GenDetective v3.2 Update Released

RumbleSoft is pleased to announce the release of GenDetective v3.2.  This update includes fixes to the following issues:

  • Issue with mapping locations in Canada
  • Problem with maps from multiple countries where drill down to people did not work including: Canada, Switzerland & Turkey.
  • Fix the “My State Wide Research Packet” which would sporadically through an error
  • Correct a GEDCOM processing error for files created by FindMyPast

The update can be downloaded in 3 ways:

  1. By clicking the link here: GenDetective 3.2 Update
  2. Running GenDetective, when it checks once a week for updates, it will prompt you to download and install the update.
  3. Visiting the updates page on our website:

GenDetective is a genealogy visualization and research planning utility.

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My Tree View: Family Members & Reports

The last area of My Tree View is found in the upper right hand corner: Family Members and Reports.  Looking in the upper right corner of  the My Tree View screenshot below, you will see a list of relatives, identified by relationship, to the person that is currently selected.  Clicking on any of these individuals, regardless of relationship, will shift the individuals shown in the navigation view to the ancestors of the selected person.  Use this list of family members to navigate through your tree.  Note, that the home person will always be listed, providing a quick way to “refocus” your view.

My Tree View

Beside the the Family tab is the Reports tab which looks like the following picture.

Reports of Interest

Each of the reports listed in the Reports of Interest tab is a report that can be created for any person using My Family View.  Each report in this list is discussed in detail beginning with the article What Is My Family View?

Clicking on any of these reports and pressing the Create Report button (or double clicking on a report) will trigger the creation of the report for the person highlighted in the navigation view!  Creating a report causes the view to switch from My Tree View to My Family View, with the desired report displayed.  To return to My Tree View, simply click on the button in the toolbar, or change the view with the Current View drop down.

Report of Interest Created from My Tree View

Combining traditional genealogy programs with the power of GenDetective results in My Tree View which is a powerful way to gain insight into additional research opportunities!

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My Tree View: My Research Progress Details

A powerful feature of GenDetective is the ability to configure your own personal research goals.

My Tree View

Using personal research goals provides a way for us to identify research opportunities in our family and that information is front and center as we examine each ancestor in My Tree View!  For the selected person, the one whose timeline is displayed below the navigational view, look at the lower right hand corner.  This section displays the progress for each of the areas in My Research Progress.

My Research Progress Details in My Tree View

To the left is a closeup of the My Research Progress that changes each time an ancestor is clicked on in the navigation view.  The display of your research progress in each research area is familiar, and found in all of the other views in GenDetective.  Each research area is a link, when you click on provides additional information about your research progress.

Research progress for each statistic is identified by one of three images:

Research Progress Images


  • A green check: research identified
  • A red X: research not located
  • A blue circle: partial research identified

At the bottom of each chart, is a link that returns you to the research progress summary.  The chart below shows the details of each of the research areas.

Research Area Example
Vital Statistics
Death Statistics
Census Research
Occupational Research
Military Research
Religious Research
Immigration Research
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My Tree View: Navigation & Traditional Views

The central feature of My Tree View can be broken into two areas, both on the left side of the screen which fills most of the screen.

My Tree View – Navigation & Timeline

  • Generational Blocks: this section displays the ancestors in your tree, connected to each other by lines, child to each of his parents.  This traditional view contains 4 generations and attached to the right side of the 4th generation is an arrow, when pressed, scrolls one more generation into the past.  On the right side of the screen is a scroll bar that adjusts the view in the center of the screen displaying the ancestors not currently visible.  Each person’s display includes:
    1. Name
    2. Birth Date – Death Date
    3. Foot Print: includes your progress walking the path of this ancestor and in meeting your personal research goals
  • Timeline: a timeline is displayed for any person in the generational block view that is “clicked”.  Each time the generations scroll, the timeline is adjusted to match the person who is displayed in generation 1. To view the timeline for any other person click on the rectangle containing the ancestors name.

You can see that by adding a detailed timeline and incorporating your research progress for each person we’ve increased the information you see for each person in My Tree view.  Our next post will discuss the right side of the screen which significantly increases the information available.

