Category: Tips & Tricks

CIG Meeting, June 12, 2010

By , May 25, 2010

The June meeting of the D-OGS Computer SIG will be held on 12 June, in the large meeting room in the Chapel Hill Public Library.

The June meeting will consist of the various email programs we all use, and how to archive emails as well as other files so that they are easily retrievable and more importantly, safe. This should be a topic that is good for everyone.

Here is a list of links that were reviewed during the meeting. Please feel free to comment or share your thoughts on these programs or websites if you’ve had experience with them:

WSJ article today – of general interest about genealogy moving up to the # 2 hobby

MS Office is now live on SkyDrive! – You can now  log into your MS Live account, and upload or create new MS Office documents and save and share to your SkyDrive – your free online storage drive provided with your MS Live account

Who Owns the Genealogy Companies? – A nine-part series from the award winning Genealogy’s Star Blog

Fifty Best Blogs for Genealogy Geeks – from Online University’s blog, placed into categories

Fifty Best Genealogy Websites for 2010 – from ProGenealogists

Diana The Goddess of the Hunt: For Genealogists – A word on Copyright – What every genealogist should know

From the Green Valley News and Sun – Genealogy: Alternative genealogy Web sites to consider

Genealogy Electronic Resources List – from the New York Public Library

TMG Cheat Sheets – from DeAnna’s blog

Preceden – Make a timeline – See a review here

Historical Markers Database

Information about the 1940 Census – when it will be available and what information was included

Historical Directories – a digital library of local and trade directories for England and Wales, from 1750 to 1919. It contains high quality reproductions of comparatively rare books, essential tools for research into local and genealogical history.

Train Your Voice Recognition Software To Do Your Genealogy – Launa Darby says you can save 40-50% of your time by using Voice Recognition software to transcribe your genealogy records, but you need to train your voice and your software to recognize your voice

African Ancestry Seminar – from Dick Eastman’s blog

Save a Buck: Trade in Those Outdated Electronics

My Blood Version 1.2 for Windows and Macintosh – Nice export to HTML capabilities

Forty Best Genealogy Blogs – from Diane Haddad at the Genealogy Insider

Gary Minder’s Census Tools – over 40 various excel spreadsheets you can download and use to input data from the census records you collect and research. Check out Dick Eastman’s review from his blog here

Attention Human Genetic History Buffs

How to Create A Font of Your Own Handwriting

By , February 12, 2010

Writing a letter or typing an email just got personal again.

Reading a hand-typed letter from a loved one just does not have the personal touch of a handwritten letter. I have some beautifully-written love notes that my great-grandparents wrote to each other before they were married. Imagine if these notes were typed by a computer?

With this new technology, you can (almost) have the best of both worlds. FontCapture will turn your own handwriting into your personal font that you can use when writing letters, typing emails, or typing anything where you can change the font.

Pretty cool idea, isn’t it? And it’s really easy to do. Plus, it’s free. Just head over to and print their template. Then, with a good pen, transcribe the characters/letters in the template, scan it, and upload it. FontCapture turns your handwriting into a font that both Windows and Mac computers can use.

This works great if you’re printing the document, but if you plan on sending an email/document to someone electronically in your own handwriting, they will first have to install your font on their computer before they can see your handwriting. This too is easy to do. Just attach the fontname.ttf file (that FontCapture creates for you) to an email, and have your correspondent copy the file to their Windows\Fonts folder.

You can continue to type your letters and emails, but now you can do it with a personal touch – your own handwriting.

Websites of Possible Interest

By , December 12, 2009

The following announcement was taken from the D-OGS December 2009 Newsletter.

North Carolina Folklife Institute – Since 1974 the North Carolina Folklife Institute has supported programs and projects that recognize, document, and present traditional culture in North Carolina. They invite you to make our website a resource for information about North Carolina’s most authentic folk cultures and traditional arts and artists. Check back often for news and regular updates.

Their website has tabs for “NC Travel”, “NC Food” and other areas of interest. If you would like to buy a CD of traditional Piedmont fiddle music from Joe Thompson from Mebane, you can get it here. Thompson is one of the very last African American fiddlers in the region’s tradition. A North Carolina Folk Heritage winner, he has played Piedmont stringband music for audiences around the world. He is also the inspiration and mentor of the Carolina Chocolate Drops, a group of young African American talents who are attempting to carry on Joe’s tradition in music.

Contact the NCFI

The North Carolina Folklife Institute gratefully acknowledges the support of the North Carolina Arts Council and the National Endowment for the Arts.


190,000 Welsh Wills Online – The BBC recently published an article about the end of a five-year project to make 190,000 wills available online has been completed. The project is complete and the wills are available now. About 800,000 pages of documents have been placed on the National Library of Wales’ website.

The National Library of Wales in Aberystwyth said the wills dated from the 14th Century until 1858, when civil probate was introduced, and 1,000 of them were written in Welsh. It said the project was “good news for family historians, social historians…and the inquisitive”.

You can read more at the BBC web site here and on the National Library of Wales web site here

(This article is from Eastman’s Online Genealogy Newsletter and is copyright by Richard W. Eastman. It is re-published here with the permission of the author. Information about the newsletter is available at

Preservation Tip of the Month – Storing Oversized Documents

By , December 12, 2009

The following announcement was taken from the D-OGS December 2009 Newsletter.

By Becky Schipper

Oversized documents such as abstracts, maps, and charts, should be interleaved with pH balanced, buffered tissue or paper made for long term storage. Documents should be placed in map cases or flat file boxes for storing. List the contents of each box or case on the outside so that the items inside are not handled more than is necessary. Rolling or folding oversized materials should be avoided as both of these treatments can cause damage that may not be reversible. Before moving oversized documents, place them on a sturdy sheet of card stock that is larger than the item you are moving.

(This article was “stolen” from the Allen County Public Library Genealogy Gems newsletter)

Free genealogy software

By , December 12, 2009

According to an article in a recent Dick Eastman genealogy newsletter, RootsMagic version 4 now has a free “Essentials” version available for download from their website. This free “lite” version has many core features found in the retail version but it not as complete as what you pay for. Their website is if you want to give it a try.

Also, Legacy Family Tree software is available in a free version as well as a retail version. You can download the free version from their website at Their current free version is 7.0. They will require you to register with them for the “freebie” so they can send you notices of updates and other news.

These software titles are designed to run on any Windows platform. Both of these firms are very reputable and offer fine products. However, D-OGS does not endorse either of these firms. Use at your own risk. Remember, genealogy research is habit-forming.

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