October 6, 2006

Family Search Labs

FamilySearch Labs is a new website available to show different projects that the Family History Department is working on. Dan Lawyer posted about this today at Taking Genealogy to the Common Person.

The only project there right now is a Pedigree Viewer that Dan posted about last week. When you visit the site you can upload your gedcom file and try it out yourself. It works just like Google Maps and is really interesting and fun to see.

Here's my pedigree:


March 22, 2006

PAF Insight 2006

Ohana Software released a new version of PAF Insight today. The new features include:

* Will be compatible with the new FamilySearch Family Tree
* New place editor helps clean up place names
* Opens and saves PAF backup (.zip) files directly
* All data is now editable
* Keeps an automatic archive of your files
* You can select "Only show IGI matches that have additional ordinance info"
* New interface with movable and resizable windows
* Conflicting dates and places can be added for later research
* Enhanced search details
* Switch modes without exiting your file
* Prompts when places are not recognized for searching
* Easily updates automatically
* No longer needs Internet Explorer
* And more...

I have tried the new version out and though it is somewhat different and hard to get used to at first, I really liked the changes Ohana has made. I really enjoyed being able to edit all my information while using PAF Insight. I also used the "edit places" mode and really liked it. I was able to go through all my locations and fix misspellings and take out extra commas very easily. There are also good options in the "preferences" window, whether to ignore or add parents as a default or to only show IGI matches that have new ordinance info, instead of having to sift through 10 records of the same ordinances to find the one ordinance you're looking for.

I highly recommend updating your version or buying this new version if you still have not tried PAF Insight for yourself.

March 9, 2006

Genelines 2.0 Timeline Charting Software

The following announcement was sent to me from Progeny Software Inc.

** Download Genelines 2.0 Timeline Charting Software **

Spring is on it's way!

Watch your genealogy research blossom with Genelines 2.0 Timeline
Charting Software.

With Genelines 2.0 you can create seven eye-catching, customizable
timeline charts that highlight important events in your family

Genelines automatically reads your family tree database so you don't
need to re-enter your family information. Choose the Genelines program
that works best with your genealogy database:
- Genelines for Legacy
- Genelines for Ancestral Quest
- Genelines for Ancestry Family Tree
- Genelines Universal Edition - reads all file formats, including
PAF, Family Tree Maker, Legacy, Ancestral Quest, Ancestry Family Tree,
and GEDCOM. Great for customers using more than one genealogy record

Save 25% or more on any Genelines Download. From now until March 31,
2006, get Genelines Universal 2.0 Download for $19.95 (regularly
priced at $29.95) all other Genelines 2.0 Downloads are on for $14.95
(regularly priced at $19.95)!

Order the Genelines program that works with your genealogy database:

The Leader in Timeline Software

Genelines suite of seven different timeline chart formats, consists
of two BIOGRAPHICAL charts and five RELATIONSHIP charts.

Each of these seven charts can be customized according to:
- timeline
- historical events
- personal or family events
- colors and fonts

While each type of chart lends itself to different research tasks,
only with the Biographical Charts can you create a visual map of
your ancestors' life events, telling their story in a brand new way.

The Individual Biographical Chart shows a composite of different
life events for an individual over his/her life span. The Individual
Biographical chart paints a complete personal life history showing
all the events that occurred during a person's life and when they

The Comparative Biographical Chart depicts individual life spans for
two or more people. Because it can also include their respective
life events, this chart allows you to compare the ages and duration
of events in common between two or more individuals or family members.

The Relationship charts let you view your family pedigrees and lines
of descent against a backdrop of historical events on the local,
regional or world stage.

You can customize Relationship charts according to people, line of
descent or family group, personal life details, color, and the history
you wish to depict. These charts can explain a great deal about your
family and how they lived and even allow you to add people who are not
necessarily related.

To see color sample charts, go to:

January 25, 2006

GEDCOM files

Recently I had some issues trying to upload my GEDCOM file to a certain website. I forgot about it for a while and then this morning I uploaded my GEDCOM file to a different site and it worked just fine. I realized that some genealogists might have the same trouble or may not even understand how GEDCOM files work. So here is a link to an article, GEDCOM 101, written by Kimberly Powell explaining how to create, read, and share your genealogy research via GEDCOM files.