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Our World War I Family Story: The First Immigrants From Germany Post WW1

Ernestine Schumann-Heink Our family story begins with Madame Ernestine Rössler Schumann-Heink, an opera singer born 15 Jun 1861 in Libeň, outside Prauge, Czech Republic, at the time, a part of the Austrian empire (brief biography here).  She rose to opera stardom and was a larger than life, warm, engaging, witty, controversial, colorful, extremely strong willed woman who never quit.  Ernestine died in 17 Nov 1936 in Hollywood, Ca.  Ernestine was my husband Charlie’s 2nd great grandmother.

August Death (post war record)

During World War 1 Ernestine had family serving on both sides of the war: Lt. August Heink her son, and Capt. Karl Rössler her brother, fought for Germany, and her sons Henry, Ferdinand and George served with US forces.  August died on 15 Jun 1918 when the submarine he served on was sunk in the English Channel.

August left a widow Katharina Maria “Kathie” Finsen (26 Feb 1884 Finsberg, Germany – 14 Apr 1931 San Diego, Ca), and two children, Ilse and Hans, both born in Hamburg, Germany.  Life post World War 1 in Germany was hard.  Food shortages, housing and clothing were difficult and expensive to acquire, especially for a widow.

In early 1919 Ernestine received correspondence from Kathie detailing life in post war Germany, that she

The Salinas Daily Union 15 Aug 1919, p 9

(Kathie) was mentally suffering, and indicated the family was struggling to survive.  On 03 Aug 1919 Ernestine departed New York for Amsterdam,
Holland, Ernestine wasn’t able to enter Germany due to death threats for supporting the United States in World War 1.  The family accompanied Ernestine to New York on the Ship Rotterdam, arriving on 07 Sep 1919.  For two days they were barred from disembarking at the Port of New York; German citizens were prohibited from entering the United States.  Two days later, without fanfare, her family was permitted to disembark and pursue life in the United States.

How did Ernestine make this happen?   Either law or Executive Order (I have not yet identified which) prohibited immigration by German citizens during and following World War 1.  This was not a hidden, shush, sneak the family into the United States, wink-wink action.  This was typical Ernestine, I am doing this, it will happen, carried out on the front pages of newspapers everywhere. While there are at least one hundred (online) articles about this trip, many reporting factually, some against the family, but none explaining how Ernestine was able to bring her daughter-in-law and grandchildren into the United States.

I began my research at the National Archives in Washington, DC.  While meeting with a Congressional Archivist we determined the 3 most likely ways to legally receive an exemption from existing law/executive order:

  1. Congressional act
  2. State Department authorization
  3. Presidential order

The archivist eliminated Congressional act; no act was passed prior to summer recess and Congress was in recess during this time.  Additional searches located a news article describing a performance given by Ernestine on 17 October 1919 to State Department employees in Washington, DC. The suggestion was made this “smelled like a DC quid-pro-quo” and my next avenue of research.

In the State Department records in College Park, Md (NARA 2), while attending Gen-Fed, I found my answer.  The correspondence shows (with more to be located) an evolving story, culminating with the Secretary of State granting visa’s.  Ernestine was heavily involved in selling War Bonds to finance the US war effort, and this is suggested as a reason for permitting her family to enter the US.

Document and Summary
20 May 1920 Letter from Ernestine saying her daughter would never return to Germany, implying she was leaving husband and getting a divorce. Only interpretation in file, not Ernestine’s original letter.

RG 59, Entry 705, Box 278, packet Ernestine Schumann-Heink

18 Jul 1919 Summary of an interview encouraging the State Dept. to grant entrance to her family (story of daughter and daughter-in-law are intermixed, Kathie had 2 children, her daughter married to a doctor had 3).

RG 59, Entry 705, Box 278, packet Ernestine Schumann-Heink

18 Jul 1919 Page 2 “it is probable that it will be acted on favorably, in view of the great service …” Ernestine’s involvement in US efforts during WW1 are worthy of several additional posts, they were that significant.

