Genealogy Wise

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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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Thank you Margaret for reading my blogs and for the information on Family Origins. Not sure I have ever heard of Family Origins.
The last update for Family Origins (#10) was 2001 which may be why you've not heard of it. The developer, Bruce Buzbee, brought out the first Roots Magic in, maybe, 2003. Roots Magic 4 is the current version.
I've used 3 genealogy programs in my 10 or so years of research: FTM 2003, Legacy7 full version, and Aldfaer, a Dutch program, which has excellent oversight and functionality, and will produce many reports in 7 languages. I disliked the FTM2003, and stayed with my Aldfaer from day one. But no one program does everything, or does it best. So I added Legacy7 after some researching, and like it very much also. I produce all my work on Aldfaer, and import an updated GEDCOM file into my Legacy7. The Legacy is a good addition/companion to my Aldfaer. If I had to go without my Aldfaer, I could easily live with Legacy, a great program.

I used to back up all my data on CDs, but now use an external hard drive; pocket-sized with 6 Gb capacity, much easier. You can also think of using Microsoft Sky Drive, a free digital storage site with 5 Gb room.

Greetings from Amsterdam,

A good place to start, my opinion, is by using Simple Family Tree. You may download it at JDMCOX.COM. It is a free, as in no money, program. It saves data as gedcom so you can import into more powerful programs. I like it as its a 'scratchpad' type program and is great to use while in the library.

I've only had one issue with it in the years I have used it. I emailed Mr. Cox and he replied with the right answer within a half hour. How's that for service!
I have to admit that as a PC user I use the free PAF software from the LDS/Mormon Familysearch site. It's simple, basic and certainly for brand new researchers is a good one to start with whilst you're finding your feet. I can attach pictures and scans to people, attach notes and most importantly of all I can attach sources so I know where all the information comes from!

The newest versions of the software do allow you to opt out of having all the LDS Ordinances fields so that is no longer a niggle for non-Mormon researchers :)
The price is right for the PAF software - it does the job but does not have all the bells and whistles. I used it for years just broke down and got the full Legacy. Still learning how to use it but think I will like it. I always recommend PAF for the new genealogist.
Here's a web site that reviews 10 genealogy software programs:
Hi Jenn,
I am a HUGE fan of Legacy. I got started with an old version of FTM, which is a good program, however, Legacy is much better in my opinion. They have excellent customer service and are always extremely helpful. Also their CD's will help you with the Gedcom files you are worried about. The help file that comes with the program will also give you that info. Good luck in your search for the right software
I use Legacy 7 Full version and have been pleased with its functionality.
As an after thought, Jennifer, if you're looking for a free program, or one to just import a GEDCOM to for viewing, one I've not seen mentioned here is Ahnenblatt. I use this to view others' GEDCOMs so I don't have to mix them with my own data. It also produces some reports. Uses a number of languages, including English, and is easy to use.. Neat program, although somewhat basic.

Hey Jennifer, you have a lot to choose from!

I've used older versions of FTM and liked it a lot. I haven't used the newer versions, and honestly, with the cost there is no way that I could. I've heard some mixed reviews about newer versions also.

I've used the free version of Legacy and I loved it. It is very user friendly and makes good charts. I liked it so much that I was going to upgrade to the paid version but I ended up getting a free copy of RootsMagic when I went to the Southern California Genealogy Society Jamboree in July...

Which brings me to RootsMagic. I love it! I love that I can connect photos and scans to each person. I love its ease of use. I love that it has so many features (some that are a little more hidden). I love the various notes sections. I love that there are formating options in the notes sections (bold, italic, underline). The only downside is that there aren't any how-to videos out yet for it. But the message boards are great for this.
After years of using Brothers Keeper without ever purchasing it, I finally decided to branch out to a more user-friendly software package. I just bought RootsMagic 4 and am very happy with it. Thought it was very affordable (30) and it's also easy to navigate and use. It was easy for me to import my old data from BK too. Makes great reports and makes typing repetitive data a snap.





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