Note: The information in this archived copy was accurate on the date of publication. Since then, Web sites have appeared and disappeared, companies have been merged and many other facts have changed. You may find references in this archived copy that are no loner accurate.
Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter
A Weekly Summary of Events and
Vol. 3 No. 4 January 26, 1998
This newsletter is sponsored by Ancestry Publishing,
To learn about Ancestry's
Past issues of this Newsletter
Copyright (C) 1998 by Richard W. Eastman and Ancestry, Inc. All rights reserved.
Information on how to obtain a free subscription to this newsletter or how to cancel a subscription is given near the end of this document.
If you do contact any of the companies or societies mentioned in this newsletter, please tell them that you read about their services in this newsletter.
IN THIS ISSUE:
- Hello from GENTECH98
- Hello from GENTECH98
Most of this newsletter was written on my Toshiba Libretto palmtop computer while riding on airplanes and from a hotel room in Fort Wayne, Indiana. I arrived in Fort Wayne Thursday evening in the middle of a snow and sleet and freezing rain storm. Driving the rental car through unfamiliar city streets in the dark during a storm while trying to find the hotel was an experience I will not soon forget! I am headed home tomorrow morning but thought I would write and send the newsletter from Fort Wayne while the events of this years conference are still fresh in my mind.
Keep in mind that some parts of this newsletter have not been checked by the gal who normally does a fine job of editing my attempts to write in the English language. The contract with the e-mail service that distributes this newsletter specifies weekend delivery. With the GENTECH98 conference closing on Saturday evening, there wasnt enough time left to do a proper editing job and still deliver the newsletter to the e-mail service on time. The words you see here are my own, including the good ones, the bad ones and the ugly ones.
- GENTECH98 Was A Success
This was the first year that the GENTECH conference was held outside the Dallas, Texas area. The Hoosiers and the others who traveled to Indiana all seemed to approve. I think the crowd was about the same size as last years Plano, Texas event, possibly a bit larger. Everyone seemed to enjoy the conference. The convention center was comfortable and convenient, the exhibits were well arranged and the presentation rooms were all easy to find. All in all, Id say that the organizers did an excellent job this year.
The keynote speech this year was given by Tony Burroughs. Tony is a past president of the Afro-American Genealogical and Historical Society of Chicago, is a genealogy instructor at Chicago State University and also is president of Black Roots. He has served on the Federation of Genealogical Societies Board of Directors and received the 1996 Distinguished Service Award from the National Genealogical Society.
Tony Burroughs gave an interesting talk entitled "Will This Gizmo Help Me Trace My Tree?" While telling many tales of his own experiences, Tony walked the audience through a tour of the pitfalls and perils of depending upon technology to help in genealogical research. There was a serious side to his talk as well. Tony advised the audience to look beyond the whizz-bang gadgetry and to use these new tools to assist in good, old-fashioned research techniques. Tonys main theme seemed to be "Dont lose site of the fundamentals of proper research."
More than 30 genealogy technology presentations were made in this two-day conference. The complete list is too long to reproduce here. However, you can see the list and read a brief description of each one at http://gentech.org. That site also gives ordering information for the audiotapes recorded for each talk. Even if you were not able to attend the conference, you can purchase tapes of the presentations that interest you.
Several new genealogy products and services were introduced at this conference:
One major new software program had its first national showing at GENTECH98: Millennia Corporation displayed their new Legacy 2.0 software. This excellent new program was well-received and seemed to generate a lot of interest amongst some rather serious genealogists. I wrote a review of the program which appears later in this newsletter.
The Family History Department of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints had a booth at the conference to exhibit their software. They also announced the shipment of a new update to the International Genealogical Index. The new addition adds 43 million records to the IGI, for a total of 283 million records. The new update will ship from their distribution center in the next few days and will probably be in use at all local Family History Centers within 3 or 4 weeks. You may want to schedule a visit to your local center soon after.
