COMPUTER   QUESTIONS

 
 
 

Why does the Society have more than one web-site?

 

The Society's main public web-site located at www.rayment.org is widely advertised and is intended to provide prospective members with access to general information about the Society.   None of the site is password protected and among other things it carries the membership application form.

 

Our www.rayment.info web-site is designed specifically to afford members access to the Societyís various databases.   This is password protected because it holds very large amounts of data, some of which is private and confidential to members.

 

The Society operates a number of less important web-sites used for specialist purposes.   Use of more than one domain name assists in smoothing out traffic flows during periods of high useage and helps to prevent complete access failure should a D.O.S. attack occur.

 
 
 

Why can't I find the Society's e-mail address?

 

In order to reduce spam, the Society no longer makes its main e-mail address or those of individual committee members available to non-members.   Please click "How to contact the Society" on the www.rayment.org home page.

 
 
 

Iíve tried to download a Membership Application Form by clicking the link on the Societyís web-site but have received a message that itís not available.   Has it been removed from the web-site?

 

No, but itís in PDF format and so youíll need to check that an Acrobat Reader has been installed on your computer.   If not, itís an extremely simple matter to install the latest version, free of charge, by visiting the Adobe web-site at: www.adobe.com/products/acrobat/readstep2.html

 
 
 

Is access to the Society's database open to the public?

 

No.   Access to the database is available only to members of the Rayment Society and to members of the Guild of One-Name Studies.

 
 
 

Is the list of members of The Association of Genealogists and Record Agents too big to include in the PRO pages of the Society's database?

 

No, but AGRA only has a little over one hundred members in the whole of the UK.   One of the reasons that we have not listed the members in our database is that their details are subject to frequent change and the Secretary of AGRA maintains the only up-to-date list.

 
 
 

Could you recommend the best e-mail Service Provider to use for transferring large amounts of family history data as e-mail attachments?

 

Yes, but it's a rather complicated issue.   May I suggest that you telephone the Society's Helpdesk on 01708-509027 (UK) or +44 1708 509027 (from outside the UK) for information?

 
 
 

How can I obtain the password for access to the Society's database?

 

Rayment Society members may obtain the current database password by simply e-mailing a request, together with their membership number, to:

 
 
 

Can I amend one of the Society's files in which there appears to be an error?

 

For security reasons, all of the information available on the Society's web-site has been made "read only" and so cannot be modified by the user.   Please send an e-mail about any additional information, or suspected errors, to:

 
 
 

Is there an e-mail forum for members to use?

 

No.   Although several members have suggested that the Society should start one, it would probably not be viable until there is a substantial increase in the number of members who have a computer.   However, if someone would care to start a Facebook page, the Society would be more than happy to hear from them.

 
 
 

Which would be the best computer to buy for my Rayment family history research?

 

This is a question to which the Society is unable to give a definitive answer, since even the experts seem to be unable to agree.   However, there are just three main pieces of advice we would offer:

 
 

1.

Try to obtain a copy of the "Which?" report on computers.

 
 

2.

Ensure that the company from which you intend to buy your computer does not charge at national or premium rates for telephone calls to their technical assistance and other services.   If possible, choose a company offering a free (i.e. 0800 in the UK and New Zealand or 1800 in Australia, Canada and the USA) telephone number.

 
 

3.

Contact the Society of Genealogists, who for many years produced a specialist magazine on the use of computers by Family Historians.

 
 
 

What is the best computer program to buy for a family tree?

 

Despite this question being so frequently raised, it is virtually impossible to give any specific recommendations, because each of the programs so far tested have been found to have a number of serious drawbacks to them.   A list of the various problems associated with each particular program is being compiled, and it is hoped to eventually be able to publish it to members.   However, for anyone about to buy a program in the near future, it is absolutely vital to ensure that the program chosen is Gedcom compatible.

 
 
 

Since my own computer at home is not connected to the Internet, what is the best way in which I can transfer information and computer files between the Society and myself?

 

In the absence of an Internet connection, probably the most convenient method would be to use CD-ROMs or memory sticks. In addition to these, the Society can still accept old 1.44 Mb floppies and 120 Mb super-floppies.

 
 
 

Despite your obvious reluctance to recommend any particular computer program for family trees, could you please just tell us which program the Society currently uses?

 

Most of us are still using Family Tree Maker but this is no longer supported by the maker and is no means a perfect program.   The only reason why we are using it at the moment is that, despite some quite serious deficiencies, it just happens to be the program most widely used by everyone else.

 
 
 

I've only just looked at your Society's web-site for the first time this morning, and I thought that it was slightly unusual.   Have any changes to its layout been considered?

 

Thank you for phrasing your question so diplomatically!   I suppose that what you really mean is that it's obviously a "home made" web-site, not a properly designed one, and the reason for this is simply that almost all of the members of our committee are primarily interested in family history rather than in computers.   When the web site was constructed, no-one wanted to spend much of their time, money or effort on it, since they were all far more interested in family history research.   However, if anyone would like to volunteer to help improve it, then we would be absolutely delighted to hear from them.

 
 
 

Have you any idea why I can't seem to gain access to any of the Rayment family tree files on the Society's database, despite being able to access everything else OK?

 

Yes, there is a technical problem with some new versions of Java.   Please contact the Society for details of a work-around.

 
 
 

Are the Society's records available on CD-ROM?

 

No.   The Committee has examined the feasibility of producing a CD-ROM containing a selection of the most important Rayment files but concluded that it would be infeasible due to the the current rapid pace of computerisation of the Society's records.

 
 
 

Is a list of new records available from the Society?

 

Not exactly, but announcements regarding the progress of the computerisation of records are often made in the "Newsflashes" that are available to the public on the www.rayment.info website.   In addition, all backissues of these can be found by members only in the "Newsflash Archives" on that website.

 
 
 

Would the Society consider e-mailing files to members?

 

Not without a specific reason because there would seem to be little point in e-mailing individual files, since all of the files suitable to be e-mailed are the same ones that will be appearing on the web-site.

 
 
 

Is the Society registered under the Data Protection Act?

 

No, it has not so far been found necessary to register, since the Society's core genealogical activities are specifically exempted under current British legislation. This is mainly because we operate as a non-profit making "hobby" type organisation, with records of mostly non-living people.

 
 
 

Why are members of the Guild of One-Name Studies allowed access to some of the Society's databases?

 

There were two main reasons why the decision was taken to offer all of the members of the Guild of One-Name Studies access to some of our databases.

 

The most important reason was that by doing so it was hoped to encourage other one-name study groups and individual researchers to reciprocate, since this would obviously be of very great benefit to everyone concerned, including our own members.   Even if only a few individuals and groups were to reciprocate, and some of these were found to be carrying out one-name studies into a name which had some connection with part of our own research, the mutual benefits would truly be massive.

 

The other main reason was that, unlike our own members, Guild members would only be interested in one particular connection if any, and would therefore not normally have been candidates for membership of our own Society.

 

As a result it was concluded that, by unilaterally taking this course of action, we have nothing to lose but everything to gain.

 
 
 

Will the Society maintain paper records when its programme of computerisation is completed?

 

Yes.   Computerisation of the records is only being carried out as a means of reducing the cost of their transmission and enabling searches to be carried out at far greater speed than ever before.

 

Hopefully this will eventually release much more time in which to pursue the Society's basic research, which will inevitably mean that even more information will be added to the databases.

 
 
 
[This page last updated on 23rd January 2016]
 
 

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