Find My Ancestor Blog

Mobile Monday – Camera Connection Kit

Today in the Mobile Monday Series I am going to talk about two pieces of hardware you can purchase rather than an app you can download. For those of you with an iPad, I am sure you have done some genealogical research on it. If you haven't or you don't realize the amazing capabilities it has to help you in your research, you are missing out. I hope that in the next few months I can help show you many features, apps, etc. to help you really take your genealogy mobile. Also, for those of you attending the RootsTech Conference here in Salt Lake City in a few weeks, I will be showing a lot of really cool things you can do on your mobile device! Today I want to show you the iPad Camera Connection Kit. I just recently heard about this little device and since I am such a techie nerd I had to go out and buy it! The current iPad does not have a camera built into it, but I know there are many hopes and rumors that the next generation of iPad will. But for those of us, like myself, who will not be the first ones to rush out and buy the new iPad, there is an amazing alternative. When you buy the iPad Camera Connection Kit it comes with two little adapters. The connection kit enables you to connect your camera to your iPad via the USB cable that comes with your camera or simply by inserting your SD card your photos are stored on. There are many times while doing our research and we take photos of cemeteries, houses, documents and many other items. By using your digital camera and importing the photos into your iPad with the connection kit, you are getting a better quality image than if the iPad had a camera built into it. (Unless your digital camera is a number of years old and has a low megapixel quality.) I bought the iPad Camera Connection Kit on Saturday and was very impressed with it. As soon as you attach the adapter and either plug in your camera or SD card, a screen automatically appears on your iPad showing thumbnails or all the photos available to import into your iPad.

I find this to be very handy especially when you don't want to carry around your laptop with you while you are on the go. The two adapters are small enough they fit into a little pouch I have for my iPad and I hardly even notice they are there. Honestly, the more I use my iPad and find little adapters, cases and apps the more I am liking it. I find myself using my iPad a lot more than my laptop at times. There are many times where it is so much more convenient to use and carry around. Do any of you have the iPad Camera Connection Kit? Do you like it? What other options have you found using your mobile devices and taking photos? Leave us your comments and feedback below!


Mac App Store Review – Genealogy Perspective

Many of you have already heard that today the Mac App Store was released. Some of you might be saying to yourself isn't there already an App Store? There is, but the App Store that you may be thinking about is only for iPhones, iPod Touch, and iPads whereas this new App Store is for desktop and laptop computers. The new App Store allows developers to submit their applications to be placed in the App Store just like the one on your mobile device. The App Store will allow Mac users to find new apps without having to search all over the internet all day. By finding and downloading apps using the App Store you will also be assured that the application you are downloading is safe - no need to worry about what you are finding. While doing my initial look around in the App Store I found a number of applications that I already have on my computer including iWork, iLife, Evernote, Pixelmator and more. Some of the applications already said they were installed on my computer while others didn't. I am not sure why some of them were able to see that I had the application already installed while others didn't. I hope those that didn't won't have to be re-installed because I am assuming they would need to be repurchased. I also wonder if this is going to mean that Mac applications are no longer going to be available in other places other than the App Store. Also while doing my search of the new App Store I found that there are a few genealogy specific apps. MacFamilyTree, Family Tree Maker for Mac and Date Calculator were the three apps that came up in my search of "genealogy". I had previously installed both MacFamilyTree and Family Tree Maker for Mac and they both showed that they were installed.

Though there are only three genealogy apps available in the store right now, I am sure there will be more apps coming within time. The App Store on mobile devices was the same way, but now search for genealogy apps on your iPhone and there are quite a few of them. Even though there are currently only three apps that come up in the genealogy search and are made for genealogy, there are dozens of other apps available that will help you keep your files and documents on your computer organized, apps to help you publish your research, apps to help with your photos and many other apps that aren't for genealogy purposes put will help you in your efforts. What do you think abou the new App Store? Let us know by leaving your comments on this post.


Mac Genealogy – Software Reviews

The following post continues the series Mac Genealogy. This series will help you learn of different applications, tricks, and lots of other great things that will help you with your genealogy research. As Macs become more and more popular, more genealogists are moving to Mac. This blog series will also help for those who are thinking of switching to Mac, but aren't quite sure - yet! If you haven't been following the series so far, be sure to catch up on previous posts.

I have never personally used MacFamilyTree so I couldn't give a fair review of the software. So, I have gone around and found other people's reviews of the software and am giving links to share so you can get their opinion and review on it.

Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter

Top 10 Reviews
GenSoft Reviews
To learn more about MacFamilyTree and to try it for free, visit their website.


Just like MacFamilyTree I have never used iFamily so I am giving links below to others reviews if iFamily.

Top 10 Reviews

GenSoft Reviews


Reunion for Mac - This is the database software I use to keep track of all my family history.

When I first started using Reunion, it took a while to get used to. Before I got my Mac I used PAF on my PC. I had used that software for a couple years so going from the one to the other was quite different. Most of the time on a Mac you navigate your way from person to person in a tree like style where you could see a few generations at a time on the screen. Well in Reunion you still have the tree style view, but you can only see a few people in your tree at the same time; at least from the default view. You can show a pedigree chart view like in PAF. I will explain how to do that later.
This is what the default view screen looks like.

One of the greatest features I like about Reunion is the ability to use outside applications for exporting, viewing, editing, etc. You can export reports as a generic text file or you can export it into applications such as Apple Pages, Microsoft Word, Adobe Acrobat, etc. It makes it very convenient to export the data from your tree and customize each page with graphics, images, etc.
You can set the default export application from the preferences menu.

