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: 

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
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.

Smyrna Historic Preservation?

Last October there was a pair of wonderful presentations regarding
historic preservation.  First was Leigh Burns,
Preservation Planner, at the Georgia Department of Natural Resources.  Mandy Elliott, who is a Historic Preservation
Planner for Cobb County, followed her. 
I knew very little about historic preservation and the meanings of “historic districts” and how they can fulfill an important
role in protecting our heritage.  I was very pleased to learn about the
differences  between a National Register District and a Local Historic
District.  I also learned the benefits
of Smyrna becoming a Certified Local Government (CLG) Program.  We are not one now and becoming one is quite
involved, but, it would benefit the city immensely to provide the framework for
protection of our historic past.  Cobb
County is a CLG and supports historic preservation in unincorporated Cobb
County; however, Smyrna is behind.  Other
area cities such as Kennesaw, which is a CLG, and Marietta and Acworth, who
have Historic Preservation Ordinances, have taken the initiative and have
committed themselves to historic preservation. 
As such, I encourage our city council and mayor to pursue the process of
becoming a CLG.
Leigh provided a one-page flyer about the key personnel
involved in the Historic Preservation Division. 
A more detailed version of the information is in the Staff Directory on the Georgia DNR, Historic Preservation Division website.
We learned a lot about the CLG Program. There is a great flyer about the CLG program on line.
We were enlightened regarding what the differences in
capabilities and authority are between a National Register Historic District
and a Local Historic District. (See
The Georgia DNR – Historic Preservation Division provides a
roadmap to success at
It starts with public education.  I encourage everyone to learn
about the process, understand what the benefits are, and see how the actions affect
property owners. It is not as impactful on property owners as you might expect.  For example, I
learned the program does nothing about the insides of the building or a building’s use.

Next, the city needs to draft a Historic PreservationOrdinance.  The Georgia DNR-HPD has a model Historic Preservation Ordinance for entites to use.  They also have other information that shows the
basis for preservation ordinances
 and Public
relations tips

In the second presentation, Mandy Elliott talked about
various projects of historic preservation that have occurred in unincorporated
Cobb County and there are a lot of them. 
She also mentioned driving tours of Cobb County; there are three
of them.  She had flyers for them after the meeting; however, route maps and information are
available at the Cobb County Community Development Agency webpages,  
I can’t wait for the next free “top down” day
to begin my historical driving tour of the county. 
Again, I think Smyrna should pursue becoming a Certified Local Government.  The process will help the city define more sites that are truly historic and might even bump up our number of historic sites on the driving tour from a paltry three locations. 

Bio – Hannah McAllister Darling White

Hannah McAllister 
Hannah McAllister Darling
aka Anna McAllister White

Hannah McAllister was born in England on 15 August 1886.  She was the fourth of six children- four boys and two girls.  At the time of her birth, her father, Peter, was probably in the United States establishing himself and preparing the way for his wife and children to come to the States.

By 1889, Hannah’s mother and siblings joined her father in Catasauqua, Lehigh County, Pennsylvania.  By 1900, the entire family moved to Pittsburgh.  Sometime in 1905, she met Rufus Darling. She was eighteen and he was forty-seven.  In March of 1906, they had a daughter, Elizabeth Grace Darling.  Family history states that there was a rift between Hannah and her father. Certainly, a granddaughter born out of wedlock from a man more than twice the age of his daughter could cause such a rift.

It appears that Rufus and Hannah kept separate households during that time, he in Chicago and Hannah in Wheeling, West Virginia. In December of 1906, Hannah became pregnant a second time. This time Rufus married her, so on 16 February 1907 Hannah and Rufus were married in Kittanning, Armstrong County, Pennsylvania, a small town about 40 miles northeast of Pittsburgh on the Allegheny River.  Family history indicates that she changed her name from Hannah to Anna so that she would be “A. Darling” and became known as Anna after that.   An interesting side note is that Elizabeth appears to have modified a copy of the Marriage Certificate to indicate that Hannah and Rufus were married in 1905, thus legitimizing her.  Family history indicates that this may have been a cause of disagreement between her and cousin Katherine Lane.

In August of 1907, their son, Robert Harry Darling, was born in New Kensington (about 20 miles northeast of Pittsburgh on the Allegheny River), Pennsylvania.
In 1910, Anna was living with her two children, Elizabeth and Robert, as a roomer at the home of Robert & Emma Hennig at 2219 Ward Street (Ward 4).

Anna and Rufus divorced by 1911 after which she married Thomas White. Anna died on 15 July 1913 at the age of 26. Family memory holds that Hannah was buried where Thomas White was later buried at Chartiers Cemetery. At her death, her name was recorded as Annie White.

Y-DNA Test Results – Post 3: The Howell Test & Results

After the success I had with my Y-DNA test, my wife was excited to find what she could.  I explained to her that we could only do a mitochondrial test on her.  It would give a broad brushstroke of her maternal line; we knew that her great-grandmother emigrated from Switzerland around 1903 and not much more.  She was interested in her paternal side; family tradition held they come from Wales, however, there was no proof?  Anyway, we convinced her brother to take the test.  Mother was a little upset and concerned. She thought we were accusing her of a dalliance with the milkman and questioning her virtue.  We finally convinced her that we were only looking for what we might find several generations in the past.

