Family Tree Maker to Retire

The genealogy community is all a buzz due to the announcement two days ago by Ancestry.com that they would be retiring and no longer supporting their software program, Family Tree Maker.  As a FTM user, this news was very upsetting to me. I have spent many hours of my life building my family tree online with Ancestry.com, using FTM. You can view their announcement at their blog site, http://blogs.ancestry.com/ancestry/2015/12/08/ancestry-to-retire-family-tree-maker-software/.

Since the announcement, I have calmed down and the initial panic has worn off.  I have decided to sit this out for a while before I make any major changes to the way I do my genealogy work.  After all, we have until January of 2017.  I know other family tree software companies will use this time of panic to make sweet offers for the panicked masses of FTM users to switch to their products, which is tempting I admit. But for now, I will wait it out and see what else happens or comes about.

First though, I have to say to Ancestry.com that your timing on this deal is pretty crappy.  You won’t be offering FTM for sale after Dec 31, 2015 and you announced this on Dec 8, 2015.  Seventeen days before Christmas.  I’m sure most people, like myself, are already budgeted to the max.  I bought the program and downloaded it to my laptop, without ever getting the setup disk.  So of course I would like to now buy the disk so that if my laptop crashes, I can at least add the program back to a new computer.  That would be $79 I wasn’t expecting to spend with such short notice, right in the middle of the holiday season.  My children thank you.  They will now have to believe again in Santa Claus if they want their stocking filled up.

The reason I use the FTM program is because I need to print my work out, run reports, see cousin relations, etc. I also use the program, to catch errors, and make mass changes at once.  Here is an example of a report I always use when researching.  I keep this right in front of me when working on a line, this way I know all the players and dates for reference.

Me to John Floyd Ball

The main reason I will sit this out before switching to another software program is the tree sync feature that FTM offered with Ancestry.com.  I spend many hours working on my family tree.  Sometimes I work from Ancestry.com, and sometimes I work directly in the software, offline.  When I go back online, FTM automatically syncs my data from the software to my tree online.  That means, any changes I made on Ancestry.com is downloaded and updated to my software program, and any changes I made in the program is uploaded to Ancestry.com and my tree there is updated.  This means I do not have to do double the work, and my tree is exactly the same in both locations, online and offline.

At this point if I switch to another software program, any changes I make to my tree, will have to be manually made in two places.  In the program, and on my ancestry.com tree. In the past, before I used FTM tree sync, this meant I would get on a roll, working away on Ancestry.com and not even really remember what all I had changed, and then have to remember to make the same changes in the software program. Inevitably, this meant I would forget to make one or two of the changes and then my data is comprised and not correct, and doesn’t match in both places.

And yes, I know I can just do my work on Ancestry.com and then extract a gedcom, upload in my program and then they match.  I don’t want to go through that every time I make changes.  I want a program to sync with Ancestry.com.  Hopefully, one of the other programs will step up and make the sync with Ancestry.com a possibility, and if they do, that is who I will switch to.

The other major problem with them discontinuing the program, is all the reporting that the software program has, that Ancestry.com does not have.  I use these reports daily, in one way or another, and ancestry.com only offers reports that you have to pay to get.  I’m definitely not paying them to print out a copy of the work I have done myself. Never will that happen.  In fact, if they would just add the reporting abilities to their website, then I would be more than happy to do most of my work online on their website and then back up my tree to my computer any time I make changes.

This announcement two days once again fostered my fear of what will happen to my family tree when I am gone?  How do I keep my work up to date, all together, less confusing and easily accessible to my descendants or any family members that are interested? What if the one way I have decided to keep my information becomes obsolete and all my work is lost before another family member becomes interested?

I know for a fact, all this paper work I have lying around, will probably just get trashed when I am gone.  My kids are not going to look at all the data I have collected in these binders and boxes.  My hope was to get all this information, photos, maps, letters, diaries and etc, integrated into my tree, easily accessible on the computer and then maybe someone would be interested if it was all easily searchable and organized all together.  I know, I know, you are laughing at me right now.  No family historian ever really accomplishes this.  But I had planned to die trying.  LOL!

So, my new goal for 2016 will be to come up with a plan for all my work, and figure out the best way to save all this for future generations so that it doesn’t end up in the dump when I die, or better yet, die out with an obsolete computer program.