Some reports can be exported into other applications, while some are just created from the program itself.  Charts that Reunion can create include Pedigree Chart, Fan Chart, Descendant Chart, Relative Chart, Timeline Chart, Person Sheet, Family Group Sheet, and event Blank Forms. Reports that Reunion can create include Family History Report, Register Report, Ahnentafel Report, Tiny Tafel Report, and the Descendant Report.

You can create a slideshow of all the photos, documents, and records in your database with a few simple clicks.

Reunion can export the data from your family tree as an HTML webpage that you can either upload to the internet to share with your family or to just burn that data onto a cd that can also be shared with your family.

At this time Reunion is not FamilySearch Certified, which means that the software cannot talk back and forth with the new.familysearch database. I contacted them probably a year or so ago and I received and email back saying they are "working on it". Who knows when Reunion will actually be FamilySearch Certified or if they are even working on it at all. I would think that with them being the most popular genealogy softwares for Mac they would step it up a bit and get the ball rolling like all the other software companies out there.

I also asked them about a new version of Reunion coming out with new features since their last major update to their software was back in March of 2007. A lot of other genealogy software companies have come out with a new release to their software in that amount of time. I think it is time for a new release of Reunion.

Reunion does have an iPhone app where you can view your family database from your iPhone, iPod Touch, and your iPad. A future article reviewing that branch of their software will be in a later post in the Mobile Monday Series on this blog.

For those of you who prefer to view you family file in a pedigree chart type way like in PAF, simply click on the Overview button  and then a little window will pop-up showing 5 generations including the person who you selected the overview to start with.

I find this overview screen to be very helpful when I am wanting to look further back in the generations rather than the default home screen which just shows grandparents, parents, and children.

The Ages feature is also one of my favorite things in Reunion. Have you ever wondered how old your ancestor was when a particular event happened in their lives? Instead of getting out the calculator to subtract years, months, and days, simply click on the Ages button up by the Overview button and see exactly how old they were when a particular event or fact happened. It will even tell you what day of the week it was on.

Reunion has SO many more features I could spend an entire blog series just talking about all the individual things you can do with it. Even though I have not used any of the other genealogy database apps for the Mac, I find Reunion to be a great application with many great features. Of course there are always features that could be improved upon and added. It fits most of my needs and I recommend it to anyone who does genealogy and owns a Mac.

To try a demo of Reunion, visit their website.


Mac Genealogy – Navigation Basics

The following post continues the series Mac Genealogy. This series will help you learn of different applications, tricks, and lots of other great things that will help you with your genealogy research. As Macs become more and more popular, more genealogists are moving to Mac. This blog series will also help for those who are thinking of switching to Mac, but aren't quite sure - yet! If you haven't been following the series so far, be sure to catch up on previous posts.

Post 1 - Apple or Windows? New Series on Apple Genealogy

*To see any of the images below in a higher resolution, simply click on them.

One of the main differences between Macs and Windows operating systems are of course the design and how you navigate your way through different apps and folders.

Most people who first start using a Mac ask the question, "Where's the Start Menu?" Unlike Windows, Mac OSX, which is Apple's current operating system, does not have a little icon in the lower left hand corner of the screen that you click and opens up a list of different different programs. On a Mac, there are a number of different ways to access your applications.

Before I show how to access your applications, I need to bring to attention the dock. 
The dock on the bottom of the screen is very handy utility to make those apps you access frequent easily accessible. I will go into more detail later about how to customize your dock with your favorite apps.

Notice in the lower left hand corner of the dock there is a little blue smiley face. 
Click that icon to access the "Finder". Finder on a Mac is like Windows Explorer on your PC. Use Finder to access your files and folders located in different directories on your Mac. The default directory will take you to your "Home" or user account folder. This folder is kind of like My Documents on your PC. There are folders such as Documents, Downloads, Movies, Music, Pictures, etc. This is the directory you store all your documents under.

If you are using your Mac for both genealogy and other uses I recommend starting a separate "Genealogy" or "Family History" folder here to keep all those files separate from other files you will later have on your computer. 

As far as folder structures for your genealogy folder, that is a whole other topic in itself. There are many great ways to organize your folders on your computer. You can always use the same folder structure you used on your PC if you like or if you would like to start with a new or better system you can do that too. Below are some great links to genealogy hard drive organization.

Organize Your Hard Drive
Family History Quick Start
Organize Your Genealogy Life
Organizing Digital Genealogy Files
*If you know of another great link for hard drive organization, let me know and I'll add it!

To create a new folder on your Mac you can do it a number of ways. First, locate where you want your folder to be, such as your Genealogy Folder, then go to File -> New Folder. 

Second, right click in the Finder Window -> New Folder. 

Third, hold down the Shift key + Command key and click the N button. 

After doing one of these options simply rename your file and hit Enter/Return.

Use the back and forward arrows at the top of each window to go back and forward between the folders.

The sidebar is a great way to navigate easily and quickly to frequently used folders within Finder. To add folders to the sidebar simply click and drag the folder to the sidebar.

To access your Application that are not in the Dock, you can either click on the Applications icon in the sidebar or you can add the Applications folder to the Dock which I personally find easier and more accessible. If your Application folder is not already in the dock, click your hard drive icon in the finder sidebar. It should be the first icon under the Devices tab of the sidebar. Next click and drag the Applications folder down to the dock on the right hand side of the dashed lines.
Now when you click on the Applications folder in the Dock you will get an easy access to all of you Applications.

Well that should give you a brief overview of the basic navigation on a Mac. Of course there are SO many other things that could be covered containing how to use a Mac, but that would be way too much and take away from my initial intent of this blog series. If you have specific questions about how to do something on a Mac or any other questions, please feel free to leave comments and I will try to help you with them. Some of your questions others might have as well. We can all learn together.

You can also download each post in a PDF format for easy reference while not online. To download this guide in PDF format, click