The Family History Department is also updating the Ancestral File software at the same time. Note that this is a software update only, it does not include any additional records for the Ancestral File. This update adds a new capability to generate GEDCOM files of all the descendants of an individual. Another new feature is the automatic highlighting of any corrected information added to an individuals data record since the initial entry.
Progeny Software sold the first copies of their new Revolutionary War Graves Register at the conference. This Windows CD-ROM database was produced as part of a collaborative project with the National Society of the Sons of the American Revolution. The RWGR CD-ROM provides cemetery locations of war graves for over 69,000 Revolutionary War soldiers, patriots and spouses. The data is compiled from the Revolutionary War Graves Register book originally published by the National Society of the Sons of the American Revolution in 1993. The CD-ROM is a true computer database, it is not scanned images of the original book. The CD-ROM disk sells for $29.95 plus postage. I hope to write a review of this CD-ROM within the next few weeks.
Progeny Software also is producing a second CD-ROM disk in collaboration with the National Society of the Sons of the American Revolution. The Patriot Index will contain a lineage-linked database derived from more than 450,000 records of American Revolutionary War patriots and their descendants. Progeny plans to ship this CD-ROM disk about 5 months from now.
Progeny Software also announced their new Progeny Family Explorer for CDs. This is the "software engine" used in the Revolutionary War Graves Register CD-ROM and Progeny plans to add more titles soon. The software also is available under license to other companies who wish to produce their own "people centered" genealogy databases on CD-ROM. I got to use Progeny Family Explorer for a few minutes; it seems easy to use and intuitive. This general-purpose CD-ROM software reads databases and produces excellent printed reports, including descendant charts (assuming that descendants are listed within the CD-ROMs database). The Progeny Family Explorer for Windows is self-contained on the CD-ROM disk, no other software is required to use it. If you are interested in producing genealogy databases on CD-ROM, you might want to contact Progeny Software.
The Ultimate Family Tree Deluxe for Windows Multi-Language Version was shown by Palladium Interactive for the first time at GENTECH98. The new version of this popular program now includes multi-language capabilities in two of its key features: the Records Requester and the Family Journal. The Records Requester generates request letters to key sources (primarily public archives) that ask for information about a particular ancestor. Prior versions of the Ultimate Family Tree could create these letters in English but the new version can do the same thing in several other languages. In addition, the internal database contains addresses for many public archives in the U.S., Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Sweden and the United Kingdom.
The Ultimate Family Tree Deluxe for Windows Multi-Language Version also contains capabilities to print a narrative book from data within its database. The previous version could print these books in English but the new Multi-Language Version adds French and German capabilities. You can now generate a French or German-language book even if you do not know the language. The Ultimate Family Tree Multi-Language Version is available now.
Sierra On-Line announced their new genealogy program for Windows to be called "Generations". This program is based upon Reunion for Windows, a program that Sierra purchased from Leister Productions last year. Sierra has given the program a new name, enhanced the user interface and also is bundling several genealogy databases on CD-ROM with the program. Generations was not shown at GENTECH98 but Sierra says the program will be shipping within the next few weeks.
CyberCousins is a new online database service being built by Joe Sissom. The service allows an individual to store his or her data on CyberCousins Web site in a format that is easy for others to find. The software in place on the Web site automatically generates ahnentafel lists, pedigree charts, descendant charts, timelines and similar reports on demand. These charts and reports can include direct access to online photographs, recordings, documents and maps. The user uploads this data as a GEDCOM file; the online reports visible on the Web are then automatically generated from the data in that file. Not only can others see the reports, they also can download the GEDCOM file at any time. CyberCousins is still under development. If you would like to be an early participant, send an e-mail to:JoeSissom@compuserve.com.
One of my personal highlights of the conference came after the formal closing. Thanks to the coordination efforts of Audrae Mathis, about 30 conference attendees descended on a local Mexican restaurant and tried to consume the restaurants entire inventory of enchiladas. I think we failed at that mission but apparently a good time was had by all. Sandy Clunies had recently celebrated a birthday and was surprised when a large cake with flaming candles appeared in her honor after dinner. (Hey Sandy: I think we surprised you with that one!) My special thanks to Audrae Mathis for organizing an excellent end to a great conference.
