Moderator Control Panel ]

Order out of Chaos!!

Share your thoughts with your fellow family historians – and the Who Do You Think You Are? Magazine team – here

Order out of Chaos!!

Postby meekhcs » Tue Jan 02, 2018 2:10 pm

Hello Everyone

I would be grateful for some advice please.

For various reasons my research is currently in a mess and I want to get back on track this year. I have a private tree on Ancestry, and one on paper! Before attempting anything else, such as moving my Tree from Ancestry to another computer based site eg FTM or the like, I need to marry up my Ancestry and paper trees and make sure all the sourcing is in place , and I know it will take time.

I am not very computer literate, as I have admitted many times on here, but I did think that buying a new laptop would help me in that I would be able to use them simultaneously,and therefore quicken the process.

My current laptop, an Asus X501A, was bought when Windows 7 was still in vogue and I never updated to Windows 8 because of all the bad press, or Windows 10 on the premise it it aint broken don't fix it!! It has seen better days and needs replacing, but will still be useful to run alongside a new one.

SO, after all that preamble, I am looking for some advice as to what to buy. PC World and even the local independent stores have no idea what is required in order to run and store Family History Research on a laptop, and I haven't a clue when it comes to graphics,gb etc!!

I know there are some real Tecchy people on here so if you can spare some time I would love your advice. Happy to receive PM's

Many thanks and Happy New Year!!

Sally
meekhcs
 
Posts: 1495
Joined: Sat May 16, 2009 7:43 pm
Location: england

Re: Order out of Chaos!!

Postby Rosemary Collins » Wed Jan 03, 2018 9:24 am

Hi Sally,

This forum is for reporting problems with the digital version of Who Do You Think You Are? Magazine and its apps and websites, so I'm moving your post to 'Genealogy chat' so that more people will see it. Good luck with finding a new laptop!

Thanks,

Rosemary
Rosemary Collins
Editorial Assistant
Who Do You Think You Are? Magazine

rosemary.collins@immediate.co.uk
User avatar
Rosemary Collins
 
Posts: 102
Joined: Mon Apr 24, 2017 9:52 am

Re: Order out of Chaos!!

Postby Mick Loney » Fri Jan 05, 2018 7:15 am

Meekhcs,
Most modern laptops would be suitable, but be warned (techie bit coming). The Family Historian (FH) software may be designed to run on ‘standard’ processors, so some of the little netbooks, (which use ‘Atom’ processors), or Apple Mac’s may be unsuitable.

If you do get one, get one with HDMI output, so you can connect to a sutable TV (one with HDMI inputs), to use as a large monitor. (I currently use a 43” TV as a Monitor, so can get three programmes running side by side on screen at same time. It has the added bonus that it can run a split screen, so I can work on FH and watch TV at same time :D )

In saying that, I think the best place for advice of this nature would be on the FH user group forum. On there you will find suitably technically qualified experts to give you first hand advice, both on FH and your computer.

You can find them at fhug.org.uk

Edit: Forgot to mention CD/DVD drives. Many laptops reduce weight by not including a built in CD or DVD drive, so without another PC available, loading software via CD may be a problem. However, if weight is important to you, you can get a standalone DVD drive that will plug in to a USB port, which will get around this particular problem.

Mike
Mick Loney
 
Posts: 642
Joined: Fri Feb 18, 2011 11:39 am

Re: Order out of Chaos!!

Postby paulr1949 » Fri Jan 05, 2018 4:19 pm

meekhcs wrote:Hello Everyone

SO, after all that preamble, I am looking for some advice as to what to buy. PC World and even the local independent stores have no idea what is required in order to run and store Family History Research on a laptop, and I haven't a clue when it comes to graphics,gb etc!!

Sally


Sally

What you need to consider is will this (along with the old one) be your only computer? If so, screen size will be a consideration. And are you planning to take it to records offices etc. If so weight will be a consideration.
I have an Acer Aspire S13 laptop bought last year which I use when I'm other than at home (or when my wife wants to use the desktop). The screen is fine for the amount of use I give it and the locations (trains, records offices, B&B's etc) but I wouldn't want to use that size of screen all day every day. At the moment, I'm writing up my father's ancestry for my brother and cousins, and I'm using the laptop to have Family Historian open and the desktop for a word document, using either for a quick check on a record if necessary.
As far as graphics and memory etc are concerned, it depends what else you will use the computer for. Certainly what they come with is more than enoughj for family history work. Simplistically, the more memory the computer has, the more you'll be able to do at the same time without things slowing down too much. 4gb memory (RAM) is a decent minimum.
Hard disk size - many laptops now come with a "solid state" disk drive, which is lighter than a traditional one and has no moving parts. They are much faster, but cost more than a traditional hard disk relative to size. A typical one will be 128 or 256 gb - not enough to store thousands of photos and videos, music etc., but enough for family history files. A solution might be to have a laptop with a SS drive plus a portable drive with a bigger capacity which you can leave connected most of the time. The same applies to a DVD drive - many laptops (mine included) don't come with a DVD drive fitted internally (as Mick mentioned). Again, an external one can be attached (as I do where necessary). Some sort of video output (preferably HDMI) is useful as you can display your charts, photos, records etc on a TV or an external monitor.

