Category Archives: How To

RootsMagic releases Ancestry features!!

According to the dictionary, SURPRISE means “an unexpected or astonishing event, fact, or thing”. Well, this week has been full of surprising things. Today, for example, we learned that RootsMagic has finally released the update that connects RM to Ancestry!

This is great news to me as I am in the process of switching from The Master Genealogist software to RootsMagic and have made more updates in the Ancestry tree that I have in TMG. I need to be able to blend the two trees without losing anything or anybody!

The “TreeShare for Ancestry” option allows you to upload a tree from RM to Ancestry or download from Ancestry to RM. You can also keep the two trees synchronized, keep them matching. When you upload or download trees, they include pictures as well as sources, notes and other expected items.

The other new option they have added is called “Ancestry Hints Integration“. This basically allows you to work with all those wonderful Ancestry Hints from inside of RootsMagic. If you accept a hint, it will also update your synchronized RM tree!

The upgrade is free to anyone with version 7.x. When you apply the upgrade, you are offered a chance to win a prize. Go for it.

If you have been setting on the sidelines about RootsMagic or Ancestry, perhaps watching a video that shows how the new system in RootsMagic works will help you decide. And if you already have RootsMagic and want a quick tutorial on how to use these new options, you should watch this. Trust me, it is worth it. Do note, it is 36 minutes long, and uses voice and video. https://youtu.be/oDOlq7EFIWA

I’m off to do some serious tree matching and merging now. 🙂


“If you want a guarantee, buy a toaster.” – Clint Eastwood


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Monthly Meeting – June 1, 2017: “Research like a pro: Dayna’s FamilySearch Power Tools” by Dayna Jacobs

We have our general meetings on the first Thursday of the month. It just so happens that in June, the first Thursday is also the first day of the month! Don’t let the calendar confuse you.

Most people have used FamilySearch’s record search or family tree features, but few genealogists tap into the powerful research tools available on the free site. FamilySearch is one of the first places professional genealogists go to see what records are available for a locality, and they know how to access these records, whether online, on microfilm or as textual records. Dayna will take you deep into the records side of FamilySearch, and give you the tools to find sources you had no idea existed!

Dayna is one of our favorite speakers, her full biography can be seen here: Dayna Jacobs Don’t miss this MoCoGenSo meeting!

Doors open at 6:15 pm, the meeting starts at 7:00 pm. We’ll see you at the Family History Center, 1024 Noche Buena, Seaside, CA., left rear of building.


If at first you don’t succeed, search, search again. That is why we call it re-search.


FamilyTreeNow

As a parent we learn that children should not be told things until they are ready. But they become ready generally sooner than we expect. As a child we soon learn that our parents do not know everything.

With these opening words, I am going to mention a new website that perhaps no one should know about. Yet if we don’t find out about it, we can’t protect ourselves. Yet perhaps as genealogists we might want to use it!

There is a new site called www.familytreenow.com that will let you build a family tree and share it with others. This is a “genealogical” site.

Yet, it allows anyone, for free, without an account, to search for living people and discover information that you might not want available so publicly.

From their website:

Our mission is to create the best free genealogy site in the world. We want it to be super easy to use for new users yet powerful for experienced genealogists.

From Snopes:

The web site in question, FamilyTreeNow.com, allows users to look up a person by first and last name. The site then pulls up information about the named person obtained from public records, such as age, month and year of birth, immediate family members and “associates,” and past and current addresses. The searches are provided free of charge.

Persons whose information appears on the web site can use the “opt out” to block their information from being displayed to users, and our tests so far indicate that that option does work. However, as we have noted about similar search services in the past, your personal information will still be available through the underlying public record sources used by FamilyTreeNow (and others). Those third-party records will still exist and will remain publicly accessible, so the same information provided by FamilyTreeNow will remain available to others, either working on their own or using information aggregators similar to FamilyTreeNow.

In short, removing your personal information from display by Internet aggregators isn’t a one-time deal, but rather more like a never-ending game of Whack-a-Mole: You might swat down an aggregator site or two, but more of them will inevitably pop up.

FamilyTreeNow.com was launched in 2014, so I am slow to notice. But no one I know has heard of it either. So I decided to let you know about it. You can quickly go find details about your cousins! Or you can quickly go block your own personal data from view.


You can be the parent and the child….


Researching Genealogy in Silicon Valley

Junel Davidsen gave a really interesting talk during our November 2016 monthly meeting about researching in Santa Clara County, CA, also known as Silicon Valley, and historically known as The Valley of The Heart’s Delight!

We have here the handout containing resources and instructions that Junel provided at the meeting. It includes a map of the area showing where to go. The file is a PDF with “live” links. Download and enjoy.

Researching Santa Clara County

Why you should visit your local FHC

I saw this blog posting about “why you should visit your local Family History Center” on Dick Eastman’s Blog today (21 Oct 2016) and thought it was important enough to share here. Remember, MOCOGENSO is associated with the Monterey Family History Center!

Are You Missing Most of the Available Genealogy Information?

I received a message a while ago from a newsletter reader that disturbed me a bit. He wrote, “I have been doing genealogy research for 10-15 years but only through the Internet.” He then went on to describe some of the frustrations he has encountered trying to find information. In short, he was disappointed at how little information he has found online.