- GENTECH98 Applied Technology Award Announced
This year's GENTECH98 Applied Technology Award, recognizing excellence in the combination of technology and genealogy, was given to Carmen Finley and the Sonoma State Library in California. Quoting the joint press release issued by GENTECH and Ancestry:
- Mike Basham Award Created
Another announcement from the conference concerned the creation of a special new award from GENTECH--the Mike Basham award. This award will be given by GENTECH as merited in the future for special and outstanding achievement in the application of technology in genealogy. Mike Basham, USGenWeb volunteer, ardent sponsor of the Applied Technology Award, and GENTECH supporter, passed away unexpectedly in 1997.
This award in Mike Bashams name would appear to be a fitting memorial to his memory and to his many contributions to genealogy technology.
- New Editor At Genealogical Computing Magazine
Ancestry, Inc. has announced a change in the management of Genealogical Computing Magazine. The new editor for this quarterly publication is (insert drum roll here) Dick Eastman. Yes, thats me.
Ive been talking with Dan Taggart and the other folks at Ancestry about this possibility for the past few weeks and must say that I am really excited about this new assignment. I have really enjoyed writing this newsletter as a solo writer aided by a few good friends. Distributing it electronically has been a learning experience, there were lots of unknowns to wrestle with. I have learned a lot from my two-years of experience in "electronic publishing."
I fully intend to keep writing the weekly newsletter and to possibly even try new things in it from time to time. But I must say that the opportunity to expand into print publishing in a formal magazine and helping to coordinate the efforts of many talented people is really appealing. I see this newsletter and the printed magazine as being complementary works, each filling a need not completely addressed by the other publication. Thats why I jumped at this opportunity when it was offered.
I will replace Jake Gehring as editor of Genealogical Computing and following in his footsteps presents quite a challenge all by itself. Jake is remaining at Ancestry and is expanding his other duties there. Jake has promised to provide advice and assistance to me as needed, another factor in my decision to take on this new assignment.
I hope to make some new announcements about Genealogical Computing in the not too distant future.
- Legacy 2.0
Legacy by Millennia Corporation is a Windows genealogy program that has been around for some time. It doesnt seem to gather as much publicity as some other programs. Yet the people I know who use Legacy all brag what a great program it is. I gave version 2.0 of Legacy a test drive this week to see why.
Millennia Incorporated advertises Legacy 2.0 as "The Most Comprehensive and Easy-to-Use Family History Software You Can Buy for Windows," a strong statement indeed. Well, beauty is in the eye of the beholder (or the end user) but they certainly do make a strong case. Again quoting from Millennias advertising:
Strong statements indeed; with that, I decided to put the program through its paces.
Legacy is a 16-bit Windows program. It operates on Windows 3.1, Windows 95 or Windows NT. It requires a 486 or Pentium processor and a hard disk with 17 megabytes of available space. Legacy requires a minimum of 8 megabytes of memory on Windows 3.1 although Millennia strongly recommends 16 megabytes as the minimum. 16 megabytes of memory is selling for $39.95 these days, so why not?
I used a Windows NT system for my testing. The Legacy 2.0 installation files fill 6 diskettes, or Millennia will supply the program on a CD-ROM disk. Installation is as quick and easy as most other Windows programs these days.
Legacy 2.0 ships with a 261-page users manual that should serve as an example to other genealogy software producers. It is well illustrated with screen snapshots, and it leads the user through almost every step of the program. Examples are shown for most all data entry operations. The section on creating and printing reports fills 24 pages by itself.
I started by reading the 41-page Tutorial section and then did a speed-read of the rest of the users manual. The end of the manual also includes chapters on "Starting Your Family History," "Contributing To The Ancestral File," "U.S. Census," "The Internet" and a glossary of terms frequently used in genealogy work. All of this is followed by an eleven-page index. It is gratifying to see such a thorough manual in this day and age when many companies are reducing the size of manuals or distributing manuals only in electronic form. I wonder how much the printed manual adds to the cost of producing the program, however.