In a way, I guess this is a big thank you to Ancestry.com for waking me up enough to realize that my work will not survive solely in a computer program, with reports lying around in binders.

Throwback Thursday – Chairs From The Past

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This picture of my Dad and I, as you can see, goes way back.  The chair he is in, has been in the barn for the past decade or so, along with its mate.

Me and Dad

Me and Dad

I realize you can only see the back of the chair, but it’s the only picture I could find of the chair actually being used.

Every time I mowed my yard and put the mower up, there sat the chairs.  One of them held the grease gun for the mower, and it just happens to be the only picture I have of it before we took it apart.  You can see the left over mess the grease gun left.  I just couldn’t stand seeing them in the barn, especially when I could use a couple of good chairs.

Old Chair

Old Chair

So I drug them from the barn to the house and Phillip and I spent part of Valentine’s Day taking them apart. Then a few days later I recovered the cushions, with the help of Phillip’s upholstery gun. Man I loved that thing.  I wanted to staple everything.  Even my finger got stapled once.

New Cushions

New Cushions

Next, I used his sander, and sanded the chairs really good, and then spray painted them with a combined paint/primer spray paint i bought from Lowe’s.  Cause I don’t have time for multiple paintings.  By the way, I used 2 1/2 cans for these two chairs.

Chairs being painted

Chairs being painted

Then I made patterns out of the old pieces of leather Phillip took off of the top parts of the chairs with freezer paper.  Ironed the shiny side of the freezer paper to the new fabric, and then cut them out and it worked perfect.  Then I added some shiny brads to the back to add a little detail.

Adding details to the chairs

Adding details to the chairs

Please ignore laundry day going on in the back ground.  Phillip then screwed the cushions back on, and here they are.  My redone chairs that hold special memories for me.

Finished Chairs

Finished Chairs

How is this for a before and an after?

Before and After

Before and After

All in all, I am so pleased.  I saved some family heirlooms from the barn, and added new life to them.

I also got to spend Valentine’s day with a great guy.

Thank you Phillip for helping me.

Remembering Gary Higginbotham

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I feel like I can finally write about Gary, and what his loss means to me, so here goes.

Gary Higginbotham

Gary Higginbotham

I wish I could say that I had known Gary my whole life but that’s just not how it was. My parents, both born and raised in Texarkana, moved away to the Little Rock area before I was ever born. I didn’t have the privilege of growing up around my paternal grandparents, or any of my aunts, uncles, or even any of the many cousins I didn’t even know about. I didn’t even know another Higginbotham relative existed outside of my immediate family unit, until 2011.

I met Gary for the first time on the 23rd day of May, 2011 when a desire to know more about my family became a mission of sorts. Cousin Nedra Turney took me to meet Gary and Bessie. We had an instant connection and Gary filled a gap in my heart that I didn’t even know existed. After that first meeting, we spent hours, and if you know Gary at all, you know I truly mean hours, chatting on the phone. These chats almost always pertained to his love of his family. I learned about my grandparents from him. I learned about his parents, his children and his grandchildren. He had a passion for his family, unlike any I have ever seen before.

Gary and Bessie

Gary and Bessie

His love for Bessie, was evident and strong. I admired his devotion to her. He told me one time, “Every morning Bessie and I get up and have coffee together and sit and talk. Sometimes we talk for a long time, and sometimes we don’t. Sometimes I just enjoy her presence before we even start our day. She’s my everything and there isn’t one thing I will ever want to do or will do if Bessie isn’t included.” He was devoted to her and loved her immensely, and it showed.

Gary and Bessie

Gary and Bessie

The day of Gary’s funeral Bessie, who just happens to be the strongest woman I have ever known, told me, “When I first met Gary, I didn’t know how to love. I was bitter. I thought all men were mean and I didn’t even know how to hug my own children because that isn’t how I was raised. Gary taught me to love. His endless hugs, and kind words, and his constant loving affection towards me, taught me how to love. ”

What a true testament to the character of Gary. He also taught me what love was and what was missing from my life, just by how he treated Bessie. I see the same in my father towards my mother. Gary and Bessie were married 46 years, and my parents have been married for 50 years, just this past September. What strong, wonderful Higginbotham men.

I learned many things from Gary. I would come for visits and we would drive all over town and he would point out all the places that were dear to his heart, and they were always centered around his family, past or present. I heard the stories of his childhood, his youth, and his adulthood. We laughed and always had a good time when we were together.

