The hobby of genealogy may begin with notebook jottings but can quickly turn into a vast jumble of family facts. Using computer software can help keep facts in order and tangle free.
If you are computer shy, many of the software companies offer online how-to tips, webinars, and courses for each step of the way.
There are several well known genealogy software that will get the job done no matter which you choose. Just find one that feels right for your needs. Here are just a few…
RootsMagic (PC & Mac, Ubuntu/Linuz with additional software) This is my personal favorite. It offers a short learning curve and simple format for storing collected family information. Print out family group sheets blank and filled for your research binder or print reports and charts to share at the family reunion. The program is packed with many options for sharing, data backup, and citations. Their app, RootsMagic To Go, can load your data onto your mobile device for viewing during research trips. The website offers numerous webinars to help navigate the ins and outs of the program. Take their demo RootsMagic Essentials for a spin. You can upgrade to the full version at a reasonable price without losing the data inputted during the trial.
A few screenshots from RootsMagic…
Legacy Family Tree (PC, Ubuntu/Linux/Mac with additional software) has a bit more of a learning curve with many of the same program options. Try their demo version, Standard Edition, for a test run. The program is offered in several languages. The website offers many options for navigating the program’s ins and outs.
Ancestral Quest (PC & Mac) is a software that may be useful for those using FamilySearch trees. The program correlates with FamilySearch Trees and former Personal Ancestral File® (PAF) and may be an alternative program for those wishing to keep to the Family Tree Maker program. There is also an on-the-go app. Take their demo version, Ancestral Quest Basics, for a test run.
While I would highly suggest one keeps their main data on a computer in the real world, you may prefer to utilize an online virtual tree application for sharing with family and other researchers.
Ancestry.com’s Family Tree
FamilySearch Family Tree
As you search the reviews for comparisons, there are several software that have been discontinued:
Family Tree Maker (PC & Mac) will be fazed out after Dec. 31, 2016. The program will still be usable for existing owners but will no longer have syncing functionality or customer support after that date. Don’t fret, many of the remaining software companies can help you transition the data from FTM to their program without data loss.
The Master Genealogist (PC & Mac) was discontinued in 2014.
Another application to consider adding to the toolbox:
CutePDF Writer Don’t have Adobe PDF? Not a problem! This little program installs quickly onto your computer and works as a virtual printer. Instead of printing web documents that use up your printer ink and wastes paper, choose this in your printer options, then save as a pdf file into your chosen documents folder. Upgrade to CutePDF Pro for additional options.
Overall, having genealogy software to organize your family history data will be worth the investment in learning the software as well as the wallet!
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