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Computer Users’ Group

October 20, 2010


Databases: Databases can be very complex structures and can be created in many different computer languages. We won’t venture into the complex issues but try to see how existing data can be converted into a searchable database.


One example of a database is the Named Geographic Information System (GNIS, a unit of UDGS) database of Lake County Cemeteries. It’s a searchable list of all cemeteries that have been recorded by GNIS. Another database that boggles the mind is the database that you search when you enter a search request into GOOGLE. These are indexed databases and Open Office does not create them.


Many databases are comprised of data that have been organized originally in some other form: a phone list or a spreadsheet, for example. The database in Open Office is called Base and it will find certain items on your computer that it is prepared to convert to a database. Items include phone and email lists, spreadsheets, and text files. We can create a useable input to Base from our FamilyTreeMaker program. We’ll compile a list of everyone in the file with birth, marriage and death dates and places and then input it to Base to create a searchable database. Such a database may not be significantly more useful than seeking what you want from the FTM program directly but it does show the process for whatever else you may want to do. For more information you can go to Geekgirls or Sheepdog (I’m not making this up). Geekgirls has a general defination of what a database is at and sheepdog has specific information about the Open Office Database program, Base here In either web site you can click on home to see what else they offer.


Using FTM 2010, we’ll create a custom report that includes all of the people in our file using a short family file to speed the process. We’ll click on Publish and in the left pane choose Person Reports and then we’ll click on the icon for Custom Report and then on Create Report. In the right column we’ll select, under Individuals to Include, All individuals. Then in the upper right, we’ll click on Share and scroll down to Export as CSV. CSV means Comma Separated Values and that file can be read and turned into a spreadsheet. In the next box, select Export data as Columns and then click on Export. Choose a place to save the file and a name for it and save it. In the box that opens next asking if you want to open the file, click Yes. If the data does not open as a spreadsheet in Calc, open Calc or any other spread sheet progam and open or import the file just created. Save the file in spreadsheet ODS not CSV) format.


Now were finally ready to use Base. We’ll set up Base to present all records of a specific location so we can plan what ancestors to research when we visit that place. Open Open Office and click on Base. When Base opens, select Connect to an Existing Database and scroll down the list to Spreadsheet. Click next and enter the name and location of the spreadsheet you just created. Or click on Browse and search for it. Click Next. You can leave the Register the Database box checked; it only registers it within the program so other Open Office applications will be aware of it. Also leave the Open the Database for Editing box checked and click Finish. The next page asks you to name and save the Database file. You don’t have to accept the name that’s offered; enter what you want and click Finish. The next page shows four icons in the left side and in the bottom frame on the right is Table 1. Double click that to see the table you just created. Since we created the table, we will bypass that and create a query.


We’ll query the data base for information that we want. Click on Query in the left column and select Use Wizard to Create Query. Under Field Selection, successively select Name, Birth Place, Marriage Place and Death Place. Click on Next and under Sort By and select Name and leave the ascending order box checked. Click on Next. This is the Search Conditions entry page andwe want search for anyone that meets any of the place criteria we set so click on Match Any of the Following. In the first box, select Birth Place, Marriage Place in the next and Death Place in the last. As you enter each one, in the Value box, enter Boston, MA. Then click on Finish. You should see all of the people who had at least one event occur in Boston, MA. Now you can go there and do your research.


 Form is used to create a form to enter data into a table. Tables created by inputting a spreadsheet or text file cannot be edited so we’ll skip form but if you create a database from scratch, creating a form using the wizard is self-explanatory. Then click Report in the left column and the use Wizard to Create Report. Here, we can select what data from the Table to show. Lets just select Name and click the left arrow and then Birth Place and Birth Date, using the left arrow after each selection. Then we’ll click on Sort Options In the first box, click on down arrow and select Birth Place and leave the ascending box selected to see the birth places in alphabetical order. Then click on Finish to see the report.


To create a new data base from scratch, start with Create a New Database and then use the Wizard to create a table and enter all of the data that you have; go to Form and create one and use that to input new data as it arises.


