Monday, April 24, 2017

Waiting on Family Tree Maker Update

I use Family Tree Maker software to organize ancestors (and some living people).

MacKiev, the same company who brings us Mavis Beacon typing lessons, recently acquired Family Tree Maker.

The joy of this particular program is that it aligns with Ancestry.com.  Shaking leaves show possible record matches at Ancestry.  The tree on your computer can be synced to your tree on Ancestry for the world to see.

An interim upgrade was offered until MacKiev's new 2017 version is released.  Still waiting on that 2017 release.  Ancestry.com trees cannot be updated using the 2014.1 version.  (You can still change your tree directly on Ancestry.com.)



But there is hope.  Tonight an email offered me a chance to be a beta tester of the 2017 version.  If I become a beta tester, it looks like I have a small window of time in which to try to update my Ancestry.com trees.




So I signed up.



I should be notified tomorrow if chosen.





Via the sign up process, I learned where to find some interesting facts about the tree, such as average life span (66 years!), generations (17), and the oldest birth date (John Stronge, born 1585 in Somerset, England).





I need to read Russ Worthington's blog more to learn more about Family Tree Maker's capabilities.


Friday, April 21, 2017

DNA at My Heritage


Based on a recommendation over at Your Genetic Genealogist, I uploaded DNA test results to My Heritage.  This is (currently) a free service.

The site offers its own DNA testing.  They do not have a pool of customers comparable to the big three (23andMe, Family Tree DNA, and Ancestry.com/DNA), so you will not have as many matches.  There have also been questions concerning how My Heritage computes matches.

Because My Heritage has its own testing service, some people may have tested only at that particular site.  If you are looking for a recent non-parental even (which is my situation), then it's worth checking out this other database.

You never know where the missing link tested his/her DNA.  (And didn't transfer the results to any other site.)

So far, only my results are computed.  I have 45 matches at My Heritage.  For comparison, I have thousands of matches at the other sites.

My top match is probably a good one.  I like the information displayed:
-shared percentage
-total centimorgans
-longest segment
-possible range of relationship
-age of match
-direct link to match in the family tree

I don't see a chromosome browser.  Without seeing the actual shared segments, there is nothing else I can do with this match if we don't see commonality in our family trees.

When my parent's results are in, this match should appear near the top of either my mother's or my father's matches, providing more direction.




I still do not like the family tree display at My Heritage.  It explodes into siblings and spouses instead of direct ancestors and drops where you were in the tree.  The default setting displays women by the surnames of their husbands.  You can change this, but most people don't.  I don't need to see a woman's husband's name twice.  I need to see her name.

Further displeasure arrived in an email, encouraging me to add an entire branch to my tree with just a few clicks.  Folks, this is not how genealogical research is done.





Sunday, April 9, 2017

Interactive Family Tree: Places of Birth

This article follows up a previous discussion of a family tree tool by Bradford F Lyon, available (free) at his site.

Places of birth is a new display option.  You can display flags of countries (for a screen shot see my blog post about ethnic calculations based on DNA) or more specific locations, such as states of the United States.

The idea is similar to My Colorful Ancestry created in an Excel spreadsheet.  The bonus of the Lyons tool is that the result is interactive.  You can choose to highlight a specific place, which then blinks to draw your attention to ancestors from that location.


Interactive places of birth family tree
Courtesy of Bradford F Lyon


Ancestors of David Lutter
Highlighting those born in Connecticut.
His ancestors were concentrated in New Jersey and New York.



Zeroing in on a place of birth can help visualize migration paths.  If you are planning a research trip, you can see at a glance which branches were in your intended destination so you can look for their records.

And for the DNA pursuits, you can quickly find an ancestor or branch that was in a specific geographic location.  Surnames, matching or not, is not enough.  You need an intersection of geography and time.



Another new feature is selecting an ancestor and then displaying the direct line of descent to the home person.

Interactive family tree to display direct line of descent
Courtesy of Bradford F Lyon






In the above screenshots, I chose my father's eighth great grandmother, Mary Chittenden (1645-1712), from Connecticut.  From there, you can display these eleven generations all the way to today, ending with the home person, my father.  The information includes their lifespan.