Once in operation, Legacy 2.0 proved to be easy to use and intuitive at all times. The user interface is simple and yet it seemed to always display information in a meaningful manner. One nice touch is that, when you re-size a window, the screen fonts also change so that the entire display is always visible. Even some of the icons change size. Legacy is visually appealing in all its screens.
At first I used the database of the Kennedy family that is included with the program. This provides an easy method of learning the basics. Once I was comfortable with the more important commands, I struck off on my own by creating a new database and entering data about a few of my ancestors. Finally, I imported a GEDCOM file of more than 3,000 individuals and started generating reports. The operation was smooth at every step, and I never encountered any errors or bugs.
Data entry is done by a RIN and MRIN numbering system. Anyone who has used Personal Ancestral File will recognize this as a numbering system for individuals (RIN) and for marriages (MRIN). I have always disliked this numbering scheme. In fact, I prefer to use no numbering method at all. My ancestors did not have numbers assigned at birth, and I dont care to assign numbers to them either. I always considered these people to be individuals, not numbers. I admit that a lot of people will disagree with me, however. Some people like the RIN/MRIN numbers, so Ill mention it here for those who have a preference either way. I also have to mention that the display of the RIN and MRIN numbers on the screen is controlled as an option within Legacy. The user can elect to not have them displayed at all.
Here are a few of the features of Legacy 2.0 that I felt were particularly noteworthy:
Legacy has all the standard tools one expects in a genealogy program, such as a date calculator and a Soundex calculator, but it also had a few features that are unique. The Source Clipboard holds a copy of the source citation you are currently working from. You can then record the source of each piece of information by simply clicking one button.
The Source Clipboard holds the reference to a source in the Master Source List. You can set or change the master source citation by pressing the Set button. The clipboard also holds the detailed information about where in the source the current information is coming from. This is usually a page number, microfilm item number, etc. You can also set the Surety Level for the source information. This reflects your confidence in the accuracy of the information. When you have entered the current source information, press OK to return to the entry form.
One typical use that pops to mind is entering census data. Once you have looked at the reel of microfilm, you enter the pertinent data once into the Master Source List and the Source Clipboard. Then, as you add information about each person listed in that towns census record, you can enter the matching Master Source List information onto each individuals record with a single mouse click. To be sure, some other programs also provide quick entry of source information from previous entries . Legacys implementation simply seemed smoother than most of the others I have seen. Also, Legacys sources database is rather detailed with room for all sorts of references. Only one or two other genealogy programs have a more detailed references database.
The list of features contained in Legacy is very long. The list of printed reports also seems long, and at first glance it appears to be very complete. However, I noticed a few omissions. Legacy prints only one format of Register Report while some other programs do Register Report and Modified Register Report. At least one other program creates TAG Register Report, and a couple of other programs allow for "roll your own" modified versions of the Register Report.
Next, there is no HTML output or any other support for creation of data to be placed on personal Web pages. If you have an interest in creating Web pages from your genealogy database, you will need to use a third-party external program to convert a Legacy-created GEDCOM file to HTML. Some of Legacys competitors can do this without the use of external programs. At the GENTECH98 conference the Millennia Corporation folks reported that the addition of HTML reports is a high priority on their list of things to be added in the near future.
Legacy 2.0 does not come bundled with any CD-ROM databases such as Social Security Death Records, collections of GEDCOM files or any of the other "electronic bric-a-brac" that seems so popular with genealogy programs these days. Neither does it have photo-editing software for the graphics images it can store; you need to use external software for that. Personally, I dont miss any of that, but other people may consider those items to be important.
Legacy is advertised as a "Comprehensive and Easy-to-Use Family History Software." I believe their definition of "comprehensive" means that it does a great job of handling facts. Some of Legacys competitors use the word "comprehensive" to mean that a program includes graphics editing software or CD-ROM databases or other such extras. When comparing programs, do not be misled by the word "comprehensive" as it means different things to different people. Legacy certainly is "comprehensive" when it comes to handling facts and creating reports.
