Reunion

Hit the Road Capt. Jack

AroundMeImage via WikipediaAre you going to go out of town for the Labor Day weekend? This year, we’re getting four days off. We are going to be visiting with some family at least one of the days. So, its a great time to put my new mobile apps to use. I got an iPhone last Christmas (thank you dear hubby!) and its really made life easier. The “Around Me” app alone really saved us when we were in Texas this summer for my nephews wedding and couldn’t locate the hotel. After the third time around the block, I pulled out my phone, put in the name of the hotel and it showed us exactly what turns to make to get there. Really cool.  Playing with “Around Me” some more, we found local museums and other hot spots. As an addicted genealogist, of course I had to pull up directions for the local libraries and cemeteries.

When we visited the Alamo, I pulled out my trusty “Reunion” app and looked up all the relatives that I needed to do research on and was able to put a personal history twist on the whole tour. Sorry PC users: Reunion is Macintosh software. The staff over at LeisterPro told me they has no intention of making Reunion available for Windows users. I can understand that. There are more lots of genealogy apps for PCs anyway, but Reunion is the king of genealogy software for Mac users.

The Reunion iPhone app works in conjunction with the Macintosh version. It allows you to keep your entire family at your fingertips. Or, if you prefer, you can save only the individuals you know you’ll be working on while out of town.

Since we are planning to visit my husband’s relatives, I decided to install the free “Ancestry” app. It came out in January but Ancestry and I have a love-hate relationship so I put it off until now. Sure enough, I had a bear of a time getting it to work. But, I have a hard time getting Ancestry.com to work on any device.

Ancestry likes my money, but whenever I try to sign on it doesn’t like my account information. Genealogists are very familiar with the question: “What do you mean I don’t exist?” Well, Ancestry, it seems, tries to re-enforce this age-old question every time I try to log in. I have to reset my password every time. I get a lot of password reset requests from the members of the Heycuz.net website, and I can totally identify with them due to the problems I have had with Ancestry. With all the money I’ve spent on Ancestry over the years, I expect them to say “Oh, here she comes again, cha-ching $$$$” and bend over backwards to open all the doors for me, but they still make me jump through hoops just to sign on.
Well, its working now and I’m excited to show Steve’s uncle some records that are easily viewable on the app. In fact, I can see them better on the app than I can on my Mac’s Firefox browser. Specifically, I am going to show him the Passenger ship records of his grandfather arriving in America and the census records that shows where he worked before he opened his restaurant.
Cell phone mobility has made a huge impact on our daily lives,  but genealogists tend to take a while to integrate the new tools into their research arsenal.The whole reason I even got into genealogy was due to this fact. I was trying to convince my mother–who’d been doing genealogy her entire life–to get an email account. I figured I’d show her all the information that was available online and pulled up the old GenWeb site.
She gave me a name and I put it in and found a list of people doing research on that name. I posted a query and amazingly within minutes I had a response. It turned out to be my father’s uncle’s daughter-in-law, but that’s another story. My mother’s eyes lit up with all the information available on that one website alone. So, I figured I was successful and soon she’d be emailing me daily. It didn’t turn out that way immediately. Instead, she sent me boxes of her research and a small note:

Happy Hunting, 


Love,


Mom”

Eventually, my mother did go online and ended up subscribing to Ancestry and buying me a subscription too. The cost of Ancestry depends on a number of factors including what databases you want access to. I had a worldwide access, but it turned out to be a waste because of the limited records available in the areas I was interested in. But the prices averages about $30 a month, which seems to me to be a lot of money to spend on a hobby.But there are some free areas on Ancestry.com so you really don’t have to subscribe at all. Since my mother bought it for me, I feel compelled to continue the subscription. 
Image representing iPhone as depicted in Crunc...Image via CrunchBaseYou don’t have to have Ancestry, or an iPhone, to take advantage of mobile technology. There’s an entire website dedicated to mobile genealogy where you can find apps for your specific device: iPad, Palm, Kindle, Android, Windows Mobile, Laptops, Blackberry, Symbian, Newton, and on and on… So, hit the road Jack, but head on over to MobileGenealogy.com and get some research apps before you do.

NOTE: This is my second post toward my commitment to NaBloPoMo to write one post a day in September. Although I have not followed their prompts for writing topics, I still think its a great program. Have you signed up yet?


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Family Photos – Arggggh!

