Friday, October 12, 2012

Follow-Up Friday - Helpful and Interesting Reader Comments

It's Friday, so it's time to share helpful and interesting reader comments on my recent Genea-Musings posts.  Here is this week's examples, with my own responses if appropriate:

1)  On Dear Randy - What to Do With My Family Photo Albums? (10 October 2012):

*  John suggested:  "Post messages on Rootsweb or other Surname messages boards searching for interested cousins she might not know about?"

*  Wendy wrote:  "I ended up with my mother-in-law's very old family albums that were also well labeled and captioned. I did a family tree for the family and uploaded all the photos on Over the past three years I've met several cousins who were just delighted to find their lost family history with great-great grandparents, aunts and uncles and cousins. I'm hoping I've earned some good genealogy karma that will help me find my long-lost branches. Those old family photos mean so much to family members who have lost touch or lost track and It felt good to be the one to share them."

*  Bill said:  "My website,, has begun a project to compile and organize house histories for residential addresses across the country. I would gladly post and preserve photos taken in or around your friend's family homes as long as she can provide an approximate address and year a photo was taken. Preserving those specific pictures may account for only a small part of her entire collection, but it would be a start. There are a lot of good suggestions in your post and in the comments. Hope your friend finds a future home for all her family photos."

*  On Facebook, Nancy Fermazin offered:  "My girlfriend and I were just talking about this subject today. I have 4 volumes of a digital/hybrid family history album. In it I placed the name and family and location under the pictures on each page plus family group sheets for all of the families. In front of the albums I have a USB flash drive and DVD of Family Tree Maker information with the album. I was thinking of donating the albums to my historical society in Illinois if my kids or grandkids don't want them. To finish digitalizing the album would take many many hours. Not quite sure yet. Besides the photo albums I have a 500 page family history on one line which my cousin and i did. We donated copies to the local family history society in Illinois and to Allen County Library in Fort Wayne . I plan to have my albums designated in my Will. It sure would be a lot of work if they were not saved or shared."

My response:  Thank you all for the thoughts and ideas.

2)  On Web Searching Using Family Tree Maker 2012 (10 October 2012):

*  Elizabeth noted:  "Randy, you note that FTM 2012 searches only three databases. Note at the bottom of that box with the list of websites are two buttons NEW and MANAGE FAVORITES. This is where you can add your favorite searchable databases, such as or"

My response:  You're right, and I missed that!  Thank you for noting it.

*  Russ Worthington said:  "The biggest reason for searching from within FTM2012 are at least 3 fold: 1) the ability to have a View Online Source, from within FTM2012, 2) the Web Clipping tool, when searching other websites, and 3) the ability to look at my database, while still in the Web Search Workspace.

"Like Elizabeth, I have a number of other Websites, where I have other 'favorite' websites at my finger tips."

My response:  Thanks for the reasons.  Russ has written several blog posts about his Web Search experiences and processes on his Family Tree Maker User blog.

After some thought about this, I find that the Web Search window in FTM 2012 and RootsMagic are too confining.  I can't "see" as much of the Ancestry (for example) screen as I want to, and the auto-filling of the search fields is disconcerting.  I have to take extra time to clear them.  Since I don't use Web Search to capture Events, Sources and Images from, I find it much easier to search in my browser, and add content to my database in my software program.  I often put the two windows side-by-side on my monitor.

3)  On Web Searching Using Legacy Family Tree 7.5 (11 October 2012):

*  Nancy asked:  "Could you post your exact Find a grave search string so we can see it?"

My response:  I should have... so here are the three that I've added:

**  For Find-A-Grave (first name, middle name, last name):  

**  For (firstname, lastname, start year, end year, exact name search):  

**  For Rootsweb WorldConnect (lastname, firstname, birth year):

4)  On My Top 10 Genealogy Tools (5 October 2012):

*  Patti Hobbs noted:  "Foxit is a nice pdf reader with a lot less bloat than Adobe Acrobat Reader. Also LibreOffice is the spin-off of OpenOffice that is now receiving the developers' attention."

*  Jill in Maryland said:  "The Windows 7 snipping tool is the greatest. Snips can be saved as file or copy/paste. I copy snipped paragraphs into Word files, type the words into the document,delete snip image. I snip from a website, save to desktop, use as reminder, delete when done. I snip, print, delete all the time when I just need directions or whatever on paper."

*  Anonymous offered:  "I prefer the free PDF-XChange to either Adobe or Foxit. It has a lot of neat markup functions: bookmarks, underlining, highlighting, typewriter, sticky notes, stamps, and a lot more."

*  Mattit commented:  "I found a MUCH better screenshot tool than the Win7 Snippit .. It's called LightShot. There are versions for Windows and Mac. And it's FREE!!

"I tried Foxit Reader for awhile, but eventually switched back to Adobe Reader. There are some other free PDF readers, and I've tried some of them. But I eventually switch back to Adobe in the end.

"I'm also starting to use other research tools such as CubeRead for my historical and biblical research."

*  Peggy Coffey noted:  "I have found my best tool has been my tablet computer. I just bought a Samsung Galaxy 10.1 tablet and it can do everything that my laptops did. I can take pictures, web screenshots and save them and this tablet has a pen so I can actually take notes or edit pdf's. And it fits into my purse. I know I sound like a commercial but I hated dragging my laptop on my research trips. This has been great for me."

*  smaul asked:  "What is the point of having several genealogy management kits? I have two but only use one (FTM)."

My response:  Thank you all for your ideas on other genealogy tools.  

I use several genealogy management software programs in order to take advantage of the best features of each.  While I use RootsMagic for my data entry and editing, I really like FTM 2012's TreeSync feature, and prefer Legacy Family Tree's reports and charts.  It's personal preference.  And having all three provides more blog fodder for me to write about, and for my readers to comment on.

*  Sharon commented:  "Re: Middlesex County before 1804. Probate records were not kept at the county level for any counties until 1804. For estates prior to 1804, you can use the NJ Archives series (on Ancestry) to find will and inventory abstracts. Also you can use the 3-volume index of wills/inventories to help narrow dates and counties up to 1900."

My comment:  Thank you, Sharon - that is very helpful! I should have known that...  

Copyright (c) 2012, Randall J. Seaver

1 comment:

Cousin Russ said...


I appreciate your comments. You are right, IF you don't use the Web Merge feature, then you don't gain anything from the Web Search feature.

I, however, use the Web Merge feature as much as possible, INCLUDING other websites. There is a Web Clipping feature, where I do NOT have to retype anything, and have total control over what is Merged into my file and what is not.

I ALWAYS KNOW that I MUST re-do all citations. No website that I have used, provides the Evidence Explained!! formatted Citation. So, I will clean them up.

There is a new feature in FTM2012, where you can include the URL of what you found, on the Sources Workspace, Citation screen.

Again, if you don't use the Web Search and Web Merge features, then working outside of FTM is much easier.

Thank you,