Friday, August 9, 2013

Follow-Up Friday - Helpful and Interesting Reader Comments on Genea-Musings Posts

Well, I find them helpful and interesting, at any rate.  And sometimes contentious, but that's okay too.  Here is this week's batch:

1)  On Contest to Win a Free Copy of Family Tree Maker 2012 (posted 6 August 2013):

*  Barbara said:  "I absolutely love the "Sync" feature in Family Tree Maker. It is a no brainer if you subscribe to Entering this stuff is way too time consuming. I believe that is what makes it #1. I also use RootsMagic 4 which really is a better program for creating reports/charts, citing sources, etc. I have to say, recently, my data in RootsMagic has gotten somewhat out of date. Wish there was a "Sync" button to link Family Tree Maker and RootsMagic. How about it, Bruce?"

My comment:  It's a great wish, considering how badly FTM mangles a GEDCOM file.  If your Ancestry Member Tree is the most recent, you could download a GEDCOM file and import it into RootsMagic.  If your FTM file is the most recent, you could create a GEDCOM file and import it into RootsMagic, or sync it to an Ancestry tree and export it as a GEDCOM file.  There are pletny of options.  The major issue with GEDCOM is the media files.

*  James Aylard commented:  "It was about a year ago that some of us speculated on the possible release of a Family Tree Maker 2013. About a month or so later, nixed the speculation and said, no. We are now nearing the time of year when traditionally releases new versions of FTM. I am curious whether we will soon see a Family Tree Maker 2014?"

My comment:  There has been absolutely no word out about an FTM 2014 that I've seen.  I forgot to ask about it at NGS and Jamboree conferences, my bad!   There was a thread on the Family Tree Maker message board for suggestions for FTM 2014 - a wish list, with many comments.  

Do my readers have more up-to-date information about a possible FTM 2014?  If there will be one, there should be a beta version already in work.  I was in on the beta for FTM 2012 and the sync issues, but have not heard of anything this year.  They usually announce these upgrades in the summer of the year before, and often unveil it at a large conference (FGS Conference is in two weeks!).  

2)  On Top Ten Genealogy Software Reviews for 2013 (posted 5 August 2013):

*  Anonymous #1 said:  "The Top Ten Reviews site is a joke. They base their reviews on who pays the highest affiliate commission.  Don't believe me? Look around at the top three products and click on the "Buy" links. They all take you to the Herman Street store which is the same ownership as Top Ten

"Family Tree Maker, being the most expensive software, and therefore making Herman Street the most money, gets the highest ranking.  Software that is not sold by Herman Street is all relegated to #4 or lower.

"Look at their other Top Ten Review sites and you'll see similar patterns. The highest-ranked products are those that are the most expensive and are 1) sold through Herman Street's store or 2) have a generous affiliate-link program.

"As you mentioned, the fact that this is the 2013 list and they are not even reviewing current versions of programs tells you that this is not a serious software review site.

"A better source would be Genealogy or Come to think of it, the user reviews are a pretty good way to read what actual users think of their software."

My comment:  I don't know if they base their reviews on affiliate commissions.  Family Tree Maker is NOT the most expensive genealogy software - The Master Genealogist costs more, and some of the Mac software costs more.  User software reviews and ratings can be polluted by promoters or critics.

*  Anonymous #2 noted:  "I think your comment is a little naive. All the other sites you listed also have affiliate links or are selling the products they review.

"I realize most review sites sell the products they review, so I pay more attention to the accuracy of those reviews.

"That being said I agree their reviews could be updated to reflect the newest versions. I also disagree with a few of their points."

*  Anonymous #1 rebutted:  "The first comment was far from naive. The difference between Top Ten Reviews and the other links isn't that Top Ten Reviews profits off of links and the others don't.

"The difference is that Top Ten Reviews writes their own reviews and ranks the products based on which will maximize their profits. The other sites allow users- who do not directly profit from the reviews- to rate the software.  With such glaring bias, Top Ten Reviews cannot be trusted to give readers accurate information."

*  TopTenReviews offered:  "I am happy to report that we DO NOT have a pay-for-inclusion model at TopTenREVIEWS. We research the best companies and compare their services to arrive at our ranking. Our recommendations are based on our research and experience with the companies and products. Once we have released our reviews and lineup on TopTenREVIEWS, our sister site Herman Street, reaches out to the product manufacturers to request the opportunity to carry them on their site. Any of the manufacturers may also purchase advertising on our site but all of this happens after the editorial staff has made their recommendation. For an in-depth look at our process feel free to visit our our Review Methodology page at"

My comment:  My thanks to TopTenReviews for explaining their process and how they deal with the product manufacturers.  I have no independent knowledge of their work.  The site has been around for many years.  

*  Anonymous (#1?) said:  "I think TopTenReviews comment is a veiled attempt to justify their ratings. They are so biased and everyone knows it. To compare old versions tells you they are not doing real reviews. I don't care what they say in their policy. They are lairs because the facts don't add up.

"RootsMagic doesn't have an affiliate program. I've asked and they say to refer people to your own Amazon link where you can get paid that way. No wonder they rated them #3, but used version 4 for the comparison."

