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Computer Users’ Group

December 17, 2008

There is a very nice genealogy program called FamilyTree Legends that is free to download. Some of it’s features are as follows:

            Intuitive interface

            Nicely formatted reports

            Online automatic backup

            Share files on GenCircles

            Automatic shared file update

            396 page Users’ Guide

            Context sensitive help

You can download the program here:

You can start out and create a tree from scratch or you can import a file in GEDCOM format or in FamilyTreeMaker format (FTW). You can select a person to view or edit by clicking on Index at the top of the page, pressing F2, clicking on Search or clicking on Navigate at the top of the page which reveals a chart that you can search through to find the person that you want. Once selected, the person appears on a page with birth, marriage and death information; the husband at the top of the page, the wife next and the children at the bottom. Selectable options appear as icons down the right side in the following order: Home, Facts, Medical, To-do list, Address, Names and Scrapbook. These items apply to the person selected by clicking on that person first and then the appropriate icon to enter information. These icons change depending on what type if information is being viewed.

Across the top of the page is a menu bar that reads as follows from left to right: Back, Forward, Home, Navigate, Index, Search, Charts, Reports, Books, Records, Smart Matches, Learn, Print and Help. Back and Forward allow you to go back and forth through pages you’ve previously visited. Index is a list in alphabetical order of all family members, Search allows you several options for trying to find an individual, Charts lists the several types of charts that can be produced, Reports lists the several types of reports and blank forms that can be filled in and printed, Books allows you to open a book that you’ve created or start creating a new one, Records takes you to FTLegends search page to search for records for an individual, Smart Matches searches the web site Gen Circles to see if any other genealogy has matching individuals to those in your file. It’s only available if you register and upload a GEDCOM, Learn is a tutorial on genealogy starting out with the basics, Print prints what ever you have open and Help is context sensitive in that it finds help on what you are doing. There is also a 396 page user manual and clicking on any subject in the Table of Contents will take you to the page it appears on. 

Next to the husband’s and the wife’s name are 4 icons that represent the following: Smart Matches, Spouse, Parents and Sources. You need to have uploaded your file to GenCircles for Smart Matches to work, Spouse and Parents take you to those individuals and Sources is where you can view and edit Birth, Marriage and Death Sources.

We will go through these items in detail but this handout will only touch on the highlights.

Navigate presents a tree chart where arrows allow moving forward and back through the family tree. An individual can be pointed to and information about that person will be revealed. Clicking on that person will select him or her and their page will be presented as the Home page. The Navigate page that is being shown can be printed and the whole family can be printed by moving through the chart 5 generations at a time.

Charts allows selecting from several chart types, each with several selectable options. In addition, for several of the options there are up to 36 templates that can be used to create unique and interesting charts such as weathered paper or with a map background.

Reports offers nine different report types and four additional lists that can create lists of facts, addresses, all individuals, births etc. One report type is the Kinship Report that shows the relationship of everyone in the tree to the selected (home) individual.

In the top menu bar there’s an item called Options. Here you’ll find File Options on where to store your family file. ( I created a folder called FTL Files and saved it in My Documents Folder). By default, FTL will store saved files in the My Documents Folder. There is another option called Programs Options and here you can select to have you file published on the Internet, have your file backed up on the Internet in real time and have file changes automatically applied to your online file. Note that backup file are encrypted and Pearl Street Software insures that the files will never become their property. In order to use these features you have to register with GenCircles but it’s free and only entails selecting a user name and password.

GenCircles can be used to search for individuals without registering. It’s and you can enter a name to see it it’s in their 400 million records. As with all user generated files, you have to treat what you get with caution but finding a way over your brick wall is worth the effort.

The only problem that I have with the program is the inability to create charts in book form with each page complete unto itself with continuation pages referenced. Here you can create a one page chart only by right clicking on a chart and exporting it as a PDF file or an image (JPG) file. Since it’s all squeezed onto one page, there’s a limit to how many generations you can show and it becomes tedious to create a new chart for each of several ancestors to show everyone in your tree.

One report that tested was the Kinship Report which takes the home person and provides a relationship with everyone else in your tree. The same type of report is available under VIEW/Reports in FamilyTreeMaker (FTM). There is also a relationship calculator nis PersonalAncestralFile and I ran them all. My paternal greatgrandfather married his niece which makes my immigrant ancestor (David Dill) both my 3rd and 4th greatgrandfathers. In FTM, I’m not listed as a descendant of David Dill although I am a descendant of both of his sons. In FTLenends I’m only a 3rd greatgrandson. In the relationship calculator, I’m both a 3rd and 4th Greatgrandson and the tree of ancestors is presented for each branch. Part of the message here is that using more than one program may lead to finding things that others miss but the caution here is that one program has to be the master and the others just copies.

Cleanout Startup Programs

We’ve touched on this in the past but there’s so much junk that can be removed to allow faster starting, it’s worth a little more detail.

In a previous meeting (Nov 14, 2007) we mentioned using UniBlue’s free Process Scanner which scans all running processes and tells you what each one is, who provided it and whether it’s safe to remove. You can get that program here: Once you download and install the program, click on the box Start Process Scan. It takes a few minutes to scan the computer and you have to have a connection to the Internet. Once the scan is complete you’ll get a list of all of the processes that are running on your computer. Then you can click on any that you wnat to learn more about and you’ll get a page listing all of the program details, whether it’s safe and whether or not it should be removed. At the top of the page there are some colored circles that tell how safe the program is. Gray means unrated, green means safe, yellow means caution and red is unsafe. To remove a program, click on START/RUN and enter msconfig in the run dialog box. Search through the list until you find the program that you want to disable and then uncheck the check box next to it. Or you can disable or remove a program with the free program described next.

Today we’ll look at another program performs a process scan but also scans your system for spyware. It’s Microsoft’s Windows Defender and you can get it by going to downloads and selecting Windows and then scroll down to Windows Defender. In order to download and use it you have to go through the Validation Process to assure that your version of Windows is legitimate. Follow the steps on the page you just reached.

After you have downloaded and installed it, you can use Defender to scan for spyware or you can schedule it to do so on any basis you select. The scan will identify any problem programs that you have installed. We won’t take the time to scan now. Instead, we’ll go to Tools and then select Software Explorer. When you run it, you’ll find a box marked Categories from which you can select Startup Programs, Currently Running Programs, Network Connected Programs and Winsock Service Providers. Each selection that you make causes the program to list all of the programs in that category and defines whether they are permitted or not yet classified. Some items that were installed with Windows may show Not Yet Classified if there are add ons that have been added. Start with Startup Programs and see if there are any that you don’t want running. There’s a complete description provided in the right hand panel that includes where the file resides in your computer. If you find something that you’re not sure of you can enter the name into Google and one of the entries will provide information on whether it should be removed or not. Or you can go here: and enter the program name in the box at the top of the page. You’ll get the same result as that provided by Process Scanner described above.

Use it to scan your computer to see what bad things it turns up. It’s always comforting to know that you’re safe.