Thursday, February 25, 2016

Family Tree Tours

For those of you who are not familiar with Kathy Wurth, she is the force behind Family Tree Tours. Although her focus tends to be on family tree tours to German-speaking countries, she can arrange, coordinate, design, or help you arrange trips to other European nations.

If you are considering a trip abroad to dig up more "dirt" on your ancestors, I highly recommend you visit the website and get in touch with Kathy.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

FTM? RootsMagaic? Something Else?

As promised, I am trying to pass along anything of interest as it relates to Family Tree Maker, RootsMagic, and other, possible alternatives.

Linda Stufflebean of Empty Branches on the Family Tree recently posted Family Tree Maker's New Life and RootsMagic Partnership with Ancestry which is definitely worth reading if you are still figuring out where to go from here.

The biggest issue appears to be whether or not either of these programs will actually "sync" with the way it does now.  That question still appears to be unanswered.

Stay tuned. We will continue to share as new information becomes available.

Importance of the 1939 Register

If you had ancestors living in England and Wales in 1939, you will want to read What Does the 1939 Register Mean For Family Historians? This is not a census. In some ways, it is better than a census. Visit the site for more information.

Webinar - Cyndi's List

If you asked me to name one, and only one, internet resource for all things "genealogy", I would recommend Cyndi's List. Cyndi Ingle has created the quintessential source for information on finding your ancestors.

Tomorrow, she is hosting a webinar entitled, A Guided Tour of Cyndi's List 2.0. Registration is free, but limited to the first 1,000 people who sign in.

If you aren't familiar with Cyndi's List and want to learn more about what it has to offer and how to navigate it, I recommend you attend the webinar. If you are just starting out on your journey, or you have been digging for a while and could use some fresh research sources, Cyndi's List is the place to start.

Saturday, February 20, 2016

New Family Tree Software (and another opinion on FTM)

GenealogyInTime magazine recently posted about a new family tree software and its opinion on the future of Family Tree Maker.

For any of you who may be on the fence about what software you want to use going forward, please read this article.

You may want to give Tree View a look-see.  You can download a free version and take it for a spin before deciding if you are interested in buying it - an option not available in FTM or RootsMagic.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Finding Your Immgrant Ancestors recently re-released a pdf document entitled How To Find Your Immigrant Ancestors. Ancestry doesn't give away many things for free - but when they do, it is usually something worthwhile.  In addition to providing you with the link above, I have added it to the resources section of the blog.

For those of you who have roots on the other side of the pond, and are still digging, I hope you will check this out.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

RootsMagic7 Now Syncs with

For those of you considering using RootsMagic7 for your family tree, the latest news is that it now syncs with

For more information, please visit


For any of you who registered for Barry Ewell's free copy of the Google Guide For Genealogy, (See our post on 26 January) please note that the release has been pushed back from 15 Feb to 22 Feb.

Registration for a free copy was closed on 10 Feb and, unfortunately, delivery of a free copy to those who did register in time precludes sharing.  This is becoming more and more prevalent among internet authors.  It is difficult to prevent us all from sharing this type of publication.  Here at D.I.R.T., Linda and I will share with all of you, via the "Resources" section of  this blog, as many things as we can without violating current copyright laws.

When you download something from the internet, paid or free, please be sure to "read the fine print" on how, or if, it can be shared with others.

-- submitted by Denise Doyon

Future Plans For Family Tree Maker

For those of you following the ever-changing fate of Family Tree Maker - here is a link to Dick Easatman's blog post summarizing a conversation he had with the folks at MacKiev at the recent RootsTech conference.

Doesn't tell us much that's new except it it appears that, "if you like your FTM, you can keep your FTM."

We will continue to keep you posted as we learn more.

How To Search The Internet Like A Genealogist

Barry Ewell has been kind enough to post all ninety-six slides of the presentation he gave at RootsTech.  I hope any of you who are interested in learning about new and different ways to structure your searches in order to find more information will take a look at his presentation.

One of his best pieces of advice, and one I am always nagging you about, is keeping a research journal, or log, to track what you are doing.

There are as many ways to do this are there are genealogists digging for their roots, and as always, y'all have to find the way that works best for you - but I cannot emphasize enough the importance of keeping track of your searches.

Ninety-six slides may seem like a lot to read, but it goes pretty quick and I GUARANTEE you will learn something from Barry that will help you structure better searches.

For those of you who may be interested in a more permanant copy of this presentation, I have added the PDF file to the "Resources" section of the blog.


Monday, February 15, 2016

My Canvas

We have been spending a lot of time learning about scanning, saving and sharing our photos.  For those of you who are interested, MyCanvas is a great way to share those photos once you have them scanned, labeled and ready to share.

There is a great description of their services on their blog.  The thing I have always liked about this service is that it will let you produce a hard-copy version of your photos AND you also have the choice of sharing the digital version.  Although MyCanvas is partnered with, you don't have to be an Ancestry subscriber to use MyCanvas.

If you are interested in an easy-to-use, well supported, inexpensive way to share your newly scanned photos, I recommend you check out this service.

Friday, February 12, 2016

More News About Family Tree Maker

Just when you think you understand what is going on in the world of family tree software, everything changes. There has been LOTS of chatter in the blogosphere about the fate of FTM - a great deal of it is very conflicting.  The latest news appears to be that FTM is not going away at all.  It appears that MacKiev has decided to just take over the software, tweak it, and then redistribute it.

