Genealogy Wise

The Genealogy & Family History Social Network

Okay, so I must admit that I do not use any genealogy software right now. I once had Family Tree Maker around 2004 but when my computer crashed and I lost all of the data (thankfully I had backed up everything with paper due to me being very paranoid) I just couldn't find the time to retype everything. It just sounded like such a pain in the butt.

So, because of this, genealogy software is one of those areas of genealogy I am quite uninformed about. Many of you are experts and some are novices or somewhere in between. If you have used genealogy software I want to hear from you. What are your experiences? What is the best software to use for genealogy and why? What is the easiest software to use? Prices compared to quality? Etc. I am thinking about purchasing some genealogy software to be able to print out reports again, etc., but want to be a well informed consumer before doing so.

Thank you all in advance. I look forward to reading your responses.

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Personally, I love Legacy, the full version. It is a bit more costly than others but well worth it, especially if you would like to get some really neat PDF reports. It also provides you with the additional benefit of creating some really neat charts which you can print out yourself or have them printed through Legacy right from the software. If you have previously used other gen. software then there's not much of a learning curve and with the full version you will receive tutorials which are excelllent on CD's they will mail to you. You can also import photos into the program and download or upload GEDCOM files. That's awful you lost all your data in a computer crash but lesson learned I'm sure to make sure you always backup your files now! I have a very large family tree on and everytime I do an extensive update to my files I download a GEDCOM file into Legacy where I can create nicely formatted documents. I backup my Legacy files regulary to a CD. Go to for further information. I installed the program about 3 years ago and I'm delighted with it. Let me know what you decide to do.

Steph Hettich
Thank you Steph. I had everything on paper as a backup, just not a technology type of backup. I have my info on, but as far as I know it's limited in what you can do with the info, as far as printing out pedigrees, etc. If I am wrong here please someone show me the light. I could never figure out the whole GEDCOM part of genealogy either. I have the knowledge and research skills and am growing everyday in that area, but when it comes to the technology of genealogy I am just lost still. Thank you for sharing your opinion. I can't wait to read others opinions and references as well.
Jennifer, I have been using FTM every since the first version came out...I do like it, but like most old dogs, it is hard to learn to use other softwares. I have used Legacy, but it was the free version. I have heard nothing but good things about Legacy and I am thinking about trying it our again.
As to the GEDCOM, most of the softwares out there can generate a file with the file extension of .ged. This enables you to send your file to anyone no matter what software they are using. If their program can make .ged files, then they can upload yours from, say FTM, into Legacy and it works just find.
I too lost all of my data, and I was in the process of backing up and moving things around on portable HDs. I made a trip with the portable HD and when I got home, the HD was a pile of junk. I was willing to pay to have it extracted, but they told me it was toast and could not be extracted. I am still trying to type it all back in...12000 members in my family files, and 6000 in my wifes. Plus I lost all of my data on the people in my DNA project.
I too lost thousands of records, but when I appealed via a DNA group I belong to, many sent me copies of their file (via a GEDCOM) and some were able to send me my own records back that they had downloaded from me!

I am still comming across some duplicates, but folk were just so supportive I felt I was belonging to a really caring family.

Yours aye,

Hello Jennifer,
I regularly up load GEDCOM files to ancestry and have just had a look at my tree on there. If you go to your tree then click on "Manage tree" you will see a button "Export Tree" if you click that it will create a gedcom file for you. Once down it has exported it will give you a download button, clicking that will enable you to save it on to your computer, then you can import it into the genealogy programme of your choice.
Like Stephanie I use Legacy, the full version and find it does eveything I need. There is now an add on Charting Program included with it. Try the free down load, then you can progress to the full edition if you so wish.
Good luck, Legacy has a Group on GW.
Best wishes, Chris
I have used Reunion (for the Mac) and it seems useful. I haven't gotten the most recent version of this software and I don't know if it is also available for the PC.

Does anyone have opinions about Reunion?? I don't know if I should invest in this software when I vamp up my genealogy research.
Jennifer I have tired every software out there. I use Legacy and its the best software out there. It will do everything you want in a Family Tree program. Good Luck.
Hello Jennifer,

I'm also a Legacy fan. I did a lot of research on software when I started doing genealogical research, and I've never regretted my choice. Legacy is easy to use, and if you do have a problem, their customer service is fantastic. And given your awful experience with losing your data, you should know that any time you make any data changes, a pop up will appear when you exit the program that asks you if you want to create a backup. I backup to a flash drive and sleep well.

For more info, try this link: It's a recent review of genealogy programs and right on the intro page it gives links to other reviews. You can also see a comparison chart of various programs here:

Oh! Also, I'm... we'll say "frugal" (sounds so much nicer than "cheap")... and I find the price for the Legacy Deluxe version well worth it! And between-version updates are always free.
Thank you Kathleen. I am at a have to be frugal part in my life, so hearing that the price of Legacy is well worth the cost is helpful. Thank you also for the link. I will definitely be looking at that.
You're welcome. You should also keep in mind that the basic version of Legacy is free, although I don't recall which features it does not include. I know they show the differences on their website, though -
Jennifer, I've used Family Origins 12 years. It's so user friendly! However, the developer went on to Roots Magic. From everything I've read, Roots Magic is Family Origins much improved. User friendly and a very helpful forum. In the reasonably near future I'll upgrade my 8 year old XP & older F.O. to Roots Magic.

BTW have enjoyed your blogs & contributions to forums. Go girl! Margot



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