2015 by Donald R. Snow
Sections of the Notes This page was last updated 2015-01-04.
Go to  Utah Valley Technology and Genealogy Group Home Page , Don's FH Class Notes Page , Don's Supplementary FH Notes Page .


  1. Instructor is Donald R. Snow ( of Provo and St. George, Utah. 
  2. These notes are posted on .  Also posted there on the Supplementary FH Notes Page  is Freeware For Family History: Supplementary Notes that lists these and more than 60 additional free programs helpful in FH.
  3. Tips:  (1)  To have an icon on your desktop to open your browser and go directly to these notes drag the icon from in front of the address in your browser onto your desktop.  (2)  To open a link from here in another tab, but keep your place in these notes, hold down the Control key while clicking the link.
  4. This class will discuss and demonstrate some programs that are freeware for genealogy and family history.
    1. "Freeware" means completely free with no "nag" screens; can use freely and give copies to anyone else.
    2. "Shareware" means that if you plan to use it regularly, you should send a specified donation (usually small) to the author at the address given in the program.
    3. "Portable" means the program can be run from a flashdrive and doesn't have to be installed on the computer, so you can use it at home or at a FHC or anywhere else 
    4. "App" means application, i.e. software; the term is used more often with mobile devices
    5. "Open Source" means freeware including the source code, so you can edit it, if you know programming.
  5. Video -- The Best Things In Life Are Free -- made with the freeware PhotoFilmStrip program on the Freeware: Supplementary Notes page.

  7. Windows Explorer is built into all versions of Windows; icon is a file folder or you can get to it by clicking on Start (Globe) > All Programs > Accessories > Windows Explorer -- Note:  This is NOT the Internet Explorer browser 
  8. A little-known, but very helpful feature, is the Preview Panel -- Windows Explorer > Show Preview Pane (rectangular icon in upper right corner next to the Help button (Question mark)) -- Now, for all file types that you have a default program set for, e.g., text files, pdf's, and photos, when you highlight the file name it shows a small version of what's in that file in the Preview Panel; you can expand the Preview Pane by dragging the side to widen it; this is very helpful when looking for something on your computer or to rename files without opening them; saves much time

  10. Extremely helpful program for file management to find files, run, copy, move, rename, organize
  11. Available from
  12. Finds all files on your entire hard drive, even if you forgot where you put them
  13. Builds an index which it updates; uses this to find files immediately when you type in any characters in the title of the file; has an option to highlight search terms in the file names
  14. It really helps if you name your files in a systematic way, e.g. I include "--YYYY-MM-DD" after the file name so the files all sort in alphabetical order with the latest at the bottom; can also search files by date this way -- see further discussion of using EVERYTHING on other notes on my FH Class Notes page by doing a Google search there for "everything" (without the quotes)
  15. I use this in tandem with a program like Windows Explorer and drag-and-drop to organize files into folders when I want since it finds them wherever they are in all folders
  16. Q-DIR

  17. Q-DIR is a multi-panel file manager that works like having several copies of Windows Explorer open at once so it makes moving or copying files much easier
  18. Available from -- for Windows 7 download the 32- or 64-bit version, whichever version your Windows 7 is -- if you don't know which version you need, click on the Start (Globe) button > Control Panel > System and look for System Type - it will be either 32-bit or 64-bit
  19. Can be set with up to 4 panels in various arrangements with each panel independent, so you can show different directories in each
  20. Also has an option to print a list of files in a folder -- helpful to form lists of files, e.g. all text files or photos in a folder

  22. Freeware editor for pdf's, allows typing on pdf's for filling out forms, etc. -- free for private use
  23. Available from -- -- can download installer for Windows 7 or even for the Portable version; also a manual you can download there
  24. Has a slider at top to increase and decrease size of image; has split and merge capabilities for pdf's
  25. Includes a good Optical Character Recognition (OCR) program for pdf's -- Open the pdf in PDF-XCHANGE VIEWER and click on the OCR icon or else Document > OCR; tell it which pages to OCR and the quality of the original print (Low, Medium, or High), and click Start; for a 100-page book it will take many minutes, but can let it run while you are doing other things

  27. Free website at -- -- that generates timeline of your ancestor's life with world events
  28. Click on "Ready to check it out? Just click here" (at bottom)
  29. Enter name, birth and death years, and click Generate Timeline
  30. Shows timeline in color with bars of length of time that world event was occurring -- For printable version you get it all in black and white 
  31. "At Age XX" at end of line is how old your ancestor was when that event happened
  32. Can add up to 10 additional events for a person -- check the button for Personal Events to have these show as yellow bars -- sometimes helps to include your ancestor's death year on events like marriage so the yellow bar shows the length of time until your ancestor died
  33. Can print the timeline in color or in black and white
  34. Can save as pdf to keep colors FastStone Capture using the scrolling window feature -- can then scroll up and down in the saved pdf 
  35. Can save it in html (Hypertext Markup Language) by clicking on File > Save Page As > Webpage HTML Only and tell it where to save the file -- File can then be opened in a browser (e.g. Chrome or Firefox) without being on the Internet -- you see it as though you were on the Internet

  37. For many more free programs to help with FH and other computer tasks see my  Freeware Supplementary Notes .

Go to  Utah Valley Technology and Genealogy Group Home Page , Don's FH Class Notes Page , Don's Supplementary FH Notes Page .