According to a recent article in Genealogy and History News, MacKiev is going to have FTM back on the market by 1 March.  According to the frequently asked questions on the MacKiev site,

  • If you are using FTM 2014 or newer, you will not need to do anything
  • There may, however, be updates to install - particularly on the Windows version
  • There will be no cost for updates to those using FTM 2014 or FTM Mac 3
  • Full, new copies of the software will be $69.99 (there will be an introductory offer of $49.99)
  • If you want to use the software on multiple computers, there is a Family Pack Update for $20 which allows use on up to three computers (mix of Windows and Mac)
  • If you currently use FTM with you don't have to do anything or purchase anything.
  • By the end of 2016, MacKiev hopes to have FTM integrated for use with This is a very big deal.  No other tree maker works with both websites.
So this is the story as of today.  Each week it seems that something new is being revealed.  As always, we will keep you posted.  But for now it appears that, if you like your FTM, you can keep your FTM!  Let's hope MacKiev is better at keeping promises than some folks we know.

For those of you who are not using any tree making software and are trying to figure out what to do, Lynn is still planning a presentation on RootsMagic at the 9 March meeting.  RootsMagic has been saying that it will be able to sync with, so as long as that doesn't change, you now have more options.  If cost is a factor, RootsMagic is still the better value at an introductory price of $20. If you use for your research, FTM may be the better option starting in 2017.  

Once all the data is in (later this year), the dust has settled, and it is clear what program is syncing with which websites and what all the costs are, we will publish a comparison.  Stay tuned - it could all change again soon!

Flip Pal Portable Scanner

For any of you who are interested in the Flip-Pal portable scanner, Linda tells us that there is a great deal being offered by  

Why Diane Haddad, Family Tree Editor, recommends the Flip-Pal mobile scanner:

"The Flip-Pal mobile scanner is a solution for genealogists who find themselves at relatives' homes, family gatherings and libraries with no simple way to copy the photos and documents they discover there. The scanner is light and portable, and easy to use right out of the box. The flip-able design even lets you scan pages in books and items that are permanently mounted into albums."

The Flip-Pal mobile scanner comes with everything you need to scan right out of the box.
  • Scanner
  • Four AA batteries (installed)
  • 4 Gigabyte SD memory card (installed)
  • SD to USB adapter
  • Stitching and color restoration software
  • Quick Start User Guide
  • One-Year limited warranty

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Another Brick Wall Bites The Dust!

Yesterday, a small group of Diggers tackled one of Marci Kenney's brick walls.  She had been trying, unsuccessfully, to find the parents of one of her husband's ancestors.  You know the problem - common first and last name - bad records - NO records - misspellings - Irish roots... We've all been there - or are there - or will be there someday.

We don't know if anything we did helped, but I was thrilled to get an email from her today letting me know she found what she was looking for!  

Breaking down our brick walls is never easy - but sharing our research challenges brings many new eyes, a few new perspectives, and one or two places to look you may not have thought of on your own.

We certainly can't promise instant success - but we are always willing to try.

Congratulations, Marci!

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Save the Date!

Save The Date!

Another photo scanning workshop has been scheduled for Wednesday, 17 February from 7-9pm in Osprey 2 at the Lake House.

If all goes according to plan, there will be two scanners available for your use.

Please limit the number of photos you plan to scan to 20 or 25 so that everyone can have a turn.  We also ask that you bring your own thumb drive or there will be no way for you to bring your scanned photos home with you.

If you are coming from "off" and need a gate pass, please send an email to Denise at and one will be made available.

This is a great opportunity for some hands-on experience scanning your photos and documents so that you can save and share them.

Hope to see you there!

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

A New Item For Your Toolbox

The Complete Beginner's Guide to Genealogy, the Internet, and Your Genealogy Computer Program. Updated edition Updated Edition

For any of you who are looking to update your personal, genealogy reference library, I highly recommend this book.  It is available at to purchase ($43.50), Buy used ($24.83) or, surprisingly, to Rent. has the following to say about this research tool:

The modern world of genealogy combines the traditional methods of research with the awesome power of computers and the Internet, a combination so powerful that it has transformed the way we do genealogy. The purpose of this book, therefore, is to train the researcher in this new methodology, tying the fundamentals of genealogical research to the infrastructure of computers and websites. In other words, it is a manual for modern genealogy--designed for the beginner but useful even to the most seasoned researcher.
... the book contains guidelines for using public libraries, courthouses, and archives. It also explains how to use LDS Family History Centers and the Regional Records Services Facilities of the National Archives, and it provides a step-by-step guide for using the records in each facility, including background information showing how to obtain vital, probate, military, immigration, and census records--all carefully coordinated with the ever-present backdrop of computers and the Internet.
Family history research is a process.  If the goal is to find one's ancestors, then, somewhere along the line, we all have to learn how to do that effectively, and this reference guide is one of the most respected in the field.  It would be a great addition to any genealogy library.

Family Tree Maker News!

One of the wonderful things about social media and our ability to communicate in real time with just about anyone, anywhere, is that, occasionally, we are heard by someone who cares enough to change something.

You all know I have not been all that happy with lately, partly because of their decision to discontinue support of their Family Tree Maker software, but also because they are just plain greedy. So I am happy to report that they listened to the outcry and have taken a new path.

To spite the headlines - Family Tree Maker IS dead. has NOT decided to continue supporting it.  HOWEVER, they have formed two new alliances that will allow you to use MacKiev ad RootsMagic tree makers with

Although it will be an inconvenience to transfer all your data to a new software program, I am sure both manufacturers will make the transition as seamless as possible.  Obviously, there is a learning curve with any new program.

For those of you using - Legacy Family Tree software is the only family tree maker software that I am aware of that sycns with your tree.

For more information on MacKiev and RootsMagic and how they will work with, please visit Geneablogger's latest post.