Monday, August 5, 2013


It’s a complicated process – getting it all right – no matter what your project. Mine is a book and like any project it takes perseverance and patience as well as ‘keeping your nose to the grindstone’ and ‘using elbow-grease.’ Origins interest me – but looking for origins is a distraction from the project, right. I need focus.  Oh well, it’s all fun – except when my derriere gets sore, my legs go numb, and my BP rises from sitting at the computer too long – not to mention carpel tunnel from using the mouse!  Geez.
What else holds me up, holds me down, keeps me up, or keeps me down – the details that make it work. The catch is to make it all work in time for the Christmas mail.  “So, Sandy,” you say, “what is holding you up and keeping you down from being up?” Hmm. Two days ago I was looking for a chart. This would be a chart that shows how my daughter (let’s pick a fictional one) Izzy is related to her 7th great grandfather Obediah. After a search through the charts available in Family Tree Maker I found such a chart.  Great!  I’m all ready to set up the chart for Izzy, with one each for the rest of the children and grandchildren.  I figure out how to select the individuals I need (I’ve never felt that Family Tree Maker 2009 was user friendly – yes, I have an old version) and push the button. Voilà! 

There’s my chart, I’ve used precious ink but I have my test copy.  BUT, there is something amiss!  Izzy is at the top of the chart when she should be at the button. Old Obed goes at the top.  So, I fix that and push the button and Voilà!

There’s my chart, but no, I’ve added Izzy’s baby who trails behind her but Baby Izzy's birthplace says she was born in Montana.  Montana?  That’s a pretty big place.  I don’t know if Izzy went to the hospital in Missoula or Whitefish – she lives somewhere in the middle.  So, of course, I have to email Izzy to find out where, and I have to wait for the answer.  I could call her but she doesn’t answer her phone on the job – she’s usually out giving fly-fishing lessons in some wilderness stream. No cell service. If you ask her she'll tell you whatever it is a "river runs through it."

I have to wait to finish the chart.  In the meantime I find that Obediah has a “I” by his name instead of Sr. – a designation I use on but not right for this chart.  The Srs and Jrs have to be corrected.  Okay, that’s fixed.  Chart waiting for Izzy, I tackle the rest of the family.  I try doing Moe’s chart and find that there are asterisks by the names – I use them to designate direct line on but they aren’t needed for the chart.  I have to go back and delete them from each individual.  So far I have quite a bit of time invested in this chart. Ah, now the asterisks are gone.
Next I see that backgrounds are available for the chart and I scroll through all the possibilities finally settling on a very attractive ‘tree’ photo and then play with the transparency as 50% is too dark to show off the chart well.  I settle on 70%.  The chart is ‘lookin’ good.’  I handcraft and individualize a page for each family member and save them as a .pdf to a file on my desktop; and I’m set to test it out by printing one with the pretty background.  I press the print button – and Voilà!
Gasp!  Well, that didn’t work.  The background is all pink. Where are the greens and browns of the forest? The answer comes from a little box on my monitor that says I’m running out of colored ink. Sigh.  Now I’ll have to scrape up some dinero, or dig out some plastic, and order cartridges on line or shove the dog into a cage and get out the old convertible for a run to Staples. This chart is taking a serious amount of time. Well, printing can wait as I’m waiting for Izzy anyway.
Is there more, well of course, I’m working with a 2009 copy of Family Tree Maker and there is a newer version out there that will help me to sync my tree (of over 35,000 people) to my Family Tree Maker.  It might even have a better chart. I wonder how long that will take? I make a call, I am on hold listening to ads, waiting for a sales person . . . and waiting, and waiting (business must be good). Ah, she finally answers and we talk about pros and cons of ordering the disk or downloading online.  I opt for online – less of a wait time.  I’ve been doing too much waiting. This evening I’ll sync the tree – I was hoping to go off and watch TV (can’t miss the sponsored “Who Do You Think You Are?) but no, I’m told I can’t let the computer go to sleep – so I’ll be babysitting the sync process.  Never mind, I’ve been planning to do this sync for a couple of years and the Christmas project has aided me in getting this accomplished. 
While waiting for the operator I was looking at my page on and noticed it listing “Residence” for my most favorite house I’ve ever lived in – in Monrovia, CA.  AND, you can upload a photo of the house . . . !  Oh, but I don’t have a photo of the house. Then I think! Google Earth will have a street view of the house!  How cool is that.  So, I sort of remember the street address and there it is in the foothills, backed up by a huge mountain range – our little classic 1928 California cottage. 

It takes me a while, by zooming in and out, to get just the right shot. Ah, there it is.  But the program won’t let me copy or save it.  Boo, and besides that they made me jump through all kinds of hoops as they wanted me to test the Beta version of the new Google Earth.  Golly, the old one was working well for me.  I finally found my way back to the original version, found my picture again. . . and the light bulb goes off.

What I need is screen capture! I type that in Google and find all kinds of pay sites that will help you.  Well, that is dumb . . . I know you can do this for free.  After more searching I find the directions – I grab my beloved picture, paste it in Microsoft Paint, as per instructions, convert it to a .jpg and save it to my desktop and Voilà!. . .but wait, no. . . I can put it in Picasa and improve the photo.  That, thankfully, I know how to do.  I crop and improve the photo, open up to my page and click on up-load media, up-load photo and put it on my page.  Then I go to the “Residence” section and place a copy of the photo by the fact, go in to the citation section and give credit to Google Earth for the photo and. . . Voilà! . . . that looks great!  But, of course, this was all a distraction from the downloading of the up-graded Family Tree Maker.  Guess I’ll go check it out. Oh brother, it didn’t download as it is waiting for me to click install! I click, and agree, and click . . . and. . . . this turns out to be about a 12 step process but eventually . . . .


That is how my days go. . . somehow I’ll keep slogging through until I have the Christmas presents wrapped and ready to go. Sure hope Izzy and all the kids like it! In the meantime, I learn new things every day. Can you relate?
 Photos: Microsoft Clipart; Google Earth; 

PS Are you ready for this? After all that work for the perfect chart the new version of Family Tree Maker doesn't even have that chart. Groan!


  1. What incredible perseverance you have Sandy!

  2. And at the end of the day I still need ink, to hear from Izzy, update the chart, sync the tree, learn a new version of Family Tree Maker, thank God for making it all possible. . . oh, and read your wonderful comment! Its things like this that keep us going. :-) Stuff to do and a pat on the back. Life is good!

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  4. The above day was exceptionally harrowing. I did, eventually accomplish my goals and I learned along the way. Not every day is as bad. What is sad is that discontinued Family Tree Maker - Why? it was a great program. How can I replace it's ability to compile charts? And on top of that Google discontinued Picasa. This was very disappointing as I don't like their replacement nearly as well. If you have a good thing, guys, don't change it!


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