Category Archives: News

Genealogy news

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 Jersey Awards Counties/Municipalities Millions for Records Preservation

With all of the talk lately of states trying to close off public access to many records, we have this glimmer of good news – The Associated Press/Newsday are reporting that New Jersey has designated millions of dollars for the preservation of public records and archives. All 21 counties and 40 municipalities are set to receive the money, which can be used for everything from new employees designated for the preservation, new equipment, duplication services, and training.

New Jersey’s Secretary of State Nina Mitchell Wells told the Star-Ledger of Newark that it will allow them to “..adopt 21st-century technologies to drive down the cost of government records’ creation, maintenance and storage, while expanding public access..”

Good news if you are a genealogist in New Jersey or are doing genealogy research concerning New Jersey. It’d be nice to think that other states might see the benefits (among other things, they mentioned the savings it will generate to work on perserving these records now), and might even think about pulling back from trying to close off public access to public records.

Disturbed Cemetery Descendants Traced

No, the descendants aren’t disturbed, it was the people buried in the cemetery that were disturbed. Don’t you love headlines like that? Jim Wallace of WLAB News (Albany, Valdosta, and Thomasville, Georgia) has news of a cemetery that was accidently disturbed a few years ago (it was harrowed over, and some of the tombstones were nearly destroyed and/or lost. They have managed to track down who was buried there, as well as descendants, and will be contacting the descendants. If you think it might concern you – two of the names mentioned are Roby and Turner, you should check the article out and get in touch with the Dougherty County DA.

Excerpt from the article:

New evidence in the investigation of a rural Dougherty County cemetery that was harrowed over by workers at a neighboring plantation. Historians have taken the pieces of tombstones that were recovered, and identified the people who were buried in that long forgotten cemetery during the 1850’s and 1860’s.

A number of South Georgia families today can be traced to one of those people buried there 160 years ago, and now they will be contacted by the District Attorney’s office about the disturbance of this cemetery.

In the 1850-s and 1860-s there was a cemetery on this plot on the Tallahassee Road in Western Dougherty County. Dougherty County Sheriff’s Investigators say Ecila Plantation workers admit two years ago they harrowed over the long forgotten cemetery by mistake.

Clooz 2.0 Is Out

I haven’t been paying attention – one of my favorite genealogy applications, Clooz, has left it’s 2.0 beta testing and has now been formally released. The author refers to it as an “electronic filing cabinet ” for genealogy documents and files, and that’s pretty much an apt description.

The 2.0 series had a complete rewrite – in “.Net”, meaning it requires Windows XP unfortunately. Among the significant updates – new templates, census substitutions (for those times you can’t find somebody in the census, this is a good way to document where they were around then), and map tracking/information/storage, and most importantly, GEDCOM importing.

One thing I thought was pretty cool, they’ve added what is basically a building history area to track buildings and land that were important to your ancestors – I’ve mentioned before that people are starting to get into doing research on places and structures.

Apple’s MacBook

Yesterday saw the release of Apple’s MacBook. I have one in my hands (and am in fact typing this from it). I got one of the last half dozen in the store, I believe.

This is sort of a review. I know, you are thinking what does this have to do with genealogy, but this is going to be my genealogy platform of choice for the next few (hopfeully several) years, and I’ll explain why in a moment (if you are interested in Macs, but have some Windows-only applications, read on, you’re in luck).

First, to get the technical stuff out of the way. It’s one of the cheapest (if not cheapest) Intel Core Duo notebooks with a 13.3-inch widescreen that you can find – starts at around $1099. I’m talking Dell, HP, Lenovo, Toshiba, etc. Having an Intel Core Duo is basically the equivalent of having two processors/CPUs in the machine. The screen is wonderful – I’ve always liked widescreen displays because I tend to have a lot of stuff open at the same time, or what I’m doing would benefit from a widescreen in some manner, and on a laptop, having a widescreen is a spacesaver – it’s a little wider than a normal 12-inch display, but it’s not quite as deep. For my eyes, the 13.3 is about as small as I want to go for the time being.

Now then, if you are like me and are holding onto a few Windows applications – especially those related to genealogy – those of you who have been reading RandomGenealogy for a while know I’m cranky when it comes to genealogy applications – namely that I can’t do without applications like GenSmarts and Clooz, then you are in luck.

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