• Technology
  • Jul22

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    If you aren’t following the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland on Flickr, you should be.Linenhall Library, Belfast

    Aside from a seemingly never ending flow of cool historical photos, they also post interesting things like architectural plans from Crumlin Road Prison/Belfast Gaol, melds of old photos with current ones, and even the occasional weird clown. (Pretty sure we’re related.)

    But, some real gems that genealogists might find even more exciting are a collection of full color 17th century barony maps.

    I’ve selected one randomly beautiful one to display here (“Tyrconnelle, etc.”), but there are quite a few to page through.

    PRONI 17th Century Barony Maps Tyrconnelle, etc.

  • Apr8

    2 Comments

    Hello Pie Lovers!

    Back in the olden days of 2011 I created an Excel spreadsheet that took the world by… drizzle. But I thought it was cool. This update to my original Ancestry Pie Chart Creator lets you enter the names of you and your ancestors and the names of the countries they came from.

    Ancestry Pie 2 Generation SampleThen you could enter the percentage of each ancestry for your great-great-grandparents and Voila! .. some nice simple pie charts of your tree.

    You can see from the comments on that original blog post a few people used it, like CeCe Moore, which I thought was pretty neat.

    After I posted the first Excel sheet I made a few changes to streamline the look a little, then I let it go dormant. But, I always had a few things in it I didn’t like that were due either to limitations in Excel or to my available time to hack my way through them.

    When I saw J. Paul Hawthorne’s Excel sheet go pretty viral-y last month, I thought now might be a good time to spruce up the old Ancestry Pie recipe. The one thing I really disliked in Excel was the random color selection it chose when creating pie charts, and that you couldn’t use one chart to paint the rest the same colors. I often thought, “I want my Irish green and my Czech Blue, Dabnabit!” and I didn’t want to have to change the colors of 10 countries in 32 charts every time I ran the thing for a different person, with different countries, who wanted different colors.

    Well, with the latest version of Excel, you still can’t paint chart formats. But, I did figure out a way to automate matching the pie chart colors to the ones a user selects for each country. So, without further to do, I have uploaded this latest version of my Excel sheet – it can be downloaded here.

    I will warn folks right now – while I did include some summary info on how to use the sheet, and also included a more detailed “Help!” sheet within the Excel file, there may be a bit of a learning curve if you are not familiar with using Excel. Also, I had to use macros (*sharp intake of breath*) to automate the color painting etc.

    Because of this, when you open the file Excel might warn you that running macros from Internet downloaded files might be dangerous, scare off your kitty and cause premature hair loss. The macros I wrote are fairly benign, but if you are the cautious type, and you think my blog avatar looks slightly shifty, then this file may not be for you.

    I plan to make a video or longer blog post with details on how to use it. But, if you’d like to be the first kid on the block to have some of the newfangled Ancestry Pie (mmmm… pie) then please download it and give it a try. While I can’t promise to offer 24×7 support or any such thing, I welcome comments and suggestions here to help me make it a workable tool for genealogy peoples.


    Ancestry Pie: Part Deux
    Version Updates:
    11 APR 2016
    * Added Last Modified date at bottom of each sheet.
    * Found that the locked sheets were preventing people from changing the country cell colors – fixed.
    * Found that in some cases opening sheet with older versions of Excel (2007 at least), Excel will “forget” formulas that add the names to the pie chart sheets. If this occurs, Excel just keeps the last name that was in the sheet. This does not appear to be happening in later versions, and I will not be fighting this bug at this time.

    26 APR 2016
    * Realized Last Modified Date macro was not being called properly. Fixed.
    * Simplified color scheme on Ancestor Entry Sheet slightly so that each Paternal/Maternal Ancestor section is Blue or Pink. I found it a little busy with the previously alternating colors for each person.

  • Nov12

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    This is at best a step removed from genealogy, but is a very useful trick if you are a Google Chrome user. Have you ever visited a web page and had the same page load over and over even if you know it changed?

    I recently was updating a site I maintain and had this happen when I was testing how my changes looked. After making my changes, I clicked Google Chrome’s Refresh button and… still got the same page with old info.

    So, I then held down the Shift key while clicking refresh, which is supposed to clear any cached files for that page then load the page from scratch. And… *sad trombone*… same page, old info. That is not supposed to happen, Mr. Chrome.

    The caching problem can happen for various reasons, either due to poor web design or a recalcitrant web browser. You could go into the browser’s Tools –> Options and clear ALL of the cache. But, that’s annoying – like emptying out your entire refrigerator because some cheese went bad. (Or another, more valid, metaphor.)