January 11, 2006

Social Security Death Index and World Place Finder - Order for $6

Dick Eastman recently posted an announcement about ordering a FREE Social Security Death Index (SSDI) and World Place Finder from Progeny Software. The SSDI is available at a lot of different websites, but having the single CD itself will be useful when you don't have an Internet connection.

I personally have been wanting the World Place Finder to help me find cities and counties, etc. You only have to pay the shipping charge of $6(US) or $10(CAN) for the 2 CDs, so I think it's a great buy. Someone did comment on Dick Eastman's announcement page that Progeny's SSDI on CD is over 5 years old. Eastman retorted that he has used both products and liked them and thought the value was much more than $6. So I have already ordered my set and hope to enjoy them soon.

This free offer from Progeny Software ends February 28, 2006 - so act soon.

October 4, 2005


MacPAF is the answer for those members of the LDS church who prefer to use a Macintosh computer. I just found out about this MacPAF project from Dick Eastman's Genealogy Newsletter . I had no idea the Church was making an updated version of PAF for Macintosh users...but that's because the Church isn't updating it. A senior in Computer Science at BYU, Logan Allred, has been working on an updated version for almost 2 years now.

The last update for the Macintosh version of PAF was in 1996. The Church then discontinued the program. Right now Logan is still trying to work out all the kinks in his program, but you can download what he has so far and test it out.

Information about MacPAF can be found at this website, and Logan also has a blog that gives status updates on this project.

I applaud Logan Allred for his effort. My husband is currently a senior in the Computer Science program at BYU too, and he definitely doesn't have time to undertake a project this big. And based on Logan's websites, I believe he also has 3 children to keep him busy. Thank you for your effort, Logan.

August 22, 2005

CenMatch - Helps search Census Records at

A few days ago, Dick Eastman wrote about CenMatch for CenMatch's web page advertises this:

"Are you struggling to find families when searching census records on Do you wish there were more options available? CenMatch is the answer for you!

An easy to use Excel template is all that you need to start matching those hard-to-find families.

CenMatch is designed to match either 2 or 3 people that appear on the same census page together or a page following person # 1. You have the ability to Sort by Name, Birth Year, Census Parish, Census County or Matching records. It is then simply a matter of clicking on the icon to go to the page in question."

CenMatch costs $7.50 in Australian dollars, which is approximately $5.75 in U.S. dollars. So the product itself is pretty inexpensive, but you do need a subscription to and to have Microsoft Excel on your computer in order to use it. I don't have Excel on my computer (I use a free program called OpenOffice), so I don't plan on buying this program...but I'd be interested to hear if anyone tries it and what they think of it.

The CenMatch template works with the following databases at :

1850 United States Federal Census
1860 United States Federal Census
1870 United States Federal Census
1890 United States Federal Census Fragment
1900 United States Federal Census

1861 Channel Islands Census
1871 Channel Islands Census
1881 Channel Islands Census
1891 Channel Islands Census
1901 Channel Islands Census

1861 England Census
1871 England Census
1881 England Census
1891 England Census
1901 England Census

1861 Isle of Man Census
1871 Isle of Man Census
1881 Isle of Man Census
1891 Isle of Man Census
1901 Isle of Man Census

1861 Wales Census
1871 Wales Census
1881 Wales Census
1891 Wales Census
1901 Wales Census

August 1, 2005

Family Searcher

I recently read an article in PAFology titled Family Searcher: an Alternative to PAF Insight, written by Kay Baker. I thought I might do a little comparison of these two programs myself since I recently wrote an article on PAF Insight.

Family Searcher is a program authored by Kevin Owen that speeds up the process of researching names on websites such as,,, and But due to the name, Family Searcher, I think the main function is to use it to search FamilySearch for LDS temple ordinances.

I decided to make a Pro/Con list to help show the differences between the programs a little more easily.


Though there are more Pros listed for Family Searcher, I think the benefits for using PAF Insight are far greater than those for using Family Searcher. If I had to pick between the two of them, I would pay the $20 for PAF Insight every time.

July 27, 2005

PAF Insight

PAF Insight was a new product released in 2004 to help you with your genealogy research. This program is mainly used by members of the LDS church, but I think it's a valuable tool for anyone doing genealogy. PAF Insight's main purpose is to search the International Genealogical Index (IGI). This contains temple ordinance dates for the LDS church. But this is not the only information PAF Insight will find for you. You can find parents, spouses, exact dates, and places of birth and death that you may not have known previously.