Drawing. The drawing program is called Draw and it has many, many different things that you can do. Most Icons have a down arrow next to them that show all of the capabilities of that Icon. To see the capability of all of them, click on the down arrow at the far right and select Visible Buttons. You can do that for the two tolbars at the top of the screen and the one below the image pane. We can’t get into many and the best way to learn something like Draw is to play with it. You may find no useful purpose for it and need not go further. We’ll use the Font Gallery to create interesting font layouts.


Rootsweb. Rootsweb has a lot of information and links to other sources. There is data submitted by viewers including class lists, marriage, birth and death records, city directories and more. There are user created web sites in two categories: Family and Genealogy. In addition to these personal web sites, there is the World Connect Project where you can submit your family tree. All of these areas offer a way to give back and share your information and find new cousins you never knew that you had. See the 1880 photo of the Leonard Family in the Family History Month showcase downstairs as an example of what you can gain when someone sees your posting and sends you something. We’ll go to and click on the link to Getting Started at Rootsweb. What you get is the form you’d use to submit data. Click on Searchable Databases at the top of the page to see the wealth of information available. Although the records are listed individually, when you click on one you are not taken to that record but the search page that will search the entire classification that that page falls under; ie Cemetery Records etc.


Next we’ll click on Web Sites at the top of the page and scroll down until we come to Surname Websites and then scroll down and click on Di-Dq and then scroll down to Dill and click on Smartherbs. Dotty felt her maiden name of Learned my name amount to LearnedDill which she felt was a Smart Herb. This gives you an idea of what can be posted on a Family site. Point to individuals in the photo and their name appears; click on a face and see their genealogy. We covered how to do that at our meeting of February 16, 2005, the handout for which is available on the Pastfinders’ Web Site. Go here

and scroll down to the date of February 16, 2005.


Browsers. There are five major browsers for browsing the Internet. They are Internet Explorer 8, Firefox 3.8, Chrome 5, Safari 5 and Opera 10.53. Internet Explorer 9 is available for Beta testing; if you want to try it, go to and click on Internet Explorer 9. It’s reported to be a significant improvement over IE 8.


Google has created Chrome that rates very high in speed and security. It’s very uncluttered but you can still get all of it’s features. Click on the Icon on the far right and you can customize it the way you want. I suggest scrolling down that file until you come to help and click on that. There are several articles and topics that will lead you through understanding what it does and how it works.


TV on Your Computer. There is a lot of TV programming that you can get on your computer. Some think that eventually, the web will replace cable and satellite TV. I wouldn’t hold my breath, though. I rather doubt that this works very well on a dial up connection but it’s reasonaby good on a high speed connection.We’ll start with Mozilla’s Firefox, my browser. It has the most add-ons of any browser and one is called TV Fox. If you have Firefox, go to Tools and click on Add-ons and then on Browse all add-ons. You can see if there’s anything there of interest. But the fastest way to find TV Fox is to enter it in Google. When you find it, download and install it. It has TV from just about any country in the world. You can list them by Country or Category. The list of countries is long and each one may have several stations. For instance, there are 30 stations listed for India. You can get a lot of football here too but it’s not real FOOTBALL, it’s soccer.


For about $40 you can get Digital TV for PC 2 which has a load of different sites and includes live TV as well as archives of major network programs. You can get to live sports and when you do, you’re led to which will list professional football games on the day that they are played. You can get there free without paying the $40 to learn how. You may have to download a viewing program to see all of the sites offered. That program will lead you to which is a TV network on the web where you can sign up to present your own TV broadcast. It claims about 1700 channels which you can browse through but the fastest way to a football game is through atdhe. You may again be asked to download a TV viewer. Uncheck any programs that you don’t want to install. Often the Yahoo Toolbar is offered but you don’t have to accept it. While the Sunday afternoon games are either on Fox or CBS, Justin.TV does it’s own ads, most in foreign languages. Some appear to be adult in nature but you don’t have to go there. Look for a small square in the lower right that will take the video to full screen or in some cases double click on the screen. Press ESC to return.


If your television has a PC or RGB input, you can use a monitor cable to hook you PC to the TV and everybody can watch the program. You’ll also need an audio cable for the sound. Check your TV manual.