Saturday, October 24, 2009

Which genealogy software should I use?

I'm blogging again after a short absence since my laptop decided to give me a panic attack..

Until recently I wasn't aware there were computer softwares that were available to family historians. But having looked at various genealogical websites, blogs and forums I realised
people were actually using computer software to input their family trees and creating databases to store and organize their information. Well ofcourse, I had to check it out. Someone kindly suggested that I download Personal Ancestral File (PAF) which is a free genealogy software available from I used PAF for a short while and since it was my first time using a genealogy software I had to start my family tree from scratch. Later on I would learn that all genealogical software use a certain type of file called a GEDCOM file.

However, PAF have not introduced any new versions and the software itself does not display a visually pleasing interface. It seems bland and compared with new software that it's in the market seems to lack in features. Therefore I went in search of a new software that would liven things up a bit. Something that would provide a fresh new look to my boring software.

I found .. Legacy 7.0.

I downloaded the standard edition from their website (click on the above link) and set up my family tree by importing my not-so-big GEDCOM file from PAF. This meant that I could just transfer whatever data I had input into PAF to Legacy without any fuss.

These are some of the features I liked:

1) Creating reports for individuals and families
2) Ability to view the ages of your ancestors at various events of their life
3) Marriage lists for couples
4) Ability to create charts from the data

5) Research guidance shows you what to search for and includes a to-do list

6) Ability to add pictures, sounds,
videos to individuals in your tree
7) Ability to write notes for individuals in general, or research notes or medical notes
and much much more!

Here's a snapshot of a family sheet of one of my ancestors (first names have been blocked out):

I think I'll stick with this software as it seems to do the job and I'm still working out how it all works since there is so much on offer. However, there are other softwares that are available such as Family Tree Builder and
Family Tree Maker. (Funny how they have similar names)

Note: Some of the features can only be accessed by upgrading to Legacy Deluxe Edition.

If you'd like to try out Legacy too, then click here for a beginners video. Let me know what you think by leaving me a comment.


geneabloggers said...

A very good review of the Legacy software. I have been using RootsMagic 4 which many people seem to like as well. A good source for reviews of genealogy software is Randy Seaver's Genea-Musings.

Morten said...

Been using Legacy for the last year and a half.. A very good program and the inbuilt map-plotter gives you the ability of designating map-coordinates for the places in your "place"-register. For individuals and their families in your base it means that you get a nice graphical view of their travel-patterns at various times and events in their life. Also like the sourcewriter as it simplifies and standardize how you write the source references for the info you input in the program. The sourcewriter is best for online genealogy resources as the online databases for the churchbooks of for example Norway, Scotland and such... The reports that you get from Legacy's reportcentre is quite nice as well.

Anon said...

Thanks guys for the comments :)