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Genealogy Advice
Posted by: decocritter
Date: November 21, 2021 01:46PM
Anyone here that could give me some direction on trying prepare to take over some of the 45 years of intermittent work, my mother has done?

She is using an older windows computer and old version of Family Tree Maker. She needs updates and a new computer but is afraid none of will work on her current setup ( she said an IT person looked at it)

She has countless church diocese records, census info, etc. She has a lot of family pictures. Her brother has sent, Her some great letters with stories. I also want to try to record him (94) telling some stories. He is in Louisiana

Her research abilities are amazing, but her computer skills are beyond basic, and have held her back. She is in California and I am in Atlanta. No one in the family is interested, but me. But she does not know how to send me any of her data, she cannot copy and paste, can barely print. She has a lot of info on an old back up drive . She cannot even tell you what her equipment is.

I am thinking that I ought to at least get a program and start filling in my own data. If I buy a newer version of Family Tree maker for Mac, would I be able to merge or share/copy some data? She won’t let anyone near her computer.

Is there a better program I should use?

Mom is 80 and afraid she is going to not live long enough to do the book she always wanted to put together. So she started sponsoring and putting a lot of info on Find A Grave. Hard for me to get around there, and i can see she has made a few mistakes.

We have been texting and talking but it is hard for me to follow her because I don’t even have a tree to follow, and cannot see the relationships with many of the people she talks about. She knew a lot of these people, but I did not.

I want to try to help her go back and fill in some detail, pictures, and get familiar. I am afraid I am going to inherit boxes of info and not be able to understand it.

Ultimate goal would be able to help her start her book. I have urged her to fill out her program, as completely as she can.

She had not done as much of her mothers tree, French people, many people and graves lost from hurricanes in coastal Louisiana, and it is very difficult. She was able to go down to some graveyards and churches in New Orleans years ago and get some info. She even replaces some Headstones and Grave markers, which I want to know about.

My interest has fired her up. She started working on it again and calling me. While talking I started plugging some of her relatives into Wikitree search and I found that we are very likely related Abraham Lincoln…one of his relatives went down to Louisiana and married a local (one of our relatives)

I know I need to go out to California, but with Covid….both have health issues, and I am not crazy about flying and would die if I exposed her.

Any advice?
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Re: Genealogy Advice
Posted by: GGD
Date: November 21, 2021 01:56PM
I have no experience in this, but the very first thing I would do is make sure she (and then you) has backups of all of her data, her hard drive an the applications.
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Re: Genealogy Advice
Posted by: N-OS X-tasy!
Date: November 21, 2021 02:01PM
Maybe a short visit to your mom is in order? Sounds like this would go a lot more smoothly face-to-face.



It is what it is.
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Re: Genealogy Advice
Posted by: decocritter
Date: November 21, 2021 02:11PM
Going to try to visit soon, but health issues involved and covid risk. We are vaxed , but I don’t relish air travel
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Re: Genealogy Advice
Posted by: btfc
Date: November 21, 2021 02:24PM
Yes, step one would be to backup everything to a fresh drive.

Step two, research backing up/exporting from Family Tree Maker, and transferring to a Mac.

I’ll take a look and post back.
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Re: Genealogy Advice
Posted by: btfc
Date: November 21, 2021 02:28PM
[support.mackiev.com]
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Re: Genealogy Advice
Posted by: Rolando
Date: November 21, 2021 02:34PM
Quote
decocritter
She has countless church diocese records, census info, etc. She has a lot of family pictures. Her brother has sent, Her some great letters with stories. I also want to try to record him (94) telling some stories. He is in Louisiana

I cannot urge you enough to do this. I always thought about doing this for my parents and grandparents, but I always thought to do it "later"

Then I lost my father's mother, my mom, my mother's mother and years later, my father. And I never got around to it.

I regret this daily.



San Antonio, TX (in the old city)


"All that is required for evil to prevail is for good men to do nothing." - Edmund Burke
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Re: Genealogy Advice
Posted by: Bernie
Date: November 21, 2021 02:43PM
Reunion 13

Not only am I saying dump Family Tree Maker for Reunion... I will show you how.