Millennia Corporation plans to make frequent updates to the program. Registered users will always be able to download the latest updates directly from Millennias Web site at no charge. Anyone without online capabilities will be able to obtain the same updates via a floppy disk in the mail although Millennia will probably charge a few dollars for that delivery option in order cover the extra expenses involved.
Legacy 2.0 carries a list price of $49.95 U.S. funds. However, Millennia also offers a "competitive upgrade price" of only $39.95. To qualify for this "competitive upgrade price" you simply tell them which genealogy program you are presently using. In fact, Millennia doesnt even ask for proof, they simply take your word for it. I would suspect that most people pay $39.95 instead of the higher retail price. The price seems appropriate when compared with other genealogy programs available today. Note that the $39.95 price is being advertised as a "limited time offer."
A complete demo copy of Legacy 2.0 may be downloaded from the Millennia Web site. It is a big file at 8.2 megabytes, however. Once installed on your hard drive, this demo version will import existing data, print reports and merge individuals. You can do everything with this demo that you can do with the full retail version with only one exception: when your family file contains more than 50 individuals, you will not be able to save changes made to individuals. Everything else works as normal. The demo version of Legacy 2.0 will import PAF and GEDCOM files of thousands of individuals, and you can even generate printed reports on all of them. You simply wont be able to change data permanently if your database contains entries for more than 50 people.
Psssst! Want to know a secret? If your present genealogy program has plain-looking printed reports, download the demo of Legacy 2.0. You can import your data into the demo version and print the nicer looking reports available there. You can do this while maintaining your data in your older program; you only use the Legacy 2.0 demo when you want printed reports. Its free. You heard it here first, folks.
That may seem like a foolish move on Millenias part; offering a demo with that much power. But I think they are crazy like a fox. Anyone who uses a simpler genealogy program and then downloads this demo and starts using it frequently will soon become unhappy with the simpler program. Guess which replacement program that person will buy.
Even though I have written a much-longer report on this program that I do on most others, I still have not covered the program entirely. There are many more features that I have not yet discussed. In fact, in my few hours of using the program I could not possibly learn all the ins and outs of its operation. I watched Ken McGinnis demonstrations in the Millennia Corporation booth at GENTECH98 and realized that I had only learned the basics of Legacy. At has many, many more features that I havent even mentioned yet.
I would consider Legacy 2.0 to be one of the best genealogy programs on the market today. At $39.95 it is a cost-effective solution for anyone looking for an excellent records management and reporting program. Take a look at the demo to see if you agree. For more information about Legacy 2.0 for Windows, or to download the demo copy, or to order your own retail copy, look at: http://www.legacyfamilytree.com
- Daughters of the American Revolution Lineage Books Now Online
All 50 volumes of the Daughters of the American Revolution Lineage Books are now available on Ancestrys Web site. This is a major release of genealogy records in electronic format. It contains thousands of references to U.S. Revolutionary War ancestors and their descendants. It was created from Lineage Books of the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution from information submitted by tens of thousands of individuals.
Quoting Ancestrys announcement:
Ancestrys Web site is a mixture of free and "for pay" services. The Daughters of the American Revolution Lineage Book will eventually be on the "for pay" side. Normally you pay $6.95 per month to access this new database plus all of Ancestrys other genealogy offerings. If you subscribe for a full year, the price drops to $59.40 (or about $5.00 a month) plus they throw in your choice of several different "goodies." However, for the first ten days, access to the Daughters of the American Revolution Lineage Book is free. Note that the announcement was dated January 19, 1998, so I assume the free offer ends on January 29. After that you must pay either a modest $5.00 a month or $6.95 a month, depending upon the plan you choose, to access this information along with all the other genealogy data on Ancestrys Web site.
- IMSIs New Family Heritage
I wrote last year about Corels Family Tree Suite. Then last September I reported that Corel sold the rights to that program to IMSI and that a new version was expected under a new brand name. This week IMSI officially announced the immediate availability of Family Heritage. Described as a "descendent of Corel's Family Tree Suite," IMSI reportedly has improved upon the program's original feature set and then added its own proprietary technology.