    But, whatever the reason, I am now reaching deeper into my bag of magic tricks and sharing a nice easy but likely lesser known fix in The Google’s Chrome browser:

    When you really want to start a page from scratch in Chrome, use the following keystroke to open a Developer Tools panel on the right side of the page:

    Google Chrome Developer Tools panel <CTRL><SHIFT><I>
    or
    <⌘><⌥><I>
    for the Apple folks among you.

    I won’t go into any detail here, but you’ll notice there are a lot of things to play with in this panel – including a way to see what cookies are related to the page.

    RIGHT-Click the Refresh Button
    Once the developer tools panel is open, go over to the usual Refresh button at the top of the page and RIGHT-click on it. You’ll see a drop down menu that doesn’t normally appear there!

    Simply Left-click “Empty Cache and Hard Reload” and you will get the latest page loaded and ready to go.

    Enjoy!

  • Oct28

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    Countries of Ancestry Chromosome ChartUpdated: November 9, 2015

    For anyone who has been a customer of 23andme, their Countries of Ancestry (CoA) has been a terrific tool in the toolbox.
    Alas – it is going away. You have until November 10th, 2015 to use the tool and even more importantly – Download yer data!

    Put it in the calendar folks.

    Today’s the day your 23andme folks should go out and 23andme – Get the latest Countries of Ancestry Data for all of your profiles there. While 23andme is promising new tools, surely it can only help to have this data in your back pocket for later.

    Also, Bonus tip: In addition downloading your own matches at 23andme itself, you can use the DNA Gedcom.com site to download the CoA data for ALL of your matches! (It is a free tool but see Donate button at bottom of page.) The download process can take awhile, as you provide your 23andme login, it reaches out to get all of the CoA files for you, then places them in a download location.

    DNA Gedcom estimates 30 minutes to an hour for the process, but it took about 20 minutes to download the CoA matches for all 3 of my 23andme profiles, so that is a pretty good speed. Especially considering my wife has an Ashkenazi great-grandfather, so LOTS of matches.

    To reiterate: GO GET YER DATA NOW – who knows how many other users are planning to download today? Could be some bottlenecks ahead.

    Below is part of the original announcement from the 23andme community forums:

    As part of the updates and transition to the new 23andMe, many features will be undergoing significant changes. While we are working to transition customers to the new site, some changes will have an immediate impact on the customer experience in the current 23andMe site, including Countries of Ancestry.

    To provide some context for this change, we wanted to share a number of key principles behind the updates to the 23andMe site and features, including:

    * Simplifying the features and site experience
    * Adding new tools to help customers get the most out of the service
    * Reducing barriers to customer engagement, connection, and communication
    * Maximizing trust and participation by ensuring that users clearly and explicitly opt in to all information sharing

    In consideration of these principles, while some aspects of the feature will be incorporated into the new site, Countries of Ancestry will not be available as a standalone tool in the new 23andMe. The following features of Countries of Ancestry are being removed:

    – The ability to view and download the segments you have in common with members you are not directly sharing with, including public or anonymous DNA Relatives matches.
    – The ability to select any profile you are sharing with and then view and download this same information for that profile.

    In order to conform to our stance on customer privacy, starting on November 11, 2015, Countries of Ancestry will no longer be available. Up until this date, customers may continue to access the web interface and download.

     

     

  • Jul3

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    A quick post for today – and not a directly genealogical one, but a very useful one in my opinion.

    Whether genealogy-related or not, I’m sure you all have had a time when you needed to move a whole bunch of files from one place to another. Or, perhaps you wanted to move some files at some regular interval?

    Did you want to only move these files if they were newer? Or perhaps put them in a folder automagically named to include the date or other information? Then I have the tool for you!

    I have used this nifty little Replicator utility from Karenware.com for many years now, and it is terrific.

    Of course, one could write a command line batch file to do some of the functionality of the tool, and then set up a Windows (or Mac) task to run at certain times. But, have you used Windows task scheduler? Harumph. I’ve had to completely delete functioning tasks and recreate them from scratch at odd times after a previously functioning task decided to stop working.

    Or one could even drag and drop files and folders by hand between two windows – but what happens when the copy or move fails for some reason? Was it because of disk space, or you hit escape or cancel by mistake? Who knows?

    Karenware ReplicatorReplicator makes it all much easier and includes a graceful exit for problems with logging that will give you a clue to what happened. And it is free. Click here to visit that site for more information and to download the tool.

    Note: For whatever reason, there is a slightly newer version 3.6.9 available over on Cnet, although I am not sure what changes were made from the 3.6.8 version on Karenware.com.