I just upgraded from 10 to 13 as I am planning on getting back to it. Reunion 13 runs on M1 Macs and is 64 bit. It has a companion app for IOS devices.




Staunton, Virginia
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Re: Genealogy Advice
Posted by: Filliam H. Muffman
Date: November 21, 2021 02:46PM
I have a suspicion that Ancestry.com abandoned Family Tree Maker as a way to force people to upload all their data online with privacy rules/terms of service that are pretty much useless for protecting the users.

Family Tree Maker should export in the GEDCOM format and many current Mac genealogy programs will read that. Without knowing the specific version of Family Tree Maker, I would say just pick one and get started.

My dad did something similar 30 years ago on a DOS 5.0 computer. Sadly, my brother recycled the computer without making a copy of the data (just one of many failures as the executor). It would be a little more important if any of my brothers or I had children.



In tha 360. MRF User Map
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Re: Genealogy Advice
Posted by: Acer
Date: November 21, 2021 03:12PM
FWIW, If you can get her to export to GEDCOM, Gramps is an open source software that will open the files. I would not recommend she move to Gramps, but at least you know you can access a back-up.
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Re: Genealogy Advice
Posted by: decocritter
Date: November 21, 2021 03:29PM
Sorry Rolando…this is what I am afraid of. I will not be executor and no one else cares. They would thwart any effort I have about anything.

Btfc - I found that a few minutes ago, seems so complicated

Bernie I was just reading about Reunion and thinking is sounded easier if the files will transfer.

Filliam - I am very green on all of this, but my mother seems to hate posting to Ancestry and now holds back. She does not want people editing her work, and says lots of wrong info and amateurs.

She has sponsored countless find a grave entries and turned my father’s over to me (divorced). Her goal is to have all her info free, but correct and she says people try to claim your family members, put in wrong info that cannot be changed, and then sell it - I do not understand any of this.
I think wiki pages may do the same thing, but it seems easier to get around. I made a locked account, but have gone no further than my own entry
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Re: Genealogy Advice
Posted by: davemchine
Date: November 21, 2021 04:31PM
I am another Reunion user. As others have already mentioned you should be able to export a GEDCOM file from whatever she is using and import it into your own Reunion database. Uploading your family tree information to 23andMe or some other service will allow you to connect with people who have intersecting family trees with yours.

There is probably hey standard method of organizing data in hardcopy but what I have is a bunch of stacks. I’ve only done the very basic work. Verbal information from living family members, then I took pictures of gravestones because it was easy, and then I picked up some extra information from the people on 23andMe. My brother has collected some newspaper clippings.

What to do with this information to make it interesting I do not know. It seems like it’s always the same story that one person in a family is interested in produces some sort of book and passes it around the family.



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Re: Genealogy Advice
Posted by: SurfMacJpMtb
Date: November 21, 2021 04:38PM
Another vote for Reunion. Great product with great support.



Long time Mac user
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Re: Genealogy Advice
Posted by: modelamac
Date: November 21, 2021 04:54PM
Do you think you can teach her to get a DropBox or Google drive Account? Then you could get her to put all of her data on the cloud and you could access it.

Quote
decocritter
Going to try to visit soon, but health issues involved and covid risk. We are vaxed , but I don’t relish air travel



Ed (modelamac)

I think I will just put an OUT OF ORDER
sticker on my head and call it a day.
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Re: Genealogy Advice
Posted by: testcase
Date: November 21, 2021 08:32PM
In the city / county your mom resides in, is there an "Office tor the Aging" (or similar)? If so, I'd contact them and explain what your mom is trying to accomplish and, can they help (or at least recommend a person / service that could)? Plan B would be to contact a school (High School or College) and see if there might be a suitable student that might be interested in taking on an "extra credit" project that you'd be willing to fund. A little time online and some phone calls could yield good results.
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Re: Genealogy Advice
Posted by: Diana
Date: November 21, 2021 08:45PM
Get the data backed up. All of it; each program should be able to read GEDCOM files, but not all of her data may get backed up since GEDCOM is an evolving standard and not all programs completely held to the standards.

