter, so they need to be able to write to your hard drive and registry. However, RootsMagic has found the way around this problem.
Their version 4 (see competition page 5) has added lots of new features, but kept the nice clear screen, added access to New FamilySearch (when available), made Web site searching easy (looks for information to match your records), and has excellent edit facilities (even a thesaurus). Go to www.rootsmagic.com to download RootsMagic Essentials, a free full standard version, or email firstname.lastname@example.org to order a Helplets CD containing this program.