In December 2015, I ranted about how unhappy I was that Family Tree Maker was being dropped by Ancestry as a product. I did consider staying with Family Tree Maker 3 for Mac; however, I kept having problems the synchronization of my tree with Ancestry was corrupting my database. So, I decided to search for alternative products. I wished that Legacy Family Tree had a Mac version and I wanted Roots Magick 7 to have a real Mac product and not a runtime windows version. Besides the weird file locations (C: and F: drives), I never could get the fonts correct and details displayed in inconsistent ways. I tried several other products, Mac Family Tree, Reunion, and Heredis. I settled on Heredis and have used it for the past year but I’ve been having problems with it. When I zoom into some of my sources, the system crashes, sends a crash report to Apple (who is supposed to send it on to Heredis) and then allows me to restart. It seems that details that I cut and pasted from a website, which has several different fonts and hyperlinks seem to be the culprits. I finally decided to drop Heredis because of this and use something else for my 2017 research. I decided on using Roots Magic 7, exported my two large research files from Heredis to GED format, importing them into Roots Magic, then began working with them.
Then I received the notification that Family Tree Maker has been re-released by MacKiev. The upgrade from FTM 14 for windows and FTM 3 for Mac was free. I decided to upgrade and give it a try. I exported my two Roots Magic files to GED format then imported them into FTM.
Wow. I was immediately reminded of how much I liked Family Tree Maker Mac 3 when I reviewed it in December 2013. I began working on one of my projects, Project Drexl, and saw how nice it was to work with. Clearly designed for Mac, all the features worked. There were many features that Heredis didn’t have that I was really happy to have back, such as a calendar function. (For example, a calendar of all my ancestors who had birthdays in January.) Also, and probably the biggest thing, was that there are templates for sources that follows Elizabeth Shown Mills’ Evidence Explained. Linking sources to facts is easy. I liked navigation through family members a bit better with Heredis, but the FTM method is fine.
I haven’t tried to upload and sync my FTM files with Ancestry, yet; and I am not certain that I will do so. I may just upload what I have with FTM and then break the link. In any event, I’m hoping that Ancestry’s on-line tree isn’t the master of all.
So far, I’m very happy that Family Tree Maker is back and I am looking forward to using it over the next year or so. I think they may have gotten me back.
As many of you know who have been following my frustrations with software, trying to find the perfect tool to manage my genealogical research, I’ve tried many different products (Roots Magic, Mac Family Tree, Heredis, Reunion, and more). I use a Mac, and I’ve never been happy using a Windows product on my Mac using windows emulation products. I used Reunion 11 for several weeks and feel that I learned the good and the bad of it. The process for my handling sources and applying those sources to facts that I enter for individuals is really good. The bad, I’ve not been successful importing a GEDCOM file into Reunion and having the media associated with a source connecting properly. Taking the time to reconnect the media is time-consuming and frustrating. The other issue I had with Reunion was the reporting. What I like to do for my blog is have the software generate a fairly reasonable outline of an individual and then I can rewrite the outputted draft story of the individual into a form I like better and add other details. I found Reunion didn’t provide a particularly good draft story.
I recalled from my previous use of Heredis 2015 that it seemed to write a draft life story much better, because of that, I thought I’d give it a try again and I’m much happier with the results.
Although the GEDCOM export from Family Tree Maker and the subsequent import into either Reunion or Heredis seemed to be similar, reconnecting media to sources seems to be easier in Heredis. So, because of my experiences with both products, I’ve decided to return to using Heredis as my primary tool for managing my family tree.
Is it perfect, no, but it seems to be the best for me. The biggest negative issue is the complete lack of management of to-do or task lists. I can easily overcome that by using another program to do so. I have long used Evernote to document interesting information I find. I can readily adapt it to act as my to-do and genealogical tasks. Probably even better than most genealogical programs. I also can use vJournal (an Evernote plugin) to document my research activity. Again, probably better than research logs within genealogy software.
So, I think I have my solution. I’ll use Heredis as my Genealogy management software. It will relate my electronic media with my sources and relate them to individuals as appropriate. Then I’ll use Evernote to manage my to-do tasks. I’ll use vJournal for a research log which will store its information in Evernote. Finally, I’ll use Heredis to export reports that contain the basics of an individual’s life story and also provides the endnotes citing the sources of each item I rewrite using Microsoft Word. I think it is a good plan.
Marion Josephine Reed Roos Mowbray is the first individual I exported a biography sheet for and then rewrote it for my style of writing. Will I get better with it, I’m sure I will, but I’m happy with the results so far.
Marion Josephine Reed (Roos) Mowbray (1898-1977)
52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks – Week 5
Marion Reed Roos (1920)
Alfred University Yearbook: Kanakadea 1920
Marion Josephine Reed Roos was born on 22 December 1898 in Buffalo (Erie, New York), USA, died on 3 September 1977 in Weymouth (Norfolk, Massachusetts), USA, aged 78[i].