For example, many times I find a male from my line in a U.S. Census married with children. I only find out his wife's first name though, since her maiden name is not listed in the Census. I also find out the approximate year she was born and where. By putting this information into my PAF 5.2 file. I can then use PAF Insight to search for her throughout the whole IGI and many times I have found her last name. By having enough other information about her, her husband's name and where and when she was born, you can conclude whether it's the same lady or not using those clues.

Here is an example of a lady named Elizabeth married to an Andrew Jackson Bickel in my file. I found them in several censuses together and estimated they married around 1857 since their first child was born in 1858. This is what I found using PAF Insight.


The information in my PAF file is on the left, and the information found in the IGI is on the right. I found not only the correct month and place of marriage, but I also found Elizabeth's last name! As a genealogist, you know how good it feels to find new information. (The sealing date is for LDS ordinances).

The findings aren't over yet, under the next tab "Parents & Siblings," you discover this...


Her parents! You not only have found more accurate information for Elizabeth...but you have also found 2 new people to add to your file. And PAF Insight enters it automatically into your file when you click a check mark into the box, instead of you wasting time writing it down on paper and then later entering it into your file yourself.

Now, another wonderful thing that PAF Insight does is to find any unconnected people, separate pedigrees, in your file. You may think, like I did, that your file is perfect and that there are no mistakes. But if you take the PAF Insight challenge, you may find out otherwise. This is what I found.


Here are 33 people who are not linked into my main pedigree. This was very surprising to me and I now need to visit each person and try to merge them into my file or find out if they really are related to me at all.

I know some of you may not use the program PAF 5.2, but I highly recommend downloading it for free, just to use PAF Insight. You can download PAF Insight for just $20, or go to a local Family History Center near you to try it out and use it for free.

Also, one last very positive thing about PAF Insight. You can click on all the names in your file and have PAF Insight search through them all night long or all day while you are away from your computer (Just beware of 9 month old babies crawling around and turning off your machine in the morning before you've had a chance to go through everything PAF Insight has found).

June 29, 2005

Relationship Calculator in PAF

I have never quite figured out how to determine the relationship between myself and distant relatives. I understand uncles, aunts, grandparents, great-grandparents, cousins...and that's about it. I've never understood who would be 3rd cousins, or who would be 4th cousins 3 times removed (as is Count Olaf to the Baudelaire children in A Series of Unfortunate Events). This is why I need the relationship calculator in PAF.

I was recently putting in a huge line of Ramsays, found at the World GenWeb website, into my Personal Ancestral File. I came upon a Barbara Ramsay married to a George Ramsay, a George who I'd already entered into my file. I realized they must be related and was a little weary to find out how. Then my mother reminded me of the relationship calculator. (She just used it yesterday to find out a married couple in her line were actually first cousins)

The relationship calculator is found under tools. You then select the RIN number or the name of the two individuals you would like to calculate. If they are married it first pops up that they are spouses, but then it will show you how else they are related. In my case, Barbara and George are 2nd cousins. The calculator will show you their line of descent to a common ancestor. 2nd cousins means that they had the same great-grandparents.

After finding this out, I decided to check out the relationship between my husband and myself. After it said that we were spouses, it then had another popup say that there was no documented blood relationship between us. Very good news.

June 17, 2005


I recently tried a free 14-day trial with the OneWorldTree feature on I have an annual subscription already to the US census records, the US immigration collection, the US records, and the family and local histories. I've been very pleased with all the information I've found on this website in the past year, and thought it would be nice to try one of their other features.

I discovered that the OneWorldTree feature is excellent for those people who are just starting out on their family history research. You can type in a few of your ancestors' names and hopefully hook in to someone else's tree and add all their names to your file. OneWorldTree is definitely something you can use at the beginning of your research.

The problem I discovered for myself is that in the past year, I've already discovered many of the names through the world tree feature I already have access to with my subscription. I've already typed in manually most of the people OneWorldTree found for me. Which leads me to another drawback. OneWorldTree does not have the ability to input a Gedcom file from my PAF program. I thought I would be able to upload my gedcom file of 8500 names and that I could then search for those names. But I had to input a few names one by one for OneWorldTree to search for them.

