Kristin's Do-Over - Off the Rails (for the time being)
All I can say is that I'm glad Thomas MacEntee will restart the Genealogy Do-Over cycle in April, because I got sidetracked. I started off on the Do-Over so well. I was on a roll, setting aside my previous research, collecting my own information, creating a research log, and even conducting some research. After that, not so good.
The first thing that happened is that we went to Salt Lake City for a week, spending several days at the Family History Library and attending the combined RootsTech and Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS) conference. I'm not complaining -- I had a *great* time! While I didn't have as much of a "pick list" before heading to the FHL as I had hoped to have, it turns out that I had plenty! I owe a lot of that to the initial stages of the Do-Over. I committed myself to finding the low-hanging fruit, meaning the vital records for recent generations. I copied the birth, death and marriage records that I could find for my grandparents (already had my parents'), some great-grandparents, and even some g-g-grandparents. (This is not as easy as it could be. Our family has some long generations; even my grandparents were born before the states began requiring birth records. But I found and copied what I could.) Then I ran into a motherlode of information on one of my great-grandfathers. I already had a copy of his autobiography that he wrote for a Civil War army reunion at the St. Louis World's Fair in 1904 and which he dedicated to my grandmother. But I also found several documents on regimental reunions that included information on and articles by my great-grandfather. Between these and the newspaper articles I had previously found online through the Quincy, Illinois Public Library digital newspaper project, I have a lot of information on my great-grandfather -- the most on any of my ancestors -- and I hope to write an article on him one of these days.
While at the conference, we spent a lot of time on the Expo floor, talking to vendors about different products. We saw many interesting things, but my main purpose was to settle on a new database program. We did buy one, and I've spent a lot of time working in it since we got home. However, I am somewhat frustrated. My home desktop is a Mac Mini, and both of the products we were looking at are Windows-based. The one I've been trying is Legacy 8.0, which means that we have to run it under an emulator. I won't go into excruciating detail, but further investigation is required as the program will run for a bit and then run out of GDI handles and crash. We're not giving up yet and plan to look into the version of Wine and MacPorts that we're currently using. Suffice it to say, I have not had time to enter the fabulous information I collected in SLC. But for what I have entered, I really like Legacy's Source Writer to help me format the citations correctly. As part of this, I've spent a lot of time going through the Legacy training videos, and I'm glad I have. I've learned and am learning a lot as I go relating to best practices.
We did find out that Legacy uses Microsoft Access as its underlying database, so there will never be a native Mac version -- at least not without a complete rewrite. They are working with CodeWeavers to create a package that will allow Legacy to install on a Mac. In the meantime, they offered to sell me CrossOver Mac as an alternative to Wine. I'd rather wait for a packaged version, though noone would commit to a date. The other option is RootsMagic, also a Windows program but which already has a companion product, MacBridge for RootsMagic. And they are working on a native Mac version. They can do this because their underlying database is SQLite, which is not limited to Windows. To be completely fair, I should spend time with the RootsBridge training videos and the free RootsMagic Essentials or the paid version. I need more hours in the day.
But this weekend I'm taking a detour to work on income tax. Ick. Genealogy is so much more fun!