She is the daughter of Edward H Roos(1856-1933), aged 42, and Christiana Roos(1860-), aged 38. She was the youngest of five children. The family consisted of four children (2 boys and 2 girls) all born in the five years between 1880 and 1884. Then was a 14-year gap when Marion was born.
Events in the life of Marion include:
In 1900, she was living with her parents and all four siblings at 364 Elm Street in Buffalo (Erie County), New York.[ii]
In 1910, she as living with her parents and just her youngest sibling, Lenora, at 636 Linwood Ave in Buffalo (Erie County), New York).[iii]
In 1917, the family appears to be just her and her parents, living at 584 Linwood Ave. Buffalo (Erie County), New York. Her father is listed in the city directory as a building contractor.[iv]
In 1918 Marion became a freshmen at Alfred University in Alfred (Allegany County), New York ) where she studied science.[v]
Alfred University is about 90 miles southeast of her home in Buffalo.
The 1920 Census reports her still living with her parents at 584 Linwood Ave in Buffalo (Erie County), New York and working as a grammar school teacher; however, she was still attending Alfred University, and was the Junior Class president and the editor-in-chief of the “Fiat Lux”.[vi], [vii] Because the 1920 Census was enumerated on 1 January, I believe Marion was probably home during the Christmas break, which would make sense.
She graduated from Alfred University in 1921 in Alfred (Allegany, New York), Alfred University.[viii]
She returned to living with her parents living at 584 Linwood in Buffalo (Erie County), New York) and was living there in 1923.[ix]
In 1924, she married Elmer Stephens Mapes(1898-1974), who was the son of James Mapes(1863-) and Myrtle E [Mapes](1869.[x] They were both 25 years old when they married. It is apparent that they met at Alfred University. Both were on the staff of the “Fiat Lux.”
By 1926, the couple had moved to Bristol, (Bristol County), Rhode Island.[xi]
In 1929, their first daughter (living) was born in Massachusetts.
The 1930 Census reports the couple living in Bristol, RI at 895 Hope Street. Elmer is the acting superintendent of schools, an amazing accomplishment for the 31-year-old Elmer.[xii]
Their second daughter (living) was born in 1934 also in Massachusetts.
Sometime in the 1950s, the family moved to Weymouth (Norfolk County), Massachusetts.
Marion’s husband, Elmer, died in 1974 in Weymouth, MA.
Marion died on 3 September 1977, in Weymouth (Norfolk County), Massachusetts.[xiii]
[i] Sources: Massachusetts Death Index, 1970-2003 (Other) – Social Security Death Index (Other) – Social Security Death Index / Marion Mapes – 039-16-3413 – Ancestry.com (Other) – Massachusetts Death Index, 1970-2003 – Ancestry.com (Other)
[ii] Source: 1900 Census / Buffalo Ward 6, Erie, New York; Roll: 1026; Page: 17B – Ancestry.com (Digitizing)
[iii] Source: 1910 Census / Buffalo Ward 20, Erie, New York; Roll: T624_947; Page: 4B – Ancestry.com (Digitizing)
[iv] Source: U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995 / 1917 – Buffalo, New York, Page 1276 – Roos – Ancestry (Other)
What I didn’t mention on my blog was that I only used it for three of the dozen or so family trees I manage. I liked a lot about it but the surname issue I mentioned before and the cumbersome process of associating my source and citations to a fact, event, or location that I couldn’t seem to overcome caused me to continue working with Family Tree Maker for Mac 3 with my larger trees and not convert them to Heredis. I tried working with it again in earnest and decided I might use it, but I thought there must be something I like better.
Gramps is an open source program for managing genealogical data. There were quite a few things about it that I liked. (No cost is good.) I liked how you could focus upon an individual and not be burdened by family unit information. The way you could enter relationships that didn’t include marriage yet did include children was nice. However, the proof of the pudding was how it handled entering source/citation/textual data then associating it to multiple facts involving multiple individuals. Again, I found it cumbersome. I only gave it a few hours and I think I might have figured out better processes to handle it, but I decided to continue and research some other products.
Mac Family Tree
I had version 5.5.5 several years ago and see that they have updated it several times since. The latest is Mac Family Tree 7. I downloaded their demo version, 7.6.2. It is supposedly the same as their paid version except you can’t import, can’t save, and can’t print. So, I began putting a tree together using my process for documenting a source and then associating it was individuals and their facts and/or events. Not bad — certainly better than Gramps and Heredis and much simpler than RootsMagic. I decided that it was definitely a contender, but I wanted to continue.
One of the many websites I looked indicated that they thought Reunion was the best. I had Reunion 9 a number of years ago and liked it. I used it until I went to Family Tree Maker for Mac (FTM4M) because I wanted the replication to Ancestry Trees that FTM4M allowed. Their new version, Reunion 11, has a free evaluation version that allows for 50 people, no import or export, watermarked reports and some other limited features. Luckily, it allowed enough functionality for me to test my work processes. Wow – I was impressed.
