I Switched to Heredis

Frustration strikes again…

My continuing problems with Family Tree Maker (FTM) for Mac 3.0 occurred again. I saw that my synchronization to my on-line tree was broken once again. In addition, I found that several of my sources were corrupted. Therefore, I decided to give up. Interestingly, the same morning I made that decision I received an email from Heredis letting me know that their new 2015 product for the Mac was now available. It is also on sale for 50% off until July 19th. It seemed like a sign, so I purchased it.

Heredis Installation & Import

Heredis give you to option to purchase from their site or purchase through the App Store. I purchased from the App Store. It downloaded and installed automatically. I used Time Machine to restore my FTM to a version before it corrupted. Then opened up FTM and exported my file in GED 5.5 format. 

Next, in Heredis, I opened a GEDCOM file, selected the file I had exported and it imported successfully. Then Heredis asked if I wanted to import my media. I said yes and selected the appropriate Media folder. It pulled in all the media that it knew about. Very easy to do.

Heredis Features

I then began looking at some of the features of Heredis. I was immediately impressed with the way it handles sources. When you open a source, besides the expected basic information that you would expect, a huge note area allows you to format the text you write nicely. I like using the “vertical display” which puts the image on the left and the note text on the right. I found usage to be smooth and easy. For example, I went to Family Search, found a record I was looking for. On Family Search, I selected copy and I downloaded the image. When I went back to Heredis, I just pasted the copied information into the note, and then dragged and dropped the image into Heredis. I added the header information based upon what I had copied — Just a series of copy & pastes.

Title: 1940 Census – Document: [Head of Household’s Name] – Repository: Family Search – Author: NARA – Date: [Today’s date] (‘cause I found it today), Website: I entered the exact familysearch.org URL. I was done. I did add the address of the individual, which the person rented, and a couple other items but it was good to go.

Although the source page does show what events are associated with it there isn’t a way to add an event through that page, however, I went to the Head of the household in my people entry form and input a Census record for 1 Apr 1940 with the key information for the head. A really cool feature is to share that event with other individuals. That feature keeps you from needing to reenter the same information on the records for everyone in the household. In a comment line, it is easy add the information that is different from the head, such as wife, son, daughter, or mother-in-law as appropriate. I like the system.

Heredis default on-line
search locations.

Another very cool feature is the Search. They populate several popular web search engines, Ancestry.Com, FamilySearch.com, Find-a-Grave, etc. You can add more or disable them as you wish. On the next tab over from the Search is “Research Note.” It is a great place to enter notes regarding what you have searched already. I like it.


I found the selection criterion for finding people is flexible. For example, you can select by surname individuals whose parents are unknown.

Another awesome feature is to work on a branch. Select a person then you can select ancestors or descendants of that individual. It is kind of like an automatic filter system. You can also show just the treetops, which can give you a visual look at individuals you may want to spend more time researching. Reports are everything you would expect or want. It is very impressive software.

It is perfect, no. There isn’t a way for an individual to have multiple surnames. In my family, there are several (male) individuals who had multiple surnames and for whom the surname wasn’t related. Using a “nickname” or considering it an alias doesn’t work well. My grandfather was born Clifford Brown, Married and had children as Richard Durand, and went by Richard Brown in his later years. I’ve never encountered a reasonable explanation for the name changes. In addition, of course, he did have the nickname of “Dick,” as do many Richards.

The bottom line is I’m really happy (so far) that I made the switch to Heredis.

————-  DISCLAIMER  ————-
newspapers.com

     

Review: Heredis 2.1.0 (Mac)

Software Review

Heredis 2.1.0 (Mac Version)

My first, quick, look at Heredis for the Mac was awesome. The free trial
version allows tracking of 50 individuals in your tree but otherwise is full
featured. I downloaded their sample tree, of forty-six individuals and was
impressed. The integration of photos, sources, and places with the people is
extremely slick. The interface was incredibly user friendly and followed Mac
methodology. Data is well organized into four major areas: 
·     
Persons
·     
Places
·     
Sources
·     
Media

Under Persons are four tabs, 

·     
Immediate Family, grandparents, parents, spouse,
and children, are displayed. There is a great feature where you can link
variants of a surname together. In my family tree, I have Manning, Mannin,
Mannon, and Mannen, which spellings used changes constantly.
·     
Personal Data, which includes key info on the
individual, (names, notes, etc.) events, (birth, marriage, death, etc.) and a
family section. One cool thing about the section is what they call “sundry
links” which is a place you can link an individual to another based upon a
non-direct relationship. For example, when a niece is living with a family and
you don’t know who the parent is or even which side of the family the to whom
the niece is related. Events allow you enter many different event types. A
marriage event does not show who the marriage was to. You have to display the
families tab and the events tab simultaneously and figure out which is the
correct one. Adding a new marriage event is cumbersome, as the input screen does
not display all the info for the marriage. They also put unusual emphasis upon
people’s occupation and even have a separate index for that. The software seems
to put too much importance on a child’s status (illegitimate, natural, etc.)
and if a person can sign their name (verses uses an “X”). It is rare that I
have cared about status and have never paid attention to a person’s signature
ability. 
·     
Family Group Data provides easy access to key
information on parents, partners, and children. The display is cluttered, trying
to put too much on the screen.
·     
Ancestors tab gives a quick pedigree chart,
which is easily selectable as four, five, or six generations.
The Places section is likewise very clean. It uses little icons
to indicate if you have a picture of a place or if it has notes. Accessing
Places via the “Tools” menu gives access to you to see which individuals have
an entry to a particular place. Locations link to “Open Street Map.” I had
never seen them before and really like their maps.  I may use them for other things in the future. 
The Sources section is more flexible than some other
programs I have seen. You can add images and notes. The notes have complete formatting
capabilities, font, font size, bold, italic, etc. 
The Media section links photographs to the individuals and
is very clear and concise in its use.
The Reports are standard and what one might expect. It will
create a biographical report for an individual and then launch your preferred
word processor for you to finish it off. I thought that was very cool. Throughout
the reports you have the option to include private data or not.
There are Heredis iPad and iPhone applications (free) that can allow you to sync your desktop to your iPad or iPhone and take it with you.  Also, the sync function allows you to sync to remote computers, external hard drives (cloud), and USB Flash Drives.  
I thought, “Wow,
I can’t wait to see how it does with my tree.”
I encountered my first disappointment. It only imports
GEDCOM and Heredis files. It would be nice if it imported some of the other
popular genealogical software. I imported a GED file knowing that GED imports do
not support media. I would have to reconnect my media to my sources. A time consuming process.
Then I found the showstopper. I noticed that the import
stripped off the name if I had more than one name for an individual. I then
found there is no way for an individual to have more than one name. (Their support forum confirmed this problem.)  I have
several ancestors who changed their name for no apparent reason and there is no
way to accommodate those different names in the software. 
There are several other issues, for example no web
publishing capability, although their website says they are working on it;
however, most of the other problems are minor and can be worked around.
At $59.90, normal retail price, the cost is in the same
range as other genealogy programs for the Mac such as Family Tree Maker,
Reunion, and MacFamily Tree. Heredis’ use of indexes and their search
capability are second to none and really a plus. If they fix their names issue,
simplify some of the screens that try to show too much data, and improve their
import file format capability, I think it will be a desirable product. In its
current form, I do not recommend it.