RG 59, Entry 705, Box 278, packet Ernestine Schumann-Heink

18 Aug 1919 Urgent telegram from The Hague to Secretary of State asking for permission to sail to US.  Note telegram now says daughter-in-law is of Danish birth and seeks to come to US and re-establish her Danish citizenship!

RG 59, Entry 705, Box 56, packet Kate Heink

23 Aug 1919 Telegram from The Hague, urgently requesting Visa before ship sails 27 Aug 1919

RG 59, Entry 705, Box 278, packet Ernestine Schumann-Heink

23 Aug 1919 Letter from State Dept, US to The Hague granting visas to Kate Heink and 3 children (there were only 2).  Notice the signature (in red) is Lansing.  Robert Lansing was Secretary of State under Woodrow Wilson and served from 1915-1920.

RG 59, Entry 705, Box 56, packet Kate Heink

30 Aug 1919 Rules prevent immigration of singers grandchildren. By the time this article is published the ship has left Rotterdam and headed for the US, with family aboard.
Buffalo Evening News, 30 Aug  1919, page 3,
The Heink family arrives in New York City on 07 Sep 1919!  Note that Kathie Maria Heink “Marie Heink” was born in Germany (not the Netherlands) New York, Passenger and Crew Lists (including Castle Garden and Ellis Island), 1820-1957. Year: 1919; Arrival: New York, New York; Microfilm Serial: T715, 1897-1957; Microfilm Roll: Roll 2675; Line: 22; Page: 80

17 Oct 1919 Schumann-Heink performs for State Department employees including Secretary Lansing!
The Washington Post, 17 Oct 1919, page 7,

As a final note, Katharina, Ilse and Hans became naturalized American citizens.  Who says researching family history isn’t interesting?


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What Is My Tree View?

The My Tree View is a traditional block view of your tree combined with the power of My Research Progress!  What is a traditional block view of your tree?

Traditional Block View of Family

Does this look familiar?  Different desktop and internet product display of family trees vary slightly in appearance, but the rectangles with names and dates connected with lines to the ancestors of a person are consistent.  Even the arrows on the “ends” to navigate to the next or prior generations, adjusting the view is standard.

My Tree View leverages this uniform way of working with our family members and augments it with the information from your personal research goals.  The foot prints from My Research Progress chronicling your progress walking the path of your ancestors, with the number of steps noted on the footprint, have been added to each block.

My Family View

The My Tree View can be viewed as containing four quadrants:

  1. Upper left (primary area): navigation
  2. Lower left: timeline
  3. Upper right: family members & reports
  4. Lower right: details of research progress

In the next several posts we will look at each of these areas in My Tree View!

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My Research Progress: Religious Research

The fourth research area we will explore in the My Research Progress view is Religious Research. If you click on the Religious research link, the center area of the screen in My Research Progress view will appear. Religious research information is highly customizable in GenDetective using My Personal Research Goals. Due to this flexibility the link for religious research may be disabled.  Unlike the other research areas in GenDetective, there are no standards, 1 record (like a birth certificate), or even set number of “instances” to find.  The research and personal goals depends on the religious participation of your ancestors, how diligent their faith was at creating records and preserving those records and your desire to locate these records.  Because of this GenDetective uses a very simple solution for religious research: How many target records do you search for on average?  Meeting your personal research goal is a matter of you found the number of records, or have not.

In the top 2/3 of the screen you will see a bar chart and below the chart a series of links that echo or repeat the information that is graphically displayed in the bar chart.

Religious Research

Each bar in the chart displays a series of statistic labels and up to 3 colored bars:

  1. Located research: people where you have located your target number of religious records
  2. No research: people where you have not yet located your target number of religious records

Below the bar chart, look to the left of the text that says “414 Direct Relatives”. Do you see the hyperlink “Print this list”? Anytime that you want a list of the people listed in the lower section of the screen, click this link and press print!

In GenDetective the following demographics are included in religious research statistics:

Demographic or Statistic Sample Chart
Religious Research: people where the target number of research records have been located or people where the target number of research records have not been located

People without the desired number of religious events

You can see the power of this graphic depiction of your research and how quickly you can identify research opportunities.

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