Quoting from IMSIs press release:
Family Heritage retails for $29.95 (U.S. funds) while the Deluxe version retails for $59.95. I hope to write more about this program in the near future. In the meantime, you can obtain more information at: http://www.imsisoft.com.
- Broderbunds New Genealogy SiteFinder
Broderbunds Family Tree Maker Online has joined forces with Helm's Genealogy Toolbox. The two have announced their new Genealogy SiteFinder -- a directory of links to approximately 33,000 genealogy Web sites. Adoption, Libraries and Archives, Maps, and Places are just a few of the categories that the Genealogy SiteFinder lists. You can access the new Genealogy SiteFinder at: http://www.familytreemaker.com/links/index.html
- Broderbund President Steps Aside
I suspect that some people in the genealogy business will be interested in this piece of news. Broderbund Software Inc. has announced that its President and Chief Operating Officer Bill McDonough will resign, effective March 31, to be replaced by three vice presidents with CEO Joe Durrett becoming president.
Durrett was hired as chief executive 15 months ago to move Broderbund in a new direction, and it was expected that he would choose his own executives. McDonough has stayed on to ease the transition of the outsider into the company. Durrett spent most of his career with Kraft Foods Inc. and Proctor & Gamble Co. as a marketing and sales executive.
Alma Rodoni, head of the Genealogy division, Chief Financial Officer J. Mark Hattendorf and Dan Steever, the General Manager of Sales and the Parsons Technology unit, were all promoted to vice presidents and will divide the COO responsibilities.
McDonough, 41, will stay on as a board member and consultant to Broderbund although he has no specific plans outside the company after 16 years at Broderbund.
- Home Pages Not Highlighted
Due to all the GENTECH98 news this week, this newsletter is already longer than normal. Also, I am writing this on a palmtop computer in a hotel room. That makes it a bit difficult to do a proper job of extracting the home pages and formatting the list for the newsletter. Ill skip the new home pages this week and then create a double list in next weeks edition.
To submit your home page to this newsletter, enter the necessary information at: http://www.rootscomputing.com/register.htm. Due to the volume of new Web pages submitted, I am not able to list all of them in the newsletter.
If you would like to submit news, information or press releases for possible inclusion in future newsletters, send them to firstname.lastname@example.org. The author does reserve the right to accept or reject any articles submitted.
DISCLAIMER: This newsletter is being written and sent via e-mail at no charge. I expect to write one new issue on a more or less weekly basis. However, life sometimes interferes, and the need to earn a living may create an occasional delay.
COPYRIGHTS: The contents of this newsletter are copyright by Richard W. Eastman and by Ancestry Publishing and by others so designated. You are hereby granted rights, unless otherwise specified, to re-distribute articles from this newsletter to other parties provided you do so strictly for non-commercial purposes. Please limit your re-distribution to one or two articles per newsletter; do not re-distribute the newsletter in its entirety. Also, please include the following words with any articles you re-distribute:
Thank you for your cooperation.
Subscription information: To subscribe to this free newsletter, send an e-mail message to the following address:
The message title is unimportant.
The first line of text in the message must have the words SUBSCRIBE ROOTSCOMPUTING followed by your first and last names. For instance, if your name is Jane Doe, you would write a message of:
That is the entire message; nothing else should be in the message text.
To cancel an existing subscription, send an e-mail to:
The message title is unimportant.
The text of the message must be exactly:
Please note that the address of email@example.com is an "e-mail robot" and messages sent to that address are only read by a computer. If you send any more text in the message, it will be ignored.
If you want to see the current issue as well as back issues of the newsletter, look on the World Wide Web at: http://www.ancestry.com/home/eastarch.htm
Please feel free to copy this subscription information and pass it on to anyone else who you think might be interested in obtaining a free subscription.
About the author: Dick Eastman is the forum manager of the four Genealogy Forums on CompuServe and is the author of "YOUR ROOTS: Total Genealogy Planning On Your Computer" published by Ziff-Davis Press.