I really loved how you can put almost anything you want on the left side of the screen, including sources. Then you can enter your facts, events, or notes and drag and drop the appropriate source citation to the fact. It was a really a smooth process.
Reunion, like many other systems, doesn’t deal well with multiple names. For example, my grandfather was born Clifford Durwood Brown. He went by Richard Durand for many years (married and had two children) and then changed his name to Richard Earl Brown. RootsMagic handles that really well. Most other genealogy programs don’t. Many require you to pick one name as the individual’s name then make aliases for the other names. Reunion has a few suggestions. In the case of my grandfather, I could use Richard Earl Brown because that was his name at his death. I could also use Richard Durand because that is the surname that most of his children were raised with the Durand surname. In either case, Clifford Brown would be an alias or “AKA.” It just doesn’t seem right to me to make someone’s birth name an alias. They mention the problems with that as the alias names don’t show up in the indexes reports.
They also suggest using brackets to for the alias names. For example, my grandfather would be: [Clifford Durwood] Richard Earl for his first and middle name and [Durand] Brown for his surname. It just seems cumbersome confusing. I wish they did what Roots Magic does where both names are entered and are visible in the indexes with the aliases identified by a prefix of “+.”
I wish that Roots Magic, or Legacy Family Tree for that matter, made an actual Mac product. Until they do, I’m going to use Reunion and hope they can improve their multiple name handling issues cause the rest of Reunion seems to be just what I’m looking for.
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.
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.
I should know better. Paying good money to purchase Ancestry’s Family Tree Maker for Mac 3.0 was a bad, bad idea. Again they released what I would think of as beta software and they hope that many people won’t notice. Had I not had existing files, I might not have.
I purchased the upgrade version. Installation is a bit different than most Mac software. Download the file, then executing the DMG file doesn’t open and execute the installation, rather, it puts a device on your desktop. You then need to execute it from your desktop to install the product. If you aren’t a big desktop user, you might not notice the additional icon. I didn’t because my desktop was already full and double stacking icons. There is not message that it has done so.
Once installed, and program key entered, the initial screen is like the 2.x version except some things are moved from the right side of the screen to the left. It is still focused on “getting started” and doesn’t have an option to open your last file.
Once you import a file from version 2, or otherwise have a file you will enter the “Plan” view. It contains the same information that version 2 provided, but again, it is shuffled around like they think if they move it we’ll think it is new. “Trees” moved from this page to the menu which was very good. However the space dedicated to the “Ancestry Web Dashboard” was expanded from what was about 1/6 of the screen to a good 1/3 of the screen. Like the previous edition, you can’t change the size of any of the “Plan” window elements. It is obvious they think that what my ancestry.com activities are are at least 1/3 of all that is important to me. Sorry, not true.
I will again say they attend a Trees selection to the menu bar so it is available on any page. That is one of the few changes that I think are good.
Their advertising mentions they added an “Export Branch” feature. It is okay. It allow you to select a person from your tree and then export just the ancestors & descendants of that tree. In actuality it just creates a backup file of that line. It would be nice if you could export a branch then delete that branch from your existing tree, but that is only a hope for me. If you export a branch you will need to delete the individuals from your old tree individually or have duplicate entries in two different trees. Once exported, you will need to effectively restore that backup and then export that branch in another format if you so desire.
In the Media section it is now possible to select more than one media at a time. This is great because it makes it much easier to apply categories and do other actions to media in bulk. There is also a new utility to “find missing media” which is a great addition. It allows you to much more easily reconnect media that has become disconnected. For example, I renamed a directory that had media in it to support some other actions I was doing with the media. This utility will help clean up that type of action more easily.
Family View Report
New in FTM-Mac-3
Reports look about the same. There is a new “Family View Report.” It is a simplified family sheet, showing couple and children with a pedigree chart above. I like it and may use it in the future, but otherwise, the reports appear to be the same as in Version 2.x.
Now the reason I’m unhappy with FTM-Mac-3. Sources. The import process just trashed the sources. It sometimes moved source citations to another source title. Some sources appeared to vanish. However, when I created a new Source Title with the same name as before, they magically reappeared. Sometime the citation detail was now blank but the citation text was still good. All in all, it appeared to trash the database.
I use different files for my various projects. I converted two of my projects to FTM-Mac-3 and am very unhappy with the results with the sources becoming corrupt. I am so glad I have paper copies of most everything important so I can reconstruct the sources and source citations as I com across them. In the meantime, I will continue using FTM-Mac-2 for all my other work and projects until they do an upgrade that fixes the problems. Maybe, I’ll just return to Reunion or Mac Family Tree next time. Maybe even Heredis if they have fixed the name issue.
I recommend saving your money and continue using FTM-Mac-2 until they, at least, correct the sources import issues. If you are new to FTM and aren’t converting files, FTM-Mac-3 is great software and I recommend it.