Hope this helps
Paul
paulr1949
 
Posts: 132
Joined: Fri Dec 02, 2011 4:13 pm

Re: Order out of Chaos!!

Postby meekhcs » Sat Jan 06, 2018 11:37 am

Mick and Paul

Thanks for your replies.They have pointed out so many things I would never have thought of.

Mick
In saying that, I think the best place for advice of this nature would be on the FH user group forum. On there you will find suitably technically qualified experts to give you first hand advice, both on FH and your computer.

You can find them at fhug.org.uk


I take it I can join the Forum even though I don't run the FH programme on my laptop?

Forgot to mention CD/DVD drives. Many laptops reduce weight by not including a built in CD or DVD drive, so without another PC available, loading software via CD may be a problem.


My current laptop doesn't have a cd/dvd drive and it's a real pain! I bought a plugin drive but it is temperamental !

Paul

What you need to consider is will this (along with the old one) be your only computer? If so, screen size will be a consideration. And are you planning to take it to records offices etc. If so weight will be a consideration


I am already thinking that I may have to purchase two for this very reason, although Mick's idea concerning the TV is something I hadn't considered.We have recently downsized and I have lost my office, so laptops will be the way forward now because of lack of permanent space for a computer! I was thinking of going back to Dell because my old Dell computer, which I switched for my current laptop, lasted years.

As far as graphics and memory etc are concerned, it depends what else you will use the computer for. Certainly what they come with is more than enoughj for family history work. Simplistically, the more memory the computer has, the more you'll be able to do at the same time without things slowing down too much. 4gb memory (RAM) is a decent minimum.


My laptop is basically used for writing up Family History and photos, so word and excel are heavily used. I don't have a Family History programme installed as yet but I will eventually download my private tree from Ancestry, and leave a public one in its place.

Edited Mick and Paul

Another point I would like to raise is back up. Cloud seems to be the in thing these days taking over from discs and memory sticks. They all seem to have + and - .I also know you can purchase external hard drives. Don't shout at me, but because my tree is on Ancestry and paper I haven't backed up word and excel. I am thinking it would be best to use two sources but which two?


Finally regarding all the chat this past week re "spectre" and "meltdown" would it be prudent to wait until the problem is sorted before purchasing a new laptop or is just the latest piece of scaremongering which will constantly be surpassed by new errors/problems? In which case do we just rely on Norton/McAfee etc to protect us?

Again many thanks

Sally
meekhcs
 
Posts: 1495
Joined: Sat May 16, 2009 7:43 pm
Location: england

Re: Order out of Chaos!!

Postby Mick Loney » Sat Jan 06, 2018 3:03 pm

Sally,
My mistake, I thought you were already using FH hence the suggestion. On re-reading your post, I realise you aren’t a user of FH, but may I be so bold as to suggest you give it a try, via their free trial version. I moved from FTM to FH when Ancestry severed its links, and to be honest, I found FH far better and more flexible to use, and their latest version also provides ‘hints’, similar to FTM. As for FHUG, it is free to join, and whilst you don’t need to have FH, most of the benefits relate to FH users.

Backup: for peace of mind, you want a solution you can control. Web based Cloud solutions are fine as they stand, but you are reliant on a third party. My personal prefernce is to have my own cloud devices at home, ( a MyBooklive and a Mycloud from Western Digital, but other makes are available).
These devices link in to your home network, and can be accessed from your PC via Wifi. They come with hassle free backup software, which backs up everything for you in the background. You simply set it to run then forget about it. Every time a file is added or changed on your PC, it saves it, so you don’t have to remember to do it yourself.

I also use tribalpages to store a copy of my research, which apart from being used as a backup, it allows others to view my research as well, just like a tree on Ancestry. However tribalpages is far cheaper, when compared to a subscription on Ancestry.

Mike
Mick Loney
 
Posts: 642
Joined: Fri Feb 18, 2011 11:39 am

Re: Order out of Chaos!!