Ancestry allows you to have your trees as public or private; I’ve not seen where someone can change your existing tree without your acknowledgment, but as people being people it wouldn’t surprise me if such were happening. There is a bit of an “echo chamber” aspect of it, and people make associations sometimes on very flimsy evidence. It is very easy for this kind of nonsense to get incorporated into your tree. A lot of people need to give their decisions and choices a bit more thought before they make them! And yes, any information you put out there has the potential of being high jacked and incorporated into some paid product.

But, with all its problems and issues, it’s what we have to work with. Not all the available records agree with one another; things get misread, mistranslated and/or transposed. Unique names may be more common than you know. Documentation is pretty close to everything given the echo. When I first started, I didn’t give that much thought to the chain of evidence and errors quickly crept into my work. I now have two sides of the work—confirmed, and suspected. I had to redo all of my previous work due to the lack of care, accuracy and precision I started out with, and I thought at that time I was being careful!

It doesn’t really matter which program you use as long as it covers the things you want it to: for me, I wanted to see the tree so I could see the relationship; dig deeper on a person to get more details; attach files like photos, pdfs, stories and such; customize to some degree, because not all programs will cover all things (adoptions? co-habitats? informal marriages? same-sex couples?); and most importantly an active and respectful and responsive user base because questions always come up. I also wanted it to make reports, as those few in my family are interested as well. Mistakes happen, and if it is a pain to correct it then I don’t need it. Having said that, all programs will have their issues. I use iFamily for Mac. I first got into it before the founder of the company unexpectedly passed away. For a bit there it felt like it was abandoned but his son picked it up and has made it even better.

Good luck with it, and keep us apprised.
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Re: Genealogy Advice
Posted by: testcase
Date: November 21, 2021 10:58PM
As for all the advice to back up the data available, deco has indicated that his mom has virtually ZERO computer skills. Mom needs IN PERSON help and, considering the age of some of her older data, said data might NOT be accessible (I was in the same boat years ago while trying to help a senior; her 1.4MB floppy disks were NO LONGER readable). That's why I suggested that someone who was knowledgeable AND local to his mom be found. If deco's mom were in Northeast TN, I'd step up and try to help. I know there are forum members who live in CA. In an ideal world, one (or more) of these members (or someone from the sources I mentioned earlier) would be able to visit deco's mom and assess the situation. Once that was done, deco might have the information that he could act on.
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Re: Genealogy Advice
Posted by: davester
Date: November 22, 2021 12:17AM
The main thing is to get a GEDCOM export. Pretty much every genealogy program will do that and every program will read that. As to using Reunion vs other programs, that's a matter of preference. I have used Reunion and it is a mature app, but I think that MacFamilyTree is a better program.



"In science it often happens that scientists say, 'You know that's a really good argument; my position is mistaken,' and then they would actually change their minds and you never hear that old view from them again. They really do it. It doesn't happen as often as it should, because scientists are human and change is sometimes painful. But it happens every day. I cannot recall the last time something like that happened in politics or religion." (1987) -- Carl Sagan
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Re: Genealogy Advice
Posted by: Ombligo
Date: November 22, 2021 08:46AM
I work with a couple of other family members, each of us researching a different branch of the family. We use Family Tree Maker 2017 as it works across platforms and is easily published to Ancestry where we can all see the tree.

It may not be the best program, but it does allow us to work together using the same program on both Macs and PC's. That would not be as easily possible with Reunion or Macfamilytree.



“No persons are more frequently wrong, than those who will not admit they are wrong.” -- François de La Rochefoucauld

"Those who cannot accept the past are condemned to revise it." -- Geo. Mathias
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Re: Genealogy Advice
Posted by: Buzz
Date: November 22, 2021 04:05PM
Quote
testcase
In the city / county your mom resides in, is there an "Office tor the Aging" (or similar)? If so, I'd contact them and explain what your mom is trying to accomplish and, can they help (or at least recommend a person / service that could)? Plan B would be to contact a school (High School or College) and see if there might be a suitable student that might be interested in taking on an "extra credit" project that you'd be willing to fund. A little time online and some phone calls could yield good results.

Yeah, where in Cali is the old broad? Maybe one of us ‘fornians is close enough to hook her up with Drop Box, or some other file sharing arrangement that would solve, or help solve, the issue enough to where you could then use a screen sharing utility.
==
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