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Ok, the aim of this discussion is to try to get a list going for all the different bits of genealogy software out there.. Be it software for mapping out your family trees, software you use to keep track of your notes, journalling software, or even just a mind mapping tool, if you use it in your genealogy toolkit, and you think it might be useful for others, then lets share with each other, and learn from each other what works, and what doesn't ;)


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So to get the ball rolling, at the moment, I'm using mainly Family Tree Builder, but then working with I'm bound to be a little biased in that respect eh? ;)
Hello Farhan!

I love Legacy Family Tree. Legacy is extremely easy to use, but if you do have a problem, the customer service is great. Any updates that come out between major version releases are always free. The standard edition is free and works well, but it is well worth the $30 US to get the deluxe edition.

With the deluxe edition you get SourceWriter, which provides easy to use templates for source info. The templates are based on Elizabeth Shown Mills' Evidence! Citation & Analysis for the Family Historian, so you know that your citations fit the standard. Legacy also has great Research Guidance functionality; and you can produce books and wall charts without needing any separate programs!

I admit... I'm biased too.
Hello Farhan,

Thank you for the invite to the group. Of course, I use a very old version of Family Tree Maker, having finished the bulk of my work a number of years ago. (Now only used for an occasional update.)

I have been more active with the DNA Project and networking with other HAM genealogists.
Other software that I use more regularly (for the HAM DNA Project):

SeaMonkey (to compose my web pages)

Y-Search to search for matching DNA participants.

Dean McGee's Y-DNA Comparison Utility

The "kitsch" program within the PHYLIP package

The MEGA software to graph out the resulting DNA phylogenetic tree
My DNA trees are posted to

My FT2PHY program to convert DNA STR values into ATGC format

And I use the ATGC files for input into LAMARC to study mutation rates (and TMRCA) for the groups in my DNA Project that have enough data to analyze.

I have used TreeView to analyze my DNA project to find "alpha," as explained in my blog article on building DNA phylogenetic trees (FTDNA has indicated that they will be using "alpha"):

I think that's about it for the genealogy software packages that I currently use on my computer.

- Dave
Hey Dave
Thanks for your response..
I must admit I'm a little blown away by all the different bits of software that you use, and the many different uses.. Being fairly new to the world of Genealogy, perhaps you can help me out with understanding a few basics?
When you say you finished the 'bulk' of your work - does that mean researching your genealogy? Or were you talk about a salaried job that was unrelated to your genealogy research?
When it comes to the trees relating to genetic research, I'm going to have to admit it's a completely new idea to me, and something I don't think I've completely understood.. Is a phylogenetic tree one that maps the Y-Chromosome DNA trace markers through the DNA chains of ancestors? Or have I got that completely wrong?

Also, are there any other kinds of trees that are used in Genealogical research, besides a regular 'Family' Tree, and a 'phylogenetic' one?

Look forward to learning a lot more from you along my own journey researching my family heritage.

By the way, in place of Sea Monkey, have you considered using NVU? Personally it's my favourite when it comes to getting really simple but neat HTML code. Alternatively the CMS systems of Joomla or Wordpress are fairly simple, and straightforward to use once installed, and once in place make it much easier to edit and update content on a website. If you would like any help, or suggestions on the website building side of things, feel free to drop me a personal message and I'll be happy to help as best I can.
Hello Farhan,

Thanks for the response. I'm at a point in my life where I can appreciate a few kind words.

In reading your note, I realized that I also use software to create my genealogy videos:

FX Composite Lab Pro
Video Explosion Deluxe (by Nova Development), although I hear Nero may be a better package for that.

By the phrase "bulk" of my work, I was referring to a three volume book on HAM genealogy that I compiled and co-authored on my surname. That included my work on my line, plus the addition of all related lines from the County of origin in North Carolina. It also included all Counties of origin for the surname in North Carolina and Colonial Virginia, as well as colonial England and medieval France. (about 1200 pages total).

I'm one of those people that finds it hard to believe that every HAM(M) family wouldn't want a set in their home.... (grin) Anyways, I have a dream to create some documentary videos about my surname, based upon this work.

I don't consider genetic genealogy to be the larger part of my work, although it takes more of my time these days.

Yes, it sounds like you have concept of the DNA graph correctly phrased there. A phylogenetic tree graphs the data from Y-STR DNA markers to connect what the DNA says are ancestors. At least, as I use the term. There is also an mtDNA tree, which are not as useful for more recent generations, but can tell you some valuable information about the female lineage.

