Category Archives: Tools

Did You Know? Google Can Find Your Ancestors For You

Wouldn’t it be nice if Google could always be searching for your ancestors and just send you an email when it finds something. Wouldn’t it be great, to have Google searching day and night? What if I tell you that Google is already capable of assisting you in this way and has been helping family historians, hobbyists, and genealogists for the past couple of years to find their ancestors.

The tool that Google has and can help you is called Google Alerts. You basically go to Google Alerts and enter your ancestors name as an alert. How it works is that whenever Google indexes new information it will scan it for your alert and let you know. For example if I enter my ancestors name “Juan Bautista Chapa” I will get notified when ever something new is added to Google and the name is mentioned. This way I can always get notified when an article, book, or even family tree is indexed into Google’s search.

What is great is that once you set it up it will be searching night and day and all you do is read the emails that you get when ever something is found.

Another thing do is to not limit your alerts to just ancestor names, you can also enter names of towns, locations or any topic that you may be doing research on. Don’t forget to use quotes to only get exact matches. Also try and use different variants for example “Garza” also use “de la Garza”.

This is how the Google Alert Page Looks Like:

You can create Your own alerts here:

Photo Cutter 1.0 – A Simple No Fuss Image Cutter

Screen Shot of Program

Some times when scanning images the cropping function does not work properly and you end up with a big image that contains several images. Trying to cut them with a traditional image editor can be consuming. This is were this small and free little tool comes into play. Once you load an image and select the destination folder all you do is click the desired image on a corner and drag to the opposite corner and you get a perfect preview of the cut out and if you like it click save and repeat.

I also like to use this tool to help me cut out the records of my ancestors since as you know that an image obtained from family search may contain up to 10 different entries.

Another use that I have is when scanning books it is perfect to trim the unwanted margins of the scanned pages before reassembling it into a pdf document. Many of the images posted in this blog are cut out using this tool.

Well just wanted to let you know about this tool in case that you have not heard about it. If interested here is the down link.

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Crimson Editor for Your Genealogy Website

Ok i’ll be honest this might not be nearly remotely related to genealogy, unless you count modifying your genealogy website, then it is a great tool. I use Crimson Editor to modify the template to this website. Also it is excellent to modifying templates for WordPress. I discovered this great tool years ago and use it to develop and modify websites.

It also provides search functionality to search text within text files or if you need to replace a certain word on multiple documents. Best thins it highlights in different colors markup languages.

Best of all it is completely free!

Description from their website:

  • Crimson Editor is a professional source code editor for Windows.

  • This program is not only fast in loading time, but also small in size (so small that it can be copied in one floppy disk).

  • While it can serve as a good replacement for Notepad, it also offers many powerful features for programming languages such as HTML, C/C++, Perl and Java.

  • Syntax Highlighting for HTML, C/C++, Perl, Java, Matlab and LaTeX. Also, it can be extended for other programming languages based on custom syntax files.

  • Other features include undo/redo, user tools, macros, spell checker and more.

Get Crimson Editor:

Going Paperless in Genealogy – How I do It and You can Too

I have been doing Genealogy research for well over fourteen years now. Since the very beginning I disliked paper and the clutter associated with it. In the following paragraphs I will explain how I have managed to keep my genealogy research paperless. If you all have any other tips to keep it paperless, let us know in the comments.


I bought a scanner which I have already replaced twice since 1998. The first thing I did was obtain as many pictures as possible from my mother. I scanned them and returned them, this allowed me to have them at my fingertips and could reproduce them as I needed. It also allowed me to create a back up in case that anything happened to them. To store and manage photos I use Picasa it’s free and very user friendly and currently managing my over 37,000 photo collection. You can also use it to scan pictures, documents, and even create collages. You can also tag their GPS location to see where each photo was taken.


I have no documents lying around anywhere. Since very early I either printed anything that I would find on the internet into PDF files by using CutePDF Writer or would scan magazine articles and books. The way I decided to manage my documents and reduce clutter but yet find them as fast as possible was to create one folder and label it Genealogy. Under that folder I created sub-folders for many subcategories but the most important one is Sources and yep all my sources are in that folder. From the main Genealogy folder I am always four clicks away from any document that I may need in my sources folder. As of the time of writing this I have over 34,000 files on my Genealogy Folder Imagine printing all that out.


Finally, I am very selective of what goes into my database which I currently use Family Tree Builder from MyHeritage to manage. It currently holds over 16,000 names, countless documents, images, and photos.

How can I get rid of my piles of documents?

Very simple change your habits, instead of copying files at local library try taking pictures with smartphone or iPod, if possible take your scanner and laptop. Also don’t print anything from the internet, PDF it instead and place it in your Genealogy Folder. Finally once you have changed your habits and those piles are not getting any bigger set aside at least 30 minutes of each day to scan the documents that you already have.


CutePDF =
Picasa =
MyHeritage =

All of the above mentioned resources are free and wont cost you a penny.

This post was last modified 9-24-13

Podcast Manager for Your Genealogy Podcasts

What It Is

Let me tell you a bout a tool that I like and use a lot. It is Gpodder a  free podcast aggregator that can download both audio and video podcasts. It can also play them and keep track of them. The description on their we site is:

gPodder — simple, usable podcast consumptionDownload free audio and video content (“podcasts”) from the Internet and watch it on your computer or on the go. –

How I Use It

As you can guess I use it to download genealogy podcasts and also other podcast that are of interest to me. The software comes in a zip file and once you unzip it just click on the file named gpodder.exe and the program will start. For a user manual and how to tweak gpodder please visit their Wiki Page.

Available Genealogy Podcasts

If you know of any other great genealogy podcasts please leave me their address in the comments, I’ll be glad to check them out.

Screen Shot of Gpodder in Action –

What is neat about gpodder is that it can be used with a free service to help you track your podcasts which you have subscribed on your devices, desktop computer, notebook, mobile devices, etc. Whenever you change computers or use another computer once you install gpodder you can enter the username and password created at and it will automatically sync your subscriptions. By Using this website you can also search a directory of available podcasts and also subscribe to them.

Other Devices

You can also configure gpodder to synchronize to your devises and keep track of listened podcasts. I use this all the time with my android phone.

If you don’t have a podcast manager give this one a try and you never know you might have just had found what you were looking for.