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In about every genealogy program I can enter sources with an author, title, date, and text, but no matter where I look, this always means that I have to fill out some big form, and that's something I don't get.

What I mean is this: Emails are structured pieces of information, that are self contained. Fields like Subject, Date, From, To, are all in there, so instead of cutting and pasting, any reasonable advanced program should be able to import those with a single click, and yet, I've never seen a program that can really do just that. How come?

The same goes for web pages in a way. They have titles and authors too, but I don't know how to archive those in a quick way either, except for using evernote, which means that they live outside my genealogy software.

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  • Related wish: Once the email/web page text is in my program, I would very much like to create links between items in that text (like names) and relevant items in my tree itself. – Enno Borgsteede Mar 2 '13 at 13:49
  • +1 Here ye, here ye, Yes! "Emails are structured pieces of information, that are self contained. Fields like Subject, Date, From, To, are all in there, so instead of cutting and pasting, any reasonable advanced program should be able to import those with a single click, and yet, I've never seen a program that can really do just that." – GeneJ Mar 2 '13 at 14:14
  • Ditto, webpages. If I can click once and capture webpage information in Zotero or Evernote, etc., why can't I click, drag or tap twice and pull those same references into my genealogical software! – GeneJ Mar 2 '13 at 14:18
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    Do you have a particular software programme you'd like a solution for? – user104 Mar 3 '13 at 15:46
  • A solution for Gramps would be best, but I also use RootsMagic to connect to the FS tree. If there were a tool that can act as a plug-in for either, I would be very happy to support that somehow. – Enno Borgsteede Mar 4 '13 at 17:02
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For grabbing web pages have a look at the HTML Text Extractor available from here. This will convert it into plain text that can then be pasted into a notes field without any HTML mark-up. A much more complex tool for doing the same thing is Outwit Hub available here, they also have free tools for images and documents which may be of interest.

It certainly would be nice if you could just do the same thing from within your tree programme though with just the click of a mouse. Let's hope we don't have to wait too long for someone to develop this.

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  • Right, and I'm afraid I have to do that development myself ... – Enno Borgsteede Mar 5 '13 at 19:27
  • :) Looking forward to seeing what you come up with – Colin Mar 6 '13 at 6:58
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    When I have time, which may take long, it would probably a sort of source book, which is looks more like a smart word processor than the usual form based software. Maybe a bit like what Behold 2.0 is supposed to be. See beholdgenealogy.com/blog – Enno Borgsteede Mar 7 '13 at 16:05
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Don't expect genealogy software to be able load and extract information from every type of item for you automatically with a single click. There is an infinite variety of items that continuously are changing in format, so you're asking for an not-easy-to-implement or maintain feature. Instead, you can enter a one line source description that should take you ten seconds, and you'll be in control.

Emails can be saved individually from any email program. Store them in folders on your computer, with one folder for each person you have communicated with.

Webpages can be saved individually from any web browser (usually with a "Save as" command from the menu). Save them in folders on your computer, with one folder for each website where you got the webpage from.

The form-based input for sources that many genealogy programs have is often overkill for simple items. Just use a free-form source and write a one line source description for the email (who from, who to, date, subject) or webpage (url, title, date accessed) and link the saved item to that source. Hopefully your program is one of those that will have the capability of opening up the item when you click on the link.

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    H'm, yes, I appreciate the idea of saving emails in folders per author, but what I'm hoping for in the end is that I can find a media manager that can help me index emails and web pages, in a way similar to, say, Windows photo gallery and media player. For the purpose of genealogy, it would then be nice to have a name recognition feature, acting like the face recognition in other programs, enabling me to connect names in media (emails and web pages to start with) to people in my tree. – Enno Borgsteede Mar 15 '13 at 17:54

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