*  Claire K. commented:  "Randy, TopTen DOES review Mac genie software, they just do it separately from the Win reviews. See Again, FTM comes out on top, but Reunion comes in at #2. Since I'm currently using (and tired of) Reunion, I was surprised at the lineup."

My comment:  Thank you, Claire!

*  Rosemary offered:  "Do you know that Hannah Brown was a Spinster when she married? I didn't see this anywhere. If her status isn't mentioned in the marriage then she may have been a widow. This, of course, makes your search just that more difficult."

My comment:  Unfortunately, the Massachusetts town records in any period don't define a woman's status, with some exceptions I've seen where a "Mrs." is attached to a widow marrying again, which is helpful.  John Phillips was age 27 when he married Hannah Brown, so my assumption is that this was Hannah's first marriage.  I may be wrong!

*  Diane B helped:  "I'm sure you've tried this before, but the bibliography route could probably be tried again. There are so many Brown entries in 'Guide to Published Genealogies in the Library of the NEHGS' but nothing really stands out to me - if you ever get to New England, gather up a pile of them at the NEHGS library and sit and look them over. I checked their 'Manuscripts at the NEHGS' volume but nothing looks right. 

"How about the town records of Southborough (not deeds or probate)? And since Southborough was formed from Marlboro in 1727, I assume you have really looked for Browns there in deeds, probate and town records? 

"Now that you have a couple of candidates for Brown parents, you might try searching those families in the NEHGS search to see if they appear in any journals. But of course birth records can be spotty in this era, so your search among the extremely common name of Brown continues, I guess...

"Ah, for ancestors that didn't move all over the place ..."

My comment:  Thanks for the nudge on the bibliography.  I found my Brown binder and listed the articles I have in Post 2 of the series.  I am in the process of going through the Southborough town records - it's a slow and long slog from 1727 to 1750 or so!   I've already found the two marriage records, which don't provide much help.  Then there are Shrewsbury and Lancaster records, and maybe Sterling too!  At least the land records help by indicating where a grantee was from.

*  David Adams noted:  "Have you considered the spelling of Hannah? On the 1940 census, my mother Hannah Adams was listed as Anna Adams. My experience also suggests that most (or all) current search engines require at least the first letter(s) to find anything. "

My comment:  I have, and I glance at the Anna listings, but with Brown it almost doubles the possibles.  I'll give it another think.  You can use a wild card for the first letter of a given name on most search engines (Ancestry, FamilySearch, AmericanAncestors, etc.), but on most of them you have to have three actual letters, including the last letter on Ancestry if you used a wild card for the first letter.

*  Scott Lackey asked:  "Why use "united states" as a place name for an event that happened 100 years before it existed?"

My comment:  The short answer:  Because the genealogy software requires standard place names to permit the mapping features to be used.  I know it's not "right" but the software gurus haven't come up with a dedicated historical place name list.  The ideal would be a historical place name list where the user could enter a date and historical place name and the place field would insert the historical name for that date and the geocoding would show the current place location.  I create these Surname Saturday reports, and other reports, using my genealogy software which has all of the place names standardized to current locations.  I don't take the time to edit the "offending" place parts out - my readers are smart enough to know the historical place names and jurisdictions.  What's important are the family members and relationships in the Surname Saturday blog posts.  If I was writing for publication in a journal, I would use historical place names.

5)  On Listing My Elizabeth LNU Elusive Ancestors (posted 1 August 2013):

*  Dona offered:  "Re: * Elizabeth (~1620 to 1670), married to John Goodrich (1616 to 1680)

"I have a John Goodrich, 1623–1680, of Wethersfield, CT, and son of John Goodrich & Margery Howe. Is this the same as yours? If so, the Elizabeth he married is identified as Elizabeth Edwards, d/o Thomas Edwards & Elizabeth Busfield (Charles Collard Adams, Middletown Upper Houses)."

My comment:  Thank you for the tip.  I've seen it before, and have not accepted that relationship.  I recall seeing an article in a peer reviewed publication (I'm thinking NEHGR or TAG (The American Genealogist))  that disputed the claim and had some sources to support the position.  I will have to go find it!

*  Keeper of the Tales commented:  "Re: * Elizabeth (~1652 to 1714), married to John Garnsey (1648 to 1722)

"I have a John Garnsey born 7 Dec 1648 in Dorchester, Norfolk, Massachusetts, United States. Son of Henry Garnsey and Hannah Munnings. He died 31 Mar 1722 in Rehoboth, Bristol, Massachusetts, United States

"His wife is identified as Elizabeth Titus born 5 May 1651 in Rehoboth, Bristol, Massachusetts, United States. She died 11 Apr 1714 in Rehoboth, Bristol, Massachusetts, United States.

"If this is the same as your John Garnsey then we may be cousins! He is my 9th Great-Grandfather."

My comment:  The same comment from above holds here - I have an article in my paper stacks that indicates that Elizabeth (--?--) Garnsey was not a daughter of John Titus of Rehoboth.  I'll have to find it.  It is my John and Elizabeth Garnsey - my line is through their daughter Mehitable Garnsey who married John Horton.  John and Elizabeth Garnsey are my 8th great-grandparents.

6)  That's about it for this week.  Thank you to my readers and commenters - congratulations on defeating the dreaded Captcha trap!

Copyright (c) 2013, Randall J. Seaver

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