Postby meekhcs » Sat Jan 06, 2018 8:01 pm

Mick

I, too, was all set to install FTM when the Ancestry issue blew up !! I did download a free trial of FH but decided at the time to wait as illness intervened. I will look again but I need to sort out my Ancestry and paper trees first. If not I will be in even more of a mess.

Thank you for the suggestions re backup. Both are new to me so I will investigate further.

A 2nd cousin uses tribal pages. I hadn't considered it. At the end of the day, once I have removed all personal info from Ancestry, I am happy to make it public on there. I doubt that any other website will ever have the same amount of worldwide cover as Ancestry presently enjoys!

Once again thanks for your help and suggestions

Sally
meekhcs
 
Posts: 1495
Joined: Sat May 16, 2009 7:43 pm
Location: england

Re: Order out of Chaos!!

Postby Mick Loney » Sun Jan 07, 2018 7:17 am

Sally,
To make your job easier, you could export your Ancestry tree, and load it into you PC program and then work on it there. Trying to edit an on-line tree is much harder than editing one on your PC. I wouldn’t dream of editing my tribalpages tree, I just reload it when necessary.

Also, editing two trees, and trying to keep them in step is a nightmare, and best avoided. Make your PC tree your ‘Master’, and make all changes there, then update any on-line tree from the ‘Master’ tree, as and when you feel the need.

For example, if you spot an error that involves a now redundant branch, you can delete all members of that branch quite simply on your PC, but can you imagine trying to delete 50 individuals from your on-line tree? Doesn’t bear thinking about.

Finally, having your tree on your PC, leaves you free to attach personal research notes to individuals, which can be omitted when you update your on-line tree.

Just a few random thoughts for you to consider.
Mike
Mick Loney
 
Posts: 642
Joined: Fri Feb 18, 2011 11:39 am

Re: Order out of Chaos!!

Postby meekhcs » Sun Jan 07, 2018 3:09 pm

Mike

If I understand you correctly, you are suggesting that it would be easier if I installed my own Family History program eg Family Historian; then to export my tree from Ancestry in gedcom form to Family Historian; then if I still wanted some form of paper record I could print biographies etc directly from Family Historian and then I could delete all the personal stuff from my Ancestry tree and change it to a public tree.

I need to take back control of my research, and although I initially thought sorting my ancestry and my paper tree was the way to go, having this conversation on here has made me realise that I need to forget about my ancestry tree for now as I have allowed it to take over.

So, If I transfer my tree in gedcom form, what is actually transferred? I presume I would need to re attach anything that appears in my Gallery - photos, word and excel docs, etc? What happens to the BMDs and census records etc that I have found on Ancestry and saved and attached to individual tree members?

It would seem logical to me to purchase a laptop, back up all FH records I have on my old laptop and transfer, load a Family History programme and go from there. I have to confess the whole idea fills me with dread, and I am scared I will make a mess of it all, but needs must.

One final question I run Windows 7 now and a new laptop will be windows 10. Am I going to have any issues transferring any docs written on windows 7 to a windows 10 machine?

Many thanks for your help.

Sally
meekhcs
 
Posts: 1495
Joined: Sat May 16, 2009 7:43 pm
Location: england

Re: Order out of Chaos!!

Postby Mick Loney » Sun Jan 07, 2018 6:02 pm

Sally,
Yes, you understand correctly. Export your Gedcom from Ancestry, and import it into you programme.
I’m afraid all your media and documents may also need downloading, as programmes don’t always handle Gedcom media properly, which is why I keep my programme as simple as possible, and don’t clutter it with media. Sure, I have images of parish registers, census etc, but I keep them on my PC in a suitably named folder, outside of my programme.
I just make sure I’m aware they exist by adding a suitable citations to the records. For example, I may add the citation “Baptism register image’ to the individual’s baptism fact, and if necessary, I know I can retrieve the image if I need to. I keep an image of ALL census returns, so for these, I just need to add a reference in the citation, so I know which image to look at.

My theory is that if something goes wrong with the program, or I decide to change programs ( or PC :D ) I won’t have to worry about all the media, because it is not within the program, so will not be affected. Others don’t think this way, and like to see the images when working in the program. The choice is yours.

As for Windows 10 v Windows 7, you should find no problems with any of your existing files / documents. Your existing Word Processor or Spreadsheet program should run on the new PC so your documents will pose no problems. Even if you get new programmes, they should handle old documents and spreadsheet files without a problem.

Hopefully I’ve addressed all you concerns.
Mick Loney
 
Posts: 642
Joined: Fri Feb 18, 2011 11:39 am

Next

Return to Genealogy chat


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 0 guests