Everyone knows that I love photographs of our ancestors. Seeing the
family resemblance in a photograph taken a hundred years ago sends
chills up my back. Once, in wondering if a branch of the family was
really mine, I stumbled across a photo of a civil war soldier and
there, as if looking me straight in the eye, was the spitting image
of my kid brother Shane. Wow. I had no doubt, we had to be related.
Recently, however, they’ve been testing my patience. The photos, not
the ancestors.
During the last couple of times I have tried exporting the Heycuz 
database into web pages, one of the photographs has caused my system 
to crash. Each time I attempted to export the files, it would go for 
15 hours and 23 minutes and right at that point, bam, everything 
would fail. I’d have to rebuild the file, another couple of hours and 
try again.
I use Reunion, a Macintosh computer application for genealogy. 
Normally, I can’t say enough about this software. I’ve used a lot of 
the different programs but Reunion stands so high above the others 
that its no question that this is the program of choice. I do keep a 
copy of Family Tree Maker installed on my son’s PC, but I’ve used it 
maybe twice this year and only to convert submitted FTM files into 
gedcoms and opening them up in Reunion.
So, I posted my problem on the Reunion Talk board hoping someone had 
similar problems and solved it, but I didn’t get one reply. Come on! 
You’re telling me I’m the only lucky one to have such a problem? So, 
I tried again and noticed that it crashed right about the point that 
it started to export the photographs. It must be a rogue photograph 
then, I assumed. So, I tried to export only the people that had 
photographs to test the theory. That was only about 6,000 files, 
compared to the 90,000+ people on heycuz. Halfway through the 15 
hours it still took to export the file–Why so long?–I realized that 
if it crashed it still wouldn’t solve the problem. Even so, I waited, 
and sure enough it got to the “exporting images” sequence and 
crashed. After rebuilding the file for the umpteenth time, I decided 
to export only a few files with photographs and see if that would 
help. This time the export went much faster, exporting 300 people, 
but it still crashed. So, I tried turning off all photos and it worked.
So, I knew it was a photo. Then, I went back and exported only 50 
people with photos. Drum roll, please….Tada! It exported with no 
problems. So, I tried 100. It went. I tried 200, it didn’t go. I 
theorized that it must be one photo and if I could just narrow it 
down to that one photo I could take it out or fix it and then solve 
the problem. So, I went through the entire database and exported 
every one, 100 people at a time. It took a week. However, it still 
didn’t solve the problem. If I exported the files in 100 increments, 
it would work every time. Unfortunately, if you do export the family 
file in 100s, the links no longer work and the result is a useless 
bunch of html pages. The good news is the photo files do export. So, 
what I ended up doing, eager to get the updates uploaded, is exported 
all the files as though there were no problem. Of course, when it 
came to the exporting images it crashed, but then I just merged all 
the photo files from my 100-people experiment into their correct 
folders and checked to make sure that the correct photos linked to 
the right people. I believe it worked. I know its a temporary fix, 
but at least I got the updates done.
After spending a week uploading all the files of course, I’m still 
left to resolve the problem. Anyone with a bit of computer knowledge, 
is probably thinking that the problem has an obvious cause. Memory. 
Well, I have twice the amount the software requirements call for. I 
have a processor that is three times the minimum speed recommended. 
The photographs are all small jpgs. Well, I did notice that there 
were a couple of .tiff formatted photos so I converted them to jpgs 
but that didn’t solve it. Besides, it had always worked before the 
last few months. The only thing that changed is of course, 
corrections, and there was a software update. Unfortunately, I can’t 
back track and use the older version of software because then it will 
no longer open my file. Since my system isn’t the most up to date I’m 
hoping that if I finally upgrade the Computer system software it will 
fix the problem. If not, at least I know that I can export the pages, 
100 people at a time, but that means I will be doing updates less 
often as it takes such a long time to update. So, if you’re wondering 
why your corrections take so long to get up on the web, now you know.
On a semi-related note: Apple recently switched its server to “The 
Cloud” and, once again, lucky me, I was one of the 1 percent of 
people who lost email service. So any one who tried to write to my 
Mac address, which is the address I use for Heycuz members, didn’t 
get through. I have other email addresses, so for the first week I 
didn’t notice it. Then, someone forwarded a note that my email was 
undeliverable and checking with Mac’s website, I found out why. It 
would take another week for Mac to get its act together and get mail 
service back. I can’t believe they could do that and still run 
commercials about how much better everything is.
Anyway, with “The Cloud” and the problems with my software, I will be 
down once again, hopefully not for too long, while I do a clean 
install of Mac OS Leopard. Wish me luck!

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