Ancestry.Com – The Stonemasons

Brother Jerome took the test and after what seemed an interminable amount of time, the results came back — Haplogroup I1, what Ancestry calls “The Stonemasons.”  It is sort of an odd combination of Scandinavians and Mediterranean people.  The map Ancestry provides shows the people coming out of Africa, to Scandinavia, then to the Mediterranean, and then back to Scandinavia.  All that is well and good, but the real purpose of taking the test is to find a close match – and there was.  A person with the same last name showed up with a most recent common ancestor (MRCA) in only six generations.  So the search was on, for the common ancestor.  Unfortunately, it was not an easy task.  The tree I have for my wife’s line traces ancestors into the early 1800s.  The cousin’s tree goes back to the mid 1700s.  Ancestors from both trees (Jerome’s and the match’s) were in Virginia in the early 1800s. I found no matches between the trees on first names though.

I worked on pushing my wife’s family history back another generation.  I do not have a name for sure yet, but I am getting close.  A couple more bits of information to sort out and assure which one of several Howell family heads is my wife’s 4th great-grandfather.  What I do know is.

Unknown Howell
Born:  Unknown.
He died about 1817, in Buckingham County, Virginia
In 1805, he lived in Charlotte County, Virginia
He had at least four children, a girl and three boys. The daughter married (1819-1820) a man whose last name was “Holman” and they moved to Alabama about 1821.

We know Mr. Howell was not religious, so he is unlikely to show up in any bibles or church records.
Trying to track him down among all of the Howells in the Virginia counties during the times is grueling work.

However, once I find that common ancestor, I will have a whole new tree of descendants to explore.  The cousin does not appear to have anyone in his tree that died in 1817.  I have looked carefully at the match’s tree and our tree and there is not a possibility for a common ancestor in seven generations on his tree and six generations on our tree.

I have not been particularly pleased with the MRCA generation suggestion by Ancestry.  In the cases where I have been able to trace back the number of generations suggested, none of them have been verifiable.  Admittedly, it is only three connections, but I expect an 87.5% likelihood of a match within the suggested MRCA generations.  I guess her family is n that remaining 12.5%.  I will see what turns up when I have another DNA hit.

Backup Solutions

I have been trying many different cloud storage solutions.  I use Drop Box to share working drafts of
various documents with other church members. 
It works really well.  I love how
it alerts me when another board member makes a change to a file. 
I have also been using Google Docs to share files with my
wife, family members, and friends.  It is
super the way it integrates with Picasa and provides a great platform for
sharing pictures.
I also use Syncplicity. 
It is a cool little program that sync’s my genealogy files off site.  I really like it; the free version provides 2GB of data space but the paid plan is excessively expensive.  At $15/month for 50GB, which would not be
enough, it is the most expensive of the various plans for off-site storage.
Having been in Computer Security for many years, I
understand the importance of having off-site backups.  I have known that the hodgepodge of things I
have been using are not really safe and effective.  I needed to put together a plan for myself.  I really like my local backup program.  Being a Mac owner, I find Time Machine is very
awesome.  Set it and forget it.  It is awesome.  I have a 2TB, USB connected backup drive,
which provides plenty of storage for my modest 320GB local drive.  Nevertheless, I really want to get something
off-site – just in case.
I considered four different off-site backup solution
providers.  (I did not consider Norton
Online Backup because of a past negative experience.)  They were, Back Blaze, Carbonite, Crash Plan,
and Mozy.
In considering a cloud (off-site) backup solution, I looked
at price, ease of use, and reviews.  I
quickly dropped Mozy Home from consideration. 
At $5.99 per month for 50GB and $9.99 per month for 125GB, it was just
too expensive.
I have several friends that use Carbonite.  At $4.92 per month for unlimited it was
definitely a contender.  I could be happy
with the basic “Home” version, as I do not need the External Hard Drive Backup
or the mirror image backup.
Then I looked at Back Blaze and Crash Plan.  They were both $4.17/month on a 1-year plan and
included unlimited storage.  Back Blaze does
not backup your Operating System nor your Applications.  It does backup attached storage, however,
that is not important in my case because the attached storage is only a backup.
 Moreover, really, if I have a catastrophic
problem I am not going to want to reinstall all my apps, even if I could
remember all the apps I have.  Crash Plan
Plus appears to back up everything and have unlimited space for the same price.
From my research, I had a good idea of the products I
thought were desirable.  I then Goggled “online
backup services reviews 2012” and started looking. ‘s writer Tim Fisher said his favorite
was Crash Plan Plus.
Computerworld’s review of “Five Backup Services keep yourData Safe” liked Crash Plan except that it took way to long to upload the first
time.  They then selected Mozy Home as
their selection.  I really do not care
about the several daylong upload times to get things started, but I can see
where some others might be.  The bottom
line is I selected Crash Plan Plus.  I
downloaded the 31-day free trial with the intent to purchase the plan the first
of next year if it works as well as I think it will.