Sunday, January 22, 2012

52 Weeks of Abundant Genealogy - Week 4

Free Offline Genealogy Tools
For which free offline genealogy tool are you most grateful? How did you find this tool and how has it benefitted your genealogy? Describe to others how to access this tool and spread the genealogy love.

My favorite offline tool is my genealogy program, RootsMagic which has a free version, but I think that may not count here!

A small free tool that I have found extremely useful is Transcript. When you are attempting transcription or an abstract from a digital document, Transcript calls up dual windows with the image across the top and a basic word processor at the bottom - both windows are adjustable to your preferred size. You can zoom in on the image and control the brightness and other qualities to clarify the image. There are shortcut keys for scrolling back and forth if the whole image isn't visible as enlarged for easy reading, so that you don't have to stop typing and use the mouse.  And there are arrow keys to go back and forth to other images in a folder without having to open a new image - great if you are working on an entire pension file. It saves your transcript as a rich text file.

I have found it very useful particularly for hard-to-read images. The program also will communicate directly with your scanner, although I have never used it in that way, only for images already downloaded to my hard drive. Disadvantages: Although Transcript will open several types of common image files to include jpg, bmp, tif, some [but not all] PaintShop and PhotoShopfiles, it cannot open pdf files. It is also exclusively a Windows program.

I first heard about Transcript from Lisa Louise Cook's Genealogy Gems podcast, sometime ago, and have been a user of the tool since then.