Category Archives: Reviews

Reviews (Books, Software, Sites)

Microsoft Office 2007 – Try It Out

If you live and breathe Microsoft Office and/or Outlook and OneNote (and Publisher even) when it comes to correspondence, notes, presentations, biographies, etc., for your genealogy work, and you are a Windows user (or Mac with the appropriate Windows virtualization software) and interested in where Office is going, Microsoft has made the Office 2007 Beta 2 available for public users.

You can get it (and the free license keys) here: www.microsoft.com/office/preview/beta/getthebeta.mspx

It’s got a radical new interface, and quite a few other things have changed. It runs okay if you are using it under a Mac setup with Parallels Desktop for Mac.

It expires on February 1st, 2007. Keep in mind, it’s highly recommended you don’t use this for “production” work, i.e., don’t install over your old Office, and don’t load and save documents you have created with older versions of Office without first backing all of them up. That said, it’s interesting to see where they are going with this – obviously they are going after more online-collaboration and business, but still, it’s interesting to look at it. Personally, it doesn’t offer me anything that I absolutely need – I’ve been using other word processors for my normal word processing, and for publishing newsletters, etc., I’ve been using Apple’s Pages, but I do like to check things out.

If you don’t want to go through with downloading it or ordering it by mail, you can read eWeek’s review of it.

New England Historic Genealogical Society’s Magazine – Ancestors

Roxanne Moore Saucier has a good article in the Bangor Daily News (Maine), Ancestors magazine a rich resource, that covers many of the resources available through a membership in the New England Historic Genealogical Society, especially their publication, New England Ancestors.

Excerpt from the article:

Let’s not overlook the society’s publications, including the popular magazine New England Ancestors. I always find something useful in the New England Online column by David Allen Lambert.

The spring issue points out the National Soldiers Home for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers in Togus, telling us that microfilm records for 1866-1934 are available at the National Archives branch in Waltham, Mass. Records may also be rented through Family History Centers of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, such as the center on Grandview Avenue and Essex Street in Bangor. (The Family History Library catalog is online at www.familysearch.org.)

If you’ve been considering a membership in the NEHGS, this might push you to do it.

A Quick Look at MacPAF

MacPAF is (I think) nearing a public release. MacPAF if modeled after Personal Ancestral File (PAF) for Mac, and for those who are waiting to upgrade their genealogy software and who are looking for a replacement for PAF for Mac, this might just be the application you are looking for. While there are more mature Mac genealogy applications (and the list has grown to a dozen or so active Mac applications, which really surprised me), and that have more features, MacPAF is more geared towards those used to PAF for Mac.

I read that the developer is working on making it TempleReady as well as having LDS Ordinance indicators. I’m not that familiar with what all that means, but I understand it is important to Mormon genealogists.

I look forward to future versions, as I got a chance to play around with MacPAF for a few minutes, and I liked how intuitive it was as far as navigation (it’s hard to describe without seeing it in action).

It’s unfortunate that the LDS Church has stopped updating their genealogy software, but I’m glad that somebody has picked up where they left off (and it’s not just MacPAF – There is an application called Personal Ancestry Writer II that is also oriented towards providing a modern version of PAF for Mac). I have heard that the LDS Church is working on online software, which I guess is where things are slowly moving (several of the major Windows genealogy applications are geared towards pushing you to use online resources), and while I have nothing against any of that (I have a website setup with The Next Generation of Genealogy Sitebuilding, which I think is the best online genealogy application, hands-down, but PhpGedView is a good alternative for free, if you don’t want to pay for TNG). Anyways, enough of my ramblings.

You can read more about it at the developer’s homepage or MacGenealogy.org

TV-Branded Genealogy Software?

Can you imagine genealogy software branded with the name of a popular TV show? That’s what happens when you combine the hit BBC TV show, ‘Who Do You Think You Are?‘ with Family Tree Maker. Genealogy Software News has information on a review of the software.

I’m not surprised considering the popularity, and it looks like it’s only for the UK market. The reviewers that Genealogy Software News points to complained that it felt like it was trying to pull them into subscribing to Ancestry.com (or Ancestry.co.uk in their case). Hmmmm…didn’t see that coming….