Saturday, April 23, 2016

Some things only a Genealogist will understand…

I had a huge stack (as you can see) of binders to digitize, but the pages were those sticky IMG_1325 (2)kind where it’s like photograph suicide to remove…the only solution, a book scanner.  So to the BYU Family History Library I headed this weekend.  I couldn’t carry them all in so in enters the double stroller, I knew motherhood was preparing me for more than just mothering.
Sadly, that amazing book scanner I used last time was apparently on trial at the time and has since been removed.  To those of you interested in using it, they said they’ll be purchasing one in the 2017 budget year, so it will return in the future.  BUT--I had a task to do so I decided to check out the other options for book scanners.  They have some amazing flatbed scanners that really do a great job and are quite quick…12 huge binders of photos and 4 hours later I was done.
The great news is that during my time in the library I made some friends.  I love chatting it up with people and helping when I can, so I found myself in conversations with various people.  The girl next to me, Afton, was scanning some adoption paperwork for her younger siblings from Russia.  We got into conversation and I learned that she is a BYU student majoring in Family History. Yes, that IS what I said, majoring in FAMILY HISTORY…..somehow I doubt any other school offers such a major. Can I just say, I missed my lot in life.
She was great to chat with--definitely helped move the project along. The best part was that she introduced me to this new site, provided by none other than the BYU Family History Department.  Thank you BYU, you are continuously providing me with new genealogy toys.
Virtual Pedigree: screen
It’s a FamilySearch partner site, so it uses your FamilySearch tree.  It uses what they call Dynamic Navigation, which basically scrolls around and zooms according to where you move your cursor and what you click on.  It’s easy to navigate and very intuitive.
The idea behind the program is to help you easily find the lines in your family tree that need work, and have some record hints ready to go so you can get right in to the research. It’s great for helping you get started quickly when you’re not really sure where to start, especially for those of us with pioneer ancestors and lots of work that is already done.  Find those cousins that got lost in the shuffle over the years, and hopefully their families.
To use it, scroll to an ancestor several generations back (late 1700s is where I like to start), then click on that ancestor and select “set as root.”  This will populate that person as the central person in the tree, then start populating their descendants and ancestors.  You’ll see colored circles among their descendants and ancestors that indicate different research tips.  You’ll also notice on the right hand side a box entitled “Low Hanging Fruit”.  These are the ones with record hints already found in FamilySearch.  Awesome, right! The number next to it indicates how many Record Hints they currently have.
Okay, now go play, and let me know what you think!

Friday, April 8, 2016

A simple work-around for the loss of Google App Launcher

So I know this isn't exactly part of the topic for my blog, but seeing as technology is a huge part of my life and a huge part of why I love doing genealogy I feel that it is in fact appropriate.

I spent several hours today trying to figure out how to install the Chrome App Launcher on my new computer.  I am an avid user of Google and many of its applications, and I often try to encourage people to use their product because they offer so many amazing and wonderful features. They have tons of great resources even for genealogy, but that's a post for another day.  So when I discovered the Chrome App Launcher a few years ago, I was thrilled because frankly I use Google stuff way more often than I use any Windows apps but I have a PC.  That said, after hours of getting stuck without an option to download the launcher, I finally found this article, Retiring Chrome App Launcher.  Basically Google has decided to discontinue support of the Chrome App Launcher, and remove it, so obviously they no longer have it available for download. Blah!! 

Without going into how incredibly disappointed I am about their decision, I wanted to offer a work-around to others experiencing this problem.  I spent some time trying to figure out another option because of course the Windows Start screen doesn't display the apps with their correct thumbnails, so creating a "group" (I think that's what they're called) on the start menu isn't a good option.

So here's the WORK-AROUND:

Open Chrome, and go to your app library. Visit: chrome://apps/

Right click on each app that you'd like to have available on your desktop and choose "Create Shortcut". Check the "desktop" check-box and click "create".

This will add a shortcut to your desktop for every app you'd like to have available.  Don't worry we
won't leave them there.

Now create a folder and name it whatever you'd like it to show on your Taskbar, I used "Chrome
Apps".  File that file wherever you'd like it to be.  I just used the original location that the apps were actually stored but anywhere will suffice as long as you can find it.

Now RIGHT CLICK on the Taskbar, go to "Toolbars" then select "New Toolbar".

Navigate to the folder you created with your Chrome Apps and select it. VOILA, you now have a little toolbar labeled as Chrome Apps that you can click and it opens up all those shortcuts.

It's not as pretty as the launcher but it works pretty much the same.

I'm sure there are other solutions, but hopefully this will be helpful to someone.