So if you're just getting started with your family history research, then OneWorldTree is a good option for you and worth the annual fee of $49.95 for new customers (If you already have an subscription it would be $39.95). I wish I had used it when I started my research a year ago. It would have saved me a lot of time and typing.

June 9, 2005

Lots of genealogy software to choose from

I recently found this great site that lists practically every program available to use in recording your family history. It's called Louis Kessler's Genealogy Software Links and was just recently updated on 5/15/05.

Louis Kessler lists the top 4 genealogy programs available in his opinion and they are:

1. The Master Genealogist
2. RootsMagic
3. Reunion
4. Lifelines

The Master Genealogist is said to be the most powerful program out there for Windows. It costs $59.00 to download the gold version, and $79.95 if you would rather have it mailed to you with a printed manual. The Silver version with less features is $34.00 to download and $39.95 to have it shipped to you on a CD-rom.

RootsMagic is said to be the easiest and best-loved program, so I downloaded a trial version. The trial allows you to input 50 names and test out the software. I tried it and I don't think it's easier to use than Personal Ancestral File (PAF), which is my current program. Adding marriage information and LDS ordinances seem much more complicated in RootsMagic. Plus it does cost $29.95 to order the full version.

Reunion is supposedly the best program to use for a Macintosh computer. It is the most expensive program I've found so far though, costing $99.00 to order. Louis Kessler's website says that PAF offers a program for a Macintosh computer, so perhaps that is the cheaper way to go.

Lifelines is also a free program like PAF and it may be the most powerful one available. But it is made for Unix users and many people don't use Unix. My husband does use it, so hopefully I can do some research on it.

Kessler's site than lists the 3 most popular genealogy programs, which are:

1. Family Tree Maker
2. Brother's Keeper
3. Personal Ancestral File

Family Tree Maker seems to be the most popular program used and only costs $19.95. In looking at their website, it says that their program will search to find your ancestors for you and then you can merge them into your file. Knowing the wealth of information that has, I think I might try this program out.

Brother's Keeper is the most respected software and has been around for a long time. It costs $45 to order the product and also has a free sample.

PAF is the program I use and is downloaded free from If you are LDS, this is the program to use since all temple records and cards get transmitted through this program. I also think it is very user friendly.

Louis Kessler's site
lists over a hundred other programs available, so please check it out for more information. Most of these programs do have free trial versions, so you can test them out and find one that works best for you.

May 28, 2005

Global Searches in PAF

I recently figured out a new trick that can be used in the PAF 5.2 program. My mother has a friend who needed to delete the word "submitted" in about 1600 of her names so that she could run them all through TempleReady again. My mother used the Global Search tool to delete all 1600 "submitteds" and then told me how to do it.

1. Click on "Tools"
2. Go to "Global Search and Replace"
3. You then decide which area you would like to search in, the Places, Dates, Names, etc.
4. Put the word you're searching for and then what you would like to replace it with.

For example, I just merged 2000 names into my file from somebody else and this person likes to abbreviate states, such as OH instead of Ohio. I don't like to abbreviate states, so I went to Global Search and clicked on Places and searched for "OH" and replaced with "Ohio." It then produced a report that showed me every change that was made; 250 places were changed to match my preference.

I also have a city in my file named Marlborough. Unfortunately when I've added others' information to my file they spell it like the well-known cigarette, Marlboro. I easily just fixed all of those mistakes by doing this Global Search and now they are all spelled correctly. This is a great tool to utilize and hopefully others have figured it out much sooner than I have.

May 27, 2005

PAF 5.2 - Free Genealogy Software

The first thing you need to start your family history research, is a good computer program to record your names. The program I use is called Personal Ancestral File (PAF) and can be downloaded for free by following these simple steps:

1. Go to
2. Click on "Order/Download Products" in the upper right corner
3. Click on "Software Downloads - Free"
4. Download the 1st version in the list - "Personal Ancestral File"
5. You will have to agree to the License Agreement and register for the product w/ your name and address.
6. You can then download the software in any of the following languages: English, German, Japanese, Chinese, Korean, or Swedish.

This program is user friendly and keeps all your ancestors' names well organized. And if you are LDS, this is the program that all the temples and family history centers use for genealogy work.

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