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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I use The Master Genealogist. My favorite feature is that I can attach documents and photographs to the individual people. There are a Gold version and a Silver version. The website for ordering is
I add my vote to Legacy. I have been using it for about 10 years now and still love it more than any other.
Thanks for initiating this discussion, Jennifer. I'm joining in late but will throw in my comments too.

I've been less than enamored with FTM since 2008 and am looking for an alternative. Rootsmagic and Legacy are strong possibilities.

In my research for comparisons I came across user-generated reviews of genealogy software on a site called GenSoftReviews. What are people's experience with this site?
I like the idea that the users themselves are reviewing and presumably the strongest products will float to the top of the ratings?

Thanks for the group feedback,

Joan Miller
Luxegen Genealogy
I use the free version of Family Tree Buider right now. I seem to like it fairly well. I have not ventured out into the GEDCOM files. I can be quite computer illiterate at times!! It does the reports, and all that other stuff. There is an option to upgrade and I think I am going to do so one of these days. It is definitely worth a try. I like that I can put many different notes for each person.
Have you done a comparison chart or spread sheet listing what you want from a system and then recording which program does what? Your desire or non-desire for different kinds of bells and whistles may lead you directly to the best program for you, regardless of what the rest of us think.

Personally, I want a way to store the basic data, add additional date through notes, print reports, make changes easily, and be able to create a GEDCOM to share. I've played with Family Tree Maker and Legacy, and I keep going back to the LDS's PAF. It has some stuff specifically germane to the LDS church but can be totally ignored by those of who are non-members without any loss of viabilility. And it's FREE!!!!!! Including new versions as they become available!!!!!! And, for a whopping $5.75 you can get an upgraded report program, which gives you more report choices than the basic program, including the ability to add color.
I have over the years downloaded trial versions of many family history programs but still go back to my Sierra Generations which has not been supported for a long time. Mine has glitches which I work around but I have not found any with the same simple family card. Others that I try have very busy screens. However I am conscious that one day it will cease to work (I started with it in Windows 95 and now have progressed to Windows 7 and each time I use a new OS with it there are problems which I manage after many hours to work around) so would like to hear from a previous user of Generations who has found another they like as much. Thanks..Barbara
I've been trying different software's the past few months, just the free versions so far.

The first one I tried was Brothers Keeper. This was the first genealogy program I used back in the days of DOS. lol So when I restarted my family search I checked this program out again. I found it hard to use and didn't get much farther then importing my gedcom.

Then I tried Family Tree Builder. I do really like this program, but I find it crashes a lot on my pc. No problems with my other programs... I don't know if FTB is a heavy program to run...
The reason I didn't stay with it is you HAVE to pay every year or the advanced features of the program shut off. Or that is the impression I got from the website info. If I'm wrong please let me know!

I downloaded Legacy and I think it's a really good program. I love that the free version also lets you make a website or cd. But over all I just didn't like interface, just a personal opinion.

Right now I'm using the free Roots Essentials 4. I really like this so far, and I'm hoping to buy the full edition. I like that I can have more then 1 tree open side by side. The search and merge features work really well to. I had a lot of practice with that when I found my ancestry tree had almost 2000 double/triple names. yikes!

I haven't tried the FTM 2011 as it doesn't have a free version. I'd love to try it out someday as some of the features look really nice. And being integrated with ancestry is a big plus.
I am wondering if anyone knows of any genealogy software that can be loaded and run on a BlackBerry.
I have used FTM successfully. The last version was FTM 16 back in 2006. When they offered a special deal on FTM 2011 I acquired it. Whilte it has an improved presetntation it is a dog. Unless you have a PC with lots of power and memory. It freezes for several seconds as you tab through fields to create a new person. I found the way to improve this is to turn off autofill on addresses.

Two problems that will admit to with FTM 2011 are generating reports (may take days) and interface with your account to merge hints.

Hopefully they come out with some performance improvements soon as the current product is painfully slow.
Yes, I wish I'd know before I ordered it. lol I placed an order a month or so ago when it was on sale. Just got it yesterday. It crashed 8 times last night and a few this morning. Driving me crazy, every time I need to merge people.
I imported my tree from ancestry and it found 400 doubles. I've been working since late afternoon yesterday to merge them. I could have done it very quickly in Roots Magic or Legacy arrrg.

Don't you just hate it when you buy software that looks great, you've wanted for a loooong time then find out you don't like it. lol If only it would quit crashing so much...
Surely, if it does not work, you send it back?

You would if it were a washing machine or a handbag, wouldn't you?
I will be looking into that. But I don't live in the USA so they charged me $10 just for shipping, what amounted to a tiny cardboard mailer envelope and a months wait. Only to see that it was shipped from Canada, so there's no way it actually cost them that much to send it or should have taken that long. No way would I pay for shipping back to them, unless they refund every penny I've spent to get it and return it.

Sorry if I'm sounding grumpy, but I'm not real happy with FTM right now. lol
I might also just gift it to a friend that's been wanting to try it. They may have better luck with it....



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