There are a number of algorithms that can be used for DNA trees, but I mostly use the Genetic Distance as given from Dean McGee's Y-DNA Utility. It pretty much resembles a tree that you might see from a traditional genealogy tree, but the DNA graph can coalesce the same surname from different family lines.

As for "other" trees, a phylogenetic tree is also called a cladogram (phylogeny or cladistics) on the internet. Aside from "Family," Y-DNA and mtDNA phologenetic trees, I can't think of any other genealogy type of tree that might be available.

And no, I have never heard of NVU. I will have to take a look at it. Thank you.

As for help or suggestions, I would like to change my web pages to a menu type of format, but SeaMonkey does not provide that. And, I don't want to code that up by hand or buy software in order to do that. So, if I look at other web page software, I would be looking for free software that has an option to add a menu so that I can convert my web pages.

- Dave
NVU may also go by the name of Komposer as well both are open source.
While on Open source to up load your files to your Website host I would recommend Filezilla it is a great FTP client as such.
The latest version of GEDmill is now open source as well this produces a website from a GEDCom file. So between the three programs above you could have a Family Tree online in very short order.

Xara Webstyle will produce menus and the like, you may find this on a Computer Mag with a free registration I have used it in conjunction with Dreamweaver 3, that is not CS3 by the way.

As for Genealogical programs I have used, well started with "Roots" by Quinsept on a Commadore 64, from there to Brothers Keeper and Family Roots, then onto Family Tree Maker until I got sick of the yearly updates that they expected you to pay for and for little in the way of improvement of the software, more hype than anything else, ( Sounds like one other company that just put out a new version and expects everyone to up grade to the new version after having to fork out for new hardware to run the new version) then adopted Legacy and soon bought the Deluxe version and have never looked back since.
Legacy as far as I am concerned is the best especially so when doing a One Name Study or One Name Studies however not everyone will agree on that due to personal likes.
Legacy will run on a LINEX OS machine under WINE as well from what I understand Microsoft may have to change their ways and keep on supporting Windows XP for many more years to come or otherwise lose many customers to the Open source OS.
I use Family Tree Builder (main program; just upgraded to 4.0) and Ahnenblatt (for quick viewing of a pedigree chart and tree index name list), as well as online (where I initially started building my tree). I have dl'ed Legacy, but have not installed it yet. I also have Family Tree Maker 5.0 Starter Edition (free) because some people that I collaborate with use that program. All of these are free.

Pardon Me, my error.

I use TreePuzzle to determine the "alpha" for my DNA groups. Their web site is at:

TreeView is yet another DNA tree viewing software, and I use MEGA to view my trees.

- Dave
I use The Master Genealogist to keep my records. I have been using it for about 7 or 8 years now and love it. Previously used Family Tree Maker and PAF for a while.
I have used alot of different things from Excel to Access from Microsoft to mapping programs, search engines and programs like GenSmart. I have taught genealogy for several years now and have used a lot of different programs over the years. I think I currently four different genealogy programs on my computer so that I can help others.

TMG allows me to do all the things I wanted to do in most of the other programs and couldn't. Depends on what I am trying to do as to what programs I will use.
I've been using Family Historian for many years, now up to version 4.0.2. I particularly like its strict adherence to GEDCOM 5.5 and that I can view all my data, sources, etc., in the GEDOM file using any text viewer/editor. The program has many facilities for data input and can produce many formats of tree diagram and report. There is also a flexible language for ad-hoc queries, and any outputs can be prodcued as PDF files which are great for sharing with others. Another neat feature that I like is the ability to link individual faces on a group photograph to the relevant individual record, allowing such faces to be displayed on tree diagrams and in reports. I have no connection with the company.
There is also a very active and supportive independent user group: FHUG
Well, I am in a quandry. I have been using Family Origins 10, which I understand is obsolete. I faithfully backed up my data on two separate drives every time I closed the program. My computer crashed, but I had the backups. I got a new computer, but Windows 7 won't load Family Origins. I also have a very old copy of Family Tree Maker 3.0. It loaded fine, but doesn't recognize the backup files. I really liked Origins, it was easy to use and I Iiked the reports available. I really don't like Family Tree Maker much. I guess if I got used to it I might like it better. Now to my question: is there any software that would recognize the old Origins backup files? Also, does anyone know of a good substitute for Origins?
Hay Tom, I, too, had Family Origins for many years. I finally bit the bullet & bought Roots Magic which is the continuation of Family Origins. I'm very happy with it & they have a great help forum with the same bailer outers who were with Family Origins. Thanks to them I transferred my FO data to Roots Magic.

Here's a hyperlink to Roots Magic:

The Family Origins message board at is still active.

Hoping this helps, Margot





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