I know how much he loved his children and grandchildren. I already knew his youngest son Milton, but he wanted me to meet his son’s Gary Jr., and Mike so bad. He would call me up and say, “When are you going to Crossett with me? Mike is coming in town can you come? Don’t wait until my funeral to meet my boys!” Sadly, that is just what happened. Gary’s health seemed to decline and he never really felt like he could get far from home. I’m sure Gary knows that even though I met them at his funeral, we will stay in touch and never lose track of the family again, because that was important to him.

In the short time that I knew Gary, he taught me what true love means. He opened his heart and his home to me and treated me like a daughter. I will never forget the wonderful times I spent with him and they will fill my heart forever more. He was like a father to me, and I will always love him dearly. He was my buddy, through and through and I will always be grateful for the time I was given with him.

The best way to honor Gary is to love your family. Show them what love is, and let nothing get in the way. If you love someone, don’t waste time. Show them. Treat them like Gary treated Bessie. Life can go in an instant. Do you want to leave people wondering how much you loved them? I can guarantee you one thing; no one around Gary could ever doubt that he didn’t love him or her. He showed them, and he told them.

What I wouldn’t give for one his teddy bear hugs right now!

Rest in peace, Gary. I miss you.

Category: Memoriam

RIP – Gary Higginbotham

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Oh boy, this is a hard one to write.  My Dad’s first cousin Gary Higginbotham passed away last night from a heart attack.  I don’t even have the words right now to describe what Gary meant to me.   He was my buddy, and I loved him so dearly.  My heart will have an empty hole in it forever more.

Please pray for Bessie his wife, and their children and grandchildren.  It will be tough days ahead.

Bessie and Gary Higginbotham

Bessie and Gary Higginbotham

Remember our deal, Gary, and I’ll see you when I see you.

Category: Genealogy

Around the Compound – Life Changes

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Hello, it’s been a while since I posted.  So much has happened since the last post and I haven’t known what to even say about it all.

On Halloween, Knucklehead and I went to Shreveport to party it up with cousin Kookie.  We had a blast, here are a few pictures from our night. This picture of myself kind of creeps me out now.  It didn’t at the time, but oh well.  We had fun at any rate.

Kookie - Halloween 2014

Kookie – Halloween 2014

 

Knucklehead - Halloween 2014

Knucklehead – Halloween 2014 – Pre Execution

 

Knucklehead - Halloween 2014

Knucklehead – Halloween 2014 – After Execution

 

Knucklehead - Halloween 2014

Knucklehead – Halloween 2014

We had a great time at Kookie’s house, and I can’t even tell you how many trick or treaters she had come through there, but it was a ton!  They came on trailers, in the back of trucks, in cars and in droves just walking up.  It was so fun to see all the different costumes and kids having a great time.  Knucklehead had a blast jumping out of that coffin scaring people when they walked by.

The next day, we got up early and came home.  I had dropped Knucklehead off at his Dad’s on my way through and it’s a good thing I did for when I got home, I found out The Hubs, as I have called him on here, had moved out.  I was very glad Knucklehead wasn’t with me at that moment.  I had no clue this was going to happen at that moment, but I did however know a storm was brewing.  It had been for a while.

I don’t have anything bad to say about that man, but I don’t have much good to say and my momma has always told me if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all so that’s what I’m going to do.

I will say (ha ha, I knew I had to say at least a little something) though that now that the dust has settled and my life is back to a normal routine, I’ve come to realize that I was terribly burdened for a long time trying to make someone happy and keep the peace, and not having to do that anymore has improved my life immensely.

My family rallied around me and I have never felt so much love and support from them, and from good friends.  They have never failed me, when others have.

Thanksgiving 2014

Thanksgiving 2014

I see nothing but good days ahead for me and Knucklehead. We had a great Thanksgiving, my brother had some friends of his come in town, and my friend Jennifer, her husband Chopper and daughter Haley came, and we just had a really good time.  Jennifer took the picture so regrettably, she isn’t in it.  She and family spent the night and left the next day, and we had a great time catching up with each other.

With Christmas just days away and my other son Justin coming in town for the holidays, this is one happy momma and I can truly say that I am so blessed.

I’ll be back to my regular genealogy posts and more around the compound updates after the first of the year.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you and yours!

Susie

 

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