I read the entire message, but my eyes kept jumping back to the words in his first sentence: “… but only through the Internet.

Doesn’t he realize that perhaps 90% of the information of interest to genealogists is not yet available on the Internet?

To be sure, many of the biggest and most valuable resources are now available online, including national census records, the Social Security Death Index, military pension applications, draft cards, many passenger lists, land patent databases, and more.

The national databases were the “low hanging fruit” a few years ago as the providers of online information rushed to place large genealogy databases online. These huge collections benefited a lot of genealogists; these databases were the first to become indexed, digitized, and placed online. We all should be thankful that these databases are available today and are in common use.

As the national databases became available to all, the online providers moved on to digitize regional and statewide information. State censuses, birth records, marriage records, death records, naturalization records (which originally were recorded in many local and state courts), county histories, and much, much more are still being placed online.

Of course, this is great news for genealogists who cannot easily travel to the locations where the original records are kept. For many of us, this is even better than having information on microfilm. Most of us don’t have microfilm readers at home, but we do have computers.

Yet, I am guessing that perhaps 90% of the information of interest to genealogists has not yet been digitized. Why would anyone want to look for genealogy information “… only through the Internet?”

State censuses, birth records, marriage records, death records, naturalization records, county histories, and more are all “work in progress” projects. That is, they are not yet complete. In fact, I doubt if all of them will be available online for at least another decade or two! If you only look online, you are missing a lot.

In many cases, church parish records, local tax lists, school records, land records (other than Federal land grants), state census records, and many more records are not yet available online and probably won’t be available for years. If you are limiting yourself to “… only through the Internet,” you are missing 90% of the available information.

If you have the luxury of living near the places where your ancestors lived, I’d suggest you jump in an automobile and drive to the repositories where those records are kept. There is nothing that matches the feeling of holding original records in your hand. Scan them or make photocopies or take pictures of them or do whatever is possible to collect images of the original records.

If you do not enjoy the luxury of short distances, use microfilm. Luckily, that is easy to do although you will have to leave your home. Many (but not all) of these records have been microfilmed, and those films may be viewed at various libraries, archives, or at a local Family History Center near you. There are more than 4,600 of those local centers, so you probably can find one within a short distance of your home. The Family History Centers are free to use although you do have to pay a modest fee for postage when you rent a microfilm by mail. See https://goo.gl/7Jzbzh for details. You can also find your nearest Family History Center by starting at: https://familysearch.org/locations/.

If you do not know where to start, I would suggest reading “Begin your genealogy quest” at https://familysearch.org/learn/wiki/en/Begin_Your_Genealogy_Quest for some great “getting started” information.

Which option would you prefer: accessing 10% of the available records or 100% of the available records?


The above article is from and is copyrighted by the Eastman’s Online Genealogy Newsletter at www.eogn.com. Many thanks go to Dick Eastman for his continued support of the genealogy world.


History Here App for Tablets and Phones

I saw this blog posting about History Here on Dick Eastman’s Blog the other day and decided to try the App on my iPad. It works pretty good, so good in fact, that I also installed it on my Android phone and on my wife’s iPhone. We will use it when travelling in the USA to make sure we don’t miss something.

When you are looking for the app in the App Store, be sure you get History Here and not some other similarly named app. On iPads, be sure to select ‘iPhone only’ to find it. You will not find it in the ‘iPad only’ group. Also, after installing the app, go into settings and tell the system via Privacy/Location Services to allow access only “while using the app”. And I turned notifications off.

Read Eastman’s post:

History Here is a fascinating cell phone app produced by the History Channel. It displays historical locations that may be hidden all around you, including architecture, museums, battlefields, monuments, famous homes, tombstones, and much more.

You can use it at home to learn what historical events happened near you. However, the History Here app will also come in handy when you’re traveling to a new city as it locates large and small museums alike. It also finds events, both famous and obscure. For instance, the first time I used History Here, it displayed information about the first National Women’s Rights Convention held in 1850 a few miles from my home. Who knew?

Besides historic homes and museums, the app also maps many graves of historic figures. Hit a spot on the map, and you’ll get a brief history lesson. You can save spots and later receive alerts when you’re walking near a mapped site.

Historic locations also can be saved or shared by email, text message, Google Hangouts, Google Drive, Whats App, and a number of other services as well, as long as those services are already installed on your device.

It appears that the History Here app only lists US events and locations. I couldn’t find any for Canada or for other countries.

Note: History Here relies upon the device’s internal GPS receiver to determine the current location. Almost all “smartphones” have a built-in GPS, but not all the tablet computers do so. If your tablet does not contain a GPS, History Here probably will not be able to determine the current location. The app will work best on smartphones.


The above article is from and is copyrighted by the Eastman’s Online Genealogy Newsletter at www.eogn.com. Many thanks go to Dick Eastman for his continued support of the genealogy world.


Genealogy on the iPad

ipad picture
The May 5th meeting by Jim Robeson was about using the iPad (or equivalent tablet) as a tool for “doing” genealogy.  The meeting handout is here containing resources and opinions that Jim provided at the meeting. The file is a PDF with “live” links for those long URLs on the last page.  Download by clicking here=> Handout. Enjoy.